One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
The principal male singer in an opera or opera company.
- ‘The prima donna and primo uomo (the hero, generally a castrato) each had at least one large-scale display aria in every act, followed by an exit.’
- ‘From the late seventeenth century the central male operatic role (primo uomo) in opera seria was sung by a castrato.’
- ‘In another time he would have plotted with the primo uomo to sing badly and ruin one of my operas, or with others of his ilk to spread rumors about me.’
Italian, literally ‘first man’.
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