Giulietta Simionato

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Simionato as Santuzza in Cavalleria rusticana at the Metropolitan Opera in 1959.

Giulietta Simionato (12 May 1910 – 5 May 2010) was an Italian mezzo-soprano. Her career spanned the period from the 1930s until her retirement in 1966.

Life[edit]

Born at Forlì, Romagna, she studied in Rovigo and Padua, and made her operatic debut at Montagnana in 1928. In 1928, she sang in Verdi's "Rigoletto."[1] The first fifteen years of her career were frustrating, she was only given small parts, but she attracted growing attention in the late 1940s, and by the end of her career was recognised as one of the most respected singers of her generation. In 1936, she made her debut at La Scala and appeared there regularly between 1936 and 1966. She made her debut at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in 1953, where she likewise appeared regularly between 1963 and 1965.

Simionato made her United States opera debut in 1953 as Charlotte in Jules Massenet's Werther at the San Francisco Opera with Cesare Valletti in the title role.[2] In 1959 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera, as Azucena in Il Trovatore, with Carlo Bergonzi, Antonietta Stella, and Leonard Warren.[3][4] Simionato also appeared at the Edinburgh Festival (1947), the San Francisco Opera (1953), the Teatro Nacional de São Carlos (1954), the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1954–1961), the Vienna State Opera (from 1956), and the Salzburg Festival. In 1957, she sang in Anna Bolena with Maria Callas.[5] In 1961, she withdrew from three performances at the Metropolitan Opera, with Trigeminal Neuralgia.[6]

Simionato had a large repertory including Rossini's Rosina and Cinderella, Charlotte in Werther, and Carmen. She also excelled in the Verdian repertoire, as Amneris, Eboli and Azucena, and as Santuzza in Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana.

She was a major recording artist, and in addition many of her performances gained live radio broadcast or were captured on film. Fono has gathered her recordings on the CD, The Color of a Voice.[7] She retired in 1966, and married Dr. Cesare Frugoni.[8]

She continued to inspire admiration through teaching and various directorial positions, with amazing vitality even in her 90s. She was featured in Daniel Schmid's award-winning 1984 documentary film Il Bacio di Tosca (Tosca's Kiss) about a home for retired opera singers founded by Giuseppe Verdi. She also appeared in a hilarious interview by Stefan Zucker in Jan Schmidt-Garre's 1999 film, Opera Fanatic.

She died in Rome one week before her 100th birthday.[9][10]

Selected Recordings[11][edit]

Year Composer - Opera
(role)
Cast,
Orchestra, Chorus and Conductor
Label
1940 Pietro Mascagni - Cavalleria Rusticana
(Lucia)
Lina Bruna Rasa (Santuzza), Beniamino Gigli (Turiddu), Gino Bechi (Alfio)
Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro alla Scala
Pietro Mascagni
CD: Pearl GEMM CDS 9288 (+Pagliacci),
Naxos Historical 8.110714-15 (+excerpts) (2001)
1954 Georges Bizet - Carmen
(Carmen)
Nicolai Gedda (Jose), Hilde Güden (Micaela), Michel Roux (Escamillo)
Wiener Symphoniker, Wiener Singerverein
Herbert von Karajan
Recording of a concert performance (8 October 1954)
CD: Andante
AN 3100 (2005)
1954 Giuseppe Verdi - Rigoletto
(Maddalena)
Aldo Protti (Rigoletto), Hilde Güden (Gilda), Cesare Siepi (Cesare Siepi)
Chorus and Orchestra of Santa Cecilia
Alberto Erede
CD: Decca
440 242-2 (1994)
1955 Giuseppe Verdi - La Forza del Destino
(Preziosilla)
Mario del Monaco (Alvaro), Renata Tebaldi (Leonora), Ettore Bastianini (Don Carlo), Cesare Siepi (Padre Guardiano), Fernando Corena (Fra Melitone)
Chorus and Orchestra of Santa Cecilia
Alberto Erede
CD: Decca Originals
475 8681 (2007)
1956 Giuseppe Verdi - Il Trovatore
(Azucena)
Mario del Monaco (Manrico), Renata Tebaldi (Leonora), Ugo Savarese (Conte di Luna)
Grand Théâtre de Genève, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino
Alberto Erede
CD: Decca 470 589-2
(2002)
1957 Giuseppe Verdi - La Forza del Destino
(Preziosilla)
Pier Miranda Ferraro (Alvaro), Anita Cerquetti (Leonora), Aldo Protti (Don Carlo), Boris Christoff (Padre Guardiano), Renato Capecchi (Fra Melitone)
Chorus and Orchestra of RAI Roma
Nino Sanzogno
Recording of a performance broadcast on September 29 1957
CD: Bongiovanni GAO 174-176 (1995),
Myto 3MCD 992 203 (1999)
1959 Giuseppe Verdi - Aida
(Amneris)
Carlo Bergonzi (Radames), Renata Tebaldi (Aida), Cornell MacNeil (Amonasro)
Wiener Philharmoniker, Wiener Singerverein
Herbert von Karajan
CD: Decca Legends
460 978-2 (1999)
1960 Giuseppe Verdi - La Forza del Destino
(Preziosilla)
Giuseppe di Stefano (Alvaro), Antonietta Stella (Leonora), Ettore Bastianini (Don Carlo), Walter Kreppel (Padre Guardiano), Karl Dönch (Fra Melitone)
Chorus and Orchestra of Wiener Philharmoniker
Dimitri Mitropoulos
Recording of a performance at the Vienna State Opera (23 September 1960). The overture is played between Acts 1 and 2.
CD: Myto 2MCD 004 228 (2000),
Orfeo C 681 0621 (2007)
1960 Pietro Mascagni - Cavalleria Rusticana
(Santuzza)
Mario del Monaco (Turiddu), Cornell MacNeil (Alfio)
Chorus and Orchestra of Santa Cecilia
Tullio Serafin
CD: Decca
467 484-2 (+Pagliacci) (2002)
1962 Giuseppe Verdi - Il Trovatore
(Azucena)
Franco Corelli (Manrico), Leontyne Price (Leonora), Ettore Bastianini (Conte di Luna)
Chorus of the Wiener Staatsoper, Wiener Philharmoniker
Herbert von Karajan
Recording of a performance at Salzburg (31 July 1962)
CD: DG 447 659-2 (1995)
1964 Giuseppe Verdi - Il Trovatore
(Azucena)
Franco Corelli (Manrico), Gabriella Tucci (Leonora), Robert Merrill (Conte di Luna)
Chorus and Orchestra of Teatro dell'Opera di Roma
Thomas Schippers
CD: HMV Classics
HMVD 5 73413-2(1999)

References[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • H. Rosenthal and J. Warrack, The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, 1979, p. 462

External links[edit]