Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Birthday: Fiorenza Cossotto

"Nel giardin del bello" Don Carlo
Fiorenza Cossotto is an Italian mezzo soprano. She is considered by many to be one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the 20th century. Born on April 22, 1935 in Crescentino, Province of Vercelli, Italy, Cossotto attended the Turin Academy of Music and graduated top of her class. After her studies with Mercedes Llopart, she made her operatic debut as Sister Matilde in the world premiere of Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957 at La Scala in Milan. Her international debut was at the 1958 Wexford Festival as Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Her Covent Garden debut was in 1959 as Neris in Cherubini's Médée, with Maria Callas in the title role. A 1962 performance of the lead in La favorita at La Scala led to wider fame and she made her American debut in the same role in 1964 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Amneris at the Metropolitan Opera in 1968. Altogether between the seasons of 1967–68 and 1988–89 she gave 148 performances at the Met (exclusively leading roles). She was considered

"Solo un pianto" Medea
an expert in portrayals of heavy Italian roles of the middle 19th century e.g. Favorita, Amneris, Azucena, Eboli, Preziosilla, Maddalena, Ulrica, and Laura. She also essayed Carmen, Mozart's Cherubino, Urbain in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, Bellini's Romeo and Marfa in Khovantschina. She kept on singing, and in 2005 she celebrated her 70th birthday with a performance of Suor Angelica at the Théâtre Royal in Liège, Belgium. She was married to the Italian bass Ivo Vinco for over 40 years, and had a son, Roberto. The marriage ended in divorce. According to the book Opera published by Koenemann, 'She [Cossotto] and Giulietta Simionato were the leading Italian mezzo-sopranos of the 1960s and 1970's. She [Cossotto] won plaudits in the annals of operatic history for her wonderful vocal timbre, her perfect singing technique, and the ease with which she could master different registers. Besides singing the great mezzo roles, she also took the outstanding alto parts of the Italian operatic repertoire.' Among her competitors were Shirley Verrett and Grace Bumbry, Rita Gorr, Christa Ludwig, Marilyn Horne, Viorica Cortez and Tatiana Troyanos. Apart from mezzo and alto roles she also sang soprano roles which are traditionally sung by mezzos, such as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Adalgisa (Norma). She sang

"Ahime!...morir mi sento" Aida
Adalgisa next to the Normas of Callas, Joan Sutherland, Caballé, Gencer and Elena Souliotis. Full live documents (except for Callas which is partial) of these performances are commercially released in either audio or video. She also tried her luck in soprano roles (alas in studio only) of Lady Macbeth and Marchesa del Poggio (Un giorno di regno), and made a commercial recording of soprano arias by Verdi. Her repertory at the Met included Amneris, Eboli, Adalgisa, Santuzza, Azucena, Dalila, Carmen (only on tour and in the park concerts), Principessa (Adriana Lecouvreur) and Mistress Quickly (which she added in 1985 next to Giuseppe Taddei as Falstaff). [Source]

"Una macchia... è qui tuttora!" Macbeth
"Di tanti palpiti" Tancredi
"Si mostri a chi l'adora" Un Giorno di Regno
"Il tenero momento" Lucio Silla
"O mio Fernando" La Favorita
"L'amour est un oiseau rebelle" Carmen

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