R.I.P 〓 Mirella Freni, Italian Soprano singer


Mirella Freni, an Italian soprano singer, died on March 9 at her home in Modena. She was 84. One of the most active opera singers post WWⅡ, she has performed at opera theaters around the world with his youthful voice quality and excellent acting skills. She plays more than 40 roles, centered on Verdi and Puccini. In addition, there is many numerous performances and recordings with conductor Herbert von Karajan. She aiso performed with his childhood friend Luciano Pavarotti.

Freni was born in Modena. The mother worked in the same tobacco factory as Pavarotti’s mother, so she grew up with the same nanny. In 1955, she was 19 and set her first stage at the Modena theater, singing the role of Michaela in “Carmen”. After the performance, she received a number of requests for appearances, but she married with Leone Magiera, vocal teacher, and chose a way to raise children. She returned to performing in 1959, where she joined the Dutch National Opera.

Her first chance was in 1960, when she performed at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera in England. At this time, she was a great success by singing the role of Adina in “The Elixir of Love” directed by Franco Zeffirelli. The following year, in 1961, she made her debut at the Royal Opera House as Nannetta for “Falstaff”. She made her debut in Teatro alla Scala in 1962 with the same role. The following year, in 1963, she sang the role of Mimi in “La Bohème” which conducted by Karajan and directed by Franco Zeffirelli was a great success.

With this performance, co-starring with Karajan begins. In 1964 she was appointed by Karajan and appeared on “La Traviata”, directed by Zeffirelli in Teatro alla Scala. However, this performance was a great failure. It had a much booing from an audience who loveed the performance of Maria Callas in 1955. For this “incident”, “La Traviata” was not staged in Teatro alla Scala for 39 years, until Riccardo Muti tried to stage it in 1994.

In 1965 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She expanded her repertoire to roles that demanded heavier voices in the 1970s, but continued to challenge new roles in the 1990s until she retired in 2005. In 1990, she received the Knights of the Great Cross of the Republic of Italy and in 1993 received the Order of Legion d’Honneur from the French government. In 2004, she lost her second husband, Nicolai Ghiaurov, a former famous bass singer.

Photo:Graham “gramilano” Spicer / Teatro alla Scala

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