Marianna Barbieri-Nini


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(b Florence, 18 Feb 1818; d Florence, 27 Nov 1887). Italian soprano. After study with Luigi Barbieri, Giuditta Pasta and Nicola Vaccai, in 1840 she made a disastrous first appearance at La Scala in Gaetano Donizetti's Belisario. Shortly afterwards she broke her contract with the impresario Bartolomeo Merelli and joined Alessandro Lanari's troupe in Florence. Here she made a second, and this time triumphant, début in Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia. For the next 15 years she sang with great success throughout Italy and in Barcelona, Madrid and Paris. She was a highly dramatic singer with a powerful voice, particularly effective in the title roles of Donizetti's Anna Bolena and Gioachino Rossini's Semiramide. She appeared in the first performances of three Verdi operas, singing Lucrezia in I due Foscari (1844, Rome), Lady Macbeth (1847, Florence), and Gulnara in Il corsaro (1848, Trieste). Her voice was powerful enough, especially in the middle register, to penetrate Giuseppe Verdi's orchestration, yet flexible enough to cope with fioriture. She retired in 1856.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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