Bruna Castagna


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(b Bari, 15 Oct 1905; d Pinamar, Argentina, 10 July 1983). Italian mezzo-soprano. She studied in Milan and made her début in 1925 at the Teatro Sociale, Mantua, as Marina in Boris Godunov. In the same year she made her first appearance at La Scala and remained there till 1928. She also sang at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, taking part in the South American première of Nikolay Rimsky-Korsakov's Sadko. In 1930 she returned on Arturo Toscanini's invitation to La Scala, where in 1933 she had a great success in L’italiana in Algeri. Opera and recital work took her to Australia and Egypt and then to the USA, where for a decade she was a leading mezzo at the Metropolitan Opera. She made her début there in 1936 as Amneris, after which Lawrence Gilman wrote of her ‘remarkable voice, sensuously beautiful, voluptuous, richly expressive’. Her Carmen was considered the best for many years; she retired in this role in the 1949–50 season at Philadelphia. She then taught in Milan. She can be heard in a few recordings of live performances from the Metropolitan.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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