Marietta Gazzaniga


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(b Voghera, nr Milan, 1824; d Milan, 2 Jan 1884). Italian soprano. After her début at Voghera in 1840 as Jane Seymour in Anna Bolena and Romeo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, she sang in Italian cities, notably in Verdi roles. She created the title role in Luisa Miller (1849, Naples) and Lina in Stiffelio (1850, Trieste). Verdi claimed in 1852 that he had disliked her in both; he was irritated just then at the failure of Rigoletto in Bergamo, which was blamed on her performance as Gilda. She went on nonetheless with such lyric coloratura parts as well as with heroic ones (Norma and Paolina in Poliuto at Bologna in 1852). She undertook several North and Central American tours, during the first of which (1857–8) her husband, Count Malaspina, died of smallpox on the voyage to Havana. In New York in 1866–7 an admiring critic reported ‘greater purity and less vehement forcing of tone’. She went on singing in the Americas each year until 1870; by then she had exchanged her old part of Leonora in Il trovatore for the lower-lying part of Azucena.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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