Iva Pacetti


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Beniamino Gigli (1890—1957) Italian operatic tenor


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(b Prato, 13 Dec 1898; d Rome, 19 Jan 1981). Italian soprano. After study in Florence she made her début at Prato as Aida. She arrived at La Scala in 1922, and sang Helen of Troy in Mefistofele under Arturo Toscanini, with whom she also worked in Paul Dukas' Ariane et Barbe-bleue. She was the first Rome Turandot (1926) and gave her farewell performance there in the same role 21 years later. Abroad her greatest success was in South America, though she also sang at Chicago and throughout Europe. At Covent Garden she appeared in 1930, 1931 and 1938, as Desdemona, Leonora in La forza del destino and, most frequently, Tosca. Her pianissimo singing was admired, but The Times observed in 1930 that she lacked the ringing quality required, and the Liverpool Post nominated her ‘wobbler of the season’. Her large repertory included such varied parts as the Dyer's Wife in Die Frau ohne Schatten, Norma and Leonore in Fidelio. Her best-known recording is of Pagliacci made in 1934 with Beniamino Gigli, though the role of Nedda is one she never sang on stage.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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