Fedora Barbieri

~ Person


Fedora Barbieri (4 June 1920 – 4 March 2003) was an Italian contralto.

Barbieri was born in Trieste. She made her official debut in Florence in 1940, but retired in 1943 because of her marriage. She re-emerged in 1945. She was one of the first performers to investigate and perform in early operas by Monteverdi and Pergolesi. Her debut at the Teatro alla Scala, where she was to have her greatest successes, came in 1942, with a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony, conducted by Victor de Sabata.

She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera on 6 November 1950, in the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlos. Altogether, she gave 96 performances of 11 operas in that house, and also sang Eboli in the famous Luchino Visconti production for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden's centenary, in 1958.

In 1956, the mezzo-soprano filmed Mistress Quickly, in Falstaff, for RAI, conducted by Tullio Serafin and directed by Herbert Graf, with Giuseppe Taddei and Scipio Colombo.

Though she never officially retired, she more or less discontinued performing live in the 1990s, making her career one of the longest in opera history.

Although generally considered a formidable actress and singer in her own right, she is now mostly remembered for regularly partnering Maria Callas on- as well as off-stage during the 1950s. Many of their collaborations (together with other regular partners Giuseppe di Stefano, Boris Christoff, Tito Gobbi, Rolando Panerai, and Serafin) were recorded by Fonit Cetra ("La Gioconda", 1952) and EMI. Her most famous portrayals included Amneris in "Aïda", with Jussi Björling, Azucena in Il trovatore, Quickly in Falstaff, Eboli in Don Carlo, and Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera. Her 1951 performance of the Verdi Requiem, with Herva Nelli, di Stefano and Cesare Siepi, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, was issued by RCA.

Barbieri can be seen and heard in the role of Madelon on a DVD of the opera "Andrea Chénier", which stars Plácido Domingo, issued by the Bel Canto Society; also as Giovanna in "Rigoletto" directed by Jean-Pierre Ponnelle with Luciano Pavarotti, and again with Domingo as Mamma Lucia in Franco Zeffirelli's "Cavalleria rusticana". In 1996, she sang and spoke in Jan Schmidt-Garre's film Opera Fanatic. She died, aged 82, in Florence.

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Year Title Artist RatingReleases
1975 Il barbieri di Siviglia Gioachino Rossini, Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Nicolai Gedda, Renato Capecchi, Fedora Barbieri, Ruggero Raimondi, The John Alldis Choir, London Symphony Orchestra, James Levine 5 8
1991 La Gioconda Amilcare Ponchielli, Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI, Antonino Votto, Maria Callas, Fedora Barbieri, Giulio Neroni, Maria Amadini, Gianni Poggi, Paolo Silveri, Piero Poldi & Armando Benzi 1
1992 Il trittico: Il tabarro / Suor Angelica / Gianni Schicchi Giacomo Puccini; Victoria de los Ángeles, Tito Gobbi, Giacinto Prandelli, Fedora Barbieri, Paolo Montarsolo, Coro e Orchestra del Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Vincenzo Bellezza, Tullio Serafin, Gabriele Santini 2
2003 Il Trovatore Giuseppe Verdi; RCA Victor Orchestra, Renato Cellini, Jussi Björling, Leonard Warren, Zinka Milanov, Fedora Barbieri 1

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