Antonietta Stella (March 15, 1929, Perugia, Italy as Maria Antonietta Stella) is an Italian operatic soprano, one of the finest Italian spinto sopranos of the 1950s and 1960s, particularly associated with Verdi and Puccini roles.
Perugia is the capital city of both the region of Umbria in central Italy, crossed by the river Tiber, and of the province of Perugia. The city is located about 164 kilometres north of Rome and 148 km southeast of Florence. It covers a high hilltop and part of the valleys around the area. The region of Umbria is bordered by Tuscany, Lazio, and Marche.
Opera is a form of theatre in which music has a leading role and the parts are taken by singers, but is distinct from musical theater. Such a "work" is typically a collaboration between a composer and a librettist and incorporates a number of the performing arts, such as acting, scenery, costume, and sometimes dance or ballet. The performance is typically given in an opera house, accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, which since the early 19th century has been led by a conductor.
A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which usually encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.
Stella studied at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome, and made her debut in Spoleto, as Leonora in Il trovatore , in 1950, and appeared at the Rome Opera in 1951, as Leonora in La forza del destino . She quickly sang throughout Italy, Florence, Naples, Parma, Turin, Catania, Verona, Venice, etc., and made her debut at La Scala in Milan, as Desdemona in Verdi's Otello , in 1954, where she sang regularly to great acclaim until 1963, in roles such as Violetta in La traviata , Elisabetta in Don Carlo , Amelia in Un ballo in maschera , the title roles in Aida and Tosca , Mimi in La bohème , Maddalena in Andrea Chénier , Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly , etc.
The Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia is one of the oldest musical institutions in the world, founded by the papal bull Ratione congruit, issued by Sixtus V in 1585, which invoked two saints prominent in Western musical history: Gregory the Great, for whom the Gregorian chant is named, and Saint Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Since 2005 it has been headquartered at the Renzo Piano designed Parco della Musica in Rome.
Spoleto is an ancient city in the Italian province of Perugia in east-central Umbria on a foothill of the Apennines. It is 20 km (12 mi) S. of Trevi, 29 km (18 mi) N. of Terni, 63 km (39 mi) SE of Perugia; 212 km (132 mi) SE of Florence; and 126 km (78 mi) N of Rome.
Il trovatore is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto largely written by Salvadore Cammarano, based on the play El trovador (1836) by Antonio García Gutiérrez. It was Gutiérrez's most successful play, one which Verdi scholar Julian Budden describes as "a high flown, sprawling melodrama flamboyantly defiant of the Aristotelian unities, packed with all manner of fantastic and bizarre incident."
In 1955, she made her debuts at the Vienna State Opera, the Royal Opera House in London, the Palais Garnier in Paris, La Monnaie in Brussels, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, and the following year, at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, where she successfully sang until 1960. In 1958 she had a particular success in a new Metropolitan production of Madama Butterfly designed in the manner of Japanese woodblock prints. Her assimilation of Japanese physicality and gesture was particularly praised. Her Leonore in Il Trovatore was also presented in a new production at the Metropolitan to public and critical acclaim. Stella was an elegant, glamorous figure on stage and an accomplished actress.
The Vienna State Opera is an Austrian opera house and opera company based in Vienna, Austria. It was originally called the Vienna Court Opera. In 1920, with the replacement of the Habsburg Monarchy by the First Austrian Republic, it was renamed the Vienna State Opera. The members of the Vienna Philharmonic are recruited from its orchestra.
The Royal Opera House (ROH) is an opera house and major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, central London. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the opera house's original construction in 1732. It is the home of The Royal Opera, The Royal Ballet, and the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. Originally called the Theatre Royal, it served primarily as a playhouse for the first hundred years of its history. In 1734, the first ballet was presented. A year later, Handel's first season of operas began. Many of his operas and oratorios were specifically written for Covent Garden and had their premieres there.
The Palais Garnier is a 1,979-seat opera house, which was built from 1861 to 1875 for the Paris Opera. It was called the Salle des Capucines, because of its location on the Boulevard des Capucines in the 9th arrondissement of Paris, but soon became known as the Palais Garnier, in recognition of its opulence and its architect, Charles Garnier. The theatre is also often referred to as the Opéra Garnier and historically was known as the Opéra de Paris or simply the Opéra, as it was the primary home of the Paris Opera and its associated Paris Opera Ballet until 1989, when the Opéra Bastille opened at the Place de la Bastille. The Paris Opera now mainly uses the Palais Garnier for ballet.
Stella, like so many notable artists of the 1950s and 60s, was somewhat eclipsed by the competition between Maria Callas and Renata Tebaldi, but she did have a notable career and left several very worthwhile recordings, including works such as Linda di Chamounix , La battaglia di Legnano , L'Africaine , Simon Boccanegra , which is more than can be said for some other singers of the time. She appeared in an Italian television production of Andrea Chénier, opposite Mario del Monaco and Giuseppe Taddei in 1955, recently released on DVD. She can also be heard on an Italian radio broadcast of Spontini's rarely performed work Agnes von Hohenstaufen , opposite Montserrat Caballé, released on CD.
Maria Callas, Commendatore OMRI was an American-born Greek soprano. She was one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. Many critics praised her bel canto technique, wide-ranging voice and dramatic interpretations. Her repertoire ranged from classical opera seria to the bel canto operas of Donizetti, Bellini and Rossini and further, to the works of Verdi and Puccini; and, in her early career, to the music dramas of Wagner. Her musical and dramatic talents led to her being hailed as La Divina.
Renata Ersilia Clotilde Tebaldi was an Italian lirico-spinto soprano popular in the post-war period. Among the most beloved opera singers, she has been said to have possessed one of the most beautiful voices of the 20th century, a voice that was focused primarily on the verismo roles of the lyric and dramatic repertoires.
Linda di Chamounix is an operatic melodramma semiserio in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti. The Italian libretto was written by Gaetano Rossi. It premiered in Vienna, at the Kärntnertortheater, on 19 May 1842.
Renata Scotto is an Italian soprano and opera director.
Tito Gobbi was an Italian operatic baritone with an international reputation.
Ayşe Leyla Gencer was a Turkish operatic soprano.
Katia Ricciarelli is an Italian soprano.
Piero Cappuccilli was an Italian operatic baritone. Best known for his interpretations of Verdi roles, he was widely regarded as one of the finest Italian baritones of the second half of the 20th century. He was enormously admired within the field of opera for his rich and abundant voice, fine vocal technique and exceptional breath control. In the great Italian tradition he fused words and music into elegant phrases. He focused on Italian repertory, particularly the operas of Verdi, singing 17 major roles.
Tullio Serafin was an Italian conductor.
Giuseppe Patanè was an Italian opera conductor.
Fedora Barbieri was an Italian mezzo-soprano.
Ettore Bastianini was an Italian opera singer who was particularly associated with the operas of the bel canto tradition.
Giuseppe Taddei was an Italian lyric baritone, who performed mostly the operas of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Giuseppe Verdi.
Herva Nelli was an Italian-born operatic soprano.
Ferruccio Tagliavini was an Italian operatic tenor mainly active in the 1940s and 1950s. Tagliavini was hailed as the heir apparent to Tito Schipa and Beniamino Gigli in the lyric-opera repertory due to the exceptional beauty of his voice, but he did not sustain his great early promise across the full span of his career.
Mirella Parutto is an Italian operatic soprano and later mezzo-soprano.
Miriam Pirazzini was a well-known Italian mezzo-soprano. She made her formal debut in Rome, in 1944, as Laura Adorno in La Gioconda. For the next twenty years, she was one of Italy's foremost mezzo-sopranos.
Mario Sereni was an Italian baritone, who sang leading roles at the New York Metropolitan Opera for many years.
Gianni Poggi was an Italian tenor, particularly associated with the Italian repertory.
Ettore Panizza was an Argentinian conductor and composer, one of the leading conductors of the early 20th century. Panizza possessed technical mastery and was popular and influential during his time, widely admired by Richard Strauss and Giacomo Puccini, among others.
Rita Orlandi-Malaspina was an Italian operatic soprano who had a major international career from the 1960s through the 1980s. She drew particular acclaim for her portrayals of Verdi heroines. She also had a successful career as a concert soprano, particularly in performance of Verdi's Requiem and Ludwig van Beethoven's Symphony No. 9.
Alexandru Agache is a Romanian operatic baritone who has had an active international career since 1979. Possessing a powerful and flexible voice, he has drawn particular acclaim in the operas of Giuseppe Verdi.
Giuseppe Modesti (1915–1998) was an Italian bass-baritone.