Freda Betti

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Freda Betti
Frédérique Thérèse Augusta Betti

(1924-02-26)26 February 1924
Died13 November 1979(1979-11-13) (aged 55)
Cause of death Suicide
Burial place Cimetière du Château
Residence Levallois-Perret
Nationality French
Education Conservatory of Nice
Occupation Opera singer
Singing teacher
Years active1947–1979
Notable work
René Clermont
(m. 1949;his death 1976)

Freda Betti (26 February 1924 – 13 November 1979), whose birth name was Frédérique Thérèse Augusta Betti, was a French mezzo-soprano singer whose career was mainly confined to France. [1] She left a range of recordings representative of her repertoire.

A mezzo-soprano or mezzo (, ; Italian: [ˈmɛddzo soˈpraːno] meaning "half soprano") is a type of classical female singing voice whose vocal range lies between the soprano and the contralto voice types. The mezzo-soprano's vocal range usually extends from the A below middle C to the A two octaves above (i.e. A3–A5 in scientific pitch notation, where middle C = C4; 220–880 Hz). In the lower and upper extremes, some mezzo-sopranos may extend down to the F below middle C (F3, 175 Hz) and as high as "high C" (C6, 1047 Hz). The mezzo-soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, lyric, and dramatic mezzo-soprano.



Freda Betti was born at 52 rue des Ponchettes in the district of Vieux-Nice in a modest family : her father was a house painter and her mother a fishmonger. His paternal family originates from the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy  : his grandfather was born in Parma and he immigrated to Nice with his wife and children in 1893. [2]

Emilia-Romagna Region of Italy

Emilia-Romagna is an administrative region of Northeast Italy comprising the historical regions of Emilia and Romagna. Its capital is Bologna. It has an area of 22,446 km2 (8,666 sq mi), and about 4.4 million inhabitants.

Italy republic in Southern Europe

Italy, officially the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Slovenia and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 (116,350 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe.

Parma Comune in Emilia-Romagna, Italy

Parma is a city in the northern Italian region of Emilia-Romagna famous for its architecture, music, art, prosciutto (ham), cheese and surrounding countryside. It is home to the University of Parma, one of the oldest universities in the world. Parma is divided into two parts by the stream of the same name. The district on the far side of the river is Oltretorrente. Parma's Etruscan name was adapted by Romans to describe the round shield called Parma.

She studied music and especially singing at the Conservatory of Nice with Édouard Rouard, [3] where she obtained a Premier Prix de Chant in 1943. She made her debut at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1947 as Siébel in Faust by Charles Gounod. [3] She appeared frequently with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France of the RTF in the early 1950s, before entering the troupe of the Opéra-Comique in the 1960s. She sang the title role in particular of Carmen by Georges Bizet which she sang more than 150 times, and her repertoire also included Fricka, Brangaene, Dulcinée in Don Quichotte and Suzuki. [3]

The Conservatoire à Rayonnement Régional de Nice is the regional music and dance conservatory for Nice, founded in 1916.

Opéra de Monte-Carlo

The Opéra de Monte-Carlo is an opera house, which is part of the Monte Carlo Casino located in the Principality of Monaco.

<i>Faust</i> (opera) Grand opera in five acts by Charles Gounod

Faust is an opera in five acts by Charles Gounod to a French libretto by Jules Barbier and Michel Carré from Carré's play Faust et Marguerite, in turn loosely based on Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Faust, Part One. It debuted at the Théâtre Lyrique on the Boulevard du Temple in Paris on 19 March 1859, with influential sets designed by Charles-Antoine Cambon and Joseph Thierry, Jean Émile Daran, Édouard Desplechin, and Philippe Chaperon.

Betti sang on major national stages [1] (Nantes, Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse) and European (Monte-Carlo, La Scala), as well as in numerous opera festivals, including Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Bayreuth.

Théâtre Graslin opera house

The Théâtre Graslin is a theatre and opera house in the city of Nantes in France. Created in a new district of the city in the late 18th Century by the local architect Mathurin Crucy and named after the owner of the land, Jean-Louis Graslin. Built in the Italian style, the auditorium holds 823 people.

Opéra de Nice opera house

The Opéra de Nice is the principal opera venue in Nice, France.

The Strasbourg Music Festival was a prominent annual two-week festival of classical music. It took place in Strasbourg (Alsace), France every month of June. The festival was founded in 1932 and has been organised by the Strasbourg Friends of Music Society. Due to budget constraints, it was brought to a sudden halt in 2014, a few days before the start of the 76th edition.

Betti recorded for Philips and EMI. [3] Among published recordings she took part in were The Snow Maiden (Bobilicka), [4] Démophon , [5] Tosca (shepherd boy) [6] and Philippine (Isabelle). [7] In 1958 she recorded excerpts from Carmen with Ken Neate, Gabriel Bacquier and Andréa Guiot on Philips P 77118 L.

Philips Records Dutch record label; imprint of Philips Phonografische Industrie

Philips Records is a record label that was founded by the Dutch electronics company Philips. In 1946, Philips acquired the company which pressed records for British Decca's Dutch outlet in Amsterdam.

EMI Records record label founded by the EMI company

EMI Records Limited was a British record label founded by the music company of the same name in 1972 as its flagship label, and launched in January 1973 as the successor to its Columbia and Parlophone record labels. The label was later launched worldwide. It has a branch in India called "EMI Records India", run by director Mohit Suri.

Démophon is a French-language opera by the composer Johann Christoph Vogel, first performed at the Académie Royale de Musique on 15 September 1789. The libretto is by Philippe Desriaux. The second and last of Vogel's operas to be staged, it was premiered after the composer's death at the age of 32 the previous year.

She also participated in the original production of L'Opéra d'Aran by Gilbert Bécaud, in 1962, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées. [8]

Gilbert Bécaud French singer, musician, and actor

Gilbert Bécaud was a French singer, composer, pianist and actor, known as "Monsieur 100,000 Volts" for his energetic performances. His best-known hits are "Nathalie" and "Et maintenant", a 1961 release that became an English language hit as "What Now My Love". He remained a popular artist for nearly fifty years, identifiable in his dark blue suits, with a white shirt and "lucky tie"; blue with white polka dots. When asked to explain his gift he said, "A flower doesn't understand botany." His favourite venue was the Paris Olympia under the management of Bruno Coquatrix. He debuted there in 1954 and headlined in 1955, attracting 6,000 on his first night, three times the capacity. On 13 November 1997 Bécaud was present for the re-opening of the venue after its reconstruction.

Théâtre des Champs-Élysées theater

The Théâtre des Champs-Élysées is a theatre at 15 avenue Montaigne in Paris. The theater is named not after the Avenue des Champs-Élysées, but rather after the neighborhood in which it is situated.

In the 1970s she was a vocal teacher at the Conservatory of Monaco.

Freda Betti died at her home in Nice in 1979, at the age of 55, and is buried in the family vault "Famille Betti" with her husband and his parents in the Cimetière du Château ("Carré de l'O.N.U").

Personal life

Freda Betti was married on 29 October 1949 in Levallois-Perret to René Clermont (1919–1976). The couple had two children.

Freda Betti was the sister of Henri Betti and the great grandaunt of Alexy Bosetti but she has no family relationship with Laura Betti and Priscilla Betti.


Her list of roles include: [9]

TV appearances


In 1948, Freda Betti sang two songs composed by her brother Henri Betti in two radio programs broadcast on Paris Inter  : Le Bonheur du Monde (lyrics by Maurice Vandair) and Je Cherche une Étoile (lyrics by René Rouzaud).

In 2018, Benoît Duteurtre hosts the radio show Étonnez-moi Benoît devoted to the career of his brother Henri Betti with the participation of his nephew and grand-nephew : François and Olivier Betti. During this radio show which is broadcast on France Musique on April 28, the host passes a sample of the opera-bouffe Le Jour et la Nuit composed in 1881 by Charles Lecocq with lyrics of Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo that Freda Betti had played in 1956 as Sanchette.

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  1. 1 2 Central Opera Service bulletin, Volume 23, No. 1. (1981). Obituary: Freda Betti. p. 39
  2. Years of birth and death in the German National Library accessed 27 December 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 Obituary for Freda Betti in Opera , Vol 31, p299, 1980. accessed 27 December 2014.
  4. Listing of 1955 radio recording of The Snow Maiden conducted by Charles Bruck at the Operadiscography site accessed 27 December 2014.
  5. Listing of 1957 studio recording of Démophon by Johann-Christoph Vogel conducted by Georges Tzipine accessed 27 December 2014
  6. Listing of 1960 studio recording of Tosca conducted by Manuel Rosenthal at the Operadiscography site accessed 27 December 2014.
  7. L'encyclopédie multimedia de la comédie musicale théâtrale en France (1918-1944), Delannoy's Philippine accessed 27 December 2014.
  8. Freda Betti page at the Association de l'Art Lyrique Français website accessed 13 July 2015.
  9. List of performances,