Margherita Roberti

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Margherita Roberti (born 1925) is an American operatic soprano who had an active international career that spanned from 1948 to 1988. Although she performed throughout the world, Roberti achieved her greatest success and popularity in Italy. A dramatic soprano, Roberti drew particular acclaim for her portrayals of Verdi heroines. Among her signature roles are Amelia in Un ballo in maschera , Elisabetta in Don Carlos , Elena in I vespri siciliani , Odabella in Attila , and the title role in Luisa Miller . In 1970 she was awarded Order of knight by the Italian government president Giuseppe Sargat (Commendatore della repubbilca italiana)

Opera artform combining sung text and musical score in a theatrical setting

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 often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.

A dramatic soprano is a type of operatic soprano with a powerful, rich, emotive voice that can sing over, or cut through, a full orchestra. Thicker vocal folds in dramatic voices usually (but not always) mean less agility than lighter voices but a sustained, fuller sound. Usually this voice has a lower tessitura than other sopranos, and a darker timbre. They are often used for heroic, often long-suffering, tragic women of opera. Dramatic sopranos have a range from approximately low A (A3) to "high C" (C6). Some dramatic sopranos, known as Wagnerian sopranos, have an exceptionally big voice that can assert itself over a large orchestra (of more than 80 or even 100 pieces). These voices are substantial, often denser in tone, extremely powerful and, ideally, evenly balanced throughout the vocal registers. Wagnerian sopranos usually play mythic heroines. Successful Wagnerian sopranos are rare and often Wagnerian roles are performed by Italianate dramatic sopranos.

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Biography

Roberti was born with the name Margaret Jean Roberts to F.J. and Ethel Roberts in Wayne County, Iowa. Her father was a breeder of Angus cattle and she grew up on his farm in Atlantic, Iowa. Her family sold the farm when she was 12 and moved to Muscatine, Iowa. The following year Roberti began taking voice lessons with Herald Stark at the University of Iowa. In 1943 she graduated from Muscatine High School after which she studied voice at Hunter College. While at Hunter she met her husband Thomas Nobis, an engineer recently returning from duty in the United States Navy. The couple married in 1949 and in 1952 their daughter, the athlete Jennifer Figge, was born.

Wayne County, Iowa County in the United States

Wayne County is a county located in the U.S. state of Iowa. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,403, making it the fifth-least populous county in Iowa. The county seat is Corydon.

Angus cattle cattle breed

The Aberdeen Angus, sometimes simply Angus, is a Scottish breed of small beef cattle. It derives from cattle native to the counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus in north-eastern Scotland.

Atlantic, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Atlantic is a city in, and the county seat of, Cass County, Iowa, United States, located along the East Nishnabotna River. The population was 7,112 in the 2010 census, a decline from the 7,257 population in the 2000 census.

In 1948 Roberti made her professional opera debut with the Saint Louis Opera. In 1951, she began performing regularly on the Chicago radio program Chicago Theater of the Air. She would commute weekly from her home in Davenport, Iowa to the Windy City for performances.

Davenport, Iowa City in Iowa, United States

Davenport is the county seat of Scott County in Iowa and is located along the Mississippi River on the eastern border of the state. It is the largest of the Quad Cities, a metropolitan area with a population estimate of 382,630 and a CSA population of 474,226; it is the 90th largest CSA in the nation. Davenport was founded on May 14, 1836 by Antoine Le Claire and was named for his friend George Davenport, a former English sailor who served in the U.S. Army during the War of 1812, served as a supplier Fort Armstrong, worked as a fur trader with the American Fur Company, and was appointed a quartermaster with the rank of colonel during the Black Hawk War. According to the 2010 census, the city had a population of 99,685. The city appealed this figure, arguing that the Census Bureau missed a section of residents, and that its total population was more than 100,000. The Census Bureau estimated Davenport's 2011 population to be 100,802.

Roberti was advised to establish herself as an opera singer in Europe if she wanted to have a major opera career in the United States. So in 1956, she moved to Italy and began a rigorous course of study in opera with Antonio Narducci among other teachers. She made her European debut the following year at the Teatro Alfieri in Turin as Leonore in Giuseppe Verdi's Il trovatore to a warm reception. It was at this time that she adopted the "italianized" version of her name that she used for the rest of her career.

Giuseppe Verdi 19th-century Italian opera composer

Giuseppe Fortunino Francesco Verdi was an Italian opera composer. He was born near Busseto to a provincial family of moderate means, and developed a musical education with the help of a local patron. Verdi came to dominate the Italian opera scene after the era of Vincenzo Bellini, Gaetano Donizetti, and Gioachino Rossini, whose works significantly influenced him. By his 30s, he had become one of the pre-eminent opera composers in history.

<i>Il trovatore</i> opera by Giuseppe Verdi

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."

After her European debut, invitations from major opera houses throughout Europe came pouring in to Roberti. In 1958 she sang Abigaille in Verdi's Nabucco for her La Scala debut. She was a regular performer at that house for the next ten seasons. In 1958 she portrayed the title role in Puccini's Tosca for her first performance at the Royal Opera at Covent Garden. That same year she made her first appearance at the Arena di Verona Festival and made her debut at the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Amelia Grimaldi in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra opposite Tito Gobbi in the title role and Richard Tucker as Gabriele Adorno. Other international appearances included performances in Buenos Aires, New Orleans, San Francisco, Mexico City, and Israel.

<i>Nabucco</i> opera written by Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer

Nabucco is an Italian-language opera in four acts composed in 1841 by Giuseppe Verdi to an Italian libretto by Temistocle Solera. The libretto is based on biblical books of Jeremiah and Daniel and the 1836 play by Auguste Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu, although Antonio Cortese's ballet adaptation of the play, given at La Scala in 1836, was a more important source for Solera than the play itself. Under its original name of Nabucodonosor, the opera was first performed at La Scala in Milan on 9 March 1842.

La Scala Opera house in Milan, Italy

La Scala is an opera house in Milan, Italy. The theatre was inaugurated on 3 August 1778 and was originally known as the Nuovo Regio Ducale Teatro alla Scala. The premiere performance was Antonio Salieri's Europa riconosciuta.

<i>Tosca</i> opera in three acts, composed by Giacomo Puccini

Tosca is an opera in three acts by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. It premiered at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome on 14 January 1900. The work, based on Victorien Sardou's 1887 French-language dramatic play, La Tosca, is a melodramatic piece set in Rome in June 1800, with the Kingdom of Naples's control of Rome threatened by Napoleon's invasion of Italy. It contains depictions of torture, murder and suicide, as well as some of Puccini's best-known lyrical arias.

Roberti made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in 1962 as Tosca to the Cavardossi of Franco Corelli. That same year she sang Tosca with Corelli for her debut with the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company. Roberti also sang the title role in Verdi's Aida in New York and Philadelphia that year. In 1963 she sang the title role in Verdi's Luisa Miller at the Edinburgh Festival. She was also a repeat performer at the Vienna State Opera from 1959 to 1964. She remained busy in opera houses in Italy for the rest of her career.

Metropolitan Opera opera company in Manhattan, New York City

The Metropolitan Opera is an opera company based in New York City, resident at the Metropolitan Opera House at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. The company is operated by the non-profit Metropolitan Opera Association, with Peter Gelb as general manager. As of 2018, the company's current music director is Yannick Nézet-Séguin.

Franco Corelli Italian opera singer

Franco Corelli was an Italian tenor who had a major international opera career between 1951 and 1976. Associated in particular with the spinto and dramatic tenor roles of the Italian repertory, he was celebrated universally for his powerhouse voice, electrifying top notes, clear timbre, passionate singing and remarkable performances. Dubbed the "prince of tenors", Corelli possessed handsome features and a charismatic stage presence which endeared him to audiences. He had a long and fruitful partnership with the Metropolitan Opera in New York City between 1961 and 1975. He also appeared on the stages of most of the major opera houses in Europe and with opera companies throughout North America.

The Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company was an American opera company located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania that was active between 1958 and 1974. The company was led by a number of Artistic Directors during its history, beginning with Aurelio Fabiani. Other notable Artistic Directors include Julius Rudel and Anton Guadagno (1966–1972). The company produced between four and six of their own operas every year in addition to sponsoring numerous traveling productions from the New York City Opera. In 1975 the company merged with the Philadelphia Grand Opera Company but retained its original name. With the combined resources of both companies, the Philadelphia Lyric Opera Company began producing higher quality productions with name artists such as Luciano Pavarotti, Joan Sutherland, Roberta Peters, Montserrat Montserrat Caballé, and others. For the bicentennial year 1976, the company commissioned famed opera composer Gian Carlo Menotti to create a new opera. The work, The Hero, premiered on June 1, 1976. In 1980, the company artistically reorganized to form the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

In 1970 Roberti was knighted by the Italian government for artistic achievement. Her final performance was a farewell concert given in the Quad Cities in 1988.

Recordings

YearTitleRoleCastConductor
Orchestra
Live /
Studio
Label
1959 Verdi: I vespri siciliani Duchessa Elena d'Austria Pier Miranda Ferraro,
Aldo Protti,
Plinio Clabassi,
Margherita Roberti,
et al.
Antonino Votto
Teatro Verdi di Trieste Chorus and Orchestra
LiveBongiovanni
1960 Verdi: Don Carlo Elisabetta di Valois Boris Christoff,
Richard Tucker,
Tito Gobbi,
Margherita Roberti,
Giulietta Simionato, et al.
Antonino Votto
Lyric Opera of Chicago Chorus and Orchestra
LiveLiving Stage
Verdi : Ernani Elvira Mario Del Monaco, Ettore Bastianini, Nicola Rossi-Lemeni Fernando Previtali - Teatro di San Carlo, NapoliLiveAndromeda.
1962 Verdi: Attila Odabella Boris Christoff,
Margherita Roberti,
Giangiacomo Guelfi,
Gastone Limarilli,
Mario Frosini, et al.
Bruno Bartoletti
Teatro Comunale di Firenze Chorus and Orchestra
Live Opera D'Oro
1969 Cilea: Gloria GloriaMargherita Roberti,
Flaviano Labò,
Lorenzo Testi,
Ferruccio Mazzoli,
Anna Maria Rota, et al.
Ferdinando Previtali
Orchestra Sinfonica di Torino della RAI Radiotelevisione
Live Bongiovanni

Sources

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