|Soprano or Mezzo-Soprano|
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Fiorenza Cossotto (born on April 22, 1935) is an Italian mezzo soprano. She is considered by many to be one of the great mezzo-sopranos of the 20th century. Born on April 22, 1936 in Crescentino, Province of Vercelli, Italy, Cossotto attended the Turin Academy of Music and graduated top of her class. After her studies with Mercedes Llopart, she made her operatic debut as Sister Matilde in the world premiere of Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites in 1957 at La Scala in Milan. Her international debut was at the 1958 Wexford Festival as Giovanna Seymour in Donizetti's Anna Bolena. Her Covent Garden debut was in 1959 as Neris in Cherubini's Médée, with Maria Callas in the title role. A 1962 performance of the lead in La favorita at La Scala led to wider fame and she made her American debut in the same role in 1964 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago and as Amneris at the Metropolitan Opera in 1968. Altogether between the seasons of 1967--68 and 1988--89 she gave 148 performances at the Met (exclusively leading roles). She was considered an expert in portrayals of major mezzo/contralto roles in mid-19th century Italian opera; e.g. Favorita, Amneris, Azucena, Eboli, Preziosilla, Maddalena, Ulrica and Laura. She also essayed Carmen, Mozart's Cherubino, Urbain in Meyerbeer's Les Huguenots, Bellini's Romeo and Marfa in Khovantschina. She kept on singing, and in 2005 she celebrated her 70th birthday with a performance of Suor Angelica at the Théâtre Royal in Liège, Belgium. According to the book "Opera" published by Koenemann, "She [Cossotto] and Giulietta Simionato were the leading Italian mezzo-sopranos of the 1960s and 1970s. She [Cossotto] won plaudits in the annals of operatic history for her wonderful vocal timbre, her perfect singing technique, and the ease with which she could master different registers. Besides singing the great mezzo roles, she also took the outstanding alto parts of the Italian operatic repertoire." Among her competitors were Shirley Verrett, Grace Bumbry, Rita Gorr, Christa Ludwig, Marilyn Horne, Viorica Cortez and Tatiana Troyanos. Apart from mezzo and alto roles, she also sang soprano roles traditionally sung by mezzos such as Santuzza (Cavalleria Rusticana) and Adalgisa (Norma). She sang Adalgisa next to the Normas of Callas, Joan Sutherland, Montserrat Caballé, Leyla Gencer and Elena Souliotis. Full live documents (except only partially for Callas) of these performances have been commercially released in audio and/or video. She also tried her luck in soprano roles (alas in studio only) of Lady Macbeth and Marchesa del Poggio (Un giorno di regno), and made a commercial recording of soprano arias by Verdi. Her repertory at the Met included Amneris, Eboli, Adalgisa, Santuzza, Azucena, Dalila, Carmen (only on tour and in outdoor park concerts), Principessa (Adriana Lecouvreur) and Mistress Quickly (which she added in 1985, singing with Giuseppe Taddei as Falstaff)...
Lyrics & English Translation
The rite is finished, the sacred wood
Now I can sigh, unseen
At last, here where first he came to me,
My fatal Roman whose love
Made me a traitor to my vows, dear Heaven.
Had that first time been the last!
A vain desire - for I am powerless
Before that force. My heart feeds
On the sight of him, and the breeze
Repeats to me his dear voice.
Ah, protect me, dear heavens, for I am lost!
Great Heavens, take pity, for I am lost.
A link to this wonderful artists personal web site:
I send my kind and warm regards,
Sgombra è la sacra selva,
compiuto il rito.
Sospirar non vista alfin poss'io,
qui... dove a me s'offerse la prima
volta quel fatal Romano,
che mi rende rubella al tempio,al Dio..
Fosse l'ultima almen! Vano desio!
Irresistibil forza qui mi trascina...
e di quel caro aspetto il cor si pasce
e di sua cara voce l'aura che spira
mi ripete il suono.
Deh! proteggimi, o Dio!
deh! proteggimi, proteggimi,
o Dio, proteggimi:
perduta, perduta io son,
gran Dio, abbi pietà ,
perduta, perduta io son.
Cleared is the sacred forest,
finished the rite.
To crave the sight, at last I can,
here...where for the first time the
fatal Roman offered himself to me,
that makes me a traitor to the temple, to the god...
If only it had been the last time! Vain desire!
Irresistable force here me drags...
and on that dear face the heart feeds itself...
and of his dear voice the breeze that blows
to me repeats the sound.
Protect me, o God!
Protect me, protect me,
o God, protect me:
lost I am,
great God, have pity,
lost, lost I am.