Adelaide Negri is one of the very few Sfogatto sopranos (together with Callas, Gencer, the splendid Marisa Galvany, just to name most of them on last century), who can sing every role from dramatic mezzo to coloratura soprano (as far as we know, ¨Prendi, per me sei libero¨, sang by Negri here in youtube, it´s the most phenomenal vocal portrait showing her huge tessitura almost complet). Negri has alterned for manty years the most different vocal roles, Norma and Lucia, Lady Macbeth and Amina, ecc...
Negri´s operatic career is inusually long, (37 years long until 2009), and started in 1972 with her first public appearences in Buenos Aires.
She made her début at the Met singing "Norma", opposite Domingo and Troyanos, conducting Levine. Followed Il Trovatore with Cossotto, Mauro and Pons (1983), Ernani with Pavarotti, Milnes and Raimondi (1983), Macbeth with Milnes and Quilico (1984). In "The Met on tour" she sang in Boston, and in "The Met in the Parks" (Lucia di Lammermoor) (1983). In Washington D.C. at the Kennedy Center (Un ballo in maschera), in Denver, Colorado (Il Trovatore), in Bridgeport and Standford (Nabucco) , in San Juan de Puerto Rico (La Gioconda), in Palm Beach (La Traviata).
During her insuallly long career, Negri has sang with hundreds of international collegues, including Luciano Pavarotti, Placido Domingo, Jose Carreras, Nicola Martinucci, Franco Bonisolli, Jaime Aragall, Ermanno Mauro, Sherril Milnes, Renato Bruson, Ruggero Raimondi, Matteo Manuguerra, Juan Pons, Fiorenza Cossotto, Tatiana Troyanos, ecc... And alterned roles with Montserrat Caballé (¨Cristobal Colon¨, by Balada), Ghena Dimitrova (Lady Macbeth), Renata Scotto (Norma), ecc...
Her European debut took place at the Staadtheater Klagenfurt (Austria) singing Lucia (1977/78), "Norma" 1978) "Il tabarro" (1978) and "Maria Stuarda" (1980). Followed by engagements with Staattheater Wien (Lucia), Hamburgishes Oper (Lucia, Il Trovatore) OperBonn ("Norma" "Medea", "Armida") Stuttgart Oper ("La Traviata"), Bruknerhalle Linz (Guglielmo Tell), Frankfurt Alte Oper (Maria Stuarda).
She sang in Italy: Bergamo, Verona, Torino, Genova, Macerata, Trieste, Cagliari, Catania, Jesi, Padova, Parma: Modena, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia, Ravenna, Ferrara, Rovigo, Treviso, ecc...
In France: Radio France, Grand Teatre Tours, Rouen.
In Switzerland: Operntheatre Bern, Winthertur Staattheater (Königin der Nacht)
In Hungary: Erkel Theatre, Budapest, Szeged Festival.
In Spain: Barcelona, Madrid (Macbeth), Bilbao, Mahon, Palma de Mallorca, La Coruña, Santiago de Compostela, Huelva, Almería, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.
In Belgium: Liége. In Portugal: Lisbon (Macbeth, Il Trovatore).
In South Africa: Johannesburg, Pretoria and Durban.
In Japan: Tokyo. In South Korea: Seoul.
The first Sfogatto Sopranos were contraltos who developed a high soprano register not losing her low notes No doubts about it, Giuditta Pasta was the most famous one as the great Bellini composed for her Norma and Sonnabula, for example. Difficult now to believe, but Amina and Norma were written for the very same voice.
These phenomenal voices are difficult to manage and their sounds aren´t neither angelical nor ¨beautiful¨ (Callas, the most famous example), but they are rare treasures and true spectacles.
These superior artists not always lasted too much: Callas only 16 years (from 1949 to 1965), but had her best time only for 8 years (until 1957), Gencer sang for almost 20 years, Galvany had a long career and Negri has again the absolute record as, until today, thanks to her phenomenal vocal technique (her husband, Bernardo Toscanos is her master and coach), her career is almost 40 years long and takes more than 70 roles..
Some of these sfogato sopranos were related to the others: Negri, for example, was highly praised by Callas´s husband, who in public said ¨she reminds me a lot to my beloved Maria. I wish her Maria´s career but not her life¨; Gencer attended Negri´s performances saying ¨she reminds me to myself on my early years´, and Negri and Galvani admired mutually.
We talk about phenomenal instruments which are very difficult to master as they are able to change colour, tessitura and volume for almost every role, being for these reasons able to sing almost any operatic role.