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
It is true then, oh heavens! You... Fernando
Are to be Leonora's husband!
All this I'm told, and yet my spirit is still doubtful
Of this unexpected joy! Oh Heavens! Marry him?
Oh, what unbearable shame! As a dowry to the brave man...
I will bring him dishonour, no, never; If he should ever
Abhor me, I'll fly, he will know in a short time
This woman that he adores so.
Oh, my Fernando! Throne of the earth,
I would have given my heart to possess you,
But my pure love is like a pardon,
And yet I am damned, alas! It is a terrifying horror.
The truth shall be known, and in your extreme contempt
I will face the worst penalty possible;
If you are rightly displeased, then I will be a mockery
Strike me, dear Heaven, with your lightning.
Come, death, what is stopping you?
My pain is written in the skies,
Come, she is a festival,
An altar spread with flowers.
The grave is already opening for me;
The black veil is already covering me;
Ah! The sad bride,
She will not have forgiveness in heaven.
A link to this wonderful artists personal web site:
I send my kind and warm regards,