Virginia Zeani stunned London's opera goers when she triumphed as Lucia in 1957. The opera had not been heard in England since 1925 and was considered nothing more than a frivolous, out of date curiosity. Toti dal Monte had been the last to sing the role in which she reputedly "fluttered a fan".
In 1957 the opera was presented in Oscar Hammersteins's vast Stoll Theatre by an ad hoc Italian Touring company. with rudimentary staging and simple, painted scenery. Yet, despite the lack of a sophisticated production, Virginia Zeani's brilliantly sung, dramatic Lucia captivated the audiences and changed people's attitudes to the opera. It even convinced a sceptical Covent Garden management to go ahead with their own elaborate production two years later.
Virginia Zeani's Lucia is a real flesh and blood character. Singing with vibrant tone, she uses the music to convey the emotions of the deeply disturbed heroine and employs ornamentation for dramatic effect and never merely as empty display.
Zeani studied the role with the coloratura soprano Lydia Lipkowska, who taught her the traditional embellishments, handed down from Donizetti's early interpreters. Lucia Asthon..................Virginia Zeani Edgardo di Ravenswood......Alfredo Kraus Enrico Ashton...............Aurelio Oppicelli Raimondo Bidebent...Antonio Zerbini Arturo Bucklaw............Rinaldo Pelizzoni
Direttore...........................Alberto Zedda Orchestra e Coro del Teatro Municipale de Piacenza Piacenza -- Teatro Municipale 12/29/1964
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NB The recordings of Mme Virginia Zeani are mostly from radio broadcasts or private or in-house tapes. They were saved by her fans and later, without her permission, sometimes transferred to CDs by companies who pay her no royalties. They are now posted on YouTube so that new opera lovers can freely experience and enjoy her remarkable performances.
Watch videos with other singers performing Regnava nel silenzio: