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Giulietta Simionato, Mezzo-soprano (1910-2010)
Pietro Mascagni - Cavalleria Rusticana
No, no Turiddu rimani, rimani ancora
With Giuseppe di Stefano, Tenor (1921-2008)
(Recorded live 1955)
My personal opinion: Italian born Giulia Simionato (soon nicknamed Giulietta) received her first vocal lessons at boarding school in Rovigo where her family had moved. Giuletta's first public debut took place in Rovigo on May 14, 1927 and was a triumph. "La Simionato has a beautifully flexible voice, a quick intelligence" (La Voce de Mattina, May 15 1927). In 1933 she entered a vocal competition to be held in Florence to mark the closing of the Maggio Musical Fiorentino. Out of the 385 entrants, she placed first. On the panel of judges were the composer Giordano, the great maestro Serafin and the celebrated soprano Storchio amongst other luminaries. Storchio was so impressed with the young singer that she handed her a bouquet of flowers after hearing her sing from Mignon, telling her to always sing just as she had. Following this success Simionato endured more than ten years of minor castings to her great frustration. During this period she sang with names such as Albanese, Olivero, Caniglia, Lauri-Volpi and del Monaco in important theatres such as La Scala and the Communale in Florence, but always in small roles. In smaller theatres she sang bigger parts and achieved several triumphs, such as in "L'amico Fritz" at the Bologna Music Festival where she received thirty five curtain calls. In 1945, after years of missed opportunities, Simionato reached a turning point in her career, when in October she travelled to Genova to sing "Cosi fan tutte" - a huge success, that quickly began to mount. From there on she sang in every major theatre, with every major conductor, constantly in demand for the next twenty years. She specialised in the bel canto repertoire of Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti and equally the highly dramatic Verdi mezzo-roles and even triumphed in the great Verismo operas. She had one of the most spectacular operatic careers of the century, lauded by critics and opera goers alike, always turning out finished performances, rarely receiving anything other than raving reviews. Simionato has left a large legacy of recorded material, both live and in the studio where she was the reigning mezzo-soprano of her generation. Retirement came when Simionato married. on November 18, 1965 in a small ceremony. She left the stage only a few months later willingly and without regret or nostalgia. After her retirement Miss Simionato remained active in the opera world, as a teacher, patron and administrator. She lived in Milan. It´s quite clear, you didn´t forget her: With 50 nominations, she reached position 15! And it´s also quite clear, La Simionato was the definitive Santuzza in the 1950s. And here she is, together with my favorite Turiddu Pippo in La Scala´s performance from May 10th 1955 under Antonio Votto.
Giulietta Simionato passed away on May 5th 2010, shortly before her 100 Birthday. In a first statement, Vienna State Opera administrator Ioan Holender said: "With her the last of the greatest left us..."
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