Virginia Zeani enjoyed one of the greatest triumphs of her career when she was cast against type in Menotti's opera 'The Consul' . She played Magda Sorel, a down trodden political refugee in a totalitarian country, desperately trying to get the right papers.
More usually associated with fatefully beautiful heroines such as Violetta and Manon, Zeani, in flat shoes and a drab mackintosh, stunned audiences with her riveting portrayal of a despairing woman driven to suicide.
The recording is from a live performance in Spoleto in 1972, sung in Italian
You may be interested in seeing a later version I posted with many dramatic photographs from the stage production where this was recorded. Click here to see it: Mme Zeani describes it, partly because of emotional memories of her own early life living under a communist regime, as one of the most demanding roles she ever sang.
Watch videos with other singers performing Papers, papers..: