|Year of Birth:||1931|
|Year of Death:||2014|
Anita Cerquetti (13 April 1931 – 11 October 2014) was an Italian dramatic soprano who had a short but meteoric career in the 1950s. Her voice was very powerful and pleasing to audiences.
Cerquetti was born in Montecosaro, near Macerata, Italy. She originally studied violin and trained eight years with Luigi Mori. After a mere year of vocal study at the Conservatory of Perugia, she made her operatic debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida. She sang all over Italy, notably in Florence as Noraime in Gli Abencerragi (the Italian version of Les Abencérages) under Carlo Maria Giulini in 1956, and as Elvira in Ernani under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1957. Her La Scala debut was in 1958 as Abigaille in Nabucco. She also sang on RAI in a wide variety of roles, such as Elcia in Mosè in Egitto, Mathilde in Guglielmo Tell and Elena in I vespri siciliani.
Cerquetti made headlines in January 1958 when she replaced "in extremis" the ailing Maria Callas in Norma, at the Rome Opera House. She was already singing the role at the San Carlo in Naples. She commuted between the two cities to honor both engagements for several weeks. This "tour de force" won her great acclaim, but had serious effects on her health. Shortly afterward she started withdrawing little by little from the stage until her complete retirement in 1961, aged only 30.
She was due to have made her debut at The Royal Opera House in the title role in Aida in July 1958, but was forced to withdraw following an appendectomy in late June. She was replaced by Leontyne Price. Anita Cerquetti was thus destined never to sing at Covent Garden.