A Very Verdi/Cerquetti Weekend
'Brief but meteoric' has been the term to describe the career of Italian Soprano, Anita Cerquetti (13 April 1931 – 11 October 2014). Making her debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida, her all but short career lasted merely a decade before she gradually withdrew from performing due to ill-health.
Perhaps her most famous time in the sun was covering for Maria Callas at the Rome Opera in the role of Norma while she was still performing the role in Naples. She commuted between both cities for the duration of the engagements and this has been said to have contributed to her decline.
Fortunately for us she left two studio recordings, one a collection of Italian arias and the other a recording of La Gioconda with Del Monaco, Simionato, Bastiannini, and Siepi conducted by Gianandrea Gavazzeni, both for Decca, as well as a number of live ones for posterity.
Today marks the first anniversary of Cerquetti's death, on the occasion of Giuseppe Verdi's birth. As a tribute to them both I wish to share La Cerquetti in the role she made her debut, Verdi's Ethiopian Princess, Aida. This is a fine recording of O Patria Mia which shows her ample and agile soprano to great advantage.
I thought I'd also share from the same recital disc a snippet from La Froza del Destino as a tribute to both Cerquetti and Verdi on this mixed blessing of a celebration weekend. I hope yours is a good one.
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