Giulietta Simionato died on 5 May 2010, exactly one week before her 100th birthday. She was perhaps the most versatile mezzo-soprano of her generation anywhere in the world.
Foto: FayerWhether as a belcanto partner of the “tigress” Maria Callas, as a rival to Renata Tebaldi the “dove” (as in Verdi’s Aida), as a prima donna in coloratura roles or occasionally in the verismo repertoire,
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she seemed to possess well-nigh limitless vocal possibilities. It is thus only fitting that she can be heard in the CD series “Salzburger Festspieldokumente”, both as the title heroine in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice and as a comedic, highly expressive Mrs Quickly in Verdi’s Falstaff. Both are conducted by Herbert von Karajan, under whose direction at the Vienna State Opera she advanced to become a welcome guest artist. In the ORFEO catalogue, her Viennese career is documented with a Preziosilla in an opening night of La forza del destino under Dimitri Mitropoulos, a conductor with whom Giulietta Simionato also worked at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. When one contemplates how such a stellar line-up is now lost forever, it almost seems as if the operatic world can only become poorer as time goes by.