Fedora Barbieri

4.06.1920 - 4.03.2003


Fedora Barbieri (4 June 1920 – 4 March 2003) was an Italian mezzo-soprano.

She made her official debut in Florence in 1940, but retired in 1943 because of her marriage. She re-emerged in 1945. She was one of the first performers to investigate and perform in early operas by Monteverdi and Pergolesi. Her debut at the Teatro alla Scala, where she was to have her greatest successes, came in 1942, with a performance of Ludwig van Beethoven's 9th Symphony, conducted by Victor de Sabata.

She made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera on 6 November 1950 in the role of Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo. Altogether, she gave 96 performances of 11 operas in that house, and also sang Eboli in the famous Luchino Visconti production of the Verdi opera for the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden's centenary in 1958. Though she never officially retired, she more or less discontinued performing live in the 1990s, making her career one of the longest in opera history.

Although generally considered a formidable actress and singer in her own right, she is now mostly remembered for regularly partnering Maria Callas on as well as off stage during the 1950s. Many of their collaborations (together with other regular partners Giuseppe di Stefano, Boris Christoff, Tito Gobbi, Rolando Panerai and Tullio Serafin were recorded by Fonit Cetra (mainly "La Gioconda", 1952) and EMI. Her most famous portrayals included Amneris in "Aïda", Azucena in Il trovatore, Quickly in Falstaff, Eboli in Don Carlo and Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera. Her 1951 performance of the Verdi Requiem, with Herva Nelli, di Stefano and Cesare Siepi, conducted by Arturo Toscanini, was issued by RCA. She can be seen and heard in the role of Madelon on a DVD of the opera "Andrea Chénier", which stars Plácido Domingo, issued by the Bel Canto Society. In 1996 she sang and talked in Jan Schmidt-Garre's film Opera Fanatic. 

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