From Development server
21 August 2016

Daniela Dessì, 59, Most Versatile Italian Soprano of her Generation, Has Died

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Dessì, photographed by Nicola Allegri
© Nicola Allegri

DANIELA DESSÌ
Genoa, Italy, May 14, 1957—Brescia, Italy, August 20, 2016 

THE SOPRANO'S GLAMOROUS, charismatic presence and idiomatic command of the Italian style made her a valuable singer at Europe and North America's most important opera houses, including  La Scala, Bologna, Genoa, Parma, Rome, Pesaro, Teatro San Carlo, Arena di Verona, Covent Garden, Zurich Opera, Dresden Semperoper, Deutsche Oper Berlin, the Salzburg Festival, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington National Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago. Dessì's performances were dramatically committed, musically passionate and charged with rare personal and professional generosity. The most versatile Italian soprano of her generation, Dessì collaborated in the theater, in concert and on recording with Riccardo Muti, Claudio Abbado, Riccardo Chailly, Giuseppe Sinopoli, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, Zubin Mehta, Bruno Bartoletti and James Levine, among others.

After vocal studies in Parma and Siena, Dessì first attracted attention with her victory in the 1980 RAI International Competition; the soprano began her professional career with concert engagements before making her opera debut with the Opera Giacosa in Savona in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona. Dessì's career repertory grew to include more than sixty roles, extending from the operas of Monteverdi and Mozart to the Verdi, Puccini and verismo heroines that established her international reputation. Dessì came to the Metropolitan Opera in 1995, as Nedda in Pagliacci, and sang an additional twenty performances with the company in New York and on tour. Dessì was Mimì in Act III of La Bohème in the Met's 1998 gala celebrating Luciano Pavarotti's thirtieth anniversary with the company; in 2000, she sang Maddalena to Plácido Domingo's Andrea Chenier in the Met's "Three Tenors" Millennium Gala. Dessì's last Met performance was as Tosca in 2010.

In 2000, while she was singing in a production of Andrea Chenier, Dessì began an important professional and personal partnership with tenor Fabio Armiliato that continued until her death. Dessì and Armiliato appeared together frequently in the theater and on recordings. Dessì died after a brief illness; she had been diagnosed with cancer in May. spacer 

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