Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Jul 10, 2016

Gabriella Besanzoni (Mezzo-Soprano) (Roma, Italia 20. 9. 1888 † Roma, Italia 8. 7. 1962)

She was trained at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Roma under Alessandro Maggi and Ibilda Brizzi. She made her debut as soprano in 1911 at Viterbo. Then she retrained and made her debut as mezzo-soprano in 1913 at the Teatro Costanzi in Roma as Ulrica in G. Verdi’s ‘’Un Ballo in maschera’’. The same year she appeared there in the premiere of the opera ‘’La Leggenda delle sette Torri’’ by Alberto Gasco. Now she had a successful career in Italy and Spain. In 1914 she sang at the Teatro Regio of Torino in the premiere of the opera ‘’Francesca da Rimini’’ by R. Zandonai. In the 1919-1920 season she appeared at the Metropolitan Opera in New York (debut: Amneris in ‘’Aida’’), where she also sang the part of Isabella in ‘’L'Italiana in Algeri’’. In 1920, during a guest performance in Havana, she sang the part of Amneris opposite Enrico Caruso and while she stood in the second act a bomb exploded in the auditorium. In the 1920-1921 season she performed with success at the Chicago Opera, in the 1921-1922 season at the Teatro Costanzi in Roma as Carmen and Dalila. Since 1918 almost annually she appeared as a guest at the Teatro Colón of Buenos Aires, where  she was highly acclaimed, among other things as Carmen, Mignon, Amneris, Dalila in ’’Samson et Dalila’’ and as Glorianda in the premiere of the opera ‘’Jacquerie’’ of  G. Marinuzzi (11. 8. 1918). She had similar success in other operatic theaters of South America, above all at the Opera House of Rio de Janeiro, where she appeared from 1922 to 1935. In the 1923-1924 season she performed at the Teatro alla Scala as Orpheus and Amneris, in 1932 as Carmen and Mignon. In 1939 she retired from the stage appearing for the last time during the festival of the Terme de Caracalla in Roma as Carmen. She lived temporarily in Rio de Janeiro. Later she taught singing in Roma.  

Chronology of some appearances
1911 Viterbo Teatro Norma (Adalgisa)
1913 Roma  Teatro Costanzi Un Ballo in maschera (Ulrica)
1919-1920 New York Metropolitan Opera Aida (Amneris)
1920 Havana Opera Aida (Amneris)
1921-1922 Roma  Teatro Costanzi Carmen (Carmen)


Victrola, Camden NJ 1920-03-09
Trovatore (Verdi): Stride la vampa 64875 B23581
Gioconda (Ponchielli): Voce di donna 64876 B23583 

Victrola, Camden NJ 1920-03-11
Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns): S'apre per te 64877 B23584

Victrola, Camden NJ 1921-03-02
Favorita (Donizetti): O mio Fernando 74680 C24959

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