A Callas cast member returns to the international stage at 93

Lovely news from Graham Spicer at gramilano.com that Luisa Mandelli, who sang Annina opposite Maria Callas’s Violetta in Luchino Visconti’s production of La traviata at La Scala in 1955, will reprise the role in December at Daniel Barenboim’s Berlin Staatsoper.

Luisa, who is 93, lives in the the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti in Milan, the home for retired musicians founded by Giuseppe Verdi in 1899. Barenboim told her she’s still got what it takes.

Among other roles, Luisa sang the page in EMI’s recording of Rigoletto with Callas.

Full story here.


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  • What a fabulous story! I remember that fascinating documentary about the Casa Riposa Verdi;all those wonderful elderly singers,conductors and instrumentalists trying to upstage each other;priceless!

  • Dear Mr. Lebrecht, There is an update to this story; Maestro Barenboim has evidently retracted his offer to Ms. Mandelli. Evidently, it was decided that the staging was too difficult. Understandably, Ms. Mandelli is heartbroken and has recently recorded a video recounting her story. I encourage you to write a follow-up for your faithful readers who may not have read the Italian reports.

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