A glorious Italian soprano has died, aged 59

A glorious Italian soprano has died, aged 59


norman lebrecht

August 21, 2016

The beautiful opera singer Daniela Dessi died in Brescia last night, August 20. She was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment only last month.

Our hearts go out to her husband, the tenor Fabio Armiliato, and their family.

daniela dessi

Fabio messaged: ‘A short, horrible and incomprehensible illness has taken her away in these months. The greatest opera singer of the last 20 years has gone.’

daniela dessi2

Engaged by Claudio Abbado at La Scala in the early 1980s, she was quickly taken up by Muti, Mehta, Sinopoli and other leading music directors, as well as major record labels. James Levine brought her to the Met.

She often appeared with her partner, Fabio Armiliato. The pair were singing Aida together in Berlin on the night in April 2001 when their friend Giuseppe Sinopoli collapsed and died in the pit. They never forgot the horror of that moment or the nearness of mortality.



  • Olassus says:

    She is at her best, for example, here, with Chailly:


    Wonderful, clear vowels and a smooth quality all through the range. Lovely voice, and on stage a committed actress.

  • Theodore McGuiver says:

    Very sorry for Fabio and the family.

  • Bruce says:

    How awful. Condolences to the family.

  • Duane says:

    I’ve been a big fan of Daniela Dessi and Fabio Armiliato for years! Their Metropolitan Opera performances were always exciting and something to look forward to!! This came as quite a shock to me! It makes me very sad! Ms. Dessi was the finest Italian Lyrico Spinto soprano of her generation, in my opinion!! Her interpretive abilities in her singing and acting were second to none. Ms. Dessi had a formidable vocal technique, and she could sing florid passages as well as dramatic, legato passages! Ms. Dessi’s communicative ability to bring her audience to their feet was legendary! I’ll never forget her moving “Madama Butterfly”, her passionate Minnie in “La Fanciulla del West”, her thrilling “Tosca”, and her vocal fireworks as Fiordiligi, in ” Cosi Fan Tutte”! Bellini’s “Norma” brought out the best of Ms. Dessi’s artistry!A great artist has passed and will forever be remembered! My deepest condolences to Fabio Armiliato, her husband, and to all in her family and friends!!!

  • John says:

    So sorry – condolences to her family.
    We will miss her singing so much – thankful for her recordings.

  • Field of Candles says:

    We lit a digital candle http://www.fieldofcandles.com/Candle/Profile/54488 for Daniela Dessi. View it and light a candle for her, too, or someone else who passed away.

  • Lucio Coceani says:

    Never had the opportunity to see her perform live, but her fame was well established. RIP.Condolences to her partner and family.

  • Angela says:

    RIP, you have gone too soon from this earth. Your moving and glorious voice lives forever. Deep sympathy to your family and friends.

  • Jeanie says:

    A lovely vocalist and fine artist. A light has gone out. Condolences to Mr. Armiliato and her family.

  • Ronnie Wylie says:

    I am heartbroken, I believe she was truly the greatest singer ever { Hear her singing Vissi d’Arte If you disagree } this was not announces on UK television or radio? , I am so shocked. Bless her and thank God we had her beautiful voice for the time we had

  • Marya Berry says:

    How I loved this singer & woman. Her voice was even, velvety, committed. R.I.P. Lovely Daniela.