Death of superb Italian soprano, 90

The Belgian site Opera Nostalgia reports the death of Jolanda Meneguzzer, a Florentine soprano who enjoyed a good international career, after making her Met debut in November 1963.

She categorised her voice as ‘lirico-leggero’ and steered clear of frontline stardom, but she managed both Musetta and Mimi in La Boheme and was never out of work in a long career.

 

She sang in the 1968 La Scala premiere of Henze’s Bassarides.

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  • I cannot let this piece go by without a comment on the wonderful artiste who was Jolanda Meneguzzer. I use the term artiste to describe a singer whose sense of style and interpretation were immaculately matched to whatever she sang. Beauty of tone was not her sole attribute. This wonderful singer had her own distinctive way of “colouring “ the music and had complete control of the entire range of her voice.
    Sadly, it seems we have lost this attention to detail and study and a lack of individuality and precision prevails. I note that Meneguzzer studied piano with her mother from the age of four and a half years old, a training that would have served her singing studies later in life.
    I was fortunate enough to study piano and cello and both instruments helped me form not only a rounded sense of musicianship, but an appreciation of how to study voice.
    Thank you for posting this notice….. I have enjoyed delving into the life and career of Ms Meneguzzer.

    • Regret to write that I was unfamiliar with Ms. Meneguzzer’ work. But when we lose an artiste of such beauty and quality, attention must be paid.

  • I was unfortunately not aware of Jolanda Meneguzzer’s work but thank you for this post. A beautiful lady with a beautiful voice

  • I have done some digging, some sources give her date of birth as 1935 and others as 1930. I put out some feelers to a network of colleagues for assistance. There is evidence that she was born on 16 January 1929, in Cantù Italy, from an Italian newspaper (celebrating her 80th birthday) and a passenger manifest of a ship that landed in New York in 1962, when she went to America at one point. There are some sources that say 1935 but these sources don’t provide any further information and can’t be verified so the 1929 date looks to be legitimate (or closer to it). There is also a NYT review from November 25, 1963, of her Met debut in La boheme which refers to her as a 34 year-old soprano. So, this would make her 91 at the time of her death on June 6, 2020. She was a great singer with a beautiful voice and style and technique to match.
    RIP

  • She may have sung in the U.S. before 1962. I say this because the first time I heard her, or of her, was on a Rondolette LP of highlights from LA BOHEME, a commercial label put out by the famous record ‘pirate’ Edward J. Smith sometime around 1959 (in stereo), with the tenor Costanza Gero and baritone Giorgio Giorgetti, Musetta being sung by Alberta Hopkins. Gero was singing here at that time, as I saw him as Rodolfo at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Eddie had a penchant for recording singers over here (with a harmonium!) and then sending the tapes to Europe to have an orchestra added, but I never heard of him doing it the other way round. Hopkins was centered here (and made loads of records on Rondolette, everything from Puccini to MY FAIR LADY), but I don’t recall Giorgetti singing over here. Other than that, I heard her on a good number of ‘live’ pirate issues over the years, and she was always a most satisfying singer.

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