Death of Furtwängler’s Desdemona, 89

The Italian soprano Rosanna Carteri, who sang Desdemona in Wilhelm Furtwängler’s 1952 Salzburg Otello, has died in Monaco aged 89.

She was only 21 at the time and, although Furtwängler appears to have handed the baton to Mario Rossi, she went on to enjoy a busy international career over the next decade until, in her early 30s, she retired to raise a family.


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  • Furtwängler’s Desdemona was Dragiza Martinis, as least as far as the recording is concerned. Pity that both Furtwängler and Toscanini (Herva Nelli) had both weak Desdemonas in their otherwise great casts.

  • Glorious and sensitive singer, who, sadly, left too few recordings. I love her discs of ‘La traviata’ and ‘Suor Angelica’, both made when she was quite young. RIP a very great artist.

  • “Furtwangler’s Desdemona” – a typical NL headline.
    Rosanna Carteri’s career – and talent – was so much more than merely that.
    She had a brilliant, though short, international career, singing in most of the world’s great opera houses, and she appeared on radio and television as well.
    She made a number of recordings, including a lovely Traviata with Monteux (who himself was unfortunately pigeonholed as being a “French” conductor – he conducted this opera beautifully, and his favorite composer was Brahms). It has been reissued in very good sound on a RCA/SONY CD set.

  • Francis poulenc : Gloria / The first recording (1961), for EMI, was conducted by Georges Prêtre, under the supervision of the composer, with Rosanna Carteri as the soloist.

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