Rosanna Carteri, Soprano Who Retired at Her Peak, Dies at 89
Rosanna Carteri, the Italian soprano whose meteoric profession got here to an early finish when she selected to retire in her mid-30s on the top of her artistry, died on Oct. 25 in Monte Carlo, Monaco. She was 89.
Her loss of life was confirmed by Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, the place she appeared in 19 productions between 1951 and 1963.
Ms. Carteri (pronounced car-TAIR-ee) was the ultimate survivor of the 56 singers included in “The Final Prima Donnas,” Lanfranco Rasponi’s basic 1982 guide of interviews with lots of the ladies who dominated opera within the early and mid-Twentieth century. Whereas different divas who rose throughout that interval stay alive — amongst them Virginia Zeani (now 95), Leontyne Value (93) and Renata Scotto (86) — Ms. Carteri’s loss of life is nonetheless a marker on the gradual diminuendo of an period.
A sleek presence with a voice that was clear and ardent, she embodied the Italian lyric soprano vocal kind. She had the mix of lightness and fullness of sound that was ideally suited to the gorgeously struggling younger heroines of Puccini and Verdi.
Whereas celebrated for her sympathetic portrayals of these roles, in operas like “La Traviata” and “La Bohème,” her repertory ranged unusually extensively throughout her 17 years onstage. It included works by Poulenc, Handel, Prokofiev, Rossini and plenty of extra, and she or he sang in a slew of premieres.
However probably the most intriguing side of her profession might have been her determination to step away from it, in 1966, to take care of her younger household. She was then at an age when many singers are simply gaining steam, and her voice had not misplaced its ease or vibrancy.
It’s uncommon for a prima donna to step out of the limelight earlier than age or declining talents make it needed. Mirella Freni continued singing credibly till she was 70; Magda Olivero, till she was 71. However the nice Rosa Ponselle retired at 40, nonetheless masterly; Anita Cerquetti, at simply 30. (After which there was Rossini, who lived for practically 40 years after “Guillaume Inform” however by no means wrote one other opera.)
“One should give one’s all, and as one’s title turns into more and more identified, the obligations increase every day,” Ms. Carteri informed Mr. Rasponi, and made a reference to the main woman of “La Traviata”: “And that’s the reason I made a decision to close the door — a lot to my remorse, for I used to be passionately connected to my work — and like Violetta say, ‘Addio del passato.’”
Rosanna Carteri was born on Dec. 14, 1930, in Verona, Italy. She started learning voice significantly even earlier than she was an adolescent, and by 14 was studying full roles with Ferruccio Cusinati, the refrain grasp on the mighty Area di Verona. She was additionally taught piano and suggested in these early years by her savvy, musically minded mom, Giulia (Rosoleni) Carteri, who had as soon as aspired to grow to be an opera singer. Her father, Ugo Carteri, was the managing director of a shoe firm in Verona.
Ms. Carteri gained a contest in 1948 sponsored by Italian radio, and the next 12 months appeared onstage for the primary time, as Elsa in Wagner’s “Lohengrin” — an implausibly weighty automobile for an 18-year-old’s debut, significantly in an out of doors efficiency on the Baths of Caracalla in Rome, in entrance of an viewers of many hundreds.
However Ms. Carteri scored a hit, and, as she informed Mr. Rasponi, “all the pieces got here my approach without delay.” She debuted at La Scala at 20, and on the Salzburg Competition at 21; main components adopted in Paris, London and elsewhere. As her celeb grew, she appeared on Italian tv and in a number of movies.
She made her American debut in 1954 as Mimì in “La Bohème” at San Francisco Opera, repeating the position later that 12 months throughout Lyric Opera of Chicago’s first season. Over her profession she appeared with a few of the world’s main opera conductors, together with Tullio Serafin, Artur Rodzinski, Victor de Sabata, Bruno Walter and Herbert von Karajan, and reverse stars like Birgit Nilsson, Renata Tebaldi and Jussi Bjoerling.
A 1956 recording of “La Traviata,” additionally that includes Cesare Valletti and Leonard Warren, with Pierre Monteux conducting the forces of the Rome Opera, captures a few of her delicate artistry. The doomed courtesan Violetta is, in Ms. Carteri’s fingers, an emotive but poised determine.
Her rendition of the aria “Sempre libera” strikes with desperately cheerful agility; the scene together with her lover’s grimly disapproving father reveals a voice darkened with sorrow. Within the nice outpouring “Amami, Alfredo,” she conveys deep feeling by way of focus and evenness of tone, and within the last act she achieves depth by way of a musical line that she usually hushes to a painful thread, with out ever sacrificing steadiness.
The sincerity she was in a position to venture made her perfect for tragic characters like Violetta, Mimì, Marguerite in Gounod’s “Faust,” the title position in Massenet’s “Manon,” Liù in Puccini’s “Turandot” and Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello.” But she additionally had an enthralling liveliness in comedy, showing in roles corresponding to Nannetta and Alice Ford in Verdi’s “Falstaff” and Adina in Donizetti’s “L’Elisir d’Amore.” For the subtle wistfulness of Puccini’s “La Rondine,” she was excellent.
Ms. Carteri sang the preliminary performances of works by Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco, Juan José Castro, Ildebrando Pizzetti and others. (She informed Mr. Rasponi that she had appeared in so many premieres, “I merely can’t recall all of them.”) When Prokofiev’s “Warfare and Peace” was carried out for the primary time exterior Russia, in Florence in 1953, she was Natasha Rostova underneath Rodzinski’s baton, and her immaculate account of Poulenc’s “Gloria” was captured on the work’s premiere recording.
She married Franco Grosoli, a profitable and revered businessman within the meat trade, in 1959. That they had a daughter, Marina, in 1960. When Ms. Carteri turned pregnant once more, she had a miscarriage. In Mr. Rasponi’s telling, she “canceled all her contracts with the intention to keep away from any dangers” in her subsequent being pregnant. A son, Francesco, was born in 1966, and Ms. Carteri retired. The household moved to Monte Carlo within the Nineteen Seventies, when Italy was hit by an epidemic of kidnappings of the rich.
Ms. Carteri’s husband died in 2014. She is survived by her two kids and 4 grandchildren.
Some divas who step again from the time-consuming, labor-intensive manufacturing of staged operas proceed touring in live performance. Not Ms. Carteri. “I’ve often given a couple of recitals,” she informed Mr. Rasponi, “but it surely simply doesn’t work that approach. You might be both within the career or out of it.”
“The comfort I’ve,” she added, “is that I ended after I was on the very prime.”
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