Anita Cerquetti


Anita Cerquetti (April 13, 1931) is an Italian dramatic soprano who had a short career in the 1950s. Cerquetti was born in Montecosaro, near Macerata, Italy. She was first a student of the violin, she trained eight years with Luigi Mori. After a mere one year of vocal study at the Conservatory of Perugia she made her operatic debut in Spoleto in 1951 as Aida. She sang all over Italy, notably in Florence as Noraime in Les Abencérages, under Carlo Maria Giulini in 1956, and as Elvira in Ernani, under Dimitri Mitropoulos in 1957. Her Teatro alla Scala debut was in 1958 as Abigail in Nabucco. She also sang on RAI in a wide variety of roles such as Elcia in Mosè in Egitto, Mathilde in Guglielmo Tell, Elena in I vespri siciliani, etc. Cerquetti made headlines in January 1958, when she replaced in extremis the ailing Maria Callas in Norma, at the Rome Opera House. She was already singing the role at the San Carlo in Naples. She commuted between the two cities to honor both engagements for several weeks. This tour de force won her great acclaim but had serious effects on her health. Shortly after she started withdrawing little by little from the stage until her complete retirement in 1961, aged only 30. Cerquetti sang relatively little in America. Her debut there was at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in 1955, as Amelia in Un ballo in maschera, opposite Jussi Björling, with Tullio Serafin conducting. Cerquetti made only two commercial recordings, both for Decca in 1957, a recital o...

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