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Mirella Freni

Mirella Freni became one of the leading stars of opera, known for her lyric voice but with a surprising ability to extend it to the higher spinto roles. She has also been one of the most durable of singers, retaining vocal freshness and attractive stage presence through a career lasting over forty years.

She was born Mirella Fregni. She came from a working class backgrounds. Her mother and Luciano Pavarotti were co-workers in the same cigarette factory in Modena and even had the same wet nurse. She studied voice from her uncle, Dante Arcelli. At the age of ten she entered a singing competition, and at twelve won another, singing "Un Bel Di." Beniamino Gigli, hearing her, advised her to undertake serious vocal studies.

Her teacher was Ettore Campogalliani in Bologna. She debuted in 1955 in Modena as Micaela in Carmen, won the G.B. Viotti International Competition in 1957, sang a season at the Netherlands operas, and began regular appearances at Glyndebourne in England. She made a major impression in Franco Zeffirelli productions of Elisir d'Amore and Falstaff (as Ninetta). She married a childhood friend, Leone Magiera, who accompanied her in some of those early recital appearances in Modena.

He formed a major musical partnership with Herbert von Karajan, and once claimed that she could sense an unplanned change in his tempo with her back turned. He said that he if had been a singer, he would want to be Freni. She created some of the most memorable portrayals of Puccini¹s Mini, Mozart's Susanna, and Micaela, and recorded all these roles in video productions for Unitel. She has, naturally, sung with the leading opera companies of the world. Her major debuts were: La Scala (1962) the Metropolitan (1965), and Covent Garden (1962).

Some of the more dramatic roles she has undertaken are Elisabetta (Don Carlo), Cio-Cio-San (Madama Butterfly), Desdemona (Otello), Aîda, (Tatiana Evgeny Onegin), and Lisa (Queen of Spades).

She continued to add to her repertory well into the 1990s with the title role of Giordano's Fedora and, for 1998, in the same composer¹s Madama Sans-Gêne.

She remarried, in 1981, to the singer Nicolai Ghiarov. Together they have made numerous concert tours and joint operatic appearances. He voice is notable for its purity, strong and warm tone, and evenness of tone and focus. In 1994, the New York Times wrote, "Ms. Freni is nowhere near the end of her [career]." ~ Ann Feeney
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Amor: Opera's Great Love Songs

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Aida, Opera

1. Aida, Opera: Celeste Aida

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera

2. Gianni Schicchi, Opera: O Mio Babbino Caro

Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera

3. Manon Lescaut, Opera: Donna Non Vidi Mai

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Luisa Miller, Opera

4. Luisa Miller, Opera: Quando Le Sere Al Placido Chiaror

Composer: Camille Saint-Saëns
Title: Samson Et Dalila, Opera In 3 Acts, Op. 47

5. Samson Et Dalila, Opera In 3 Acts, Op. 47: Mon Coeur S'ouvre A Ta Voix

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: L'elisir D'amore, Opera

6. L'elisir D'amore, Opera: Una Furtiva Lagrima

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Turandot, Opera

7. Turandot, Opera: Signore, Ascolta!

Title: Tosca, Opera

8. Tosca, Opera: Recondita Armonia

9. Tosca, Opera: I. Vissi D'arte, Vissi D'amore

10. Tosca, Opera: E Lucevan Le Stelle

Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opera

11. Carmen, Opera: II. L'amour Est Un Oiseau Rebelle

Composer: Umberto Giordano
Title: Fedora, Opera

12. Fedora, Opera: Amor Ti Vieta

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Rigoletto, Opera

13. Rigoletto, Opera: Gualtier Malde!...caro Nome

Composer: Amilcare Ponchielli
Title: La Gioconda, Opera In 4 Acts

14. La Gioconda, Opera In 4 Acts: Cielo E Mar!

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: La Bohème, Opera

15. La Bohème, Opera: III. Quando Men' Vo Soletta

Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opera

16. Carmen, Opera: La Fleur Que Tu M'avais Jetée

Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: La Favorita, Opera

17. La Favorita, Opera: O Mio Fernando

Composer: Jules Massenet
Title: Werther, Lyric Drama In 4 Acts

18. Werther, Lyric Drama In 4 Acts: Pourquoi Me Reveiller

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492

19. Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492: II. Voi Che Sapete

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera

20. Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera: Un Bel Di Vedremo

Title: Turandot, Opera

21. Turandot, Opera: Nessun Dorma

x

Track List: Essential Opera

Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opera

1. Carmen, Opera: Prelude

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Tosca, Opera

2. Tosca, Opera: I. Vissi D'arte, Vissi D'amore

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Il Trovatore, Opera

3. Il Trovatore, Opera: I. Vedi! Le Fosche Notturne Spoglie

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: La Bohème, Opera

4. La Bohème, Opera: I. Che Gelida Manina!

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492

5. Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492: Voi Che Sapete Che Cosa E Amor

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Rigoletto, Opera

6. Rigoletto, Opera: Act Three: Bella Figlia Dell'amore

Title: Nabucco, Opera (Nabucodonosor)

7. Nabucco, Opera (Nabucodonosor): Viva Nabucco!

Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opera

8. Carmen, Opera: La Fleur Que Tu M'avais Jetée

Composer: Alfredo Catalani
Title: La Wally, Opera (Dramma Musicale) In 4 Acts

9. La Wally, Opera (Dramma Musicale) In 4 Acts: Ebben? Ne Andro Lontana

Composer: Gioachino Rossini
Title: Il Barbière Di Siviglia (The Barber Of Seville), Opera

10. Il Barbière Di Siviglia (The Barber Of Seville), Opera: II. Largo Al Factotum

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Aida, Opera

11. Aida, Opera: Triumph March And Chorus "Gloria All'egitto"

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera

12. Gianni Schicchi, Opera: O Mio Babbino Caro

Title: Turandot, Opera

13. Turandot, Opera: Nessun Dorma

Composer: Jacques Offenbach
Title: Les Contes D'hoffmann, Opera In 4 Acts

14. Les Contes D'hoffmann, Opera In 4 Acts: Belle Nuit, Ô Nuit D'amour

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera

15. Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera: Un Bel Di Vedremo

Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Don Giovanni, Opera, K. 527

16. Don Giovanni, Opera, K. 527: II. Finch'han Dal Vino

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera

17. Manon Lescaut, Opera: Donna Non Vidi Mai

Composer: Pietro Mascagni
Title: Cavalleria Rusticana, Opera (Melodramma) In 1 Act

18. Cavalleria Rusticana, Opera (Melodramma) In 1 Act: Intermezzo Sinfonico

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Turandot, Opera

19. Turandot, Opera: Non Piangere, Liu!

x

Track List: Masters of the Voice: Soprano

Disc 1
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute), Opera, K. 620
Title: Don Giovanni, Opera, K. 527
Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Title: Fidelio, Opera, Op. 72
Composer: Franz Joseph Haydn
Title: Die Schöpfung (The Creation), Oratorio, H. 21/2
Composer: George Frideric Handel
Title: Alcina, Opera, Hwv 34
Title: Messiah, Oratorio, Hwv 56
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: Don Pasquale, Opera
Composer: Gioachino Rossini
Title: Semiramide, Opera
Composer: Charles Gounod
Title: Roméo Et Juliette, Opera
Composer: Richard Wagner
Title: Die Walküre (The Valkyrie), Opera, Wwv 86b
Title: Tannhäuser, Opera, Wwv 70
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Rigoletto, Opera
Title: Aida, Opera
Title: La Traviata, Opera
Disc 2
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Tosca, Opera
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Title: La Rondine (The Swallow), Opera
Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opera
Composer: Léo Delibes
Title: Lakmé, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Composer: Jules Massenet
Title: Manon, Opera In 5 Acts
Composer: Ambroise Thomas
Title: Mignon, Opera In 3 Acts
Composer: Antonin Dvorák
Title: Rusalka, Opera, B. 203 (Op. 114)
Composer: Gustave Charpentier
Title: Louise, Opera
Composer: Richard Strauss
Title: Der Rosenkavalier, Opera, Op. 59 (Trv 227)
Composer: Francesco Cilea
Title: Adriana Lecouvreur, Opera
Composer: Leonard Bernstein
Title: Glitter And Be Gay, For Soprano & Orchestra (from "Candide")
x

Track List: Voice Of Romance

Disc 1
Composer: Umberto Giordano
Title: Fedora, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Gianni Schicchi, Opera
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: Lucia Di Lammermoor, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Tosca, Opera

5. Tosca, Opera: I. Vissi D'arte, Vissi D'amore

Title: La Rondine (The Swallow), Opera
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: L'elisir D'amore, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Madama Butterfly (Madame Butterfly), Opera
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Title: Don Pasquale, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Manon Lescaut, Opera
Disc 2
Composer: Leonard Bernstein
Title: Tonight, Song (from "West Side Story")
Composer: Cesare Andrea Bixio
Title: Mamma, For Voice & Orchestra

2. Mamma, For Voice & Orchestra: Mamma

Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: La Bohème, Opera
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Il Trovatore, Opera
Composer: Friedrich von Flotow
Title: Martha, Opera
Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Rigoletto, Opera
Composer: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Title: Don Giovanni, Opera, K. 527
Title: Le Nozze Di Figaro (The Marriage Of Figaro), Opera, K. 492
Composer: Joseph Marie Canteloube
Title: Malurous Qu'o Uno Fenno, Folksong For Voice & Orchestra (Chants D'auvergne, Series 3, No. 5)
Composer: Jacques Offenbach
Title: Les Contes D'hoffmann, Opera In 4 Acts
Composer: Georges Bizet
Title: Carmen, Opéra-comique In 4 Acts
Composer: Eldo di Lazzaro
Title: Chitarra Romana For Voice & Orchestra

14. Chitarra Romana For Voice & Orchestra: Chitarra Romana

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Title: Aida, Opera
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
Title: Turandot, Opera

16. Turandot, Opera: Nessun Dorma

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