DANIELA DESSI – soprano (1957-2016)
Born in Genoa, Italy, soprano Daniela Dessì pursued her musical studies in piano and voice at the Parma Conservatory and at the Accademia Chigiana of Siena. Soon after graduation she won first prize at the international "RAI Auditorium" competition in 1980 and her first professional engagements quickly followed, including performances of Rossini's Stabat Mater and Petite Messe Solennelle, Haydn’s The Creation, and the Verdi Requiem, a work which she has subsequently sung in all the world's music capitals. Since making her operatic debut with the Opera Giocosa in Savona in Pergolesi's La Serva Padrona, Daniela Dessì has built up a repertory of some 60 operas ranging from Monteverdi to Prokofiev. She has appeared on the world’s major opera stages, including the Metropolitan Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, San Francisco Opera, La Scala, Milan, The Vienna State Opera, The Liceu in Barcelona, the Rome Opera, Royal Opera in London, Zürich Opera, Washington Opera and the opera theatres of Florence, Bologna, Genoa, Naples and at the Arena di Verona. She has sung in opera concerts in the United States with the Philadelphia Orchestra and with the Boston Symphony Orchestra.
Daniela Dessì has been particularly acclaimed for her interpretation of the great Mozart , bel canto and Verdi heroines which she has performed with the world's most distinguished singers and conductors. In Mozart's Da Ponte Trilogy, Ms Dessì has appeared as the Countess in Le nozze di Figaro and as Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, both conducted by Riccardo Muti at La Scala and as Donna Elvira in Don Giovanni with Zubin Mehta at Florence's Teatro Comunale. Ms. Dessì will sing her first performances as Donna Anna for her debut at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires during their 2000 season. Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito was the vehicle for her debut at the 1992 Salzburg Festival. She has appeared as Mathilde in Rossini’s Guillame Tell at the Pesaro Festival and in the title roles of Donizetti’s Lucrezia Borgia at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples and Maria Stuarda at Barcelona's Gran Teatre del Liceu as well as in his Poliuto. Within the Verdi repertory, Daniela Dessì has frequently sung Desdemona opposite Plácido Domingo as Otello as well as Amelia in Simon Boccanegra and Elisabetta in Don Carlo. Daniela Dessì is also noted for her other Verdi heroines in Aida, La traviata, Il trovatore, Les Vêpres Siciliennes, Luisa Miller, Ernani, Simon Boccanegra and as Alice Ford in Falstaff. Daniela Dessì has performed the Verdi Requiem with such noted conductors as Riccardo Muti, Zubin Mehta, Alain Lombard, and Rafael Frübeck De Burgos. Other notable operas she has sung include Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Tosca and Mimi in La bohème, Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, Nedda in Pagliacci, Margarita in Mefistofele, Iris, Antonia in Les Contes d’Hoffmann and new productions at the Zürich Opera of such rarities as Sly and La cena delle beffe.
The 2000-2001 season began with an appearance as Nedda in Florence, followed by her Teatro Colón debut as Donna Anna. She returned to the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Tosca, performed the Verdi Requiem in Dresden with Giuseppe Sinopoli, and returned to Genoa for Andrea Chénier. Other engagements during the season included Aida in Berlin, Athens, Bologna and Verona as well as the Verdi Requiem in Tel Aviv and concerts in Monaco.
Daniela Dessì began her 2001-2002 season in Bologna as Alice Ford, followed by Il trittico at the Rome Opera, in which she sang all three soprano parts, Tosca in Munich and her return to the Met for Madama Butterfly, which she will also sing in Madrid and at La Scala. Other engagements during this season include Falstaff in Munich and Desdemona in Zurich.
Ms. Dessì's discography includes Mimì in La Bohème (EMI); a disc of Verdi and Puccini arias on the Forlane label; Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea and Verdi's Ernani, both on the Nuova Era label; and a number of projects with Riccardo Muti, including Nedda in Pagliacci with the Philadelphia Orchestra (Philips), Elisabetta in Don Carlo (EMI), Gilda in Rigoletto (EMI), and Alice Ford in Falstaff (SONY), the final three all with the chorus and orchestra of La Scala, Milan. She can also be heard on a Decca recording of Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle led by Riccardo Chailly. Forlane Records has released “Daniela Dessi à Bordeaux,” a recital of Verdi and Puccini arias conducted by Alain Lombard. Awaiting future release are recordings of Guillame Tell from the Pesaro Festival and Iris. She can also be seen in a 1985 video of Rossini’s Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra, recorded at the Teatro Regio di Torino.