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Maria Caniglia (1905 - 1979)

Maria Caniglia was born into a family from the Abruzzi and studied at the Naples Conservatory with the distinguished teacher Agostino Roche. He also taught Ebe Stignani with whom Caniglia was to sing frequently. Roche believed that Caniglia was destined to sing more than purely lyric rôles and trained her in the spinto repertoire. When, however, she auditioned for La Scala in 1929 before three distinguished conductors, Ettore Panizza, Carlo del Campo, and Gino Marinuzzi, they advised her to concentrate initially upon the lyric repertoire. Nonetheless she was soon to focus very much on spinto rôles, making her début during the following year at Turin as Chrysothemis/Elektra.

This was soon followed by Magda in Respighi’s La campana sommersa at Genoa, Elsa/Lohengrin at Rome, and Maria in Pizzetti’s Lo straniero at La Scala. Caniglia was rapidly assigned further parts at La Scala, including leading rôles in Montemezzi’s La notte di Zoraima and Mascagni’s Le maschere; followed by Wagnerian parts, including Senta/Der fliegende Holländer and Sieglinde/Die Walküre. She was to reign as the leading soprano at La Scala until1951, enjoying notable success in the title rôles of Respighi’s Lucrezia and Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride in 1937.




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