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Fedora Barbieri (1920 - 2003)


As a young girl Barbieri helped out in her parents’ shop in Trieste. Delighted by her casual singing, a customer suggested that she study formally. This she did with Luigi Toffolo in Trieste and with Giulia Tess at the school of the Teatro Communale in Florence. She made her operatic stage début in Florence during 1940 as Fidalma/Il matrimonio segreto; the next day she was called upon to rehearse Azucena/Il trovatore, followed by a performance of Fidalma the night after. The combination of Barbieri’s fine natural voice, innate musicality, and professional temperament quickly opened many doors for her. At the Florence Maggio Musicale (May Festival) of 1941 she sang in Gluck’s Armida and created the part of Dariola in Don Juan de Mañara by Alfano. During the following year, 1942, she participated in the Maggio Musicale’s production of Monteverdi’s Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria, edited by Dallapiccola; sang Giustina in Pergolesi’s Il Flaminio at Siena; and made her successful début at La Scala, Milan, as Mistress Page/Falstaff, as well as singing in Beethoven’s Symphony No 9 under Victor de Sabata. Barbieri toured Germany, Belgium and Holland in 1943 and caused a sensation singing another rôle in Falstaff, Mistress Quickly, opposite Mariano Stabile. In the same year she retired for the first time, having married the manager of the Maggio Musicale, Luigi Bartoletti.

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