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Giulietta Simionato (1910 - 2010)

Simionato, whose father was a prison governor, spent her early childhood in Sardinia. When she was eight her family moved to Rovigo, near Venice, where she commenced formal vocal studies with Ettore Locatello, a local bandmaster who helped her to understand her naturally-placed voice, and later with Guido Palumbo in Milan. Simionato was still a student when in 1927 she made her stage debut at the Teatro Sociale, Rovigo in Rossato’s Nina, non far la stupida. Her professional debut came the following year as Maddalena / Rigoletto and she also sang Lola / Cavalleria rusticana at Montagnana (some sources give the date of these appearances as 1932).

In 1933 Simionato attracted attention as the winner (out of 385 contestants) in a singing competition in Florence; the judges included Tullio Serafin and the veteran soprano Rosina Storchio, the first Madama Butterfly, who told her: ‘Always sing like this, dear one.’ Two years later she appeared at the Maggio Musicale, Florence, in the premiere of Pizzetti’s opera Orsèolo.




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