Fiorenza Cossotto is one of the great Italian mezzo-sopranos of all-time.
Born on April 22, 1935, Cossotto attended the Turn Academy and made her opera debut in the world premiere performance of Poulenc’s now-iconic “Dialogues des Carmélites” at La Scala in 1957. From there she went on to have a prolific international career at such companies as the Met Opera, Wexford Festival, Covent Garden, and Lyric Opera of Chicago, among others. She sang 148 performances at the Met in a wide-range of repertoire.
Cossotto also made a wide-range of recordings with many of opera’s greatest stars and on her birthday, April 22, 2018, she is set to be honored with an Opera News Award.
Cossotto was undeniably the quintessential Verdi mezzo-soprano, taking on many of the composer’s iconic mezzo roles including Amneris, Eboli, Ulrica, and Preciosilla. But the role that she immortalized was Azucena in “Il Trovatore.”
The mezzo, whose vocal range was high enough for her to dominate the role of Lady Macbeth, was perfectly suited to that of the tragic figure. With ease, she moved from the dark and rugged qualities to more gentle and lyrical style. It is the consummate interpretation of this famed role.
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Watch and Listen
You can check out her full Azucena interpretation here alongside Plácido Domingo under the musical direction of Herbert von Karajan.