Opera For Beginners

Artist Profile: The Brief But Potent Career of Daniela Dessì

Soprano Daniela Dessì, born on May 14, 1957, enjoyed a tremendous career that was unfortunately cut short by an untimely death in 2016.

Dessì studied at the Conservatory of Parma and Accademia Chigiana of Siena. She made her operatic debut in 1979 at the Teatro dell’Opera Giacosa in the opera “La Serva Padrona. From there, her career took off with Dessì working alongside many of the world’s finest conductors.

She frequently performed alongside husband and tenor Fabio Armiliato throughout her career, but unfortunately lost the battle to colon cancer on August 20, 2016, when she was just 59-years-old.

She left a solid recorded legacy in her midst of operas by Verdi, Puccini, Cilea, Rossini, and Giordano. She also won a dozen awards in Italy including the Premio Flaviano Labó, Premio Operaclick, and Premio Giuditta Pasta Saronno, among others.

Signature Roles

The Italian repertoire was her playground and she was a key interpreter of the operas of Verdi, Puccini, Donizetti, Rossini, Mozart, and a number of Verismo composers, among others. But the role for which she is best known is “Tosca.”

She famously performed an encore of “Vissi d’Arte” at the Teatro Comunale di Firenze, the first such instance at the theater since 1956 when Renata Tebaldi managed the feat. In this role, she managed a delicate balance of combining the bel canto styles with those of the more fiery verismo. You’ll notice her extended passages and notes far beyond what many others might do. It’s a very unique interpretation of opera’s most fiery diva.

Watch and Listen

Dessì dominates in this interpretation of “Tosca” alongside her husband and Ruggero Raimondi.

And even if it is in Italian, this is a nice interview with Armiliato remembering Dessì, which features the two singing together in some instances.

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