Artist Of The Week: Serena Farnocchia

Italian Soprano To Bring Rossini’s Rare Opera to Life

By Francisco Salazar
(Credit: Monika Rittershaus)

“Rossini’s Elisabetta Regina d’Inghilterra” is one of Rossini’s rarely performed works due to its level of difficulty. Yet it has been performed over the years as a diva showcase for the likes of Leyla Gencer, Montserrat Caballe, and Jennifer Larmore, among many others. This week, the work is set to make a rare appearance at the Odyssey Opera in a new fully staged production with one of today’s foremost Italian interpreters, Serena Farnocchia.

Farnocchia is one of today’s leading Verdi and Puccini sopranos having performed most of the great operas from these composers. However, she has also become an acclaimed bel canto singer who has delved into Rossini, Donizetti and Bellini’s music to great critical acclaim. Her performances have been described as filled with “fire” and intense that make “the house shudder.” Critics have also raved about her facility with the vocal demands of the bel canto repertoire stating she “responded to the extreme demands of the title role – one vocal high-wire after another.”

With Elisabetta, Farnocchia will take on yet another challenging diva assoluta role and it will mark her third Rossini role in the past few years following triumphs in “Il Viaggio a Reims” and “Guillaume Tell.” It will also showcase the soprano reprising the role of Elisabetta following her take in Donizetti’s “Maria Stuarda.”

Additionally, it will also give U.S. audiences a rare chance to see the Italian soprano who regularly performs in her native Italy, Germany and Switzerland.

And for audiences who are unable to attend Odyssey Opera’s “Elisabetta,” Farnocchia returns to Zurich for “Il Vaggio a Reims” later this year.


For those not familiar with the soprano’s voice, Farnocchia has full recordings of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” with Alberto Zedda and Verdi’s “Don Carlo” from the Teatro Regio di Parma.

Here she is in “Guillaume Tell.”

And here she is as “Maria Stuarda.”


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