Artist Profile: Soprano Mariella Devia, A Bel Canto Legend

By David Salazar

Mariella Devia, born on April 12, 1948, is one of the supreme bel canto interpreters of the late 20th century.

Born in Chiusavecchia, she trained at the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia before making her stage debut in 1973 in the title role of “Lucia di Lammermoor.” She would become a fixture throughout Italy, eventually making her debut at the Teatro alla Scala in 1987.

From there she would sing all around the world, including the Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall, the Paris Opera, the Royal Opera House, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, the Festival della Valle d’Itria, the Pesaro Festival, and the Teatro la Fenice, among many others.

Devia retired from the stage in May 2018 with a performance of “Norma” at La Fenice. She was also awarded the “Premio Una Vita Nella Musica 2018.”

She has continued performing in concerts.

Signature Roles

Devia was a consummate bel canto interpreter, centering on the works of Donizetti, Rossini, and Bellini. In sum, she sang a whopping 13 roles by Donizetti and championed some of the composer’s lesser-known operas, including “Il Castello di Kenilworth,” “Adelia,” “Marino Faliero,” and “Parisina.” She is one of the few artists to take on the three Tudor operas and “Lucrezia Borgia.”

She also interpreted 11 Rossini roles, including such rare works as “Adelaide di Borgogna,” “Il Signor Bruschino,” “Zelmira,” and “Mosè in Egitto.”

She also sang six Bellini roles and was also a renowned Mozartian, interpreting roles in five of Mozart’s most popular works.

Read More on Devia

A Review of her Final “Norma”

When She Was Our Artist of the Week

Watch and Listen 

Check out these two albums dedicated to the bel canto repertory and the works of Mozart.


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