Obituary: Italian Soprano Margherita Rinaldi Dies at 88

By Francisco Salazar

On Sept. 7, Italian soprano Margherita Rinaldi died at the age of 88 in Impruneta, Italy.

Born on Jan. 12, 1935 in Turin, Italy, Rinaldi went to study music in Rovigo. Following her studies, she went on to win a competition in Spoleto and made her operatic debut in 1958 in the title role of “Lucia di Lammermoor.”

The success of her debut led her to the Teatro alla Scala where she debuted in 1958 as Sinaide in Rossini’s Mosè in Egitto. The soprano went on to be one of the leading sopranos of La Scala where she performed such roles as Gilda in “Rigoletto,” Nannetta in “Falstaff,” and Giuletta in “I Capuleti e i Montecchi,” among others.

She went on to sing in every major Italian house including the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Regio di Parma, and the Teatro Comunale, among others. She also went on to sing internationally at the Royal Opera House, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Glyndebourne, Wexford, Bregenz, San Francisco Opera, and Dallas Opera.

Throughout her career, she performed in many iconic roles including Bellini’s “La Sonnambula,” Donizetti’s Adina in “L’elisir d’amore,” Norina in “Don Pasquale,” and the title roles of “Lucia di Lammermoor,” and “Linda di Chamonix,” Gilda in Verdi’s “Rigoletto.” She was also a great Mozart and Cimarosa interpreter.

She sang a wide variety of roles for RAI between 1963 and 1975, such as Bertha in Meyerbeer’s “Le Prophète,” Cleopatra in Handel’s “Giulio Cesare,” Ginevra in “Ariodante,” and Noraime in “Les Abencérages.” She recorded Verdi’s “La Traviata” with Luciano Pavarotti. There was also a recording of “Tancredi” broadcast from Rome with Marilyn Horne.

Rinaldi retired from the stage in 1981 and went on to teach privately coaching young singers.

In total Rinaldi only made two commercial recordings, Gilda in “Rigoletto” with Rolando Panerai and Franco Bonisolli and Ilia in Mozart’s “Idomeneo” with Sir Colin Davis conducting.