Obituary: Mezzo-soprano Nedda Casei Passes Away At 87

By David Salazar
(Credit: Met Opera Archives)

Mezzo-soprano Nedda Casei has passed away at the age of 87.

The soprano made her operatic debut at the Theatre Royal de la Monnaie in 1960, with her Teatro alla Scala debut coming that same year.

From there she would go on to perform at a number of major opera houses including  the Teatro San Carlo, Prague Opera, Los Angeles Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, the Salzburg Festival, Barcelona’s Gran Teatre del Lceu, and the Metropolitan Opera, among many others.

She was a particular fixture at the Met, debuting in 1964 and appearing with the company until 1984 in over 280 performances. Throughout her time with the company, she appeared in such operas as “Rigoletto,” “Madama Butterfly,” “La Traviata,” “Salome,” “Andrea Chénier,” “Die Zauberflöte,” “Adriana Lecouvreur,” “Carmen,” and “La Forza del Destino,” among others.

Among her opera recordings are “Cavalleria Rusticana,” “Rigoletto,” “Il Trovatore,” and “Madama Butterfly.”

She also worked extensively as an advocate of legislation that supported performing arts and classical artists. She was president  of The American Guild of Musical Artists and then became an active voice teacher for several years. She was also a Guest Editor for The Opera Quarterly and also served as the judge on many of the major opera competitions.

Among her many accolades were the New York State Study Grant (1979, 1980, 1981), Outstanding Young Singers Award, (1959), Martha Baird Rockefeller Foundation Award (1962–64), Community Leaders and Noteworthy Americans (1975–1976) and the Woman of Achievement Award (1969).

Here is an excerpt from Ravel’s “Shéhérazade.”