Obituary: Rita Orlandi Passes Away At 79

By Francisco Salazar

Rita Orlandi has passed away at the age of 79.

The Italian soprano, who died on April 8, 2017, had a major international career from the 1960s through the 1980s and was very acclaimed for her Verdi heroines.  She made her professional stage debut in Milan in 1963 at the Teatro Nuovo as Giovanna in Verdi’s “Giovanna d’Arco.”

Orlandi was particularly beloved at the Teatro alla Scala where she performed numerous Verdi works. She made her La Scala debut on April 29, 1966 as Leonora in Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino” under the baton of Gianandrea Gavazzeni and she would later go on to sing other Verdi heroines including Aida, Amelia in “Un Ballo in Maschera,” Elvira in “Ernani,” Leonora in “Il Trovatore,” and Odabella in “Attila.”

She also had a successful international career performing at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, the Bavarian State Opera, the Hamburg State Opera, the Palais Garnier, the Opéra de Nice, the Théâtre du Capitole, the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, the Liceu, La Monnaie, the Vienna State Opera, the Teatro Colón, the Opéra de Montréal, and the Opera Company of Philadelphia.

She also enjoyed a successful career at the Metropolitan Opera where she made her debut as Amelia in Verdi’s “Simon Boccanegra.” She would go on to sing 17 performances at the theater including Aida and Elisabetta in Verdi’s “Don Carlo.”

In addition to her opera repertoire, she also had a successful career as a concert soprano, particularly in the performance of Verdi’s Requiem and Ludwig van Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9.