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Virginia Zeani Suggest updates

Virginia Zehan.

Born Solovastru,  21 October 1925.

Romanian soprano.

Virginia Zeani studied Literature at university before training at Bucharest under Anghel and Lipkovska. She then studied in Milan under the tenor Aureliano Pertile.

Her debut was at Bologna in 1948, as Violetta, which immediately became her signature role, though she remained extremely versatie. Serafin engaged her to sing in Bellini's I Puritani. After this, she went to the Teatro Reale, Cairo.

Additional early appearances at Italian theatres included Turin, Rome, Palermo and Parma. Her debut at La Scala, Milan, in 1956 was as Handel's Cleopatra, and the following year she created the part of Blanche in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites.

Zeani made her first visit to Britain in 1953 with Eugene Iskoldoff's Italian company, with roles including Violetta and Mimì. They appeared in London (Stoll Theatre, Kingsway) before touring widely, including Glasgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen. She sang Lucia at the Stoll in 1957, two years before Sutherland's great Covent Garden success.  She herself also worked at Covent Garden in 1959.

She appeared at the New York Met in 1966.

Zeani featured in major revivals of neglected bel canto operas, including Rossini (Otello), Donizetti (Maria di Rohan) and Verdi (Alzire). Her later repertoire included Verdi (Aïda); Offenbach (Olympia, Giulietta, Antonia) and Puccini (Manon Lescaut, Tosca).

Zeani made a number of recordings of arias as well as a complete Traviata.



OperaScotland programme for Italian Opera Tour. (1953). London: Eugene Iskoldoff Productions.

Harold Rosenthal & John Warrack:  Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera.

Roles in Scotland

Violetta Valéry a courtesan
Traviata 1953
Mimì a seamstress
Bohème 1953

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