Elisabetta Barbato (Elisabetta Barbato)

Elisabetta Barbato

Opera Singer. A dramatic soprano who performed in major venues on both sides of the Atlantic, she is perhaps best remembered for interpreting the title heroine of Giacomo Puccini’s “Tosca”. Raised in Rome from early childhood, she began her vocal training in 1939 with Maria Angucci in Bologna, continued with Luigi Ricci in Rome, made her December 25, 1944 professional bow as Garsenda in a Rome Opera production of Riccardo Zandonai’s “Francesca di Rimini”, and in 1946 provided Anna Magnani’s singing voice for Carmine Gallone’s movie “Avanti a lui tremava tutta Roma” (“And All Rome Trembled Before Him”). Over the next few years she refined her skills and expanded her repertoire in Rome and other major Italian cities, her assignments including the title leads of Verdi’s “Aida” and of Puccini’s “Tosca”, “Madame Butterfly”, “Manon Lescaut”, and “La Fanciulla del West”. At that point, due to the commonality of roles, considered a rival of the then up-and-coming Maria Callas, she made her April 10, 1948 La Scala Milano debut as Leonora from Verdi’s “La Forza del Destino”, bowed at San Francisco on September 20, 1949 as Tosca opposite Jussi Bjorling, Lawrence Tibbett, and Salvatore Baccaloni, and was first heard at New York’s Metropolitan Opera on November 26, 1949, again as Tosca and again opposite Bjorling as Cavaradossi. In August of 1951 she partnered with legendary tenor Beniamini Gigli for Rio de Janeiro performances of “Manon Lescaut” and “La Forza del Destino”, then in the early 1950s took-on new roles, some well known such as Donna Anna of Mozart’s “Don Giovanni”, Verdi’s ‘other’ Leonora in “Il Trovatore”, and Madeline from Umberto Giordano’s “Andrea Chenier”, and others less so including Clorinda from Claudio Monteverdi’s “Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda”, the tragic lead of Francesco Cilea’s “Adriana Lecouvreur”, the unfaithful Giorgetta in Puccini’s “Il Tabarro”, and Jaroslavna from Borodin’s “Prince Igor”. Elisabetta was married to violinist and conductor Danilo Belardinelli, bade farewell to the stage with a May 18, 1963 Rome performance of “Tosca”, lived out her days in Rome, and died of the effects of advanced age. At her demise she could be heard on several ‘live’ recordings as well as excerpts from “La Forza del Destino” and “Manon Lescaut”. (bio by: Bob Hufford)


  • September, 11, 1921
  • Italy


  • February, 02, 2014
  • Italy


  • Cimitero Comunale Monumentale Campo Verano
  • Lazio
  • Italy

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