Fedora Barbieri, mezzo-soprano

Iwas delighted to make the acquaintance of Giacinto Prandelli in Triest duringthe war, in January 1944, when we sang together in Cilea’s opera Adriana Lecouvreurfor the operatic season at the Giuseppe Verdi theatre.

I remember he impressed me instantly with his warm, expressive voice, which wasalways accurately pitched, and his smart appearance, ideal for the role of Maurizio.Our friendship blossomed several months later, at La Scala in June 1946, when weboth performed in Beethoven’s Ninth conducted by Arturo Toscanini. It was one ofthe numerous concerts put on to inaugurate the opening of the theatre after extensivereconstruction work to repair the damage caused by bombing in August 1943.I sang opposite Prandelli again a few months later at the Bonci theatre in Cesena,where I had been invited for the first time to take the part of Laura in Ponchielli’sopera La Gioconda. He was in the role of Enzo Grimaldo and it was such a successthat we had to put on an extra performance.

Another great event I recall is La Scala’s tour in Great Britain in the autumn of 1950. We went to Edinburgh and London where we performed Verdi’s Requiem,conducted by the great Victor De Sabata, as well as Mozart’s Requiem under thepromising young conductor Guido Cantelli. It was an exceptional cast, with RenataTebaldi, Prandelli and Siepi.

It is not only friendship that ties me to Prandelli but also immense admiration ofhis musical skills, his dependability and his stylishness both on stage and off.I am honoured to have sung with him.