Alda Noni (1916-2011)

Italian soprano renowned for Mozart, Rossini and Donizetti dies at the age of 95

Published: June 10, 2011 at 8:48 am

Alda Noni, an Italian soprano known for her comic roles in Mozart, Rossini and Donizetti, has died at the age of 95.


Born in Trieste, Italy in 1916, Noni studied singing in her hometown and Vienna before making her professional debut in 1937 as Rosina in Rossini’s The Barber of Seville (one of the best operas for beginners) in Ljubljana. She joined the Vienna State Opera in 1942, singing many of the light Italian roles for which she would become famous. Her British debut came four years later as Norina in Donizetti’s Don Pasquale at the Cambridge Theatre in London.

In 1944 Noni was chosen by Richard Strauss to sing Zerbinetta in a production of Ariadne auf Naxos for his 80th birthday celebrations. She reprised the role in Karl Böhm’s Strauss festival that same year, which was recorded live and released two decades later. Critics praised her ‘piquant, sparkling, wonderfully accurate Zerbinetta’.

La Scala beckoned in 1949, where Noni appeared as the ingénue Carolina in Cimarosa’s II matrimonio segreto. She appeared at Covent Garden with the company the following year to sing Nannetta in Verdi’s Falstaff.

Noni brought her comic talents to Glyndebourne in 1950 in the role of Blonde in Mozart’s Die Entführung aus dem Serail. A critic described her ‘spitfire sharpness’ in the role, and she became a regular performer at Glyndebourne in the 1950s.

Noni’s career included performances in Paris, Lisbon, Madrid, Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. She moved to Cyprus in later life, where she died on 19 May.


Jennifer Norton

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