• Desdemona


    Claudia Muzio in the 1920s


    Desdemona was one of the first roles for Clauda Muzio. She sung it for the first time at Teatro Massimo, in Palermo, in March of 1912. Later, she also presented the role in Naples and Milan, at the Dal Verme.

    She was so succesful in Milan, that La Scala offered also to the young soprano an opportunity, and she sung in December 1913 an Otello there, with thenor Icilio Calleja and baritone Enrico Nani, under the baton of Tullio Serafin.

    It was well received, with 'Il Corriere della Sera' calling Muzio "a gift for the Italian operatic world".

    But, strangely, after those first succeses, Muzio only sung Desdemona a handful of times. The most important, in Chicago, where she was saluted as the best actress in the business.

    In 1917, Muzio recorded for Pathé the "Ave Maria". It's a good version, though penalized by a poor sound. This is not at the 'Divina Claudia' top performance level:

    Muzio - Ave Maria

    However, in her legendary Columbia series, she recorded the two duets, with tenor Francesco Merli. Here we can find the true Muzio, with some wonderful pianissimi, showing us the ineffable sweetness of Desdemona, unforgettably singing "Te ne rammenti?" or "Amen, risponda!", that are among her very best recordings:

    Già nella notte densa



    Dio ti giocondi

    In the third Act duet, she starts with a hair-raising "Dio ti giocondi, o sposo", that transforms then in searing words, full of anguish and pain before her husband's brutality. The top note on "furia" is not perfect, though:



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