(July 10, 1903 [or 1904] - October 5, 1974)
From her debut in 1925 as Amneris in Verdi's Aida, there is evidence that she may have sung a number of roles in the previous year.
In 1926, Ebe Stignani was invited to La Scala Milan by no less than Arturo Toscanini to sing Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo.
La Scala continued to be her principal stage for the rest of her career although she also toured extensively throughout the USA after the war and performed all the major Italian mezzo-soprano roles, as well as Wagner's Ortrud (Lohengrin) and Brangäne (Tristan und Isolde), and Saint-Saëns's Dalila (Samson et Dalila) conducted by Victor de Sabata.
She appeared at the San Francisco Opera in 1938 and again in 1948 but never at the Metropolitan Opera.
Her first appearance at Covent Garden was in 1937, as Amneris, and she returned to London a number of times, notably in the role of Adalgisa to Maria Callas's Norma in 1952 and 1957. In the second of the two 1957 performances the thunderous and sustained applause after the duet Mira O Norma led conductor John Pritchard to encore that last part, apparently the only time she ever sang an encore in opera in her career.
She retired from the stage in 1958 after appearances in London (as Azucena) and in Dublin (as Amneris).
She had married in 1941 and given birth to a son in 1944.
Stignani's voice was large and rich in tone, that could sometimes be hard-edged, but evenly balanced throughout a considerable range. It was particulary suited to dramatic roles but Ebe Stignani freely admitted she was no great actress- but the voice was everything and gave her a career that was long and at the highest level.
Ebe Stignani is one of the featured stars on our "Legends" product range.