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Maria Caniglia

Maria Caniglia

(May 5, 1905, Naples – April 16, 1979, Rome)

Click here for recordings and performances by Maria Caniglia.


Maria Caniglia was a leading Italian dramatic soprano whos career was centred around the 1930s and 1940s.

She made her debut in Turin as Chrysothemis in Elektra in 1930 and in the same year she sang Magda in Ottorino Respighi's La Campana Sommersa in Genoa and Elsa in Lohengrin.

She made her debut at La Scala in Milan as Maria in Lo Straniero. She sang regularly at La Scala until 1951 and her leading roles included dramatic soprano leads Un Ballo in Maschera, La Forza del Destino, Aida, Andrea Chénier, Tosca, Adriana Lecouvreur and others. She excelled in roles from the Verismo school.

On the world stage Maria Caniglia sang at the Paris Opéra, Covent Garden, and the Teatro Colón

She made her Metropolitan debut in November 1938, as Desdemona in Otello. Aside from participating in the creation of contemporary works she also helped revive operas that had long been forgotten like Donizetti's Poliuto and Verdi's Oberto.

She played Rosanna in Franco Alfano's Cyrano di Bergerac in Rome in 1936, and also the title role in Respighi's Lucrezia in 1937.

She worked with the greatest conductors and singers of the time and left recordings of some of her greatest roles including Un Ballo in Maschera, and Aida- both conducted by Tullio Serafin, Andrea Chénier and Tosca conducted by Oliviero De Fabritiis with tenor Beniamino Gigli as her partner.

She was also well recieved in operas such as La Forza del Destino, Don Carlo, Fedora, and Francesca da Rimini.

She was married to Italian composer Pino Donati (1907–1975), who was also music director at the Verona Arena, the Teatro Comunale di Bologna, and the Chicago Lyric Opera.

Click here for recordings and performances by Maria Caniglia.

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