Adriana Ferrarese del Bene

Adriana Ferrarese del Bene (c. 1755 in Ferrara – after 1804 in Venice) was an Italian operatic soprano. She was one of the first performers of Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and the first performer of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte.

Portrait of Adriana Ferrarese del Bene circa 1785

She has been known under a variety of names. The 1979 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera lists her as born Adriana Gabrieli and later known as La Ferrarese (presumably from the city of her birth).[1] However, Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians notes that her identification with a Francesca Gabrielli, detta la Ferrarese ("nicknamed the Ferrarese one"), whom Charles Burney heard in Venice in 1770 is not based on solid evidence. What is known is that she married Luigi del Bene in 1782 and performed thereafter as Adriana Ferrarese (or Ferraresi) del Bene.[2][3]

Ferrarese del Bene studied in Venice and performed in London (1785–1787) before arriving in Vienna, where she made her reputation singing serious roles in opera buffa (1788–1791). The publication Rapport von Wien reported, "She has, in addition to an unbelievable high register, a striking low register and connoisseurs of music claim that in living memory no such voice has sounded within Vienna's walls."[4]

Performance of Mozart edit

William Mann reports Mozart had an extreme dislike for Ferrarese del Bene, for whom he first created the role of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte. Aware of her tendency to drop her chin and throw back her head while singing low and high notes respectively, Mozart chose to fill her showpiece aria ("Come scoglio") with continuous harmonic leaps to force her to bob her head "like a chicken".[5][6][dubious ]

References edit

  1. ^ Rosenthal, H. and Warrack, J. (1979) The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press. p. 183
  2. ^ Patricia Lewy Gidwitz, and John A. Rice, 'Ferrarese, Adriana', in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, Stanley Sadie and John Tyrell (eds), 2001.
  3. ^ Some contemporary records also give her first name as Andriana or Andreanna.
  4. ^ Divas of Mozart's Day Archived 2007-02-02 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Mann, William (1986). The Operas of Mozart. Oxford University Press.
  6. ^ As quoted by Robert Greenberg, Great Masters – Mozart: His Life and Work, Lecture 8: "The Last Years" (Chantilly, Virginia: The Great Courses, 2000).