Stignani, Ebe (1903–1975)

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Stignani, Ebe (1903–1975)

Italian mezzo-soprano. Name variations: Ebi Stignani. Born on July 11, 1903, in Naples, Italy; died on October 5, 1975, in Imola, a small community near Bologna where she lived with her family on a farm; daughter of a machinery salesman; studied with Agostino Roche, San Pietro di Maiella Conservatory, Naples; married Alfredo Sciti (an engineer), in 1940; children: son Dino.

Debuted in Naples (1925); was the leading mezzo at Teatro alla Scala (1926–53); retired (1958).

As the leading mezzo-soprano at Teatro alla Scala from 1926 to 1953, Ebe Stignani was one of Italy's greatest singers. Her ability to maintain a dominant role in one of the world's most important opera houses was due to her talent and dedication. Her grandeur of tone, technique, and phrasing were outstanding. Stignani sang all the great Verdi roles, some Rossini, and the popular Bellini and Donizetti works. By her own admission, she was not a great figure on stage but her technical command of the music made her performances unforgettable; she also made recordings. "I was given a magnificent gift and in a way I am like a priestess," she once said, "for I feel that it is my responsibility to keep this flame lit in the best possible manner …. I am Stignani because of my voice."

suggested reading:

De Franceschi, B. Ebe Stignani. Imola, 1982.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia