Het is vandaag 85 jaar geleden dat de Italiaanse sopraan Claudia Muzio is overleden.
Ze werd geboren op 7 februari 1889 in Pacia as the daughter of an operatic stage manager, whose engagements during her childhood took the family to opera houses around Italy as well as to Covent Garden in London and to the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Her mother was a choir singer, Giovanna Gavirati. Claudia Muzio arrived in London at the age of 2 and went to school there, becoming fluent in English, before returning to Italy at the age of 16.
Muzio made her operatic début in Arezzo (15 January 1910) in the title role of Massenet’s “Manon”, and despite her youth she made rapid progress in the opera houses of Italy, leading to débuts at La Scala in Milan in 1913 (as Desdemona in Verdi’s “Otello”), in Paris (as Desdemona) and in London at Covent Garden (as Puccini’s “Manon Lescaut”) in 1914; she stayed on in London to sing other roles including Mimì and Tosca (both with Caruso). She was invited to the Met in New York in December 1916 (for “Tosca”) and was so successful that she continued to appear there during six successive years. It was at the Metropolitan that Muzio created the role of Giorgetta in “Il tabarro”, in the world première of Puccini’s triple bill, “Il trittico”, on 14 December 1918.
Ze zong alle belangrijke Verdi- en Puccini-rollen en verder specialiseerde ze zich in het verisme. Niet alleen haar stem toont een treffende gelijkenis met Maria Callas (b.v. in “Al fondo del mar”), zij is ook een voorloopster wat de dramatische interpretatie betreft. In een tijd dat belcanto nog voorop stond, legde zij reeds drama en pathos in haar vertolkingen, although her performances were sometimes criticised for excessive use of dynamic extremes.
In her later years, Muzio experienced some financial anxiety after losing money through the extravagance of a manager/rumoured lover and then in the Wall Street crash. In 1929 she married Renato Liberati, seventeen years her junior. In 1930 she started to experience some health problems, but continued singing and recording. On 24 May 1936, after a short illness, she died in a Rome hotel of what was officially described as heart failure, aged 47. (Wikipedia)