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Graziella Sciutti (Soprano)

Born: April 17, 1927 - Turin, Italy
Died: April 9, 2001 - Geneva, Italy

The Italian soprano, Graziella Sciutti, studied at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Graziella Sciutti made her concert début in 1949 at Venice, singing 18th-century Italian songs, and her operatic début in 1951 at Aix-en-Provence as Lucy in Menotti's The Telephone. The performance also included Cimarosa's Il matrimonio segreto, in which she sang Elisetta, the "plain" daughter. Aix fell madly in love with Sciutti, and she returned the next year as Susanna and in 1953 as Despina, while in July 1954 she created the title role of Les Caprices de Marianne by Henri Sauget there.

Meanwhile, earlier that summer Graziella Sciutti made her Glyndebourne début as Rossini's Rosina, scoring a great personal success. During a visit to the Holland Festival in 1957, she sang Anne Trulove in Igor Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress; the coloratura passages in Anne's aria held no terrors for her. She returned to Glyndebourne in 1958 to sing Nannetta in Falstaff, one of her most delightful roles, as well as Susanna. In early May the company had already given four performances of Falstaff in Paris before the main season opened in Sussex. The following year she sang Despina at Glyndebourne.

Throughout the second half of the 1950's Graziella Sciutti appeared at La Scala. On December 26, 1955 she took part in the inaugural performance at the Piccola Scala, singing Carolina, the "pretty" daughter, in Il matrimonio segreto. Carolina became a favourite role, which she sang with the Scala company at the Edinburgh Festival in 1957, and also in Vienna, with her usual triumphant success. Other parts that Sciutti sang at La Scala were Papagena in The Magic Flute, the title role of Piccinni's La Cecchina, the Countess Adèle in Le Conte d'Ory, Norina in Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Rosina in Paisiello's Il barbiere and the title role of Paisiello's Nina.

Graziella Sciutti made her Covent Garden début in 1956 as Oscar, the page, in Un ballo in maschera; as usual, everything about her performance was perfect, her appearance, her singing, her acting, and as usual the entire audience succumbed to her charm. She also sang Nannetta and Despina with the Royal Opera. In 1971 she returned to Glyndebourne to sing Fiorilla in Il Turco in Italia. She came back in 1977 for La Voix humaine, Francis Poulenc's monologue by an unnamed woman (Elle) in despair over her abandonment by a lover. In a new departure, she directed the production herself.

Referred to as "The Callas of the Piccola Scala" Graziella Sciutti was renowned for her interpretation of Mozart's "soubrette" characters, Susanna, Despina, and perhaps especially for her 1959 role as Zerlina in one of the evergreen opera recordings of all time, of Mozart's Don Giovanni, with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Chorus under the direction of Carlo Maria Giulini, with Joan Sutherland, Elisabeth Schwarzkopf, Giuseppe Taddei and other great opera performers.

Although some found her voice to be thin on occasion, she was much sought after for her voice technique and her acting ability. Nobody could dispute her ability to project the innocence, perky cheerfulness and coquetry found in the many delightful roles written for that kind of voice. She is sublime, flawless, spine-tingling, in the famous tense seduction duet La ci darem la mano from the above-mentioned recording. She cast her spell over audiences at Glyndebourne, La Scala, the Holland Festival, Edinburgh, Salzburg, Vienna, Covent Garden and San Francisco. Her repertory ranged from Cimarosa and Paisiello to Menotti and I. Stravinsky, but Mozart and Rossini provided the roles in which she excelled Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, Despina in Così fan tutte, Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia and Fiorilla in Il turco in Italia.

Sciutti evidently found direction satisfying, and in the 1980's staged many operas in the USA, including New York and Chicago. She also taught at the Royal College of Music and in Aix-en-Provence. She made a large number of recordings, and the clarity of her tone, the neatness of her coloratura and the perfection of her diction comes over well. But the charm of her appearance, the magnetism of her personality, the delightful grace of her movements those gifts need live performances, or the memory of them.

In later years Graziella Sciutti turned her attention to teaching and operatic production. She produced Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and in 1985 Mozart's Die Zauberflöte at Koblenz. She taught at London's Royal College of Music.

Source: Wikipedia Website; The Independnt Obituary (Author: Elizabeth Forbes, June 2001)
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (December 2008)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Richard Bonynge


G.F. Handel: Opera Alcina, HWV 34 [Morgana]

Links to other Sites

Grazielle Sciutti (Wikipedia)
Fritz Wunderlich's Colleagues: Graziella Sciutti

Obituary in The Independent
Obituary in the New York Times

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