Verdi : Un Ballo in MascheraNew York, Met, 1981 (Audio)
Director: Michelangelo Veltri
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Bianca Berini was a great Amnmeris. The timbre was unmistakably Italianate and the technique formidable, with an ability to sing equally well at different dynamic levels. Furthermore, Berini's command of the music was supremely confident, her phrasing characterized by old-school virtues,particularly her liberal use of accento, portamenti, sobs, etc.
Berini sang several times to New Orleans Opera. In 1980, in Adriana Lecouvreur opposite Teresa Zylis-Gara in the title role. Again, she she blew the walls down in the "Accerba voluta" number that opens Act Two. It was around this time that her star gained some ascendency at the Metropolitan Opera. She sang Amneris and Ulrica with regularity there (including several broadcasts
of both roles).
She also appeared with the New York Philarmonic in the fall of 1980, joining forces with Caballe, Domingo and Plishka for the Verdi Requiem, Zubin Mehta conducting. This was recorded by CBS and, perhaps, is the only commercial recording that exists of Berini.
Berini returned to New Orleans Opera in 1983 as Santuzza opposite Ermanno Mauro and Cornell Macneil.
I think many people assumed Berini was younger than she actually was during the time she was a regular artist at the Met. According to one source, she was born in 1928 Other Met roles during this period were Eboli and la Principessa Bouillon.
Berini also made a double appearance at the Centennial Gala in 1983. She sang the "Reverenza!" duet
with Louis Quilico in the afternoon portion, then returned in the evening segment to substitute for Fiorenza Cossotto in the Gioconda duet with Lucine Amara.
Speaking of that Gioconda duet,after the conclusion of the duet, Berini refuses to acknowledge Amara, gnarling her forehead as if a migraine had suddenly set in and steadfastly rebuffing the soprano's hand, extended for a joint bow. Dueling divas? Or just dueling bouffants?
(Edited from the List Serv Blog, by Enzo Bordello)
Gilda Cruz Romo