The real name of the American soprano, Anna de Cavalieri, was Anne McKnight. She studied with the mezzo-soprano Gladys Gilderoy Scott and the baritone Evan Evans in the USA, as well as with Giuseppe Pais in Italy.
Anna de Cavalieri (Anne McKnight) made her operatic debut in February 1951 as Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème with the NBC. She appeared under her youth name Anne McKnight in the USA, and in Europe under the stage name Anna de Cavalieri. Her first successes came in the years after World War II on the big opera stages in Italy. In 1953 she sang at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples the title role in Turandot by Ferruccio Busoni, in 1956 the title role in Gluck’s Alceste and in 1959 participated there in the premiere of the opera Pantea. In 1954 she sang at Milan’s La Scala as Rossana in Cyrano de Bergerac by Alfano, in 1958 as Elena in Mefistofele by Arrigo Boito. In 1955 she appeared as a guest at the Opera of Rome in Alfano’s Cyrano de Bergerac, in 1960 as title figure in Lucrezia by Ottorino Respighi, in 1955 at the Festival in the Roman hot springs of Caracalla the title role of Catalani’s opera Loreley, in 1954 at the Festival in the arena of Verona as Aida and as Elena in Mefistofele, in 1957 at the Teatro Regio of Parma.
In 1960 she made guest appearance in her American homeland under her actual name Anne McKnight at the New York City Opera as Marschallin in the Rosenkavalier. In 1961 she could be heard at the opera of Rio de Janeiro as Turandot and as Tosca in the two Puccini’s operas of same name. However, her greatest successes were still in Italy. There she sang in 1960 at the opera of Rome, in 1962 in Turin (Torino), in 1963 at the Teatro Grande of Brescia as Mathilde in Rossini’s William Tell. She appeared, among other places, in Piacenza (1961 as Turandot by Puccini), Rovigo, Cremona (1964 as Fedora by Giordano) and still 1968 in Padua (as Tosca), in 1962 at the Théâtre de la Monnaie Brussels, in 1964 at the Opera House of Toulouse as Norma.
Her career as a concert singer was no less important, in Europe as in North America.
Recordings: on MMS she sings the title role in Verdi’s Aida; complete recordings of operas are available on EJS (Il Pirata by Bellini, Nerone by Arrigo Boito, Loreley by Catalani); on Melodram she sings the title role in Armide by Gluck; on Replica as Valentine in Meyerbeer’s Huguenots (sung in Italian, 1956); on Cetra as Asteria in Mascagni’s Nerone; on MMS as Musetta in La Bohème; on RCA (as Anne McKnight) in the Mass in B minor (BWV 232) by J.S. Bach.
Courtesy: Bach Cantatas Website
as Isolde Catania March 1964 (by courtesy of Sandro Wilhelm)
as Rossana “Cirano de Bergerac” Scala 1954 (Collection G&K)
as Tosca Scala 1957 (Collection G&K)
as Alceste Napoli Dec. 1956
as Fedora Napoli
Portrait (Collection G&K)
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