The Italian Almanac

Mirella Freni

Italian Music - May 13

The 70-year-old Mirella Freni's career has stretched for five decades - double the norm for top classical vocalists. And on Sunday, the Metropolitan Opera honors this great artist from Modena, Italy, with a gala concert marking the 50th anniversary of her professional debut and the 40th anniversary of her first performance at the Met.

This weekend, in what may turn out to be Freni's last appearance at the Met, she will sing selections from Massenet's "Manon," Cilea's "Adriana Lecouvrer," and Tchaikovky's "The Maid of Orleans" and "Eugene Onegin" with colleagues that include Frederica von Stade, James Morris, Marcello Giordani, Dmitri Hvorostovsky and Salvatore Licitra.

Her Met career began at the old house, on Sept. 29, 1965, when she sang Mimi in Puccini's "La Boheme" opposite Gianni Raimondi's Rodolfo, with Fausto Cleva on the podium.

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