Personalities | Adriana Ferrarese | Classical Era | Opera
c. 1759–c. 1803, Italian
Adriana Ferrarese was known as ‘La Ferrarese’ from her birthplace, Ferrara. In 1785, in London, she sang in Demetrio by Luigi Cherubini (1760–1842). Da Ponte, her mentor, wrote libretti for operas by Vicente Martín y Soler (1754–1806) and Salieri in which she took part. However, Mozart was not particularly impressed when she sang Susanna in a Vienna revival of Le nozze di Figaro in 1789: she failed to perform two arias he had specially written for her in the required ‘artless manner’. Ferrarese was a difficult woman, described even by the faithful Da Ponte as a ‘troublemaker’. The pair became the focus of scandals and they were made to leave Vienna in 1791. They went to Trieste, where Ferrarese sang in Mozart’s Così fan tutte in 1797, having created the role in Vienna in 1790.
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