Personalities | Anna Renzi | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera

c. 1620–c. 1660, Italian

Singer Anna Renzi created the part of Ottavia, the neglected wife of Emperor Nero in Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea, in 1642, and she sang many other operatic roles in Venice. Renzi was one of the first female opera singers and also one of the first, if not the first, singers to achieve the status of a prima donna. She was an impressive actress, possessed a fine treble voice and, it appears, had a fan following. In 1642, the librettist and poet Giulio Strozzi (1583–1652) wrote a book about her – Le glorie della Signora Anna Renzi romana (‘The Glory of the Roman [singer] Signora Anna Renzi’), in which he described her in glowing terms: ‘Our Signora Anna … was endowed with such lifelike expression that her responses and speeches seem not memorized but born at the very moment. In sum … she transforms herself completely into the person she represents.’

Introduction | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera
Personalities | Ottavio Rinuccini | Early & Middle Baroque | Opera


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