Personalities | Antonia Bernasconi | Classical Era | Opera
c. 1741–c. 1803, German
The soprano Antonia Bernasconi was the step-daughter of the Italian composer Andrea Bernasconi, Kapellmeister at the Munich court, and created the title role in Gluck’s Alceste at its first performance in Vienna in 1767. Her father was in the service of the Duke of Württemberg, but after his death and her mother’s remarriage, Antonia took her stepfather’s name. She made her operatic debut in 1762, but seems to have had a somewhat ‘small’ voice. Nevertheless, Antonia Bernasconi became prominent in Vienna in tragic roles. In 1770, she left Vienna for Milan, where she sang Aspasia in Mozart’s Mitridate. Usually described as a ‘German’ singer, Antonia Bernasconi became known for interpreting German-language roles in such operas as Gluck’s Iphigénie en Tauride, in which she sang in Vienna in 1781.
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