became of Fiamma Izzo d’Amico? She was born in Rome in 1964 into
a family where both her parents as well as three of her four sisters
were professionally involved in theatre, music or film. She made
her debut in Turin in La Bohème and went on to sing within
the next few years in many of the leading opera houses in Europe
and the US. Karajan brought her to Salzburg and Berlin. In 1988
she made her debut at La Scala as Mimi, a role she also sang at
her MET debut against Domingo. A comet career indeed, but then
– silence. Searching the web I found her homepage and while my
Italian isn’t exactly fluent it seemed anyway that her further
career has been mainly in films. And she certainly has the looks
for it. Listening to this disc, which I hadn’t heard before, still
made me wonder: did something serious happen to her voice? Judging
from this recital, recorded when she was only 23, she had a stunning
voice, lyrical and youthful but with a capacity to expand impressively,
which she demonstrated in the opening number from Donizetti’s
Maria di Rohan. The rest of the arias, with one exception,
are lyrical and she is a glittering Norina in Don Pasquale,
expressive with words and sporting a good trill. The Ernani
aria is light and elegant, the coloratura in the cabaletta
tossed off almost casually and with little grace notes added.
In the Traviata aria she expresses all the contradictory
feelings of Violetta and it’s a pity that EMI couldn’t afford
to engage a tenor for Alfredo’s few off-stage phrases.
is a lyrical Liù with a warmth that should melt the ice in which
Turandot is symbolically enclosed. She sings some lovely pianissimos
in Doretta’s dream. Suor Angelica’s Senza mamma is inward
and her sorrow so palpable. She sings Butterfly’s aria with deep
feeling, Manon Lescaut’s In quelle trine morbide is more
youthful than one normally encounters in the theatre. That Mimi
was a role close to her is obvious from the way she sings the
Farewell aria from act 3.
only French item – the other Manon singing her moving farewell
to their little table – is just as enticing as the rest. Finally
she moves into heavier repertoire with Adriana Lecouvreur,
but this particular aria is primarily lyrical and when it
comes to the dramatic outburst she has all the required heft.
what went wrong? One can only guess, but listening closely: isn’t
there occasionally a slight unevenness in her voice production
– something that might reveal insufficient basic training. After
some hectic years in big opera houses and possibly an aspiration
towards heavier roles could this not develop into something more
serious? There are also signs of slightly hesitant intonation
but at this stage they pass practically unnoticed.
couple of reviews I found gave contradictory experiences of
the singer. Someone who had seen and heard a DVD with Don
Carlo thought that she was a lousy actor but an excellent
singer – and that in a spinto role – while a review from her
debut at the Metropolitan admired her acting but demurred about
some aspects of her singing.
of these remarks is of any relevance concerning the present
recital, back in the catalogue again after many years. As I
have declared it shows the young singer in the best possible
light. Had I heard the disc when it was first released almost
twenty years ago I would have prophesied a great career for
Fiamma Izzo d’Amico.