Singers on Singing :
Mirella Freni

Singers on Singing: Mirella Freni

One of the very most highly sought after artists of her generation, the great soprano Mirella Freni performed on the operatic stage for a remarkable 50 years, from 1955 to 2005. Particularly famed for her roles in a wide ranging Italian, French and Russian repertoire, her supremely controlled technique supported an instrument of evocative beauty, which she used with great flexibility and impeccable intonation. The lyricism, poetry and dramatic colour of her singing and her vivid and enchanting stage presence made her a top favourite of the most celebrated conductors and stage directors of her time. In 2002, while she was still performing, she recorded an interview about her life and career in which, after recalling her early days, she discussed some of her most acclaimed roles and also spoke about the particularly close artistic relationship she enjoyed with Herbert von Karajan. Recorded extracts from her performances of the operas she discusses are included in the feature presented here, which was broadcast in 2004. Also taking part are other distinguished musicians and music experts, identified during the feature, who cast light on her very special performing attributes.

–Jon Tolansky

Listen to the documentary interview immediately below:


Jon Tolansky

Guest Artists included in this feature:

  • Tenor Franco Farina
  • Conductor Sir Edward Downes
  • Bass Richard Hazell

Musical excerpts included in this feature:

  • “O patria mia” from Aida (Verdi)
  • “Sono andati” from La Bohème (Puccini)
  • “Ave Maria” from Otello (Verdi)
  • “Con onor muorire” from Madama Butterfly (Puccini)
  • “Puskai pogibnu ya” (Tatiana’s Letter Scene) from Eugene Onegin (Tchaikovsky)
  • “O terra addio” from Aida (Verdi)

Related Resources


Singers on Singing: The Performer’s Perspective


Singers on Singing :
Luciano Pavarotti


Singers on Singing :
Jon Vickers


Singers on Singing :
Nicolai Gedda

Part of

Singers on Singing: Great Artists in Conversation