Giuditta Pasta: the most famous lyrical voice of the 19th century
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Giuditta Pasta

Artist - Saronno 26/10/1797 - Como 01/04/1865

Biography

The “divine” Giuditta Negri Pasta, actress, singer and patriot made her debut at 17, becoming one of the lyric artists who contributed towards creating the fame of La Scala. Born in Saronno in 1797, she studied at the Milan Conservatory and in 1816, married the lawyer Giuseppe Pasta who was also a tenor. She had a full warm voice and great stage presence as well as being an excellent actress. She died in Como from bronchitis in 1865. The town of Saronno dedicated a theatre in honour of her memory in 1990.

Anecdotes and curiosities

The Regio Ducal Teatro of Milan was burnt in three separate fires, and after the last in 1776, the Nuovo Regio Ducal Teatro was built, later known as the world-famous La Scala Opera House. Known as “Il tempio della lirica”, it was inaugurated in great pomp and splendour in 1778.

After concession by Maria Theresa of Austria, it was financed by the Austrian government and several opera box owners. The theatre was designed by the architect Piermarini, who observed certain functional criteria, creating rooms for dining and gambling, shops, and bathroom facilities.

The main theatre featured an innovative horse-shoe form which was considered the best acoustic design during that period. The façade included a clever aspect which made history at the time: the horse-carriage portico that permitted opera-goers to enter the theatre without getting wet. Owners would receive guests, dine, sleep, and even make love in their opera boxes.

On the other hand, the seating could be removed from the orchestra stall area to transform it into a ball-room. After several large-scale reconstruction interventions, the last was designed by the Swiss architect Mario Botta.

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