Virginia Zeani(Zehan)

Soloist, Soprano
She was born in Romania on 21/10/1925. She also received Italian and American citizenship. She studied voice with Lucia Anghel and Lydia Lipkowska, as well as literature at the University of Bucharest. In 1947, she went to Milan to continue her studies under tenor Aureliano Pertile. She debuted in 1948 in Bologna as Violetta in [The fallen woman/La Traviata]. She became famous when she replaced Maria Callas as Elvira [The Puritans/I Puritani] (Florence, 1952). She soon began to appear in major European opera houses as in Vienna, Paris, Rome, London, Zurich, Moscow, Bucharest, Philadelpia, New York (Metropolitan Opera). At the same time she continued appearing in Italy. In 1956, she made her La Scala Milan debut as Cleopatra [Julius Caesar/[Giulio Cesare]. Her repertory included 69 roles, most of which were from the Italian bel canto repertory: Lucia [Lucia di Lammermoor], Elvira [The Puritans/I Puritani], Gilda [Rigoletto], Manon [Manon], and Margarita [Faust]. Later on she also sang more dramatic roles such as Tosca, Madama Butterfly, Manon Lescaut, Fedora and Adriana Lecouvreur in the operas of the same title, as wel as Wagner roles, such as Elsa [Lohengrin], Senta [The Flying Dutchman/Der fliegende Holländer]. She sang next to the most foremost soloists of her time. She retired in 1982. As of 1980 and for many years she taught at Indiana University (USA). She was honored by King Michael of Romania (2010) and the Italian government awarded her with the title Commendatore OMRI. Her performance as Violetta in La Traviata is considered her top recording. There are many of her recordings available (Decca, Bongiovanni, VOX/BOX, Myto, Electrocord, Hardy Classic, Giuseppe di Stefano Records and more]. She is married to Italian bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni. At the GNO she appeared as Gilda, Violetta and Mimi [La Bohéme] (1949-50).