Maria Antonietta Sighele

  • Marie-Antoinette-Sighele-
  • sieghele-wm
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  • Madama Butterfly

When I wrote the first few lines on the completely unknowm 'Maria Antonietta' Sighele, my words spelled that nothing was known of her, apart from two or three lines devoted to her during the International Vocal Competition Den Bosch in 1958. Leo Hanekroot wrote in De Tijd that her second prize must have been awarded to her on the grounds of her technique, since she was still far from an accomplished interpreter. He actually wrote that Sighele's recital of Cacchini's 'Amarilli' was 'truly ugly.' Things must have improved tremendously in the few days from there to her appearance at the Final IVC Concert where Sighele's 'Un bel dì vedremo' from Madama Butterfly won her the favor of the public, per F.H. in an unknown newspaper: 'The way in which she perfumed this touching elegy drew a hurricane of applause from the audience.'

Text: RS
Photos: 401DutchDivas archives & Operanostalgia/Rudi van den Bulck

Through a miracle, we were able to secure the larger part of the 1958 IVC Final Concert within our own archives, and therefore we are now able to present you the debut of this star in the making that hitherto has been completely overlooked in the IVC history:

Puccini: Madama Butterfly 'Un bel di vedremo'
Maria Antonietta Sighele
Brabants Orkest - Hein Jordans, September 13, 1958

Admittedly, Jordans conducts slower than even Giuseppe Sinopoli in Butterfly, but here it is, a true lyric verismo voice, with emotional intensity and a quick, flicker vibrato in the lineage of Maria Farneti to Magda Olivero. Yes, she isn't yet a complete 'interpreter' in what is practically her debut before any audience.  Apart from that it should be pointed out that few soprano's can quite hit the mark on the conclusive note of this aria, whereas Sighele nails it like a resolute whip lash. After that, nothing more was heard of the charming young 'Maria Antonietta' , until... I found an intriguing picture in a scrapbook that I inherited from 401DutchDivas founding father Joop Lindeijer. It featured a radiantly beautiful young soprano named MIETTA Sighele... The beauty mark just above her upper lip left no doubt and a few hours later, after contacting her, I received this reply:

'Dear Mr. Seghers... I confirm you that I am the same Mietta (Maria Antonietta) Sighele who you are speaking of! It was a big and nice surprise to receive information about the competition DEN BOSCH, which I attended as a participant in 1958. You must know that this was my first Competition and since then my career has been very long. For this reason, it is very sweet for me to get back with the memories to that time of my life!!! After a 40 years career spent on the most important theatres of the world, at the moment I am the artistic director of Musica Riva Festival – an international meeting of young musicians and of the International Competition for young opera singers Riccardo Zandonai, which take place in Riva del Garda, in Trentino, Italy every year. 20 years ago I was asked to found the Riccardo Zandonai Competition, together with my husband, the tenor Veriano Luchetti, with the aim to promote and give the right importance to Riccardo Zandonai, the well known composer born in the same town where I was born, Rovereto.'

Together with Miss. Sighele we are currently preparing a feature portrait on her.