Catherine Malfitano

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Strasbourg, Opéra National du Rhin, Catherine Malfitano as Violetta. Director Jean-Pierre Ponnelle, 1980.

Catherine Malfitano (born 18 April 1948) is an American operatic soprano and opera director. Malfitano was born in New York City, the daughter of a ballet dancer mother, Maria Maslova, and a violinist father, Joseph Malfitano. She attended the High School of Music and Art and studied at the Frank Corsaro Studio and the Manhattan School of Music, graduating in 1971.[1]

Operatic career[edit]

Malfitano made her professional singing debut in 1972 at the Central City Opera playing the role of Nannetta in Verdi's Falstaff. She soon appeared with Minnesota Opera, where she sang in the world premiere of Conrad Susa's Transformations and, in 1974 at New York City Opera, in La bohème, as Mimi. She then appeared with the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1975) and at the Royal Opera House (1976) and in other major European opera houses.[1] In 1978, Malfitano achieved wider recognition in a telecast of Gian Carlo Menotti's The Saint of Bleecker Street from NYCO, playing Annina.[2]

Since then, Malfitano has sung at the major opera houses throughout the world, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York City, Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Royal Opera House in London, Théâtre du Châtelet in Paris, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie in Brussels, Grand Théâtre de Genève in Geneva, Teatro Comunale in Florence, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Berlin State Opera, Wiener Staatsoper in Vienna, Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich, Paris Opéra, Hamburgische Staatsoper in Hamburg, De Nederlandse Opera in Amsterdam as well as the Lyric Opera of Chicago, the San Francisco Opera, the Los Angeles Opera, the Houston Grand Opera and the Salzburg Festival.[3]

One of Malfitano's best-known roles is the title role in the opera Tosca, for which she won an Emmy Award in 1992, performing opposite Plácido Domingo as Mario Cavaradossi and Ruggero Raimondi as Scarpia. The opera was broadcast live from the actual Roman settings of the opera and viewed by viewers worldwide. She is also associated with the title role in Richard Strauss's Salome, notably for performing the "Dance of the Seven Veils" ending the dance completely nude, a rarity in opera.[4] She was also fully naked as Jenny in Kurt Weill's Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt Mahagonny (Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny).

Throughout her career, Malfitano has championed the music of American composers, including Carlisle Floyd, William Bolcom, Conrad Susa and Thomas Pasatieri.[2]

In 2005, Malfitano started a second career as an opera director, with a Madama Butterfly for Central City Opera (the company with which she made her professional singing debut in 1972). Since then, she has created productions for La Monnaie, Florida Grand Opera, Washington National Opera, San Francisco Opera's Merola programme, English National Opera, the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Canadian Opera Company.[5]

She is currently a member of the voice faculty at Manhattan School of Music.


She has sung over 70 roles throughout her career and continues to add more in her repertoire. Her repertory includes:

Richard StraussSalomeSalome
Claudio MonteverdiL'incoronazione di PoppeaPoppea
Francesco CavalliL'OrmindoErisbe
Gian Carlo MenottiThe Saint of Bleecker StreetAnnina
Christoph Willibald GluckOrfeo ed EuridiceEuridice
Kurt WeillDie DreigroschenoperPolly Peachum
Street SceneAnna Maurrant and Rose
Aufstieg und Fall der Stadt MahagonnyJenny
Gaetano DonizettiLucia di LammermoorLucia
Engelbert HumperdinckHänsel und GretelGretel
Ludwig van BeethovenFidelioMarzelline and Leonore
Francis PoulencLes Mamelles de TirésiasThérèse
Wolfgang Amadeus MozartDie Entführung aus dem SerailKonstanze
La clemenza di TitoServillia
Le nozze di FigaroSusanna
Don GiovanniZerlina and Donna Elvira
Samuel BarberAntony and CleopatraCleopatra
Dmitri ShostakovichLady Macbeth of the Mtsensk DistrictKaterina Lvovna Izmailova
Gioachino RossiniIl Turco in ItaliaFiorilla
Leoš JanáčekThe Makropulos AffairEmilia Marty
JenůfaKostelnička Buryjovka
Jacques OffenbachLes Contes d'HoffmannThe three leading female roles
Giacomo PucciniIl tabarroGiorgetta
Suor AngelicaSister Angelica
Gianni SchicchiLauretta
ToscaFloria Tosca
La bohèmeMimi
Madama ButterflyCio-Cio-San
Jules MassenetManonManon
Giuseppe VerdiMacbethLady Macbeth
La traviataVioletta Valery
William BolcomA View from the BridgeBeatrice
Alban BergLuluLulu
Charles GounodRomeo et JulietteJuliette

Selected discography[edit]




External links[edit]