The 27th International Opera Competition of Clermont-Ferrand will take place from 11 to 17 July, 2021
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KATIA RICCIARELLI, soprano

Katia Ricciarelli is one of the greatest sopranos of the second half of the last century and there is no field she has not been successful in (singing, directing, artistic direction, conducting/ managing a lyric academy, musicals, television fiction, cinema...). With her radiant lyric soprano voice, her sweet timbre and her lovely stage presence, she was notably one of the most touching Giulietta (I Capuleti e i Montecchi). She has a special affinity for Rossini's music, enjoying great success in such roles as Bianca (Bianca e Falliero), Elena (La donna del lago) and Amenaide (Tancredi).

Born and raised in Rovigo (Veneto), from an early age she had to face financial difficulties and blows of fate.  However, since her childhood she has shown a keen interest in singing and in order to provide for herself and finance her studies at the Benedetto Marcello Conservatory in Venice, she engaged in various occupations such as working in a record factory and performing in circus shows. At the Conservatory, she studied with the famous soprano Iris Adami Corradetti who followed her throughout her career. In 1969, after graduating, she made her stage debut in Mantua as Mimi (La Bohème by Puccini). The following year, in Siena, her appearance in Cherubini's Anacreon caused a sensation. Then, in 1969 and 1970, she won three singing competitions notably the Parma Verdi Competition and a Grand Prix at the International Verdian Voices Competition organized by the Rai.

In 1973, she sang for the first time at La Scala, and in 1974 at the Met. Since the mid-1970s, she has been a guest in all the great opera houses worldwide, including Chicago Lyric Opera for Lucrezia in I due Foscari by Verdi, Rome Opera for Giovanna d'Arco by Verdi or the Royal Opera House in London. For more than ten years, she collaborated with the Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro but also with the Salzburg Festival, the Bregenz Festival, the Verona Arena and she was also a much-requested artist in concert venues. In 1986, she gained worldwide recognition beyond the opera scene thanks to her part as Desdemona in Franco Zefirelli's film adaptation of Verdi's Othello alongside Plácido Domingo.

During her career, she sang under the direction of the most famous conductors of her time, including Claudio Abbado, Colin Davis, Gianandrea Gavazzeni, Carlo Maria Giulini, Herbert von Karajan, Carlos Kleiber, James Levine, Lorin Maazel, Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti or even Georges Prêtre.

In 1994, she was appointed chamber singer of the Vienna State Opera. Then, in 1998, she took over the direction of the Teatro Politeamo Greco in Lecce and from 2003 to 2005, she was the artistic director of the Macerata Opera Festival. Katia Ricciarelli has been immortalized in recordings for RCA, Philips / Decca, Deutsche Grammophon, Sony and more.

At the same time, she began a brilliant career as an actress, first for television series, then for auteur films. Katia Ricciarelli turned out to be a real revelation on the movie screen, notably with her performance in The Second Wedding Night by Pupi Avati, for which she won the Silver Ribbon for Best Actress in 2006.