ROME – , an Italian mezzo-soprano whose instantly recognizable voice was wildly popular with audiences, died Wednesday, La Scala opera house said. She would have turned 100 on May 12.
Simionato, a great friend of Maria Callas and the president of the Maria Callas Association, died at her home in Rome, the ANSA news agency reported, citing the director Bruno Tosi.
Simionato landed an audition at La Scala in 1933, after winning a singing competition in Florence.
Her voice though wasn't judged mature enough, so she only had secondary roles until 1947, when she was given the title role in Thomas' "Mignon." Over a 30-year career at La Scala, she sang Amneris, Eboli, Azucena, Rosina, Cenerentola, Tancredi, Cherubino, Donna Elvira, Orfeo, Ifigenia and Carmen, the opera house said.