In the early nineteenth century, composers commissioned to write new operas received from the impresario a list of the singers in the solo ensemble so that that the parts might be written to suit them. The rise of bel canto
consequently had a lot to do with the vocal potential of the female singers who were to play the title roles – the great prima donnas of the day. The opere serie
Rossini wrote in Naples represent milestones in the development of bel canto
. They were all written for Isabella Colbran, and they owed their great success in no small degree to her exceptional voice and expressive singing. Colbran was a mezzo-soprano with an exceptional high register.
The mezzo-soprano Viviana Araiza Staffini was born in Munich and spent part of her childhood in the USA and Italy. She studied at the Munich College of Music and completed her studies at the International Opera Studio of the Zurich Opera House.
A key role in her career was Bizet’s Carmen, with which she, with the Sapporo Symphony Orchestra, made her Japanese debut to great acclaim in 1990. Mozart is also prominent in her repertoire, and Riccardo Muti called her to La Scala in Milan in the role of Vitellia in La clemenza di Tito. She has also gained acclaim on the concert stage and often performs at venues like the Cologne Philharmonie, the Alte Oper in Frankfurt and the Dresden Philharmonie.