Pampanini, Rosetta

Italian soprano, 1896 - 1973

Biographical notes:

Rosetta Pampanini was born in Milan into a musical family. She initiallly trained to become a teacher but eventually decided to study voice. She was taught by the couple Emma and Lorenzo Molajoli and made her debut in 1920 at the Teatro Nazionale in Rome as Micaela. Subsequently she appeared at numerous Italian opera houses. See  -> chronology. In the first years of her career she built up her repertory under Tullio Serafinís guidance.  Of great importance was her association with Pietro Mascagni who often conducted her in his opera Iris. Pampaniniís success in the role re-established the piece from 1898 in the contemporary repertoire. Another significant mentor was Arturo Toscanini. He conducted the revival of Pucciniís Madame Butterfly at La Scala in 1925, with Rosetta Pampanini in the title role. The 12 performances turned out to be a complete triumph - not least because of the heroine whose artistry ensured that Madame Butterfly soon became one of the most popular operas. Not only did Pampanini help to establish Madame Butterfly, the role of Cio-Cio-San also made her to one of the most splendid Italian artists of the time. She remained at La Scala as long as Toscanini stayed there (until 1930),  appearing in a number of world premieres of then contemporary operas as well as in her Puccini repertoire. She also toured with the Scala ensemble. Toscanini invited her to Berlin to sing Manon Lescaut and Madame Butterfly (1929). Covent Garden saw her in her Puccini parts. From 1926 she was a regular guest at the Teatro Colůn in Buenos Aires. In the season 1931/32 she was engaged as Butterfly, Nedda and Mimž at the Chicago Opera, but was not reinvited later. Further performances at the opera houses of Vienna (1930-1932), Oslo (1933) and Prague (1935) followed. A special occasion was her performance of Mimž in a performance of La BohŤme, conducted by Pietro Mascagni in Pucciniís home town Torre del Lago. From 1937 she turned to more dramatic roles such as Leonora in La Forza del destino, Aida and Maddalena. Rosetta Pampanini bade farewell to the stage in 1946. After her retirement she worked as a singing coach and died in 1973.

Puccini, Puccini, Puccini...

As Cio-Cio-San in the triumphal revival of Pucciniís Madame Butterfly, 1925



A Singerís Career

X = Performance outside Italy                           X = First performance  


Place (opera appearances)




Micaela (debut)





Biella, Tortona, Modena, Siena

Mimž, Desdemona


Naples, Trieste, Novara

Graziosa in van Westerhoutís Colomba (Naples), Desdemona, Mimž, Iris


Biella, Novara, Catania, Bergamo, Turin, Bologna, Modena

Iris, Mimž, Il Picolo Marat (Mascagni), Elsa in Lohengrin (in Italian)


Padua, Mantova, Catania, Bergamo, Pavia, Livorno, La Scala

Desdemona, Mimž, Margherita (and Elena), Gesý in Vittadiniís Nazareth (Pavia), Cio-Cio-San, Iris


Cremona,Teatro Colůn Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, La Scala

Mimž, Iris, Nedda, Liý, Cio-Cio-San, Sonia in Pedrolloís Delitto e Castigo (at La Scala)


La Scala, Turin, Monte Carlo, Novara, Genoa, Pesaro, Cesena, Mirandola, Ostiglia

Liý, Mimž, Desdemona, Cio-Cio-San, Manon Lescaut, Nedda, Iris


Piacenza, La Scala, Brescia, Covent Garden London, Venice, Fermo

Mimž, Liý, Fior di cielo in Bianchiniís Thien-Hoa (at La Scala), La Falce (Catalani), Cio-Cio-San, Nedda, Desdemona


La Scala, Parma, Cannes, Naples, Rome, Florence, Berlin, Ravenna, San Felice sul Panaro, Cento, Biella, Pegognaga, Casalmaggiore, Bologna

Elsa, Manon Lescaut, Nedda, Desdemona, Mimž, Iris


La Scala, Genoa, Cannes, Lecce, Barcellona, Schio, Torre del Lago, Finale Emilia, Vienna State Opera, Triest, Codogno, Parma, Rome

Mimž, Cio-Cio-San, Desdemona, Maddalena, Manon Lescaut


Padua, Turin, Il Cairo, San Remo, Rome, Udine, Urbino, Vienna State Opera, Triest, Ostiglia, Livorno, Genoa, Siena, Torre del Lago, Viareggio, Naples, Reggio Emilia, Modena

Cio-Cio-San, Iris, Mimž, Maddalena


Chicago, Boston, Venice, Rovigo, Pavia, Livorno, Turin, Vienna State Opera, Genoa, Corbola, Alexandria, Montecatini, Vigevano, Asti, Rome

Mimž, Nedda, Iris, Cio-Cio-San, Maddalena, Adriana Lecouvreur


Novara, Triest, Venice, Turin, Modena, Biella, Udine, Covent Garden London, Vichy, Oslo, Corbola, Copparo, Badia Polesine, Casalmaggiore, Florence, Rome

Mimž, Wally, Manon Lescaut, Fedora, Desdemona, Cio-Cio-San, Tosca


Bari, Piacenza, Verona, San Remo, Fiume, Oslo, Noto, Vichy, Bologna, Ferrara, Forli, Livorno, Stockholm, Upsala, Copenhagen, Bari

Cio-Cio-San, Manon Lescaut, Iris, Tosca, Maddalena, Mimž


La Scala, Naples, Salerno, Venice, Padua, Prague, Genoa, Vienna (Hohe Warte), Vichy, Adria, Bologna, La Spezia, Bordeaux

Cio-Cio-San, Nedda, Mimž, Tosca, Maddalena


Novara, Madrid, Pavia, Rome, Catania, Casale Monferrato, Gallarate, Terni, Adria, Fabriano, Faenza, Fano, Pola, Triest, Viterbo, Montecatini, Asti, Bordeaux, Vercelli, Piacenza

Adriana Leucouvreur, Mimž, Cio-Cio-San, Maddalena, Iris, Tosca, Manon Lescaut, Fedora


Naples, Cremona, Venice, La Scala, Padova, Pisa, Prato, Busto Arsizio, La Spezia, Venice, Casale Monferrato, Salerno, Foggia, Taranto, Petenza, Ancona, Rodi, Porto Recanati, Montecatini, Bologna, Rovigo, Monza, San Severo

Cio-Cio-San, Mimž, Iris, Maddalena, Tosca, Manon Lescaut


Bari, Venice, Turin, Catania, Oporto, Treviso, San Giovanni Valdarno, Ancona, Triest, Montecatini, Zurich , Belgrad , Modena, Genoa

Cio-Cio-San, Maddalena, Mimž, Tosca, Maddalena, Leonora (Forza)


Padua, Valdagno, Cagliari, Sassari, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Gorizia, Naples, Zara, Viterbo, Salso Maggiore, Como, Livorno, Bergamo, Ferrara, Tortona, Perugia, Foligno, Ravenna, Livorno, Florence

Mimž, Cio-Cio-San, Maddalena, Elena, Santuzza, Tosca


Foggia, Madrid, Genova, Rome, Civitavecchia, Naples, Rimini, Turin, Intra, Pordenone, Como, Vercelli, Casale Montferato, La Scala, Fiume, Florence

Tosca, Santuzza, Mimž, Cio-Cio-San, Iris, Wally, Manon Lescaut, Desdemona


Turin, Rome, Naples, San Remo, Savona, Varese, Imperia, Bari, Barcellona, Saragoza, Freiburg, Crema, La Spezia, Pesaro, Ancona, Tirana, Pisa, Martina Franca, Biella

Cio-Cio-San, Maddalena, Elena, Mimž, Santuzza, Tosca


Rome, Bari, Turin, Lonigo, Livorno, Triest, Ascoli Piceno, Catania, Trento

Cio-Cio-San, Tosca, Fedora, Wally, Maddalena, Mimž, Santuzza


Florence, Venice, Carpi, Adria, Ferrara, Fidenza, Pietra Santa, Castelmassa, Voghera, Milan (Teatro Nuovo)

Cio-Cio-San, Mimž, Maddalena, Santuzza


Padua, Busto Arsizio, Pavia, Verona, Adria

Santuzza, Tosca, Cio-Cio-San





Montecatini, Bellinzona (Switzerland)

Mimž, Tosca, Santuzza


Pescara, Livorno



As Tosca (left) and Mimž (right)


The young Rosetta Pampanini



La Voce e líArte di Rosetta Pampanini (wonderful edition, beautiful booklet in Italian, 200 pages, pictures)

TIMAClub (4 CD)

Recital (Arias of Gounod, Catalani, Giordano, Puccini, Zandonai, Pietri, Mascagni, Wagner, Verdi)


Leoncavallo - I Pagliacci (Molajoli 1930/Merli, Nessi, Galeffi, Vanelli)


Puccini - La BohŤme (Molajoli 1928/Marini, Vanelli, Baracchi, Pasero, Baccaloni, Nessi)


Puccini - Madame Butterfly (Molajoli 1928/Granda, Velasquez, Vanelli)


Dino Borgoli (Duets)


Fernando Ciniselli (Duets)


Carlo Galeffi Vol. 2 (Duets)


Alessandro Granda (Duets)


Covent Garden on Record Vol. 4


Great Voices at Teatro in Turin


La Scala di Toscanini 1921-1929

Grammofono 2000

Souvenirs from Verismo Operas Vol. 4


Mike Richterís Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 3



As Maddalena de Coigny with Beniamino Gigli in ďAndrea ChťnierĒ


As Santuzza


As Nedda


Rosette Pampanini was one of the most interesting and prolific Italian sopranos  of the ďveristic periodĒ. The operas by Puccini, Giordano, Cilea, Leoncavallo, Mascagni, Montemezzi and Zandonai demand for singers who are able to perform with strong sensitivity and rhetorical ability. Sopranos like Poli-Randaccio, dalla Rizza, Cobezzi, Oltrabella, Bruna Rasa, Favero, Cervi Caroli, Melis, Cigna, Zamboni, Scacciati, Tassinari etc. had much personality, but unfortunately, many of them lacked a sufficient singing technique. There was a little conception of legato, enunciation was affected and often unclear, the registers were not fully equalized, the chest register was carried up to G, the middle register remained comparatively weak, and to compensate for this they had a tendency to use too forceful an attack.

Rosetta Pampanini, like so many of her contemporaries, could not always resist the temptation to hoist the chest too high, but however, her singing had character with a variety of color and expression. She was one of the few sopranos of her generation who resisted the emphatic delivery including sobs and sighs.

The following file is one of Pampaniniís finest and most expressive achievements:

 Vissi díarte (Title role in Tosca / Puccini / Columbia 1939)


Chronology and all pictures - La Voce e LíArte di Rosetta Pampanini, TIMAClub Vol 4