- Category : Entertain-Music-Vocalist-Opera
- Type : GE
- Profile : 2/5 - Hermit / Heretic
- Definition : Split - Small (19,30,39,59)
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Planning 1
Italian opera singer, a lyric soprano. Freni is able to convey great depth of emotion and intelligence on the international operatic stage.
She was born into a poor family in Modena, Italy. Her mother worked at the same tobacco factory as Luciano Pavarotti's mother and the two babies shared the same wet nurse in Modena. At 12, she sang for the legendary Beniamino Gigli at a national Italian contest and won first prize with "Un bel di" from Madame Butterfly. Her grandmother influenced Freni's love of music. At 13 and 14, the young girl would stand in line for eight, nine, ten hours to get tickets to the opera for herself and her grandmother. She refused to study or go to school if the opera was open in town.
In 1955, she made her opera debut in her hometown opera house in Modena singing the role of Micaela in Bizet's "Carmen." Her lyric soprano voice was suited for her early success in Mozart roles. Her voice lost its sweet, light sound and blossomed when she began to sing the heavier roles like Verdi's "Desdemonia."
In 1963, Franco Zeffirelli and conductor Herbert von Karajan placed her in the role of Mimi in "La Boheme" and it shot her to stardom. She toured with von Karajan and the company all over the European opera houses and starred in the feature film of the opera. She continued to play the role of Mimi and work closely with conductor von Karajan. She sang at La Scala and was a sensation when she took over the role in Handel's "Serse" from Renata Scotto. Until the late '60s, he worked at the New York Met. In 1970 to 1981, Freni concentrated on performing at La Scala, Vienna and the Salzburg Festival singing renditions of Mozart, Verdi, Puccini and Bizet. A public career crisis occurred in 1964 when she was booed after Act I of "La Traviata" at La Scala. It was the first production of the opera after Maria Callas.
Opera singers Beverly Sills and Renata Tebaldi and friends Claudio Abbado and Riccardo Mutti have nothing but praise for Freni's operatic style of conveying a certain word or phrase with a special intonation.
Freni dated her first husband Leone Magiera when she was 13 and he was 14. He was an aspiring conductor and then married on 6/20/1955. She left the opera stage to give birth to daughter, Micaela. Freni wanted to stay home and take care of her child, but she had a thriving career and the opera stages were booked. She met her second husband Bulgarian bass, Nicolai Ghiaurov while they performed together in Genoa in "Faust." They discovered their feelings for each other in 1976 and in 1977 she divorced Magiera. She married Ghiaurov and he encouraged her as his wife to sing Tchaikovsky's "Eugene Onegin" and "The Queen of Spades" in Russian.
Freni is called "Cha-Cha" by her friends and family. She remains close to Luciano Pavarotti, keeping a relationship like brother and sister. She is guarded and distant to strangers and the media but demonstrative to the fans that wait for her at the stage door. She signs autographs and converses with her audience, remembering the days when she waited to catch a glimpse or capture an autograph of her favorite singers at the opera house in Modena.