Marianne Cornetti

Marianne Cornetti* is internationally recognized as one of the leading Verdi mezzo-sopranos of her generation. She has appeared as Amneris in Aida, Azucena in Il Trovatore, Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, and Princess Eboli in Don Carlos at prestigious opera houses across the world, garnering rave reviews and winning the hearts of audiences globally. Opera Magazine claims, “If her timbre did not sear itself into the memory, her vocal command of this redoubtable role was complete” and Seen and Heard International raves, “[Her] voice is a miracle of power and flexibility from top to bottom. It is the emotion which she imparts into her singing, however, that makes her Azucena so memorable… Cornetti imbues each [role] with an emotional force all its own… The cheers and applause that rained down upon her at the end were well deserved.”

Acclaimed performances of iconic leading Verdi roles include engagements as Azucena in Il Trovatore at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, Metropolitan Opera, Arena di Verona, Bregenz Festival, Teatro Comunale in Florence, National Theatre of China in Beijing, Teatro Muncipal in Sao Paulo, Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Gran Teatre del Liceu, Bavarian State Opera in Munich, La Coruña in Spain, Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv, Teatro Regio in Parma, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, and in the Teatro Comunale di Bologna’s tour in Japan, and as Amneris in Aida at the Teatro alla Scala, Hamburg State Opera, Vienna State Opera, Deutsche Oper Berlin, New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, Theatre Royale de La Monnaie in Brussels, Israeli Opera at Masada, Teatro Massimo in Palermo, Teatro Carlo Felice in Genoa, Auditorio de Tenerife, and Choregies D’Orange.

The 2018-2019 season will see her at as The Witch in Humperdink’s Hansel and Gretel with Pittsburgh Opera, as Amneris  in Verdi’s Aida with Opera Naples and The Opéra Royal de Wallonie in Belgium; and as the gypsy Azucena in Verdi’s Il Trovatore with the National China Performing Arts (NCPA). Engagements in the 2017-2018 season included performances as Princess de Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur at the Teatro Massimo of Palermo; Gianni Schicchi and L’enfant e les Sortiléges with the Seiji Ozawa Music Academy Opera Project in Kyoto, Tokyo, and Nagoya, Japan; Un Ballo in Maschera with the Bolshoi Theatre; and a chamber concert at the UK’s North Norfolk Music Festival with violist Simon Rowland-Jones and pianist Gary Matthewman in songs by Brahms, Schumann, and Copland.

Highlights of Cornetti’s recent engagements include her debut as Princess Eboli in Verdi’s Don Carlos in Tokyo as well as acclaimed performances in Parma, Bilbao, Rome, Vienna, and London; Un ballo in maschera at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden; her debut as Dame Quickly in Falstaff at the Palacio de la Ópera in La Coruña, Spain, followed by a reprisal of the role at the San Diego Opera; Fidès in Le prophete at the Aalto-Musiktheater Essen; Jezibaba in Rusalka and The Witch in Hansel and Gretel at the Minnesota Opera; Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, Laura in La Gioconda, and Ulrica in Un ballo in maschera with the Deutsche Oper Berlin; Preziosilla in La Forza del Destino at Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, La Monnaie in Brussels, and at Carnegie Hall in New York City; as the title role in La Gioconda at the Rome Opera and Romanian National Opera; and Abigaille in Nabucco at the New National Theatre Foundation in Tokyo, La Monnaie in Brussels, and at the Metropolitan Opera.

In 2005, Cornetti sang her first Wagnerian role, appearing as Ortrud in Lohengrin at the Teatro Giuseppe Verdi in Trieste. She continued her excursion into this repertoire with her debut as Brangäne in Tristan und Isolde at the Teatro dell’Opera di Roma and has since sung the role of Ortrud in Amsterdam, Paris, Sao Paolo, and Palermo, and has appeared as Brangäne in Genoa. Cornetti’s verismo repertoire includes Santuzza in Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, which she performed at Teatro alla Scala; Princess de Bouillon in Adriana Lecouvreur at the Teatro di San Carlo, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Teatro Regio in Turin, Opera di Firenze, and Dutch National Opera; and Rosa in Cilea’s L’Arlesiana, which she sang to great acclaim at the L’Opera de Montpellier and at Carnegie Hall with the Opera Orchestra of New York.

She appears frequently in concert in such works as Verdi’s Requiem, Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Rossini’s Stabat Mater, Elgar’s Sea Picture and De Falla’s El Amor Brujo. She has recorded Cilea’s L’Arlesiana and Puccini’s Edgar opposite Plácido Domingo and was recently featured on a Teatro Regio di Parma recording of Verdi’s Don Carlo released in 2017 on the Dynamic record label.

Cornetti began her professional career singing supporting roles in such important theaters as the Metropolitan Opera, Pittsburgh Opera and Wolf Trap Opera.

*North America Representation

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Current & Upcoming Performances

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Pittsburgh Opera’s Hansel & Gretel is a family-friendly affair
Marianne Cornetti’s whimsical portrayal of the witch is worth the price of admission
By Lisa Cunningham of Pittsburgh City Paper – November 6, 2018

“The true standout performance of the evening, however, was undoubtedly Marianne Cornetti as the witch. She doesn’t sing until the third act, but with just a strut across the stage early on, she receives gasps of joy from the audience. When the children finally make their way to her gingerbread house, Cornetti is radiant. Her whimsical portrayal of the witch is worth the price of admission, her over-the-top dramatic gestures the perfect fit for a fairy tale villain.”

By Robert Croan of the Pittsburgh Post gazette – November 5, 2018

“Marianne Cornetti, a Pittsburgh Favorite who sings the big Wagner and Verdi parts all over the world, stole the show as the Witch, even though her character doesn’t sing until late in the opera. She has a formidable stage persona with voice to match. She was funny, forbidding and altogether riveting in conveying the evil glee of anticipating backing the youngsters into her dinner.”

Une Adriana Lecouvreur triomphale à l’Opéra de Monte-Carlo
By Emmanuel Andrieu, Opera Online – November 26, 2017

“…Marianne Cornetti – who had electrified us in the embodiment of Fidès (in “Le Prophète”) at the Opera of Essen last April – lifts again our enthusiasm in that of the terrifying Princess of Bouillon, to whom she confers a disturbing presence: more feline and nasty than when the role is confided to singers beyond their prime, this rival stands out as a leading role, by rebalancing the dramatic axes of the libretto.”


Roberto Alagna et Barbara Frittoli, couple resplendissant dans “Adriana Lecouvreur” à Monaco!
By Caroline Boudet-Lefort, Art Cote de Azur – November 19, 2017

“…mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti superbly interprets her role. The whole cast is first class.”


VERDI Don Carlo. Il Trovatore
By Hugo Shirley, Gramophone– October 6, 2017

“Marianne Cornetti gives us an imposing, powerfully sung Eboli.”


Gregory Kunde dio brillo al arranque del curso lírico
By Anton di Santiago, La Voz de Galicia – September 3, 2017

“Marianne Cornetti, maga Ulrica, cuya hermosa voz de mezzo verdiana y su categoría interpretativa le permitieron crear un personaje convincente.” / Marianne Cornettie, magician Ulrica, whose beautiful mezzo-soprano voice and interpretive acting allowed her to create a convincing character.”


Een heet operadrama waar de Spanjaarden wel paella van lusten
By Peter vander Lint, Trouw – July 30, 2017

“But the main reason to go to Barcelona was to see Marianne Cornetti as Azucena. After her unforgettable Fidès in Essen, she again portrayed and sang a mother figure of great allure. Cornetti sang in an interesting production of Joan Anton Rechi. Cornetti really has no competition in this role. When this Azucena sings about the execution of her mother, the hairs on your arms stand up. And when she proposes her son return to Biscaya, there’s nothing left to do but cry silently. And of course, that royal and voluminous sound! The Spaniards adore it, like their paella. And so do I.”

Il trovatore culmina la temporada liceísta
By Ovidi de Cardona, Doce Notas – July 25, 2017

“Among the female protagonists undoubtedly reigned the colossal Azucena by Marianne Cornetti , overwhelming on the scene and endowed with a powerful vocal instrument, cleverly exploited.”


Joan Anton Rechi Propone Un “Trovatore” Inspirado En Goya El Liceo
By Alejandro Martínez, Platea Magazine – July 24, 2017

“From the cast of this occasion, the most complete and overwhelming artist was undoubtedly the American mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti. Although somewhat bitter material, by timbre and color, she is an astute and skilled interpreter, capable of intense and vibrant phrasing…And we must take off our hats in any case before a lady who sings with that delivery eight times in just twelve days.”


Thrilling Le Prophète in Essen
By Laura Roling, Operatics– April 14, 2017

“The equally large role of Fidès requires a mezzo-soprano/alto with a wide range and a lot of vocal power. Marianne Cornetti, costumed as a somewhat suffocating but homely matron, sounded wonderfully warm throughout, and her voice seemed able to meet the role’s high demands tirelessly.”


Meyerbeers Prophète triomfeert in Essen
By Lennaert von Anken, Placer de Opera – April 11, 2017

“The biggest surprise came from the fides of mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti…She was with her immense voice superior in the coronation scene…With ease she sang her beautiful low to its higher echelons. A unique singer. The star of the evening.”


BWW Review: San Diego Opera’s FALSTAFF a Moveable Feast
By Erica Miner, Broadway World – February 20, 2017

“…mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti won over the audience (and this reviewer) with her hilarious rendition of the pivotal Mistress Quickly. The difficulties of the role, with its many notes in the low register and physically challenging split-second timing, are often overlooked; Cornetti made it look and sound easy, with consistently rich tones and expertly played shenanigans.”


Review: A Fun-filled, Fast-paced, Finely Cast “Falstaff” – San Diego Opera, February 18, 2017
By William Burnett, Opera War Horses – February 19, 2017

“Mistress Quickly is an ‘over the top’ role, which mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti pursued with relish. It’s been a decade since I saw Cornetti as Azucena in this theater. Her Quickly, much of whose role lies low in the mezzo register, proved to be another impressive achievement in Verdian singing.”


De Verdi a Broadway en A Coruña en el recital de Gregory Kunde y Marianne Cornetti
by Daniel Diz, Opera World – August 30, 2016

“Marianne Cornetti is a vocal prodity. The authentic timber of a mezzo, a round natural lower register, a voice rich in nuance and harmonics, with a magnificent sharp sound and a complete homogenized voice in all of its registers, these are the hallmarks of this singer…Not many mezzos have these qualifications, vocally and technically, as this North American singer.”


Il Trovatore Review
by Yehuda Shapiro, Opera Magazine– May 1, 2016

“Marianne Cornetti has sung the role more than 180 times and put all her experience into a detailed, moving characterization, astutely judged for the concert stage. If her timbre did not sear itself into the memory, her vocal command of this redoubtable role was complete.”


Stellar Soloists Lift Verdi Requiem with Boston Philharmonic
by David Wright, Boston Classical Review – April 25, 2016

“For most of its course, this work seemed to “star” the mezzo-soprano soloist as the bearer of most of its message. Mezzo Cornetti rose to the role with fine, arching lines, her voice consistent in quality from the highest to lowest notes and in all dynamics from tenderest.”


At it hammer and tongs: Chelsea Opera Group’s Il trovatore at Cadogan Hall
by Dominic Lowe, BachTrack – February 29, 2016

“In Marianne Cornetti, we had a sensational Azucena. She has sung the role throughout the world and her assumption of the part at this performance was total. She delivered a masterclass in concert performance: singing entirely from memory, she dominated the stage, writhing and glaring and somehow making one forget that Azucena must win the prize for worst mother in the whole of opera. Her voice is enormous…and her higher register remains as fresh as ever. Cornetti handled the top notes with ease, displaying fine breath control and particularly exquisite raw colouring at the lower levels.”


Il Trovatore Review
by Hugh Canning, Sunday Times – February 29, 2016

“Marianne Cornetti, a big-voiced American who has sung Amneris at Covent Garden, was the audience’s favourite for her barnstorming style, tempered, admittedly, with some delicacy in Ai nostri monti.”


Lush Rusalka Delights (Minnesota Opera)
by Lydia Lunning, Twin Cities Arts Reader – January 24, 2016

“Marianne Cornetti vacillates between charmingly batty and actually terrifying to great effect, with a commanding mezzo-soprano.”


Marianne Cornetti ̶ The 10th Anniversary Concert
Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall, Carnegie, Pennsylvania,
Seen and Heard International – November 5, 2015

“Cornetti opened the recital with “Dich, teure Halle” from Tannhäuserin tribute to the hall. A true dramatic mezzo soprano, Cornetti has an easy, thrilling upper extension to her voice, and gave a vibrant, ringing account of this Wagner favorite. She is an opera singer and makes no bones about it, devoting the first half of the recital entirely to arias. “Strida la vampa” and “Condotta ell’era in ceppi” from Il Trovatore and “Entweihte Götter” from Lohengrin are among Cornetti’s calling cards in opera houses around the world. (She just returned from a triumphant run of Ortruds in São Paulo, Brazil). All were beautifully sung, but the two highlights were “Voi lo sapete” from Cavalleria Rusticana and the seldom heard, but oft recorded, “Ô ma lyre immortelle” from Gounod’s Sapho.”


Il Trovatore: gran fiesta vocal verdiana en La Coruña
by Jose M. Irurzun, Beckmesser– September 4, 2015

“Marianne Cornetti has always made the role of Azucena her workhouse and this is not an exception. She delivers the character from Stride la Vampa through the Sei vendicata, or mother with great intensity, reaching the audience easily. It’s true that Azucena as happens with Liu or Micaela always triumphs in the minds of the audience, but Cornetti did this very well.”


El triunfo de la vocalidad
by Julian Carrillo, El Pais – September 4, 2015

“…the biggest ovations were received by Marianne Cornetti, whose Azucena took on a generous vocalism of phrasing and facial and bodily gestures full of dramatic force.”


Il TrovatoreReview
National Center for the Performing Arts, Beijing, China
China Daily– July 27, 2015+

“Acclaimed as “Specialized Households of Azucena”, the American mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti gained once again the full-house applause with her Drama Bones in Last night’s Il Trovatore. “Stride la vampa ” revealed the twisted world inside this women’s heart. Hearing that aria by such incredible and powerful voice of Cornetti’s, the audiences were deeply dragged into her world and the misterious fate of Azucena’s captured all of them.”


SDO Again Proves Itself Worthy of “Must-See” Status
LA Opusby Erica Miner – April 19, 2015

“Equally lush was Marianne Cornetti’s voice in the mezzo-soprano tour de force aria from Saint-Saëns’ Samson et Dalila, presented to its best advantage in its lower and middle range. She showed great dramatic flair in the duet from Verdi’s Don Carlo…”


Un Ballo in Maschera
Opera News by George Hall – December 18, 2014

“Marianne Cornetti’s convincing lower register helped her access all the notes in Ulrica’s part with a satisfyingly forceful impact, and she was distinctly game in her less than entirely serious characterization.”


Minnesota Opera puts a sweet spin on “Hansel and Gretel”
TC Daily Planet by Basil Considine – November 5, 2014

“Once she dons her witch-clown garb, Cornetti dazzles vocally and visually as she twirls malevolently around the stage.”


Minnesota Opera’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’ review: Dark yet delicious
St. Paul Pioneer Press by Rob Hubbard – November 2, 2014

“Yet the strongest voice in the production belongs to mezzo Marianne Cornetti, who holds down two roles. Yes, she’s the witch in the final act, but her version of Hansel and Gretel’s mother is even scarier, for she displays the earmarks of an abusive parent, the kind of loose cannon who inspires considerably more fear than affection in her children. By contrast, Cornetti’s witch is clad in a bright yellow, red-polka-dotted “Pagliacci”-style clown outfit that makes her none too daunting. Once we’re in her kitchen — which she commandeers as if hosting a cooking show — it never feels as if a happy ending is too far away.”


Pittsburgh Opera opens season in ‘Grand and Glorious’ fashion
Pittsburgh Tribune Review by Mark Kanny – October 19, 2014

“Dramatic mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti began with an intense account of “Voi lo sapete” from Pietro Mascagni’s “Cavalleria Rusticana,” and was in superb voice throughout.”


A night of intrigue and outrage: La Giocondaat the Deutsche Oper
Bachtrackby Christie Franke – February 5, 2014

“As Laura, his lover, Marianne Cornetti owned the role of this noble woman in an unhappy marriage, her voice big and full, rising effortlessly to the challenge of her arias and ensembles. The cat fight with Gioconda over Enzo, “E un anatema!… L’amo come il fulgor creato”, was particularly well-rendered.”


Graham Vick’s Nabuccorelocates to modern Tokyo
Bachtrackby Nahoko Gotoh – June 01, 2013

“Musically, the production was generally strong with excellent singing especially from mezzo-soprano Marianne Cornetti (Abigaille)… Cornetti sang with power and consistency across the vocal range – equally at ease in her vengeance cabaletta in Act II and her moving final aria of repentance.”