Have you noticed how many great singers come from Romania? Virginia Zeani is one of them. She was born Virginia Zehan, on the 21st October 1925, in Solovastru, a village in central Transylvania.
Zeani made her debut when she was 23 as Violetta in Bologna (indented for Margherita Carossio). That role would become her trademark. There is a costly anecdote about her debut in Covent Garden: it was in 1960 and she was a last minute replacement for Joan Sutherland, who became ill. She arrived late in the afternoon and there was hardly time to try on the costume. Before she went on stage, she asked very quickly: ‘Which of the gentlemen is my Alfredo?
In 1952, again at short notice she replaced Maria Callas as Elvira in i Puritani in the Teatro Communale in Florence, conducted by Tullio Serafin.
The soprano sang no less than 69 roles, including many world premieres. In 1957 she created the role of Blanche in Dialogues des carmélites by Poulenc.