Item 60 - Miggiani, Antoinette

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MT NAM-RABAT PHO-2-60

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Miggiani, Antoinette

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The leading Maltese dramatic soprano of her generation, Miggiani was born in Sliema in 1937. She obtained her LRSM in both piano and singing, followed by scholarships at the Royal Academy of Music and the National School of Opera. At twenty-two Miggiani won the first prize at the Liverpool International Competition, outsinging competitors like Gywenyth Jones.
This led to her contract at Covent Garden in 1961/62 and extensive coaching with Dame Eva Turner. For productions of Der Rosenka wailer as the Duenna, and La Forza Del Destino as Leonora, she worked amongst others with Carlo Bergonzi, Nikolai Ghiaurov, Elizabeth Schwarzkopf and Sir George Solti. Other performances in London included, the Countess in Berkley’s A Dinner Engagement; Magda Sorrel in Menotti’s The Consul; Julietta in Tales of Hoffman; Leonora in La Forza Del Destlno for the BBC under the baton of Vic Oliver, and Elizabeth in Don Carlos for the Arts Council of Great Britain.
In Malta, Miggiani sang C’avalleria Rustlcana and La Forza Del Destino during the 1963 and 1965 seasons with Impresa Cantoni. She sang twice for Royalty, in 1967 for Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh, and in 1970 for the Prince of Wales as part of the Bicentenary Celebrations of the University of Malta. Between 1964-1966 Miggiani collaborated with Mario Macchio of La MI and Enrico Piazza of La Scala. In 1968-69 she toured the United States, performing in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Florida. Prof. R. Gleason of Fordham University described her as ‘a dramatic soprano of extraordinary ability, ranking with Regine Crespin and Birgit Nilsson’. Highlighting her tour was her singing of Maddalena in Giordano’s Andrea Chenier opposite tenors Franco Corelli, at the Seattle Opera House.
Miggiani was also auditioned by Tito Capobianco, principal conductor at the Metropolitan Opera House, who was enthused by ‘this new dramatic voice’ and planned to replace the MET’s retiring dramatic soprano Zinka Milanov. Nine months later, however, when her contract was ready to be concluded, Antoinette decided to give it up to care for her sick parents.
Miggiani continued singing in Malta, performing the requiems of Verdi, Mozart, Elgar, Rossini and Nani; Dvorak’s Sta bat Mafer, Gounod’s Messe Solennelle Ste Cecile, and Vivaldi’s Gloria. She premiered Pace’s L’Ipogeana, and Camilleri’s Pawlu ta’ Malta, sang her standard operatic repertoire and Purcell’s Dido and Aneanas. In constant demand for recitals by Diplomatic Corps she is, in fact credited with having pioneered lieder singing on the island. Simultaneously she devoted a lot of time to coaching singers, an art which she professes to the present day, with extraordinary results.
Miggiani was awarded the medal of Merit of the Confederation of Councils (Malta) (1970) and the Malta Cultural Award by the Ministry of Education (1988). In 1981 she was elected Associate of the Royal Academy of Music for achieveing distinction in her profession. In 2001 she was conferred with MQR (Medalja ghall-Qadi tar-Repubblika) in recognition of her achievements in the art of performing and teaching.

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