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Frédérique Thérèse Augusta Betti
(1924-02-26)26 February 1924
|Died||13 November 1979(1979-11-13) (aged 55)
|Cause of death||Suicide|
|Burial place||Cimetière du Château|
|Education||Conservatory of Nice|
( m. 1949; his death 1976)
Freda Betti (26 February 1924 – 13 November 1979), whose birth name was Frédérique Thérèse Augusta Betti, was a French mezzo-soprano singer whose career was mainly confined to France. She left a range of recordings representative of her repertoire.
Freda Betti was born at 52 rue des Ponchettes in the district of Vieux-Nice in a modest family : her father was a house painter and her mother a fishmonger. His paternal family originates from the region of Emilia-Romagna in Italy : his grandfather was born in Parma and he immigrated to Nice with his wife and children in 1893.
She studied music and especially singing at the Conservatory of Nice with Édouard Rouard, where she obtained a Premier Prix de Chant in 1943. She made her debut at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo in 1947 as Siébel in Faust by Charles Gounod. She appeared frequently with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France of the RTF in the early 1950s, before entering the troupe of the Opéra-Comique in the 1960s. She sang the title role in particular of Carmen by Georges Bizet which she sang more than 150 times, and her repertoire also included Fricka, Brangaene, Dulcinée in Don Quichotte and Suzuki.
Betti recorded for Philips and EMI. Among published recordings she took part in were The Snow Maiden (Bobilicka), Démophon, Tosca (shepherd boy) and Philippine (Isabelle). In 1958 she recorded excerpts from Carmen with Ken Neate, Gabriel Bacquier and Andréa Guiot on Philips P 77118 L.
In the 1970s she was a vocal teacher at the Conservatory of Monaco.
Freda Betti was married on 29 October 1949 in Levallois-Perret to René Clermont (1919–1976). The couple had two children.
Her list of roles include:
- 1947: Faust by Charles Gounod – Marthe Schwertlein
- 1950: Le domino noir by Daniel Auber – Ursule
- 1951: L'ivrogne corrigé by Christoph Willibald Gluck – Mathurine
- 1952: Le joueur de flûte by Hervé – Busa
- 1952: Jenůfa by Leoš Janáček – the judge's wife
- 1953: At the Sign of the Reine Pédauque by Charles-Gaston Levadé – Jeannette
- 1954: Roméo et Juliette by Charles Gounod – Gertrude
- 1955: The Barber of Seville by Gioachino Rossini – Berta
- 1955: The Snow Maiden by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov – Bobilichka
- 1956: Le Jour et la Nuit by Charles Lecocq – Sanchette
- 1956: Le Médium by Gian Carlo Menotti – Madame Nolan
- 1956: La Périchole by Jacques Offenbach – Mastrillas, Brambilla
- 1956: Madame l’Archiduc by Jacques Offenbach – the Countess
- 1957: Gillette de Narbonne by Edmond Audran – Gillette de Narbonne
- 1957: Les bavards by Jacques Offenbach – Béatrix
- 1958: The Love for Three Oranges by Sergei Prokofiev – Linette
- 1960: Le Médecin malgré lui by Charles Gounod – Martine
- 1961: Padmâvatî by Albert Roussel – a woman of the people and the second woman of the palace
- 1961: Lavinia by Henry Barraud – Nunziatina
- 1961: Rip Van Winkle by Robert Planquette – Kate
- 1962: Orpheus in the Underworld by Jacques Offenbach – Public Opinion
- 1962: Rhodope by Louis Ganne – Nausicaa
- 1963: Giroflé-Girofla by Charles Lecocq – Aurore
- 1964: La chanson de Fortunio by Jacques Offenbach – Babet
- 1956: Le Médium (adaptation of The Medium) by Claude Loursais : Madame Nolan. (RTF)
- 1957: Les Bavards (adaptation of Les bavards) by Bronislaw Horowicz : Béatrice. (RTF)
- 1960: Le Médecin malgré lui (adaptation of Le médecin malgré lui) by Claude Loursais : Martine. (RTF)
In 1948, Freda Betti sang two songs composed by her brother Henri Betti in two radio programs broadcast on Paris Inter : Le Bonheur du Monde (lyrics by Maurice Vandair) and Je Cherche une Étoile (lyrics by René Rouzaud).
In 2018, Benoît Duteurtre hosts the radio show Étonnez-moi Benoît devoted to the career of his brother Henri Betti with the participation of his nephew and grand-nephew : François and Olivier Betti. During this radio show which is broadcast on France Musique on April 28, the host passes a sample of the opera-bouffe Le Jour et la Nuit composed in 1881 by Charles Lecocq with lyrics of Eugène Leterrier and Albert Vanloo that Freda Betti had played in 1956 as Sanchette.
- Central Opera Service bulletin, Volume 23, No. 1. (1981). Obituary: Freda Betti. p. 39
- Years of birth and death in the German National Library accessed 27 December 2014.
- Obituary for Freda Betti in Opera, Vol 31, p299, 1980. accessed 27 December 2014.
- Listing of 1955 radio recording of The Snow Maiden conducted by Charles Bruck at the Operadiscography site accessed 27 December 2014.
- Listing of 1957 studio recording of Démophon by Johann-Christoph Vogel conducted by Georges Tzipine accessed 27 December 2014
- Listing of 1960 studio recording of Tosca conducted by Manuel Rosenthal at the Operadiscography site accessed 27 December 2014.
- L'encyclopédie multimedia de la comédie musicale théâtrale en France (1918-1944), Delannoy's Philippine accessed 27 December 2014.
- Freda Betti page at the Association de l'Art Lyrique Français website accessed 13 July 2015.
- List of performances, operaclass.com
- Freda Betti on IMDb
- Freda Betti on Facebook
- Freda Betti at Find a Grave
- Freda Betti at the Bibliotheque nationale de France
- Freda Betti at the Discogs
- Freda Betti at the Gallica
- Freda Betti at the Art Lyrique Français
- Freda Betti at the Operaclass
- Freda Betti at the Les Archives du Spectacle
- Freda Betti at the La Médiathèque de l’Architecture et du Patrimoine
- Freda Betti at the Cimetières de France et d’ailleurs
- Freda Betti at the Geneastar
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