Freda Betti

Freda Betti
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
Residence Levallois-Perret
Nationality French
Education Conservatory of Nice
Occupation Opera singer
Singing teacher
Years active 1947–1979
Notable work
René Clermont
( m. 1949; his death 1976)
Children 2

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.[1] 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.[2]

She studied music and especially singing at the Conservatory of Nice with Édouard Rouard,[3] 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.[3] 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.[3]

Betti sang on major national stages[1] (Nantes, Nice, Strasbourg, Toulouse) and European (Monte-Carlo, La Scala), as well as in numerous opera festivals, including Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Bayreuth.

Betti recorded for Philips and EMI.[3] Among published recordings she took part in were The Snow Maiden (Bobilicka),[4] Démophon,[5] Tosca (shepherd boy)[6] and Philippine (Isabelle).[7] In 1958 she recorded excerpts from Carmen with Ken Neate, Gabriel Bacquier and Andréa Guiot on Philips P 77118 L.

She also participated in the original production of L'Opéra d'Aran by Gilbert Bécaud, in 1962, at the Théâtre des Champs-Élysées.[8]

In the 1970s she was a vocal teacher at the Conservatory of Monaco.

Freda Betti died at her home in Nice in 1979, at the age of 55, and is buried in the family vault "Famille Betti" with her husband and his parents in the Cimetière du Château ("Carré de l'O.N.U").

Personal life

Freda Betti was married on 29 October 1949 in Levallois-Perret to René Clermont (1919–1976). The couple had two children.

Freda Betti was the sister of Henri Betti and the great grandaunt of Alexy Bosetti but she has no family relationship with Laura Betti and Priscilla Betti.


Her list of roles include:[9]

TV appearances

  • 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.


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