Antonia Margherita Merighi

Antonia Margherita Merighi

Italian opera singer, contralto.
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Antonia Margherita Merighi
  2. Early Life and Career
  3. Success in London
  4. Personal Life and Later Years

Biography of Antonia Margherita Merighi

Antonia Margherita Merighi was an Italian opera singer and contralto. She was active from 1711 to 1744 and was known for her performances in the operas of George Frideric Handel.

Early Life and Career

Antonia was born in the Italian city of Bologna, the capital of the eponymous province. She began her singing career in Italy, where she performed for several years at the court of Beatrice, Grand Princess of Tuscany, with great success. Merighi also worked in opera theaters in Venice, Parma, Turin, Mantua, Naples, and Bologna. It is worth noting that it was in Naples where Antonia created the role of Iarba in the premiere production of 'Didone abbandonata' by Domenico Sarro.

Success in London

In 1729, Merighi relocated to London, where she sang in numerous Handel productions over the course of two seasons. Many of Antonia's roles were specifically created for her by the composer, including Matilda in 'Lotario', Rosmira in 'Partenope', and Erissena in 'Poro'. During her time in London, she also performed in three premieres of Handel's operas and works by other composers. In 1738, Merighi participated in a charity concert at the King's Theatre.

Personal Life and Later Years

Antonia was married to another renowned opera singer, tenor Carlo Carlani. There were rumors of a passionate affair between Antonia and the castrato Antonio Maria Bernacchi. Bernacchi even attempted to blackmail his employers, promising to stay and work in Naples only if his beloved Merighi received a larger contract than her main rival, Giovanni 'Cusanino' Carestini. However, the Neapolitan nobility, who favored Carestini, ultimately won, and Bernacchi left Naples accompanied by Merighi.

After retiring from the stage, Merighi returned to her hometown of Bologna, where she lived until her death. The exact date of her death is unknown, but it is believed to have occurred in 1764, as her husband remarried that year. Antonia Margherita Merighi was highly respected and admired during her lifetime, and her lively and energetic singing style captivated audiences.