Saturday, October 12, 2019 The Venetian Salon of JKV presents…
The Cult Diva
A Tribute to the Life and Career of the Virginia Zeani, Legendary Prima Donna Assoluta
Buon Compleanno…Celebrating La Zeani’s 94th Birthday!
6:00 pm Hors d’oeuvres and Wine 7:00 Salon Tribute
VAS/JKV Members $35.00 General Public $50.00
John Knox Village Centre Auditorium 651 SW 6th Street Pompano Beach, FL 33060
“Where in the devil did this come from? She was absolutely incredible and probably the most under-rated / recorded sopranos of the 20th century. Forget “authenticity”; this is a supreme artist with few equals.” -Richard Bonynge, conductor (husband of Dame Joan Sutherland, Prima Donna)
“Virginia, I have to tell you, you are one of the very few sopranos my wife is frightened of!” – Giovanni Battista Meneghini, former husband of Maria Callas.
Although Virginia Zeani was born on October 21, 1925, Venetian Arts Society invites all to join us on Saturday, October 12, 2019 for a pre-Birthday celebration as we pay tribute to the life, artistry…and 94th Birthday of this legendary Prima Donna Assoluta. The evening begins with wine and hors d’ouevres at 6:00 pm followed by a tribute ceremony from 7:00-8:30 consisting of rare videos, audio and photo slide shows, and an interactive conversation with Mme. Zeani as well international guests and local opera aficionados. We encourage everyone to join us in the main lobby following the tribute for champagne and dessert and the extraordinary opportunity to wish La Zeani Happy Birthday in person!
The name Virginia Zeani needs no special introduction in the world of opera, especially among the opera aficionados of the mid-20th century Golden Age of Opera. The story of her monumental operatic career, her unique and rapturous voice, her vast range of repertoire, and her stunning beauty is the “stuff of legends,” especially among the “opera aficionados.” La Zeani is in that premier strata known as “a singer’s singer!” Zeani made her professional debut as Violetta in La traviata at the Teatro Duse in Bologna in 1948 as a last-minute replacement for Margherita Carosio. It was to become her signature role—she sang it 648 times during the course of her career.
From the late 1940’s through the early 1980’s La Zeani’s dedicated followers, in a truly cult-like fashion, secretly made recordings and videos from the audience and took photographs of her prolific professional career as well as her private life. Madama Zeani is known to hardcore opera fans as a singularly unique and mythical enigma. Today, the “Zeani Craze” on Youtube consists of over 250 posts, including 40 of the 71 major roles she sang. This incredible archive was saved and then archive this her enormous following of fans, or as they are commonly known, the “Cult of the Diva.” For the most part, these are pirated recordings of her countless live performances and, therefore, are an extremely accurate documented account of the superior level of her artistry, her voluptuous sound, expert technique, and consistently high level of performances throughout her long and arduous career. These recordings were treasured and shared over the years and then with the arrival of the internet and Youtube, Virginia Zeani, the quintessential Cult Diva. Because of his Cult of persistent and dedicated followers throughout her 35+ career, she is finally being given her rightful place as a legendary “Super Star’ in the history of opera.
Unfortunately, the term “Diva” has become too closely associated with the temperamental histrionics of, mostly, ego-maniacal female singers and actresses throughout history, whether they be artistically gifted or not. To compound these misconceptions of its true essence, the title Diva has become so casually used in the today’s world that the original luster has been undermined.
As for the Zeani Cult, we reserve the term “Diva” only for the true Deities of opera. With that said, one of the most vocally and artistically gifted of the Grand Divas of the Golden Age is the Romanian/Italian Soprano Virginia Zeani. We have the devoted cult members to thank for keeping the memory of Virginia Zeani and many of the other great singers of the past, alive so that today’s generation and future generations will know, learn from, and continue to worship the greatness of these master artists of the past.
In her distinguished 35 year performing career, Mme. Zeani made only 2 studio recordings. While other great singing artists of the day concentrated on marketing, public relations and studio recording contracts, Virginia Zeani ceaselessly honed her craft in the countless small opera houses of the provinces and then the stages of all the major opera houses. Without the help of a manager, Mme. Zeani conquered La Scala in Milan, Italy, Covent Garden in London, Rome Opera House, Liceu Opera House in Barcelona, and Metropolitan Opera House in New York City, as well as all the world’s major opera houses and theaters.
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Village Center Auditorium at John Knox Village
651 SW 6th St, Pompano Beach, FL, 33060