Portrait of Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)

G.B. Comolli (1775-1830)

Teatro Alla Scala

Teatro Alla Scala
Milan, Italy

Giuditta Pasta (Saronno, 26 October 1797 –Como, 1 April 1865) played the lead role on that difficult evening in 1831 that saw the premiere of the opera Norma by the Sicilian composer Vincenzo
Bellini. The performance was a complete disaster due to illness on the part of the performer but also because of a group opposed to the composer, which influenced the audience’s reception. The opera later
went on to be a success and is today amongst the most important operas of the first half of the nineteenth century.
The singer was in fact a mezzo soprano. According to reports, however, she had a tendency to sing flat on high notes. Because of this Bellini was obliged to lower by a whole-tone the pitch of the renowned aria “Casta diva” from Norma, to bring it more into line with her vocal abilities. A diadem and two bracelets worn by the singer at that first, stormy performance of Norma have found their way to us and are displayed in a case in Room 2. Pasta also performed in the premiere of La sonnambula, another of Bellini’s masterpieces, at the Teatro Carcano. A lady of character, Giuditta Pasta was also patriotic.


  • Title: Portrait of Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)
  • Creator: G.B. Comolli (1775-1830)
  • Location: Museo Teatrale alla Scala
  • Provenance: Sambon Collection
  • Medium: Marble

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