Désirée Rancatore is one of the leading-edge stars of Italian opera in the light lyrical repertoire, and is outstanding for her virtuosity, technique and passion for music, with an absolute command of coloratura and the high register, inspiring true fervour among opera-goers.
Born in Palermo in 1977, she studied violin and piano before beginning, at the age of 16, to extend her study of singing with her mother and, in Rome, with Margaret Baker Genovesi. At the tender age of 19 she debuted as Barbarina in The Marriage of Figaro in Salzburg Festival, singing for the first time in Italy in 1997 at the opening of the season at the Teatro Regio di Parma Theatre (L’Arlesiana by Cilea).
She appeared in the world’s most important theatres, includine Teatro alla Scala in Milano, Salzburg Festival, Covent Garden in London, Opéra National de Paris, Opernhaus in Zürich, Wiener Staatsoper, Teatro Real de Madrid, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, as well as the theatres in Florence, Venice, Parma, Genoa, Turin, Bologna, Palermo, Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, among many others.
Ms. Rancatore has collaborated with conductors as Fabio Biondi, Ottavio Dantone, Myung-Whun Chung, James Conlon, Charles Mackerras, Lorin Maazel and Riccardo Muti.
Her best acclaimed roles include Olympia in Les contes d’Hoffmann (Paris, Wien, London, Zurich, Madrid, Milano, Palermo, Roma, Toulouse, Torino, Parma, Macerata), Gilda in Rigoletto (Wien, Zurich, Bejing, Melbourne, San Francisco, Las Palmas, Tokyo, Venezia, Mexico City, Verona, Parma, Firenze), Lucia in Lucia di Lammermoor (Oviedo, Nagoya, Osaka, Tokyo, Zurich, Wiesbaden, Bologna, Ferrara, Bergamo), Koenigin der nacht in Die Zauberflöte (Paris, Roma), Konstanze in Die Entführung aus dem Serail (Bari, Madrid, Palermo, Cagliari), Lakmé by Delibes (Palermo, Oviedo, Tokyo), Adina in L’elisir d’amore(Paris, Kobe, Tokyo, Venezia), Elvira in I Puritani (Wien, Savonlinna, Palermo, La Coruña), Contessa di Folleville in Il viaggio a Reims (Bologna, Genova, Bruxelles), Amina in La Sonnambula (Las Palmas).
In December 2004, for the reopening of La Scala in Milan, she sang the role of Sémele in L’Europa riconosciuta by Salieri, under the baton of Riccardo Muti. Also active in symphonic field, she performed as a soloist in Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle, Mozart's Great Mass in Cminor and Requiem, Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, working with such Orchestras as Orchestra Filarmonica della Scala, Orchestra Sinfonica della RAI di Torino, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra in London and Liverpool Philarmonic Orchestra.
She opened the 2015/16 season performing La traviata (Violetta) during a Japan tour, followed by her role debut as Musetta in La bohème at Teatro Carlo Felice di Genova and Piramo and Tisbe (Piramo) in concert with Fabio Biondi. Among recent engagements: La fille du régiment (Marie) and Robert Le Diable (Isabella) at Teatro Massimo di Palermo, Rigoletto (Gilda) in Hannover and at Liceu de Barcelona and Il Signor Bruschino (Sofia) at Théâtre des Champs Elysées de Paris; Maria Stuarda in Genoa; La Traviata on tour in Tokyo with the Teatro Massimo in Palermo; Fra Diavolo in Palermo; Norma in Genoa; Gluck’s Le Cinesi in Valencia.
She won the Ester Mazzoleni Special Prize, 2008, and the International “Mimosa d’Oro” Prize, 2008, which was bestowed by the City of Agrigento. In 2010 she was awarded the first Opera Oscar for the most popular soprano by the Verona Arena and the Zenatello Prize for the best soprano in 2008.
Her recordings include Die Entführung aus dem Serail with Sir Charles Mackerras and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra; the film Mozart in Turkey shot in the Topkapi Palace in Istanbul; Die Zauberflöte in the Paris Opera House; and CDs for Dynamic (Les Huguenots, Lucia di Lammermoor, La cambiale di matrimonio, Les contes d’Hoffmann), Bongiovanni (Ascanio in Alba), Arthaus Musik (Die Vögel), TDK (Die Zauberflöte, Les contes d’Hoffmann), and Naxos (Lucia di Lammermoor, La cambiale di matrimonio).