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Manuela Custer (Mezzo-soprano)

Born: Novara, Italy

The Italian mezzo-soprano, Manuela Custer, received her diploma from the "Giuseppe Verdi" Conservatory in Turin under the guidance of Elio Battaglia.

Manuela Custer made her debut in 1985 at the Teatro Regio in Turin as Enrico in Rossini’s Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra with Lella Cuberli, Rockwell Blake, and Daniela Dessì, conducted by Gabriele Ferro and the role of Cherubino in Nozze di Figaro. This immediately led to an international career, which saw her appearing in the most prestigious Opera houses and Concert halls all over the world (Monaco, Venice, Salzburg, Detroit, Wien, Florence, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Rome, Paris, Seville, Lyon, Leipzig, London), working with such distinguished conductors as Riccardo Chailly, Jesús López-Cobos, Fabio Luisi, Carella, Fabio Biondi, Andrea Marcon, Guidarini, Muller, Accardo, Ceccato, Gianandrea Noseda, etc…

Manuela Custer made her debut at La Scala in Milan with Debussy’s La demoiselle élue under John Eliot Gardiner. She has appeared in Lucerne with Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortileges under Marcello Viotti, in Montecarlo with Mozart’s Così fan tutte under Accardo, in Verona, Genoa and Lille as Nicklausse in Offenbach’s Les contes d’Hoffmann under Richard Bonynge, in Venice and Salzburg with Antonio Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans under Scimone, at the Istanbul International Festival first in the title role of Bertoni’s Orfeo under Scimone directed by Pier Luigi Pizzi, and afterwards as Irene in A. Vivaldi’s Bajazet directed by Pizzi under Fabio Biondi, at Amsterdam’s Concertgebouw and the Accademia Chigiana in Siena with A. Vivaldi’s Giustino and Arminio under Alan Curtis, at Martina Franca’s Festival with Donizetti’s La Zingara, at the Edinburgh International Festival with Rossini’s Zelmira, at Verona’s Teatro Filarmonico with Il Barbiere di Siviglia opposite Juan Diego Florez, at the Rome Opera with Faust, at Paris’ Theatre des Champs-Elysèes with A. Vivaldi’s Orlando Finto pazzo, at Seville’s La Maestranza as Ottavia in Incoronazione di Poppea under Christophe Rousset directed by Graham Vick, at the Rossini Opera Festival with Il Vero omaggio and La Gazzetta directed by Dario Fo, at the Royal Festival Hall and at Theatre Royal Drury Lane with Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei and Il diluvio universale..

Manuela Custer’s discography includes: La rimembranza, La partenza, Il primo dolce affanno, L’esule di Granata, Pia de’ Tolomei, Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra, Zelmira, Il diluvio universale and Maria Stuarda for Opera Rara, Juditha Triumphans for Warner Fonit, Arminio for Virgin Classics. For Opera Rara she has recorded Rossini’s Elisabetta regina d’Inghilterra and Zelmira (Edinburgh International Festival), Donizetti’s Pia de’ Tolomei and Diluvio universale, highlights from Meyerbeer’s L’esule di Granata and Mercadante’s Maria Stuart, and features on Volumes 5 and 6 of the Il Salotto series.

Her recent engagements include: Rossini’s Guillaume Tell in Amsterdam, Rossini’s Italiana in Algeri in Florence, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Mozart’s Requiem at La Fenice in Venice, L.v. Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis in Milan, Rossini’s Barbiere di Siviglia in Sassari, Donizetti’s Il diluvio universale in St. Gallen, Falstaff in Bilbao.

Her latest engagements have included: Il Barbiere di Siviglia at the Teatro Petruzzelli in Bari and at the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, A. Vivaldi’s Bajazet at the Wiener Konzerthaus and in Yokohama under Fabio Biondi with Europa Galante, Italiana in Algeri at the Opèra de Toulon, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle in Le Mans, Nantes and Angers with M° Aldo Ceccato, Tutino’s Le bel indiferent in Turin, Cavalli’s La Didone under Fabio Biondi and Galuppi’s Olimpiade under Andrea Marcon for La Fenice in Venice, L.v. Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony under Fabio Luisi at the Accademia di Santa Cecilia in Rome and in Florence under Jesús López-Cobos, Verdi’s Messa da Requiem in Milan and Malaga under Aldo Ceccato.

Her future engagements include: A. Vivaldi’s Orlando Furioso (Alcina) at the Amsterdam Conzertgebouw with the Venice Baroque Orchestra under Andrea Marcon, Garcia’s Il Califfo di Bagdad at the Granada Festival, Teatro La Zarzuela in Madrid and Palau de la Musica in Barcelona under Christophe Rousset (with a live cd recording), Rossini’s Le nozze di Teti e Peleo as well as La Gazza ladra at the 2007 Rossini Opera Festival in Pesaro, at Teatro Filarmonico in Verona and at Teatro Comunale in Bologna, Rossinis’ Petite Messe Solennelle in Malaga, Cavalli’s Didone at La Scala, A. Vivaldi’s Bajazet in Metz, Caen and Paris, Falstaff under Gianandrea Noseda for the opening of the 2007/2008 season of Turin’s Teatro Regio, where she will return for Nicklausse in Les Contes d’Hoffmann, Rossini’s Italiana in Algeri at the Dallas Opera.

Source: Manuela Custer Website; Opera Rara Website; Bits & pieces from other websites
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (September 2012)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Fabio Luisi


Mauricio Kagel: Sankt-Bach-Passion

Links to other Sites

Manuela Custer (Official Website) [Italian/English]
Manuela Custer on Facebook

Manuela Custer (Opera Rara)

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Explanation | Acronyms | Missing Biographies | The Sad Corner


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