A sad news for the operatic world today. Giulietta Simionato (12 May 1910 - 5 May 2010), the great Italian mezzo-soprano (also known as Maria Callas' best friend and singing partner), passed away at Via di Trigoria in Rome, Italy earlier today. Simionato was a superstar in Romantic Period Italian opera from the 1930's until her retirement in 1966 and helped ushering in the rejuvenation of the bel canto operas... for which I shall be eternally grateful.
There are many good clips of La Simionato on Youtube and elsewhere. This one features her in the wonderful Santuzza-Turiddu duet from Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana from 1955 with Giuseppe Di Stefano. One good news is that she is very well represented on good quality CDs. There is nothing like getting to hear her live, of course (I didn't... I wasn't even the sparkle in my father's eyes yet when she retired from the singing scene), but even an electronically captured glimpse of her is worth seeking out.
This should also remind many of us not to take the wonderful singers performing on the stage today for granted. They won't always be there. If you have a chance to catch someone like Jonas Kaufmann, Edita Gruberova, Nina Stemme, Patricia Racette, Vesselina Kasarova, Renee Fleming, Ewa Podles, Bryn Terfel, Juan Diego Florez, Ramon Vargas, Simon Keenlyside and others live today, for Pete's sake, don't put it off!