Virginia Zeani dies at 97, Romanian Singer Cause of death and Obituary

Virginia Zeani dies at 97, Romanian Singer Cause of death and Obituary

Virginia Zeani, a Romanian opera Singer passed away aged 97. Let’s see more details about this beautiful singer in the following paragraphs.

Who was Virginia Zeani?

Virginia Zeani was born Virginia Zehan on 21 October 1925. Zeani is a Romanian-born opera singer who sang leading soprano roles in the opera houses of Europe and North America.

She was known for her dramatic passion as well as the beauty, range, and flexibility of her voice, which allowed her to sing a repertoire of 69 roles, including those of the heroines in bel canto operas by Rossini and Donizetti as well as those by Wagner, Puccini, and Verdi. Blanche in Poulenc’s Dialogues of the Carmelites is one of the characters she developed that appeared in various operas from the 20th century.

Zeani made her professional debut in 1948 as Violetta in La Traviata, which would become one of her signature roles; she has since sung the opera over 640 times. After her retirement from the stage in 1982, she became a well-known voice teacher. She was married to the Italian bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni from 1957 until his death in 1991.

A Distinguished Professor Emerita at Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music where she taught for many years, Zeani lives in Palm Beach County, Florida, and has continued to teach singing privately.

Cause of Death

VIRGINIA ZEANI passed away on March 20, 2023, at the age of 97.

Zeani once said in an interview,

I am happy but I’m also in pain: I have arthritis… after dying so many times and falling down on stage in La Traviata and so on, by the end of my life, there is pain everywhere. But I can still breathe and think and love, not physical love but spiritual love.

Zeani’s son Alessandro Rossi Lemeni announced the  the demise of Zehan on social media. It says,

Virginia Zeani left us today, finally in peace 

Virginia Zeani dies at 97, Romanian Singer Cause of death and Obituary


An exceptionally beautiful woman with dark, lustrous hair, Romanian-born soprano Virginia Zeani became one of Italy’s most-appreciated artists during the 1950s. Initially specializing in lyric/coloratura roles, she moved in the 1970s to more dramatic parts, maintaining nearly all of her vocal allure while adding a dimension of larger-scaled authority. Celebrated most of all for her touching Violetta, she made her career primarily in Europe. Beginning in the early ’80s, however, she moved to the U.S. with her husband, Italo-Russian bass Nicola Rossi-Lemeni, to become a faculty member at Indiana University and continued to teach there following his death in 1991.

She is a strikingly attractive woman and impeccably presented. Virginia has a sparkling, and sometimes wicked, sense of humor and a vivacious laugh. Zehan LOOKED GLORIOUSLY BEAUTIFUL, AND SANG WONDERFULLY! WHAT A BEAUTY! RIP! Astonishing voice, and amazing emotion !! One of the most famous voices !! Big loss.

Zeani -Inside I feel 50, outside I feel 70

Zeani expressed her thoughts in an interview. It says ,

Inside I feel 50, outside I feel 70, and my brain believes that I’m eternally young. Naturally, many of my friends are dead. It’s normal. One is condemned after 70 to see many friends die, so when one reaches 90… well, I hope that I’ll arrive at 90; there are still a couple of days to go!

Experience in life helps you to be more ‘clairvoyant’ as the French say… I understand from observing people what they are, so nobody can betray me. Zeani have been betrayed, I have been ignored, I have been exalted… everything is in this body which will be 90 in a few days.

Zeani have many friends who I adore and many of them, I think, love me too, and for this, I’m sad to die and leave them, but I’ll go to meet my husband who died 24 years ago and went to that place where no one can come back from. I had decided never to marry because with singing there was no time. In the first four or five years of my career, I made my début in seven operas. Who had time to fall in love at that time?

I loved only once in my life. I met my husband at La Scala and, although I wanted to dedicate myself to singing, I found in him the most intelligent man spiritually – material intelligence is normal – a man with whom I was able to find a great intensity, not only as lovers but also like a brother and sister, until I lost him all those years ago. Since them, I have only had my students and friends, and I’ve never had any other romantic relationships.

Honors and Awards

In 1965, Zeani was appointed a Commander of the Italian Republic’s Order of Merit. She was awarded the Royal Decoration of Nihil Sine Deo in her home in Romania in 2011 and elevated to Knight of the Order of the Star of Romania in 2016. Several opera honors have also been given to her, including the 1992 Puccini Award from the Fondazione Festival Pucciniano.


The roughly 60 “pirate” and “off-air” recordings of whole operas that Zeani made throughout her career make up the bulk of her recorded legacy. Tosca, La Traviata, and a Verdi-Puccini concert were published on vinyl by the Romanian Electrecord label. Zeani also recorded a two-LP collection of arias by Donizetti, Bellini, Verdi, and Puccini for the Decca label when she was in her early 30s. Decca released a compact disc version of the LPs in 2014 as part of their “Most Requested Recitals!” series.

Social Media Condolence

Nadiene Weissman posted

Rest in peace Virginia Zeani Rossi-Lemeni. My heart is heavy with grief. When we took this photo, I had come for a surprise visit on your 90th birthday in West Palm Beach. I can‘t begin to express what I owe to you when you took me into your studio at IU and heard the potential that was stuck inside a student with virtually no technique and a wrongly classified soprano voice. Little could I have imagined what you managed to bring out of this shy „German soldier“ as you liked to tease me.

Your words echo in my heart, your energy even in your last years, the twinkle in your beautiful eyes, the strict discipline you expected, but also the kindness and generosity. Your legacy lives on on the stages of this world, and the haunting beauty of your voice as Violetta and all the roles you embodied with such emotion, grace, and authenticity. You will be in our hearts forever, singing along.

Enivia M Mure Posted

Dear Alessandro Rossi Lemeni all my love and affection to you guys right now, my heart goes out to you and your family. Good journey into the light to a musical mother, an incomparable teacher who changed my life, a lot of love, and patience gave me a home, food, incomparable time to learn from singing and life. Bon, voyage beloved Teacher Virginia Zeani, my deep gratitude and love eternally.

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