In January 1955 Anita debuted at Modena’s important Teatro Comunale as the “Trovatore” Leonora and then embarked on a tour to Nice, Marseilles and Toulouse in “Trovatore” and, at Marseille, a performance of “Aida”.
On 26 June, history was made when Anita sang “Norma” for the first time at her adored and adoring Florence. The Boboli Gardens presented her in five performances with Fedora Barbieri, Franco Corelli and Giulio Neri. This time it was the “almost unbelievable security of Signora Cerquetti’s technique” that most impressed the critics.
The Rome Opera offered Anita a contract for “Aida” at their summer home, Caracalla, and on 6 August she impressed Romans and thousands of tourists with a “rapturous performance of this most demanding role. From the drama of the first two acts through the lyricism of the last two, Anita Cerquetti knew no fear, and conquered an enormous audience of opera enthusiasts” (Il Messagero).
Anita repeated Aida at Messina in late August and then recorded the most demanding of all Verdi roles, Elena in “I Vespri Siciliani”.
It is the opinion of the author, that, if he had to live contendedly with only one of her complete opera performances, this would be the one. It has everything, fioratura of an extraordinary accuracy and expressivity, legato that carries through the longest passages, breath control that can only be termed prodigious and plangent tone that reminds me of “molten lava” with a golden glow.