On 6 January 1957 she appeared in “Un Ballo in Maschera” at Florence with Stignani, Poggi and Bastianini. The performance, which at one time was owned by Cerquetti, was released about ten years ago, and, while it is not in good sound, it is a portrayal that should be heard and owned by anyone who loves Italian opera. It is not an exaggeration to say that Cerquetti, in the second act at least, is the most impressive that the author has ever heard, and it is obvious that the first night audience agreed. The ovation at the end of the aria is one of the longest and loudest ever heard in a live performance.
In late January, Anita returned to Rome for “Aida” with Simionato, Corelli and G. Guelfi and in April she returned to Palermo for “Don Carlo” with Corelli.
The Maggio Musicale Fiorentino mounted Cherubini’s “Gli Abenceragi” for Cerquetti and it was the talk of Italy. The music was dismissed as clearly inferior to that of his “Medea” but Cerquetti again walked away with superb reviews, several expressing awe at the flexibility of her voice.
The season at Florence continued with Ernani in a performance that is also preserved on CD and shows her in almost immaculate vocal form. The rest of the cast, Mario del Monaco, Bastianini and Christoff , are her equals and Dmitri Mitropoulos paces the performance with an authority and sensitivity that bring out the best in each of them.
Cerquetti’s top register is, to be fair, a little pressed, but the singing is of such enormous grace and style that it is of no matter.