Events from this point forward remain cloudy, but the author will state that he does not accept Cerquetti’s own description of her departure from the lyric stage. There were no performances in 1959, and it is true that the deaths of her father and one of her early mentors in quick succession devastated Anita.
About that, there should be no doubt. However, the absence continued until June of 1960, when she timidly appeared at La Scala in a concert, Buchi’s “Laudes Evangeli”. There was a single performance.
Three weeks later she returned to La Scala for two performances of Rossini’s “Stabat Mater” with Simionato, Gianni Raimondi and Nicolai Ghiaurov then again retreated into the mist of obscurity.
On 13 September she attempted a return to the stage at Lucca with “Un Ballo in Maschera” and was lovingly received by an overflow audience.
At the end of October she traveled to Holland for “Nabucco” and upon the conclusion of that engagment, Anita Cerquetti, withdrew from the stages of the World. The Nabucco performance is known to many, including the author, and I find serious vocal problems in it, though certainly not enough to have cancelled a career. The voice is simply not as round and effulgent as it had been, and the top is very strained. The musicianship and general execution are still thrilling to hear but it is a souvenir that belies the contention that the voice remained unimpaired.