Which opera singer did Mozart make look like a "chicken" at the premiere of "Così fan tutte"?
Adriana Ferrarese del Bene (born c. 1755 in Ferrara - died after 1804 in Venice) was an Italian operatic soprano. She was one of the first performers of Susanna in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro and the first performer of Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte.
She has been known under a variety of names. The 1979 edition of the Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera lists her as born Adriana Gabrieli and later known La Ferrarese (presumably from the city of her birth). However, Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians notes that her identification with a Francesca Gabrielli, "detta la Ferrarese" ("called la Ferrarese"), whom Charles Burney heard in Venice in 1770 is not based on solid evidence. What is known is that she married Luigi del Bene in 1782 and performed thereafter as Adriana Ferrarese (or Ferraresi) del Bene.
Mozart hated Bene. He wrote Così fan tutte because he knew that Bene had a routine where she would often raise her head up when sung high notes, and lower her head when sung low notes. He published Così fan tutte, which has multiple high and low notes next to each other in an interleaved pattern. Because of this, when Bene sang this song for the first time, she had to nod continuously, like a chicken pecking rice.