Born in Cagliari (Sardinia, Italy), Bernadette Manca di Nissa performed in major european theatres and musical societies, in U.S. and in Japan: la Scala (who she was guest from 1985 for almost twenty years), La Fenice, Venice, Teatro Comunale, Bologna, Maggio Musicale Fiorentino, Opera of Rome, Teatro San Carlo, Naples, Teatro Regio, Torino, Teatro Massimo, Palermo, Teatro Regio, Parma, Accademia di Santa Cecilia, Rome, R.O.H. Covent Garden, Opéra Bastille, Opéra Comique, Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, Liceu Barcelona, Saõ Carlos Lisbon, Liederhalle Stuttgart, Philarmonia St. Petersbourg, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Carnegie Hall, St. Paul Chamber orchestra, NHK Tokyo etc., and in festivals of Salzburg, Wiesbaden, Schwetzingen, Montreux, Pesaro, Ravenna, Tanglewood, Matsumoto. She performed, often on Eurovison, on the Italian, German and British Television (RAI, Süddeutscher Rundfunk and BBC) and she sang at the Italian, German, Austrian, Icelandic and Swiss radio.
Among the renowned conductors with whom she sang, are Claudio Abbado, Chailly, Conlon, Gardiner, Giulini, Haitink, Hogwood, Mehta, Muti, Ozawa, Pappano, Prêtre, Thielemann.
She worked with directors such as De Simone, Martinoty, Pizzi, Ponnelle, Ronconi, Strehler, Vick etc.
She performed rare operas by Händel, Pergolesi, Jommelli, Gluck, Salieri and Rossini and she sang chamber music and Lieder.
She excelled in baroque music and Rossini, but her repertoire reached to some world premieres by Luigi Nono.
In 1989 her performance as Orfeo, in Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice under Muti at La Scala, won the Italian Critics’ Award for “best female vocal performance”.
As Quickly in Falstaff she took part in the reopening of the R.O.H. Covent Garden (1999-2000) and in 2001 in the Verdi celebrations in Busseto with La Scala and Muti.
She recorded DVD’ of Tancredi (Schwetzingen Festival), Orfeo ed Euridice (Teatro San Carlo Naples) and two productions of Falstaff (R.O.H. Covent Garden and Teatro alla Scala in Busseto), and many CD’ with Sony, Decca, DGG, EMI etc. singing music by Händel, Gluck, Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Stravinskij and Nono.
She taught in courses, seminars and masterclasses in institutions such as the Accademia Chigiana Siena, the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Genoa Conservatory, Maggio Fiorentino Formazione, Teatro Lirico Sperimentale di Spoleto, As.Li.Co. Milan, Lyric Ateneo Sulmona etc.
She is a professor at the Conservatory “Pierluigi da Palestrina” in Cagliari.