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Tetrazzini (soprano) was born in 1871 at Florence, Italy. Her early
musical training was under her sister Eva (Madame Campanini) and she
also studied under Ceccherini at the Liceo Musicale in Florence. Her
debut was in 1895 at the Teatro Pagliani as Inez in Meyerbeer's
L'Africaine, and her first in a major role as Violetta in
Verdi;s La Traviata in Rio de Janeiro. She sang successfully
in many major opera houses including in South America, Italy, Spain
and Russia; her first appearance in the English-speaking world was at
San Francisco. She appeared first at Covent Garden in 1907, again as
Violetta, where she was acclaimed and became one of the top opera
stars of her time. The major part of her career took place before
World War One, during which she remained in Italy, working and
singing for the war charities. After the war she continued to make
concert appearances and taught singing in Milan. She died in
Although, in common with many singers of her time, she was not
much of an actress, her voice was remarkable for its purity and great
range, with an extraordinary coloratura technique.
LEGGERA' (SHADOW SONG) ('Dinorah') (Meyerbeer)
DB534 (2-053207) recorded in 1912 (2.2MB)
This is a classic show-off warhorse of the type popular at turn of
the century, complete with trills, runs and echo effects:
Tetrazzini's technique is well caught, showing a stunning clarity and
control of pitch. The transfer has been done at 78rpm: her lower
notes have a slightly odd 'flat' quality (tone colour, not pitch) but
this is still evident at lower speeds and is I think as recorded and
not due to the speed, which seems correct.
Like Caruso and Melba, Tetrazzini was honoured by having the dish
Chicken Tetrazzini (created by the famous
chef Escoffier) named after her.
There are more recordings by Tetrazzini on my page here.
CDs of Tetrazzini have been issued on Pearl
GEMMCD 9221, 9222, 9223, 9224 & 9225, and on Romophone
I have not heard these transfers and list them here simply for
information. I can't guarantee they are still available.