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Adelina Patti in Martha
Carte de visite
The series of portraits that Silvy made of the great Anglo-Italian soprano Adelina Patti shows her in at least twelve different operas, including 'Dinorah' and 'Don Pasquale,' 'Lucia de Lammermoor' and 'La Somnambula,' 'La Fille du Régiment' and "L'Elixer d'Amour,' 'Le BarbiŢre de Seville' and 'Don Pasquale,' 'Martha' and 'Don Juan.' (Paul Frecker)
Adelina Patti (1843-1919) - Soprano
Adelina Juana Maria Patti was born to a Sicilian father and Italian mother on 19 February 1843 in Madrid, Spain. She was the fourth of six chidren born into family highly involved in opera. The family moved to New York in 1847 for opera employment opportunities. Adelina as she was now known made her first appearance on the stage at age seven. At age sixteen in 1859 she made operatic debut in Donizetti's "Lucia." Her vocal range, bell-like clarity and professionalism won her critical acclaim and soon she was being offered leading soprano roles in operas by Bellini, Donizetti, Rossini, Verdi and other Italian composers. The large Italian community in New York helped to elevate her to star status in short time.
In 1861, at the age of eighteen, Adelina was invited to Covent Garden in London to take the role of Amina in Bellini's "La Sonnambula." She purchased a house in Clapham, south of London and later appeared in Paris and Vienna.
Patti sang "Home Sweet Home" for Abraham and Mary Lincoln who were in mourning for their son, Willie in 1862. American John Howard Payne had written the song for the opera, "Clari-The Maid of Milan," and the music was composed by British composer, Henry Rowley Bishop. Adelina Patti was associated to the song and she was asked to perform it many times.
She toured to Russia and South America but continued to make Europe her homebase. She married Marquis de Caux, a frenchman in 1868. Ten years later she purchased a large Victorian estate known as Craig-y-Nos in South Wales, paying 3,500 pd. sterling, a large sum for that time. She had abandoned her husband and took up residence at Craig-y-Nos with the tenor, Ernesto Nicolini with whom she had been touring. She settled divorce with her husband paying him 64,000 pd. sterling, which indicated her wealth in 1886. She married Nicolini and added additions to home in South Wales.
Touring the United States between 1886 and 1890 she was paid the equivalent of $1500 for each performance, which made her among the wealthiest women living. Heads of State sought her company wherever she traveled. She was the "international super star" of the 19th century.
Adelina Patti died at home in Breconshire at the age of 76 and was buried in Paris in the Pere la Chaise Cemetery.
(Kindly contributed by T. Max Hochstetler, June 2007)