34 Facts About Adelina Patti


Adelina Patti was an Italian 19th-century opera singer, earning huge fees at the height of her career in the music capitals of Europe and America.

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Adelina Patti first sang in public as a child in 1851, and gave her last performance before an audience in 1914.

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Verdi's admiration for Adelina Patti's talent was shared by numerous music critics and social commentators of her era.

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Adelina Patti was born Adela Juana Maria Patti, in Madrid, the youngest child of tenor Salvatore Patti and soprano Caterina Barilli.

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Adelina Patti later carried a French passport, as her first two husbands were French.

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Adelina Patti's brother Carlo Patti was a violinist who married actress Effie Germon.

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Adelina Patti grew up in the Wakefield section of the Bronx, where her family's home remains standing.

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Adelina Patti sang professionally from childhood, and developed into a coloratura soprano with perfectly equalized vocal registers and a surprisingly warm, satiny tone.

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Adelina Patti learned how to sing and gained understanding of voice technique from her brother-in-law Maurice Strakosch, who was a musician and impresario.

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Adelina Patti made her operatic debut at age 16 on 24 November 1859 in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Academy of Music, New York.

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Adelina Patti had such remarkable success at Covent Garden that season, she bought a house in Clapham and, using London as a base, went on to conquer the European continent, performing Amina in Paris and Vienna in subsequent years with equal success.

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Adelina Patti sang not only in England and the United States, but as far afield in mainland Europe as Russia, and in South America as well, inspiring audience frenzy and critical superlatives wherever she went.

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Adelina Patti turned into a conservative singer in the final phase of her operatic and concert career.

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Adelina Patti knew what suited her aging voice to perfection and she stuck to it.

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Adelina Patti had been prepared to tackle quite dramatic parts in operas like L'Africaine, Les Huguenots and even Aida.

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Adelina Patti never attempted to sing any verismo parts because these became popular only in the twilight of her career, during the final decade of the 19th century.

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Many years earlier, Adelina Patti had experienced an amusing encounter in Paris with the bel canto-opera composer Gioachino Rossini, who was a staunch upholder of traditional Italian singing values.

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Adelina Patti's contracts stipulated that her name be top-billed and printed larger than any other name in the cast.

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Adelina Patti's contracts insisted that while she was "free to attend all rehearsals, she was not obligated to attend any".

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Adelina Patti enjoyed the trappings of fame and wealth, but she was not profligate with her earnings, especially after losing a large proportion of her assets as a result of the break-up of her first marriage.

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Adelina Patti invested wisely large sums of money, and unlike some of her extravagant former colleagues, such as the star tenor Giovanni Mario, who died in poverty, she saw out her days amid luxurious surroundings.

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In 1893, Adelina Patti created the title role of Gabriella in a now-forgotten opera by Emilio Pizzi at its world premiere in Boston.

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Adelina Patti last sang in public on 24 October 1914, taking part in a Red Cross concert at London's Royal Albert Hall that had been organised to aid victims of World War I Adelina Patti lived long enough to see the war end, dying in 1919 of natural causes.

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Adelina Patti's trill remains wonderfully fluent and accurate and her diction is excellent.

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Adelina Patti's recorded legacy included a number of songs and arias from the following operas: Le Nozze di Figaro, Don Giovanni, Faust, Martha, Norma, Mignon and La sonnambula.

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Thirty-two Adelina Patti recordings were reissued on CD in 1998 by Marston Records.

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Adelina Patti is thought by some to have had a dalliance with the tenor Mario, who is said to have bragged at Adelina Patti's first wedding that he had already "made love to her many times".

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Adelina Patti then lived with the French tenor Ernesto Nicolini for many years until, following her divorce from Caux, she was able to marry him in 1886.

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Adelina Patti cut down her domestic staff from 40 to 18, but gave her the devotion and flattery that she needed, becoming her sole legatee.

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Adelina Patti had no children, but was close to her nieces and nephews.

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Adelina Patti developed a love for billiards and became a reputable player, making guest appearances at many major billiard events for exhibition matches and fancy shot displays.

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Adelina Patti funded Craig-y-nos railway station on the Neath and Brecon Railway.

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Adelina Patti died at Craig-y-Nos and eight months later was buried at the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris to be close to her father and favourite composer, Rossini, in accordance with the wishes in her will.

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Adelina Patti had a warm, crystalline, and very agile high soprano voice.

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