A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Patti, Adelina

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PATTI, Adelina (Adela or Adèle Juaña Maria), born Feb. 19 [App. p.745 "Feb. 10"], 1843, at Madrid, was the youngest daughter of Salvatore Patti, an Italian singer, who died in 1869, and a Spanish mother, also a singer, well known in Spain and Italy, before her marriage with Patti, as Signora Barili. [App. p.745 "Both parents of Mme. A. Patti were Italians, her father having been born at Catania, Sicily, and her mother at Rome. The latter's maiden name was Chiesa, and before her marriage with Signor Patti she had married a certain Signor Barilli. Their son, Antonio Barilli, a musician, died at Naples, aged 50, June 15, 1876. (Pougin, Supplement to Fétis.)"] The parents of Adelina went to America, and she was taken there as a child. Having shown great aptitude for music, Mlle. Patti received instruction in singing from Maurice Strakosch, who married her elder sister Amelia; she appeared in public in America at a very early age, and was well received; but was wisely withdrawn for some years for the purpose of further study. She reappeared Nov. 24, 1859, at New York, as Lucia, and played other parts, in all of which she was highly successful. Mlle. Patti made her début in England May 14, 1861, at the Royal Italian Opera, as Amina, with wonderful success, and from that time became famous, though quite unknown before. She repeated that part no less than eight times, and confirmed her success by her performance of Lucia, Violetta, Zerlina ('Don Giovanni'), Martha and Rosina. She sang that autumn at the Birmingham Festival, in opera at Liverpool, Manchester, etc., and afterwards was engaged at Berlin, Brussels, and Paris. From 1861 to the present time Mme. Patti has sung at Covent Garden every year, and has maintained her position as perhaps the most popular operatic artist of the time. Mme. Patti made an operatic tour in the provinces in 1862; sang at the Birmingham Festival of 1864, notably as Adah on the production of 'Naaman'; at the Handel Festivals of 1865, 1877, and 1880; at the Liverpool Festival of 1874, as well as in several brilliant provincial concert tours. She has enjoyed the same popularity on the continent, having fulfilled several engagements at Paris,[1] Vienna, St. Petersburg, Moscow, etc., and in various cities of Germany, Italy, Spain, etc.

Her voice is of moderate power but great compass, reaching to F in alt; her execution is brilliant and finished, and she has considerable charm both of person and manner. Her répertoire is extensive, upwards of 30 characters, chiefly of the Italian school, many of which, such as Maria, Norina, Adina, Linda, Luisa Miller, Desdemona, Ninetta, Semiramide, etc., were revived for her; she is also quite at home in the works of Meyerbeer and Gounod. The new parts which she has created in England are Annetta ('Crispino e la Comare'), July 14, 1866; Esmeralda, June 14, 1870; Gelmina, June 4, 1872; Juliet, July 11, 1867; La Catarina ('Diamans de la Couronne'), July 3, 1872;[2] Aida, June 22, 1876; and Estella ('Les Bluets') of Jules Cohen (Covent Garden, under the title of 'Estella,' July 3, 1880), perhaps with a little more success than when Mme. Nilsson played the part in Paris. Of the other parts, only as Juliet and Aida has she obtained any permanent popularity. The Zerlina of Mozart is the only character she has played in classical opera. Mme. Patti married, July 29, 1868, Henri Marquis de Caux, Equerry to Napoleon III. [App. p.745 "In 1885 Mme. Patti was divorced from the Marquis de Caux, and in 1886 married M. Nicolini. [See above, p. 731b.]"] Her elder sister,

Carlotta, was born in 1840 at Florence. She was educated as a pianist under Herz, but abandoned the piano in favour of singing. She made her début in 1861 at New York as a concert singer, and afterwards fulfilled an engagement there in Italian opera, and was successful, but soon after abandoned the stage on account of her lameness. She made her début in England April 16, 1863, at a concert at Covent Garden Theatre, attracted attention on account of her pleasant and remarkable facility of execution, obtained a position here in concerts as a singer of the lighter class, and was for several seasons a great attraction at promenade and other concerts. Mlle. Patti has made several concert tours in the provinces, on the continent, and in America. She married, Sept. 3, 1879, Ernst de Munck, of Weimar, the violoncellist.

Carlo, their brother, born at Madrid in 1842, was taken to America, like his sisters, when a child, studied the violin, and at the of 20 became leader at the New Orleans Opera House, afterwards at New York, and the Wakefield Opera House, St. Louis, Missouri. He died at the last-named city March 17, 1873.

[ A.C. ]

  1. Mme. Patti has recently reappeared there (Théâtre de la Gaité) in Italian opera.
  2. For the first time in England in Italian, in which some of the music was cut out and airs from Auber's earlier operas 'La Neige' and 'Leicester' inserted, to the detriment of the general effect.