Saturday, January 22, 2011

Happy Birthday: Rosa Ponselle

Rosa Ponselle (January 22, 1897 – May 25, 1981), was an American operatic soprano with a large, opulent voice. She sang mainly at New York's Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.

Born Rosa Ponzillo in Meriden, Connecticut • Was a silent-movie accompanist as a teenager • Between 1915-1918 headlined with sibling Carmela as "The Pinzillo Sisters" on the vaudeville circuit • Enrico Caruso personally auditioned Rosa and Carmela which led to the former being offered a contract for La Forza del Destino,
Cavalleria Rusticana, Oberon and The Legend with the Metropolitan Opera during the 1918-1919 season  Her only performances outside the United States took place in London, England (Covent Garden) and Florence, Italy (Maggio Musicale) • She had screen tests with MGM and Paramount in Hollywood but nothing ever came of them • Her last operatic performance was as Carmen on April 22, 1937, in a Met tour performance in Cleveland, Ohio • Married socialite Carle Jackson and built a luxurious home near Baltimore, the Villa Pace, where she lived the rest of her life despite divorcing Jackson in 1949 • She coached with many singers during their Baltimore Civic Opera appearances at the start of their careers including Beverly Sills, Sherrill Milnes, Plácido Domingo and James Morris She died on May 25, 1981, aged 84, after a long battle with bone marrow cancer. She is buried in nearby Druid Ridge Cemetery • Maria Callas called her "The greatest singer of us all" • She had a three-octave range from low C to high C and critics compared her voice to the richness of port wine, maroon velvet and dark chocolate • Began recording with the acoustic horn, continued with electric recording, and ended on magnetic tape. Over her career, she made 166 commercial recordings (not including alternate takes), either in the studio or at Villa Pace • Her 1923 Columbia recording of "Selva opaca" from William Tell was her personal favorite among all her acoustic recordings, because she felt that it was the most accurate representation of her voice and style at the time. [Source]

La Gioconda "Suicidio!"

Ernani "Ernani, involami"

I Vespri Siciliani "Mercè, diletti amiche"

La Vestale "O nume tutelar"

La Forza del Destino "Pace, pace mio Dio"

Ponselle with composer Giacomo Puccini

1 comment:

  1. MOLTO BELLO!!! Thank you for sharing this Very interesting Biographical information. Have a Grateful weekend! More Blessings to come and *GOD BLESS*