History's Women: Misc. Articles: Adelina Maria Patti, Greatest Italian Vocalist of the CenturyAdelina Maria Patti
Greatest Italian Vocalist of the Century
1843 – 1919 A.D.

Her father and mother were both operatic singers. At the birth of Adelina the mother lost her voice and the family in distress removed to America. At four years of age the child showed remarkable musical talent and received piano instruction from her sister Carlotta and vocal lessons from her stepbrother Barili, and her brother-in-law Strakosch, who possessed splendid talents as a singer and had won a considerable reputation.

Thus having the advantage of musical taste and ability inherited from both parents, she grew up admit musical influences from birth and then received most careful and long continued training.

When nine years old she appeared in a concert with Strakosch and won splendid success. A series of concerts followed and Adelina received as her share of the profits $10,000. In this series Strakosch and Ole Bull were the instrumentalists. She was the infantile prima donna.

After several years of success in America she went to Europe with her brother-in-law, but the London manager would not even give her an opportunity to sing. When about to return to the United States the manager of the Covent Garden Theater gave her permission to sing three times, but without pay. She made her appearance in Bellini’s Sonnambula. Her triumph was immediate, her career was to the people of London like the blazing meteor. The way was opened for her in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Russia.

In 1868 she was married to the Marquis de Caux in London and ten years later divorced. In 1886 she was married to Signor Nicolini, an opera singer.

Besides a voice of exceptional beauty, range, and flexibility, she possessed rare powers as an actress. Though too small of stature to personate the great characters of the highest style of tragic opera, she did excel in parts requiring archness or coquetry, also in pathos and sentiment, notably in Donizetti’s Lucia or Gounod’s Marguerite.


Reference: Woman: Her Position, Influence and Achievement Throughout the Civilized World. Designed and Arranged by William C. King. Published in 1900 by The King-Richardson Co. Copyright 1903 The King-Richardson Co.