Dal Monte, Toti

Antonietta Meneghel (27 June 1893 – 26 January 1975), better known by her stage name Toti Dal Monte, was a celebrated Italian operatic soprano.

“My artistic name - Toti Dal Monte - was not the fruit of a "clever invention", but belongs to me by right, - wrote the singer. - Toti is a diminutive of Antoinette, so I was affectionately called in the family from early childhood. Dal Monte is the surname of my grandmother, who came from a "noble Venetian family". I took the name Toti Dal Monte from the day of my debut on the opera stage incidentally, under the influence of a sudden impulse”.

The singer was born in the small town of Mogliano Veneto, her mother died when Antonietta was very young, and her father combined teaching at school with conducting the local orchestra. The girl began to study music under his influence, and after moving to Venice, she was acquainted with operatic art and became seriously interested in it. She also studied piano in Conservatorio di Musica Benedetto Marcello di Venezia. Antonietta worked so hard that she tweaked her thumb. She had discontinue piano lessons. This resulted in studying under "the bel canto queen" Barbara Marchisio, one of the famous Marchisio sisters, favorites of Rossini and other great composers. “It was only thanks to Barbara Marchisio that I comprehended the“ secrets ”of bel canto, acquired, according to critics, impeccable style, good diction and, most importantly, learned to perform with great expressiveness the recitatives that play such an important role in our operas”,- the singer wrote later in her book.

She debuted in opera at the age of 17, at the famous Teatro alla Scala in Milan, in the opera “Francesca da Rimini” by Riccardo Zandonai.

Several critics immediately noted the young debutante.

The repertoire of Dal Monte was extensive - the operas “La Somnambula” with the music in the bel canto tradition by Vincenzo Bellini; “Lucia di Lammermoor” – the tragic opera in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti; “Rigoletto” and “Un ballo in maschera” by Giuseppe Verdi; “The Barber of Seville” and “William Tell” by Gioachino Rossini; “Madama Butterfly” by Giacomo Puccini, and many others. While in La Scala, Toti worked with the legendary Arturo Toscanini. The opera “Lucia di Lammermoor” became their real triumph.

In mid-1920s, Dal Monte also appeared at the famous stage in New York - at the Metropolitan Opera. Beyond that, in the United States, she performed in Chicago, Boston, Indianapolis, Washington, Cleveland and San Francisco. Dal Monte also performed with the eminent opera singers of her time - Enrico Caruso, Beniamino Gigli, Tito Schipa, Carlo Galeffi, Titta Ruffo, Feodor Chalyapin, and Gabriella Besanzoni. Among the most vivid images created by Dal Monte were Lucia, Gilda and Rosina, and the singer herself most of all appreciated the role of Violetta in the opera “Traviata” by Verdi. Soprano of Toti was called "sweet", "transparent" and "incredibly opulent".

She retired from the stage in 1945, hence after that she continued to participate in concerts, and appeared in several films, the most famous of which was "Anonimo Veneziano". Besides her concert activities, Dal Monte taught students and participated in drama performances.

Toti Dal Monte died on January 26, 1975, at the age of 81, in Pieve di Soligo. There is a museum dedicated to the singer.

Dal Monte Toti.” A Voice in the World”. Genre: Biographies and Memoirs. Publishing house: "Art". Year of publication: 1966;
Toti Dal Monte, "Soviet Music", 1956, No. 12;
Toti Dal Monte in the USSR, "Theater", 1957, No.1