Galli-Curci Amelita

Amelita Galli-Curci (née Amelita Galli; November 18, 1882, Milan, Kingdom of Italy — November 26, 1963, La Jolla, USA) - Italian opera singer (coloratura soprano)


Amelita was born in Milan in the family of an accomplished business. The maternal grandfather was an opera conductor, and the grandmother was an opera singer, having soprano. The family encouraged the girls' growing interest in music. Amelita received good education, she studied in 1895-1901 at the “International Institute” and in 1901-1905 at the Alessandro Mazzoni Lyceum, where not only her musical abilities were developed, but also her educational drive to foreign languages (Amelita knew five languages). Having achieved significant success in playing the piano, Amelita received the Milan Conservatory gold medal in 1905, and was invited to teach piano. She planned to devote her life to teaching music and concert performances. It would be interesting to know that Amelita achieved success in mastering the piano playing as the result of lasing intensive practicing, hence her voice was naturally trained, she, in essence,  followed her future profession individually - the beauty of her timbre, range, ability to coloratura vocal technique were generously endowed by nature to the future singer. Amelita Galli debuted in the fall of 1906 as Gilda. The very first performance brought great success to the novice singer, and the performance of the aria "Caro nome" caused enthusiastic reception from the audience.

Galli-Curci had a double surname since 1908, when she first got married (Marquis Luigi Curci became her husband). In the pre-war period, the career of Amelita Galli-Curci developed rapidly, she continued to expand her repertoire, undertook her second tour in South America, sang in Madrid, and in 1914 she toured to Russia, where her partner was the prominent Russian singer Leonid Sobinov.

Vocal art of Galli-Curci made her contemporaries recollect the great virtuosos of the 19th century and to say that even composers, which lived and composed music during the “golden age” bel canto epoch could hardly imagine a better interpreter of their works. If Bellini himself had heard such an amazing singer as Galli-Curci, he would have applauded her endlessly, "wrote a Barcelona newspaper in 1914, after the performances of Somnambula and “The Puritans” by Vincenzo Bellini.

In 1915-1924, Galli-Curci toured in Argentina, USA, Britain. In the summer of 1915, at the Colon Theater in Buenos Aires, she sang with the legendary Enrico Caruso in “Lucia”. “The extraordinary triumph of Galli-Curci and Caruso!", "Galli-Curci was the heroine of the evening!", “The rarest among singers” - this is how local critics commented the event.

Resettlement to America in 1916, among other things, brought Amelita a contract with Victor Records in New York. The recording with Galli-Curci voice immediately became best-sellers. The first record with the aria of Gilda from the opera "Rigoletto" had run of ten thousand copies that was totally sold in Chicago, the unprecedented quantity for that time! Thanks to this contract, subsequent generations had the opportunity to be acquainted with the singer's creative work during the heyday of her unique voice and prodigious vocal technique.

Since 1924, she worked permanently at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. The singer was notable by her extensive repertoire. Although it was based on the Italian opera music - works by Vincenzo Bellini, Gioachino Rossini, Domenico Gaetano Donizetti,Giuseppe Verdi, Ruggero Leoncavallo, Giacomo Puccini - she also performed brilliantly in operas by French composers – Giacomo Meyerbeer, Georges Bizet, Charles-François Gounod, Thom, Jules Massenet, Leo Delibes. The superbly performed parts of Sophie in "The Rosenkavalier" by Richard Strauss and the role of the Shamakhan queen in "The Golden Cockerel" by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov are to be added to the mentioned.

After leaving the opera stage, Amelita Galli-Curci continued performing in concerts for several seasons. It should be noted that the singer's voice had been fading away since the late 20s – intense time sheet redounded upon the singer, she even had to undergo surgery on the ligaments. In the summer of 1936, after treatment and intensive studies, the singer returned not only to the concert stage, but to the opera stage as well. The final performances of Galli-Curci took place in the 1937/38 season. However, she did not perform for long. The further life of the singer passed on quietly and happily in the company with her second husband and accompanist Homer Samuels. Galli-Curci died in California in 1963, a few days after her 81st birthday.

The recordings pf the singer’s voice are very popular to the present day. Amelita Galli-Curci voice was recorded on numerous discs between 1916 and 1930. Many recordings of classical arias have been preserved ("Lucia di Lammermoor", "The Barber of Seville", "La Traviata", "Rigoletto", "Lakme" and others).