Luisa Tetrazzini


Louisa Tetrazzini


Tetrazzini was concerned neither about her size nor about the amount she needed to eat. She shared her predilection for Neopolitan dishes with her friend Enrico Caruso. On one occasion after a late spaghetti lunch with Caruso she had to sing Violetta in La Traviata. When her co-star, John McCormack, attempted to raise the dying Violetta in his arms, it felt, as he said later, as if he were fondling a pair of Michelin tires. He did not know that she had consumed so much spaghetti that she had had to remove her corsets. The amazement that he could not conceal started her giggling, and to the audience’s astonishment both performers in this tragic death scene were soon convulsed with laughter.
Biographical Note: 

Luisa Tetrazzini was an Italian coloratura soprano acclaimed in America, Europe, and Russia. Madame Tetrazzini was especially admired for her high notes and staccato passages. She was born and educated in Florence, where she made her debut in 1890. Active in her career until about 1933, she sang throughout Europe and Latin America. She made her American debut at San Francisco’s famed Tivoli Opera House. She also sang at Covent Garden Theatre, London; at the Manhattan Opera House, New York City; and with the Metropolitan and Chicago opera companies. She wrote My Life of Song (1921), an autobiography, and How to Sing (1923).