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.
View photo of Madame Tetrazzini with the Hopi Indians
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).
READ more about Luisa Tetrazzini. Or order Luisa Tetrazzini : The Florentine Nightingale (Opera Biography Series ; No. 5) by Charles Neilson Gattey. Or find other books by and about Luisa Tetrazzini for further reading.