Claudia Muzio: a life devoted to art I

Dedico esta serie de artículos a mi maestro, quien me abrió en el sonido el camino de la belleza.

Claudina Emila Maria was born on February 7, 1889, at No. 4, Piazza del Duomo, in the city of Pavia. Her parents, musicians Giovanna Gavirati and Carlo Muzzio, were employed at Milan’s Teatro alla Scala, her mother as a chorister and her father as a stage director. Claudina took her stage name Claudia Muzio as a teenager, when she was preparing for her debut at the opera. Her brilliant career lasted 26 years until it was cut short by a premature death. 

According to the great Gilda Dalla Rizza, Claudia was “the queen of sopranos” in her own time. She left over one hundred recordings that ensured her art and her reputation would live on and, though she zealously sheltered her personal life from public scrutiny, she had a dedicated following of young girls and women, the Muzio Fan Club, that would be instrumental in preserving some memories of the daily life of the singer.

Carlo Muzzio was a popular stage director who worked regularly at La Scala, San Carlo, Covent Garden, Manhattan Opera House and the Metropolitan in New York. Giovanna Gavirati was engaged at Covent Garden and at the Met as a member of the chorus. During their frequent trips to the major opera houses of the world, the girl spent her childhood backstage, making the most of her privileged and unusual upbringing:

“I used to take charge of all the scores for him, and knew all the cuts, changes and just how they were to be used. The singers themselves often came to me for stage directions about their parts, knowing I had this experience.”

Claudia Muzio, interviewed by Harriette Brower in 1917.

The world of opera was the centre of Claudia’s life from her childhood onwards. At Covent Garden and at the Metropolitan, Carlo’s two main bases of work, these years were the Golden Age in the history of opera. Claudina played during rehearsals, watched and listened from the wings to the most venerated stars: Melba, Caruso, de Reszke, Sembrich, Nordica, Eames, Patti, Albani, Tamagno, Maurel, Plançon, Calvé, Sanderson, De Lucia, Schumann-Heink, among many other luminaries such as Gustav Mahler. Her childhood was a true opera school. Many years later, while she was working at the Metropolitan, perhaps in 1924, Claudia said in an interview: 

“Ah, those were happy days. You may feel that I was dreaming wonderful dreams. But I was not dreaming. I was living in a beautiful world of my own and every happiness today is but a repetition of some happiness of those days when I hugged my Tosca doll in the wings and waited for the great Caruso to pass me by and pat my head.”

Growing up, she studied piano and harp with her mother, and, at fifteen years of age, she was sent to Italy, to further develop her musical education in Turin. There she studied piano and singing with the seventy-eight-year old mezzo-soprano Annetta Casaloni, a celebrated interpreter of the role of Angelina in Rossini’s La Cenerentola, chosen by Verdi in 1851 to create Maddalena in Rigoletto. Her father didn’t want for Claudia to become an opera singer and thought she could be a great piano teacher instead. Claudia was even engaged as a harpist at the orchestra in Covent Garden. However, Casaloni advised her to consider an operatic career and told her: “Your voice is properly placed and you will not have to endure drudgery for long.” Casaloni sent Claudia to Milan to finish her studies with the soprano Elettra Callery-Viviani.

After these few years of formal training as a singer, that were the culmination of a lifetime organically learning inside and outside the opera house, her father was sure of the possibilities of her young daughter and told the famous Irish tenor John McCormack that she had a brilliant future as an opera singer. The official debut of Claudia Muzio was in the Teatro Petrarca at Arezzo on 15 January 1910 in the title role of Massenet’s Manon alongside another future star: young tenor Tito Schipa. In July she sang Violetta in La Traviata and Gilda in Rigoletto at Messina; in December she sang Violetta once more and the title role of Manon Lescaut at Catanzaro, following with her first Tosca in February. 

In 1911, Claudia sang Musetta in Puccini’s La Bohème, a role she would not to sing again, at the Teatro dal Verme in Milan, and made her first recordings for His Master’s Voice. Later in  the year she was engaged to sing Gilda, her last appearance in this role, and Leonora in II Trovatore in Turin. She reappeared at Dal Verme in Milan as Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust and as Nedda in I Pagliacci, once again accompanied by another future star tenor, Aureliano Pertile. The year 1912 began with Ponchielli’s I Promessi Sposi at the Dal Verme and continued with her debut as Desdemona in Verdi’s Otello at the Teatro Massimo in Palermo, where she had her first experience at creating a role in a new opera: La Baronessa di Carini by Giuseppe Mulè.

Her first major triumph was at the Dal Verme on September 1912. Appearing with tenor Giovanni Martinelli and baritone Mariano Stabile in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut, she received positive reviews and the opera was repeated twenty-two times by popular demand. Before the end of the year, Claudia performed in Otello again and took part in the world premiere of Melenis by Riccardo Zandonai. Her reputation was growing and she made her debut at the San Carlo in Naples on January 1913 in the role of Desdemona, directed by Vittorio Gui. Her performances in this role attracted attention at La Scala, and she was asked to sing the same part for her debut in the theatre in December. Continuing her first season at La Scala, Claudia took part in the premiere of L’abisso, by Antonio Smareglia, on February 10, 1914, alongside tenor Icilio Calleja and soprano Ernestina Poli-Randaccio, directed by Tullio Serafin. She studied the role of Fiora in Montemezzi’s L’Amore dei tre re with the composer and the librettist, and her great success prompted critic and opera historian Carlo Gatti to state that she was:

“…a gift to the musical stage in ltaly …we were given a taste of her power and she is on the same level as the best interpreters. This is the announcement that an imminent, great artist has arrived that all the great theatres of the world will fight for.”

Only two weeks after her last presentations at La Scala, Claudia came across an unexpected opportunity. The 1914 summer season at Covent Garden had opened with the star of the house, Nellie Melba, as Mimì in La Bohème. Bianca Stagno Bellincioni, daughter of the two legendary interpreters, was engaged to sing in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut andbecame suddenly unavailable. Harry Higgins, the head of the opera syndicate, heard Claudia, then twenty-five years old, in rehearsal, and asked her to stand in. She would sing in a season that included not only Melba and Caruso, but Martinelli, Rosa Raisa (who was making her Covent Garden debut as well), John McCormack and Emmy Destinn. The young soprano told to the press:

“… my father placed me in a musical college at Turin, there is really nothing very exciting to tell except that I studied music —music as well as singing!— there until it seemed that I really had a chance of a successful opera career, when I went to Milan. […] Then on Monday last Mr. Higgins of the Covent Garden Syndicate heard me in a rehearsal of Otello at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. Suddenly he asked me to sing in Manon in London. It meant leaving Paris the same night, but off we came my father and I; then a little rehearsal; then last night’s performance —when I am glad I pleased the Londoners, who hear so many good singers. Well, my father and I had arranged to go back to Paris, but today we have been asked to stay on in London. I am to be the heroine in the new Francesca da Rimini.”

In the end, Francesca da Rimini was not performed at Covent Garden but Claudia was favored with a better opportunity. Soprano Louise Edvina, one of the favorite interpreters of the role of Floria Tosca, came down with an illness and Claudia was asked to cover for her. That night of May 16, 1914, with Enrico Caruso as Cavaradossi and baritone Antonio Scotti as Scarpia, Muzio excelled. The critics reflected her great success and pointed out what would be the artistic constants of her career as a singer with these words:

“Mademoiselle Muzio proved that she was not only a singer of great resources but an actress of intense dramatic power! Throughout the second act her study of the harassed heroine was grimly and overwhelmingly convincing […]  No less telling than the dramatic ability was the beauty of Mademoiselle Muzio’s singing. Her range of tonal values was great enough for every shade of feeling and her voice never failed either in power or variety.”

“Those who saw the expression of her varying emotions in the first act, […] saw a personal, individual performance upon the highest possible level of stage presentation.”

“Now… an artist has come among us that can give greater effect to the histrionic side of the part than any living singer.”

She was offered another date as Tosca and sang Mimì in La Bohème, with Caruso as Rodolfo, Alice Ford in Falstaff and Margherita in Boito’s Mefistofele with John McCormack, Adamo Didur and Rosa Raisa. In May she sang in Leoncavallo’s I Pagliacci with the Boston Opera Company at the Théâtre des Champs Elysées in Paris. Also at Covent Garden, she replaced Nellie Melba in Otello; the star had to go to Australia for personal reasons after having appeared in the first performance of the season. Claudia was afraid she would be unfavorably compared to Melba but the reviews were glowing: 

“With every fresh appearance in public the clever young artist deepens the impression her acting and singing made when she first took opera-goers by surprise. She is certainly the greatest acquisition the Syndicate have secured for years. Her versatility is remarkable and, though it is perhaps early days to speak of the place she is likely to occupy in operatic history, it may at least be said with confidence that she will never do anything badly. Last night she sang and acted with real charm and pathos, while in the more dramatic moments of the opera she never failed to rise to the occasion.”

The rest of 1914, Claudia sang in Italy and was very successful in a very unusual role: Siglinda in La Walkiria, the Italian production of Die Walküre, directed by Héctor Panizza in Turin. The famous conductor was so impressed with her performance that, years later, he wrote in his autobiography that the soprano was a revelation in the part of Siglinda and that he regretted he had not taken La Walkiria with Claudia on tour in Italy and to Buenos Aires, where they were beginning to perform Wagner operas at the Teatro Colón. 

Her first performances outside Europe where in Havana, Cuba, in 1915. She sang Nedda in I Pagliacci with Giovanni Zenatello and Tita Ruffo; Tosca with Giuseppe de Luca; Otello with Zenatello and Ruffo directed by Tullio Serafin; Mimì in La Bohème with Zenatello and Ruffo; and Micaela in Carmen with Maria Gay and Ruffo, directed by Serafin. After a summer spent learning new roles, she received a telegram:

Claudia Muzio, Turin 

Would you consent to offer your worthy co-operation for the season I am going to start at Dal Verme Theatre, Milano, for the benefit ‘Theatrical Family,’ September, giving opera Tosca? Many among the best lyric artists co-operate with me in this brotherly patriotic manifestation. Hoping very much for your consent, I put myself at your disposition if you want to read Tosca with me. Many thanks and distinguished regards. 

Arturo Toscanini

In the end, Claudia began her work with Toscanini performing I Pagliacci with Enrico Caruso. The conductor found Claudia’s work remarkable and she sang in ten performances of Tosca, in a season that included Rosina Storchio, Alessandro Bonci, Ester Mazzoleni, Tito Schipa and Enrico Caruso, confirming that she was already considered at the highest level of operatic artistry. She was twenty-six years old.

For the most part of the next year she sang in Italy, performing in Loreley, Francesca da Rimini, Tosca and Madame SansGêne in Genoa, Pisa, Brescia, Padova and San Pellegrino. It was in Brescia that Giulio Gatti-Casazza, the general manager of the Metropolitan Opera Company of New York, saw her work. He extended a vague invitation for her to sing in New York and came back to the theatre only to find chaos among the performers: Lucrezia Bori had just undergone throat surgery, Geraldine Farrar was ill and Emmy Destinn was charged with sedition in her native country. Gatti telegraphed Muzio asking for her to come immediately to New York for her debut. She arrived on November 23, 1916, eleven days before her first performance, and only then it was announced she would take part in Tosca, with Antonio Scotti and Caruso.

The big night was the first Monday of December. On Tuesday, the headline of the Herald newspaper was: “Miss Muzio Makes Opera Debut Here; She Weeps for Joy as Audience Cheers Her.” She was the first Italian to appear in the Metropolitan as Tosca, except for a single performance of Lina Cavalieri in 1907,1 and the youngest prima donna singing that season. This was the review in the New York American:

“CLAUDIA MUZIO’S AMERICAN OPERATIC DEBUT A TRIUMPH

[…] Her singing of the “Vissi d’arte,” following a highly dramatic performance of the preceding scene with Scotti, evoked a veritable storm of hand-clapping and a few minutes later, when she appeared alone before the curtain, she was welcomed with a roar of noise such as one seldom hears in the Metropolitan Opera House, especially on a Monday night.”

The reviewer of the Herald wrote:

“Not in a decade has a new Italian soprano had such success at a first performance here as Miss Claudia Muzio had last night when she sang for the first time in America in Tosca at the Metropolitan. She was the first Italian to sing the role in that house. Miss Muzio’s Tosca was in many respects the most striking portrayal seen in New York in years. […] she is a remarkable actress. She put thrills into the role that were unknown here. Without a doubt she will be a valuable asset to the Metropolitan this season when singers of Italian roles are scarce. Her facial expression, the use of her hands, the intensity of her acting are all admirable.”

Claudia said to the press:

“I am overwhelmed. I don’t know what to say. When I first came out on the stage I felt that the audience was sympathetic. It took away all stage fright at the start. I am glad to be the first Italian singer to appear as Tosca at the Metropolitan.”

She was also interviewed at The Times:

“I never took any lessons in acting from a teacher. I learned it from the old time stars at the Metropolitan, whom I used to watch from the back of the Auditorium. I imitated them when I went home before my looking glass as children do. It got in my blood early. So when my voice was developed, I was ready to go on the opera stage. If I had not had a voice, I would have been an actress, I am sure.”

From December 1916 to April 1917, she performed with the Metropolitan Opera Company in Tosca, Manon Lescaut, I Pagliacci, Il Trovatore and Aida. She was offered the opening night of the new season in 1917, performing in Aida with Caruso. In the following months, she added La Bohème, Le Prophète (in a grand revival production starring Caruso)and L’Amore dei Tre Re. Before the start of her second season, she returned to the recording studio to fulfill her contract with Pathé Frères.

In the summer of 1918, from the 29th of June to the 29th of August, Claudia appeared at the Ravinia Festival, near Chicago, singing in twelve different operas. There were thirty-two appearances in the space of eight weeks in the title roles of Aida, Il Trovatore, L’amore dei tre re, I Pagliacci, Tosca, Faust, Cavalleria Rusticana, Manon, La Bohème, I gioielli della Madonna, Il segreto de Susanna and her first appearance in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly. In November, the season began for Claudia at the Metropolitan performing Aida, followed by I Pagliacci, Le Prophète, Tosca and Il Trovatore.

On December 14, 1918, Claudia created the role of Giorgetta in Il Tabarro, in the world premiere of  Puccini’s II Trittico. Her performance received great reviews and Gatti-Casazza, in a cable to Puccini, pronounced her “incomparable.” One critic wrote:

Il Tabarro made its mark unquestionably; the ovation accorded its singers at the end of it was proof enough. Though the performers themselves were as much to blame for this; their acting was much alive and effective, and their singing quite excellent. […] the honors of the audience went to Claudia Muzio, the beauty of the barge, who grows in favor and in capability from year to year. She not only sang well, but looked handsome —looked her role and acted it as if she knew it.”

In January 1919 she added Cavalleria Rusticana to her Metropolitan repertoire and she had to replace Geraldine Farrar in Madama Butterfly on short notice. The press hailed her work:

“Muzio pleases in Butterfly. Geraldine Farrar Unable to Sing at Postponed Matinee.

[…] Geraldine Farrar was too hoarse to sing and Claudia Muzio, on short notice but with considerable and gratifying experience in the role, was summoned to sing Cio-Cio-San for a large audience at the Metropolitan Opera House. It was Muzio’s first appearance in the part here, and whatever disappointment there may have been over the absence of Farrar, was quickly forgotten in the singing and acting of the famous little Japanese sweetheart by the young Italian soprano, who won for herself an impetuous and sincere ovation at the end of the first act. It was also the first singing here of Pinkerton by Hipólito Lazaro and the local debut of Montesanto, as Sharpless. Indeed it was practically a new cast […] united in spirit and effort to give what proved to be one of the best performances of the work has ever had. Mr. Moranzoni conducted.”

Her Leonora in Il Trovatore was another success:

“Muzio in Trovatore. Her Success Was Outstanding Feature of Opera Performance.

[…] Only a glorified combination of dramatic, lyric and coloratura soprano can successfully cope with music that demands no only all styles of technical vocalization, but an exhaustive and interesting variety of emotional expression. Happily, last night’s soprano, in addition to an appealing and graceful personality, has a glorious, fresh voice capable of obeying any demand and fulfilling all technical requirements. […] She was refreshing in her spontaneous and expressive singing, […] her grace was always a pleasing feature of a fine portrayal of a difficult role.”

Approaching the end of the Metropolitan season, Claudia took part in a Gala Performance in celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of Enrico Caruso’s debut in opera and worked with him at what would be, unbeknown to the tenor, his last performances in Aida and La Bohème. 

Beginning in June of 1919, she made her first appearances in South America, where she was to become known as La Única. This nickname was due to a letter which the mezzo soprano Gabriella Besanzoni sent her in 1926 to the city of Río de Janeiro, Brazil; in the address she wrote: Claudia Muzio, La Única and the letter incredibly did reach the soprano. Her debut in Buenos Aires was in the Catalani’s opera Loreley, followed by her appearance in Tosca (with a young Beniamino Gigli), Aida, Manon Lescaut, Mefistofele (in which she sang both Marguerite and Helene), Madame SansGêne (in its South American premiere) and La Bohème, all directed byconductor Tullio Serafin, except for Manon Lescaut. There were thirty-seven performances, from June to September, at the Teatro Colón. In between performances in Buenos Aires, she crossed the river to Montevideo, Uruguay, and performed Loreley, Madame SansGêne (in its Uruguayan premiere), La Bohème, Tosca and Aida at the Teatro Solísdirected bySerafin, with tenors Rinaldo Grassi and Beniamino Gigli. Her work in South America proved to be not only of top artistic level but very lucrative: she was paid at the Colón nearly seven times of her salary at the Metropolitan.

Back in New York for the start of the season, Claudia sang her usual repertoire, including Il Tabarro, and was selected to star as Tatiana in the United States premiere, in Italian, of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin, with Giuseppe De Luca, Giovanni Martinelli and Adamo Didur. On May 5, 1920, she debuted at the Palais Garnier singing Aida and from there she sailed to South America arriving in Valparaíso, Chile, on June 3. 

She was engaged to sing Loreley at the Colón in less than two weeks but the road to Buenos Aires would turn into an unexpected winter adventure. Snow was too deep and the travelers found the tunnel route over the mountains closed. Strong winds prevented air travel and the group had no other option than to set out for Buenos Aires via the North. When they managed to arrive at Uyuni, Bolivia, the rail company built a special train for them to proceed. From that point, Claudia described the trip in a letter that was quoted in the New York Times: 

“We left for a little place called Atocha, reaching there early in the morning, 40 below zero outside, and no steam on our Pullmans, as they use wood to run their trains. We were all very sick unto death, nearly frozen, although every one of us was bound from head to foot with wool and furs, but we could not get warm. Well, they told us to get off and have breakfast at the hotel, before the automobile came to take us on the next stage of the journey. Words can never express how the hotel looked, a little stone hut, with the bare ground for its floor, and stifling heat within. We told them to set the table out on the lawn, and there we breakfasted in the icy air. Then came the motor, and we had to leave all our seventeen trunks behind us, to be brought on mule-back. From Tupiza, Bolivia, where we lunched, at noon, it was harder going. What with blow-outs and all of us getting out to help push up some of the steep grades on the mountains, we arrived at La Quiaca, Argentina, at 9 p.m., all of us hardly able to get out after the rough riding and many hard bumps our driver gave us. We put up at the Grand Royal Hotel, with one candle in each room for light, and an old-time pump out in the courtyard, where every fellow had to go to wash —it was only 20 below zero there. The night passed after a fashion, and after having breakfast in the bar we went for our train on the morning of the 13th, wondering what would be our luck. Imagine —the Minister of Argentine Railroads, the Directors of the line, and Señor B. of the Colón Opera management, had a most wonderful special train, with every service deluxe, waiting for us. Arriving at Jujuy, we stayed overnight in our train, and the following night reached Tucumán.”

Just in time, the Colón season opened with Claudia under Serafin’s baton. To her previous repertoire in the theatre, she added Traviata and Lohengrin. After that, she reprised her performances in Río de Janeiro and it was there that she starred, under Serafin, as The Marschallin in the South American premiere, in Italian, of Der Rosenkavalier. Richard Strauss was present, and he wrote to his librettist and friend Hugo van Hofmannsthal:

“[…] Rosenkavalier has at last been produced here with the greatest possible success —on Saturday, 2nd October— as the final performance of the Stagione Bonetti (during which I have so far conducted six concerts here) under that excellent conductor Serafin, with Claudia Muzio as an exceedingly elegant and charming Marschallin.”

July 17, 1920, was her first night as Violetta at the Teatro Colón, conducted by Serafin. She had not sung Traviata in any other theatre since her appearance in Messina in 1910 and this role would prove to be one her highest and most popular accomplishments. English soprano Eva Turner, who was then her colleague at the Colón, called her the greatest of all the Violettas. The great Wagnerian soprano Frida Leider heard Claudia’s Violetta in Chicago and, years later, wrote in her autobiography: 

“It was a role in which she made full use of her magnificent appearance… at the beginning she was the true and very beautiful grand lady; then she changed slowly as the tragedy developed. I have never heard the last act so poignantly performed.”

Rosa Ponselle summed it up with these words:

“… on stage she was not Claudia Muzio singing La Traviata. She was Violetta Valéry falling in love, and dying before our eyes… She was the best actress-singer of all times.”

From January to April 1921 she sang at the Metropolitan and took part in the theatre premiere of Giordano’s Andrea Chénier, together with Beniamino Gigli, to great acclaim. Maddalena became another of her signature roles. During a series of interviews in the 1970s, Rosa Ponselle had a lot to say about the work of her colleague:

“— Would you give me some examples of characterizations that you’ve seen which you consider unsurpassable or unequalled? 

— Ones that I would rank with Caruso in La Juive? In my time? Oh, it won’t be a very long list. There would be Feodor Chaliapin in Mefistofele […] And Caruso’s Canio in Pagliacci, as I’ve said. I would also say that Muzio’s Aida, plus her Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, could not be surpassed […] I’m thinking of the singers of my time who had truly great voices, and who also were great actors. I’m thinking about the ones who were more than great actors, really, the ones who became the characters they were portraying. That’s the highest test of all. 

— One of the surprises in your list, at least to me, is that you have spoken about two roles that were associated with your own career: Aida and also Maddalena in Andrea Chénier, and you said that Claudia Muzio did them unsurpassably. Were you including your own conceptions of Aida and Maddalena when you put Muzio on your list in those particular roles? 

— Sure. Of course I was. But in those two roles I just don’t think Muzio could be topped. […] Muzio had it all. To me, she was the greatest of all Maddalenas. […] I still go back to Muzio when I think of Maddalena. It just fit her like a glove, nobody could touch her Maddalena. […] she had that throb in the voice I don’t know how else to describe it.”

In June, Claudia was back in Buenos Aires. She sang until October and added La Forza del Destino, Fevrier’s Monna Vanna (her debut in the role) and Il Trovatore to her Colón’s repertoire. Then she sailed up to Mexico to sing in her last performances that year. In January 12, 1922, having just got back to New York, she was interviewed by the Musical Courier:

“Sixty performances since you left here last May!” exclaimed the writer, “and yet you do not seam to have suffered any under the strain!” “But why?” persisted Muzio, with a shrug of her shoulder; “I am happiest when I am singing or working. With me nothing else counts —the outside pleasures. Maybe it is a mistake to shut yourself away from the world, but, nevertheless, I have always done it.” […] “I do not have to work so hard now, but I am always doing exercises and polishing up on my roles.”

From February to April, 1922, Claudia made her last appearances as a regular member of the Metropolitan Opera Company, singing Aida, L’Amore dei tre re, Andrea Chénier, Loreley (in its theatre premiere), Il Trovatore and I Pagliacci. In May, she signed a very favourable contract to sing with the Chicago Civic Opera Company, where the reigning prima donnas where Rosa Raisa and Mary Garden, beginning the following season. She would not come back to the Metropolitan theatre until 1934.


Recordings

Claudia Muzio, G. Tommasini
Amami, Alfredo,
La Traviata
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1911.

Claudia Muzio
In quelle trine morbide
Manon Lescaut
Giacomo Puccini
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
Balatella
I Pagliacci
Giacomo Puccini
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
Suicidio!
La Gioconda
Amilcare Ponchielli
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
Ave Maria
Otello
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
Ancora un passo
Madama Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
Ritorna vincitor
Aida
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
O gioia, la nube leggera
Il segreto di Susanna
Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari
Recorded in 1917.

Claudia Muzio
O patria mia
Aida
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Un bel dì vedremo
Madama Butterfly
Giacomo Puccini
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
D’amor sull’ali rosee
Il Trovatore
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Depuis le jour
Louise
Gustave Charpentier
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Obéissons, quand leur voix appelle
Manon
Jules Massenet
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa
Un ballo in maschera
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Senza mamma
Suor Angelica
Giacomo Puccini
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Mercè, dilette amiche
I vespri siciliani
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Surta è la notte… Ernani!
Ernani
Giuseppe Verdi
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
O ben tornato, amore
Emilio Amico Roxas
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Baciami!
Arturo Buzzi-Peccia
Recorded in 1918.

Claudia Muzio
Jean
Harry T. Burleigh
Recorded in 1918.


1 Milka Ternina, Emma Eames, Geraldine Farrar, Olive Fremstad and Emmy Destinn had been the Toscas of the house from 1901 until then.


Read the second part.


Sources

  • Claudia Muzio (1889-1936), Her Life and Career, Laurence Jenkins, Wellington, 2003.
  • Claudia Muzio, La única, Eduardo Arnosi, Buenos Aires,1986.
  • Following A Star, Letters Home from May Higgins, found on the archived version of the website of Mike Richter, accessed on March 2020. 
  • The last prima donnas, Lanfranco Rasponi, New York, 1982.
  • More legendary voices, Nigel Douglas, New York, 1995.
  • Claudia Muzio, nel 70° anniversario della morte, Giuseppe Marchetti, Rome, 2006.
  • archives.metoperafamily.org
  • operas-colon.com.ar
  • adp.library.ucsb.edu
  • The Teatro Solís: 150 years of Opera, Concert, and Ballet in Montevideo, Susana Salgado, Middletown, 2003.
  • Claudia Muzio L’Unica, facebook page, accessed on March 2020. 
  • Voci parallele, Giacomo Lauri-Volpi, Milan, 1960. 
  • Rosa Ponselle: a centenary biography, James A. Drake, Oregon, 1997.
  • A working friendship: the correspondence between Richard Strauss and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, New York, 1974.
  • Toscanini, Harvey Sachs, London, 1978.
  • Traveling with Claudia Muzio, An Account Drawn from May Higgins’s Letters, 1929-1935, Ronald L. Davis, The Opera Quarterly, Volume 10, Issue 2, 1993.
  • Soprano Dame Eva Turner, A Conversation with Bruce Duffie, found in bruceduffie.com, accessed on March 2020.