Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

Aug 22, 2011

Maria Farneti (Soprano) (Forli 1877 - San Varano presso Forli 1955)

She was well known as an interpreter of verismo operas. A student at the Conservatory in Pesaro, Farneti at Sansepolcro as Mimi in "La Boheme". On November 1899 she debuted at the prestigious Teatro Regio of Turin in its premiere performance of Mascagni's "Iris" to an enormous reception. Her particular strength was the verismo repertoire. She appeared in the U.S. in 1902 under Mascagni’s direction and was a great success in Buenos Aires, where she created Mascagni’s ‘’Isabeau’’ in 1911. In 1912 Farneti sang in the local premiere of "Paolo e Francesca" at Genoa and later in the local premiere of "Isabeau" at Naples. On 13 March she received a letter from Paolo Tosti. "Va bene, cara Divina! (He then discusses the performance of the 11th which he attended) The correspondence ends "I kiss your two hands. Your devoted" (P.T.). Two nights later with the great composer at the piano, Farneti gave a sold out concert at the Teatro San Carlo. In April she sang in the local premiere of "Isabeau" at Brescia and in February of 1913 she sang in the Rome premiere to unanimously favorable reviews and huge audience response. The summer found her on another long visit to South America, and "Isabeau" was again the centerpiece. The tour began at Buenos Aires' Coliseo and included stops at Rosario, Cordoba, Montevideo, Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo. Farneti, in addition to "Isabeau", sang in "Lohengrin", "Iris", "Madama Butterfly", Nepomuceno's "Abul" and "Mefistofele". Bernardo de Muro, who was to perform Folco nearly four hundred times during a twenty five year career, sang with Farneti in the two Mascagni operas throughout the tour. Maria was tired and declared her intention to close out her career. However, on 22 July 1914 she received a letter from Umberto Giordano inviting her to appear in the Italian premiere of "Madame Sans Gene", an offer that was immediately accepted. (The composer had admired Farneti for many years and had, on several previous occasions, offered her important productions. In a letter dated 20 August1909, he asked her to consider singing in the world premiere of his "Mese Mariano" at Naples, but for reasons not known, it first saw the light of day at Palermo, without Farneti.) On 28 February 1915, at Turin's Teatro Regio, she sang in the new opera for the first time, and on 18 September, under Toscanini's direction, she repeated her triumph at Milan's Teatro Dal Verme. There were no performances in 1916, and after a few concerts in the summer of 1917, she returned to the Dal Verme on 7 October in a new opera, Puccini's "La Rondine". With this revival, Maria Farneti retired from the stage and from public life.

Chronology of some appearances

1899 San Sepolcro  Teatro Dante Boheme (Mimi)
1900 Rimini Teatro Vittorio Emanuele Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1901 Venezia  Teatro La Fenice Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1901 Udine  Teatro Sociale Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1901 Genova  Politeama Genovese Boheme (Mimi)
1903 Buenos Ayres Teatro dell'Opera Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1903 Montevideo Teatro Solis Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1904 Montevideo Teatro Solis Lohengrin (Elsa)
1905 Roma Teatro Costanzi Boheme (Mimi)
1905 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Lirico Boheme (Mimi)
1906 Roma Teatro Costanzi Loreley (Loreley)
1907 Buenos Ayres Teatro dell'Opera Boheme (Mimi)
1907 Buenos Ayres Teatro dell'Opera Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1907 Montevideo Teatro Solis Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1910 Trieste Teatro Verdi Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1911 Buenos Ayres Teatro Coliseo Boheme (Mimi)
1911 Napoli Teatro San Carlo Manon Lescaut (Manon)
1911 Rio de Janeiro Teatro Municipal Boheme (Mimi)
1911 Montevideo  Teatro Solis Boheme (Mimi)
1911 San Paolo  Politeama Boheme (Mimi)
1911 Santiago del Cile  Teatro Municipal Boheme (Mimi)
1914 Milano Teatro Manzoni Boheme (Mimi)


Edison 4-min cylinders, Milano 1910?
Otello (Verdi): Ave Maria BA28139

Fonotipia, Milano 1917-03-14
Otello (Verdi): Ave Maria 69245 xPh 5140 

Fonotipia, Milano 1917-03-15
Wally (Catalani): Ne mai dunque avro pace 69246 xPh 5141
Manon (Massenet): Io sono ancor 69298 XPh 5198

Fonotipia, Milano 1917-04-03
Manon Lescaut (Puccini): In quelle trine morbide 69362 XPh 5257

Fonotipia, Milano 1917-04-05
Aida (Verdi): O cieli azzurri 69264 xPh 5159

Fonotipia, Milano 1917-05-18
Mefistofele (Boito): L'altra notte 69263 XPh5158

Columbia, Milano 1931-08-10
Madama Butterfly (Puccini): Un bel dì GQX10491 WBX1077

Columbia, Milano
Madama Butterfly (Puccini): Tu? tu? tu? piccolo Iddio! GQ 7170 WB 4437
Iris (Mascagni): Un di, ero piccina GQX 10326 WBX 1079
Iris (Mascagni): Io pingo GQX 10326 WBX 1078
Wally (Catalani): Ebben? Ne andro lonta GQX 10491 WBX 1076
La luna e l'usignolo (Sonzogno) B 4175/2
Glicine (Sonzogno) B 4138


  1. MOLTO BELLO!!! Thank you for sharing this valuable biographical information.

  2. Ciao,
    posso richiedere i cd tramite questo post oppure hai un indirizzo email? Io non l'ho trovato.
    Sarei interessato a tutte le incisioni di Maria Farneti sempre che siano perfette, a parte le tecniche di incisione dell'epoca, naturalmente.
    Fammi sapere come fare.
    Bruno Biondi