Forgotten Opera Singers

Forgotten Opera Singers

May 13, 2012

Rosina Storchio (Soprano) (Venezia, Italy 1876 – Milan, Italy 1945)



She was an important Italian lyric soprano who starred in the world premieres of operas by Puccini, Leoncavallo, Mascagni and Giordano. Renowned throughout her homeland for her vivacious acting and sparkling stage presence, she possessed a smallish voice which deteriorated prematurely due to hard use, over-parting, and flaws in her technique. Born in Venice, Storchio studied at the Milan Conservatory before making her operatic debut as Micaëla in Bizet’s Carmen at Milan’s Teatro Dal Verme in 1892. Three years later, she debuted at Italy's most famous opera house, La Scala, Milan, performing in Massenet’s Werther. Milan became her home base from then on, but she also appeared during the pre-World War I period at theatres in other key Italian cities, including Rome and her native Venice. She toured South America and Spain, too, and undertook singing engagements in Paris and Moscow, unwisely venturing parts as heavy as that of Tosca in Puccini's opera of the same name. In 1921, by which time her voice was in marked decline, she sang in Chicago and New York City. Her final public performance was as Cio-Cio San in Puccini's Madama Butterfly at Barcelona in 1923. (She had sung this same part in the first performance of Butterfly, at La Scala, in 1904.) Storchio died in Milan near the end of World War II. She left a small legacy of 78-rpm gramophone recordings made during the early years of the 20th century. These recordings (reissued since on CD) include extracts from verismo opera—the repertoire with which she was most closely associated. She did, however, also appear on stage in a few French operas and works by Verdi, most notably Falstaff.

Chronology of some appearances

1892 Milano Teatro Dal Verme Carmen (Micaela)
1895 Milano Teatro Lirico Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1896 Firenze Teatro Pagliano Boheme (Mimi)
1896 Como Teatro Sociale Boheme (Mimi)
1896 Roma Teatro Nazionale Cavalleria Rusticana (Santuzza)
1897 Venezia Teatro La Fenice Boheme (Mimi) (Leoncavallo) (World Premiere)
1898 Genova  Teatro Carlo Felice Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1898 Genova Teatro Carlo Felice Boheme (Mimi) (Leoncavallo)
1898 Trieste  Teatro Comunale Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1898 Trieste Teatro Comunale Boheme (Mimi)
1898 Barcellona Teatro Liceo Boheme (Mimi)
1899 Barcellona Teatro Liceo Boheme (Mimi)
1904 Milano Teatro alla Scala Don Pasquale (Norina)
1904 Milano Teatro alla Scala Madama Butterfly (Cio-Cio-San)
1906 Buenos Ayres Teatro dell'Opera Barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina)
1906 Montevideo Teatro Solis Barbiere di Siviglia (Rosina)  



G&T, Milano 1903-11?
Siberia (Giordano): No, se un pensier torturo 53331 Con388
Siberia (Giordano): Quest'orgoglio with Giuseppe de Luca 54048 Con394
Siberia (Giordano): Non odi la il martir 53332 Con398
Siberia (Giordano): E qui con te il mio destin with Giovanni Zenatello 054027 Con750
Siberia (Giordano): Non odi la il martir 53332 Con398

Fonotipia, Milano 1905-12-02
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): Quel guardo il cavalier 39400 XPh1500
Don Pasquale (Donizetti): So anch'io la virtu magica 39401 XPh1501
Linda di Chamounix (Donizetti): O luce di quest'anima 39402 XPh1502

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-02-19
Traviata (Verdi): Pura siccome un angelo with Riccardo Stracciari Unpubl. XPh1625

Fonotipia, Milano 1906-04-18
Fra Diavolo (Auber): Si, domani 39597 XPh1794

Fonotipia, Milano 1911-02-16
Boheme (Leoncavallo): Mimì Pinson 92861 XPh4514
Sonnambula (Bellini): Ah, non giunge 92754 XPh4516


  1. I think you have attributed the La Boheme record on Fonotipia 92861 to the incorrect composer. I think you will find that it comes from Leoncavallo's opera not the Puccini one.