Bellincioni, Gemma (Cesira Matilda)

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Bellincioni, Gemma (Cesira Matilda)

Bellincioni, Gemma (Cesira Matilda), noted Italian soprano; b. Monza, Aug. 18, 1864; d. Naples, April 23, 1950. She studied with her father, the comic bass Cesare Bellincioni, and her mother, the contralto Carlotta Soroldoni. At age 15, she made her operatic debut in dell’Orefice’s II segreto della duchessa at the Teatro della Società Felarmonica in Naples. After further studies with Luigia Ponti and Giovanni Corsi, she sang in Spain and Portugal (1882), and then in Rome (1885). In 1886 she made her first appearance at Milan’s La Scala as Violetta, and that same year toured South America, where she became intimate with the tenor Roberto Stagno. In subsequent years, they toured together in opera and concert, although she never appeared in the U.S. On May 17, 1890, she created the role of Santuzza opposite Stagno’s Turiddu at the Teatro Costanzi in Rome. On Nov. 17, 1898, she created the role of Fedora at Milan’s Teatro Lirico. With Strauss conducting, she was the first to sing Salome in Italy in Turin in 1900, a role she subsequently sang more than 100 times. In 1911 she made her farewell operatic appearance as Salome in Paris, although she came out of retirement to sing opera in the Netherlands in 1924. She taught in Berlin (1911–15), Vienna (1931–32), and at the Naples Cons, (from 1932). Her autobiography was publ. as Io ed il palcoscenico (Milan, 1920).


B. Stagno-Bellincioni, Roberto Stagno e G. B., intimi (Florence, 1943).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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