Lucca, Pauline, famous Austrian soprano of Italian- German parentage; b. Vienna, April 25, 1841; d. there, Feb. 28, 1908. She studied singing in Vienna and sang in the chorus of the Vienna Court Opera. Her professional debut took place in Olmütz as Elvira in Emani on Sept. 4, 1859. Her appearances in Prague as Valentine and Norma (1860) attracted the attention of Meyerbeer, who arranged for her to become a member of Berlin’s Royal Opera (1861–72). She made her first appearance at London’s Covent Garden as Valentine (July 18,1863), and sang there until 1867, returning from 1870 to 1872 and in 1882. After singing in the U.S. (1872–74), she was a leading member of the Vienna Court Opera until retiring from the stage in 1889. In her prime she was regarded as “prima donna assoluta” and her private life and recurring marriages and divorces were favorite subjects of sensational press stories; a curious promotional pamphlet, Bellicose Adventures of a Peaceable Prima Donna, was publ, in N.Y. in 1872, presumably to whip up interest in her public appearances, but it concerned itself mainly with a melodramatic account of her supposed experiences during the Franco-Prussian War. Among her finest roles were Cherubino, Selika, Carmen, and Marguerite.
A. Jansen-Mara and D. Weisse-Zehrer, Die Wiener Nachtigall: Der Lebensweg der P. L.(Berlin, 1935).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire