Rosa Ponselle

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Rosa Ponselle (pŏnzĕl´), 1897–1981, American operatic soprano, b. Meriden, Conn. First appearing in vaudeville, she made her debut (1918) at the Metropolitan Opera in Verdi's La forza del destino, opposite Caruso. She was an outstanding member of that company until her retirement in 1937. Ponselle was noted for her powerful, expressive voice and her handling of low tones. Her fame has endured as a result of several important recordings.

See her memoirs (1982); biographies by J. A. Drake (1997) and by M. J. Phillips-Matz (1997).

Her sister, Carmela Ponselle, 1892–1977, mezzo-soprano, b. Schenectady, N.Y., also sang with the Metropolitan Opera company (1925–28, 1930–35), and thereafter taught.

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Ponselle [Ponzillo], Rosa (b Meriden, Conn., 1897; d Green Valley, Baltimore, 1981). Amer. soprano. First sang in cinemas and in vaudeville act with her sister Carmella. At Caruso's suggestion, although she had never sung in opera, was engaged for Leonora in La forza del destino, NY Met 1918. Sang at Met 1918–37, CG 1929–31. One of greatest sops. of cent. in such roles as Norma, Violetta, Rachel (La Juive), and the Trovatore Leonora. Retired at height of powers and taught at Baltimore, becoming art. dir. of civic opera.