Bellincioni, Gemma (1864–1950)

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Bellincioni, Gemma (1864–1950)

Italian soprano. Born on August 18, 1864, in Monza, Italy; died in Naples on April 23–24, 1950; daughter of Cesare Bellincioni (a buffo bass) and Carlotta Savoldini (a contralto); studied with her father and her husband as well as Luigia Ponti dell'Armi and Giovanni Corsi; married Roberto Stagno (a tenor).

Made debut in Dell'Orefice's Il segreto della duchessa (1879); sang in Spain and Portugal and appeared in Rome (1885); sang at Teatro alla Scala (1886); first Italian Salome under Strauss' baton in Turin (1906); continued to appear occasionally in The Netherlands in the 1920s.

Gemma Bellincioni and her husband Roberto Stagno performed many operas together. Bellincioni continued a tradition begun by her parents Cesare Bellincioni, a bass, and Carlotta Savoldini , a contralto. Hers was a life of music after her birth in Monza, Italy, on August 18, 1864. Her father was her first teacher. She continued to study with her husband Roberto Stagno, a tenor, whom she met in 1886. After her first performance of Cavalleria rusticana, Bellincioni was in demand all over the world. Idolized in Italy, she won acclaim in opera houses throughout Europe. She made several early recordings which are of exceptional interest to collectors. In 1903, she made four titles for the Gramophone and Typewriter Company and, in 1905, a further ten for Pathé. At the time, Bellincioni had been singing for 24 years. Her singing was characterized by a strong vibrato and extensive use of the chest register. She had a fine technique, strong sense of drama, and wide range of vocal color. Fortunately, her performances were captured on the gramophone, because her interpretation of the aria from Cavalleria rusticana is considered a model for subsequent interpreters of the role of Santuzza.

suggested reading:

Bellincioni, Gemma. Io e il palcoscenico (autobiography). Milan, 1920.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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Bellincioni, Gemma (1864–1950)

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