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Ristori, Adelaide (1822–1906)

Ristori, Adelaide (1822–1906)

Italian actress. Born Adelaide Ristori in Cividale del Friuli on January 30, 1822 (some sources cite 1821); died on October 9, 1906, in Rome, Italy; daughter of strolling players; married Giuliano Capranica del Grillo (an Italian marquis), in 1847 (died 1861); children: one son, Georgio Capranica del Grillo, a marquis.

One of the leading actresses of the European theater, Adelaide Ristori took to the stage at age four while her parents were members of a touring theatrical company. At 14, she enjoyed her first success in the title role in Silvio Pellico's tragedy Francesca da Rimini , and was only 18 when, for the first time, she played Mary Stuart in an Italian version of Johann Schiller's play. It would become one of her most famous roles.

As a member of the Sardinian company and the Ducal company at Parma, Ristori played the lead in Carlo Goldoni's La Locandiera, Augustin Scribe's Adrienne Lecouvreur , Vittorio Alfieri's Antigone, and Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Following a short retirement after her marriage to Giuliano Capranica del Grillo at age 25, Ristori returned to the stage and appeared regularly in Turin and the provinces.

It was not until 1855 that she paid her first professional visit to Paris. Though initially received coolly, she took the city by storm in the title role of Alfieri's Myrrha. The appearance of a rival to the great French actress Rachel set off a furious partisanship, and Paris was divided into two camps. Gallery theatergoers fought over the merits of their respective favorites. Though the two famous women never actually met, Rachel seems to have known that Ristori harbored no ill will toward her. In 1856, a tour in other countries was followed by another visit to Paris, when Ristori appeared in Giuseppe Montanelli's Italian translation of Gabriel Legouvé's Medea. She repeated this success in London.

In 1857, Ristori visited Madrid, playing in Spanish to enthusiastic audiences, and in 1866 she paid the first of four visits to the United States, where she won acclaim, particularly in Paolo Giacometti's Elizabeth, an Italian study of the English queen. After her final performance of Maria Stuart in New York in 1885, she retired from professional life. She died on October 9, 1906, in Rome.

Adelaide Ristori's Ricordi e studi artistici (Studies and Memoirs, 1888) tells of a fascinating career and is particularly valuable for the chapters devoted to the psychological makeup of the characters of Mary Stuart, Elizabeth I , Myrrha, Phèdra and Lady Macbeth (Gruoch ). In her interpretation of these roles, Ristori combined instinct with intelligence.

suggested reading:

Daily Telegraph. London, October 10, 1906.

Field, Kate . Adelaide Ristori: A Biography. New York, 1867.

Kingston, E. Peron. Adelaide Ristori: A Sketch of her Life, 1856.

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