Emma Carelli


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(b Naples, 12 May 1877; d nr Rome, 17 Aug 1928). Italian soprano. She was born into a musical family, and in 1895 made her début in the title role of Saverio Mercadante's La vestale during the centenary celebrations at Altamura. After appearances in Naples and at the Dal Verme in Milan, she went to La Scala, singing Desdemona to Tamagno's Otello and, in 1900, Tatyana in the Italian première of Yevgeny Onegin. A spectacular tour of South America was followed by her greatest success, as the title character, Zazà, in the opera by Ruggero Leoncavallo. In 1898 she married the left-wing politician Walter Mocchi, who later became a theatrical impresario and acquired the Costanzi in Rome. Carelli took over the management in 1912, her first season including the Rome première of Richard Strauss's Elektra, in which she sang the title role to great acclaim, having coped with a fire in the theatre earlier that evening. She ran the theatre for 15 years, maintaining an enterprising repertory with distinguished casts and despite serious financial losses. She died in a car accident in 1928. Her few and rare recordings are not attractive as pure singing but have plenty of energy and temperament.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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