Amelita Galli-Curci (soprano) was born in Milan in 1882. Initially she studied as a pianist, but also had some vocal training though as a singer she was largely self-taught. Her debut in 1906 at Trani, Italy, was as Gilda in Rigoletto and she rapidly became acclaimed as a coloratura singer. In 1916 she made her American debut at Chicago, again as Gilda, and remained with the company until 1921 when she joined the New York Metropolitan company, appearing with them until 1930. By this time her voice was in decline, and after a throat operation in 1935 she retired completely. She died in 1963.

Her voice was perhaps the most beautiful of the era, clear, limpid and never shrill, though her dramatic ability was limited and in her later singing career her intonation began to suffer: This is of course less apparent on the records since a good take would be chosen, but has had the odd side-effect of making her records more sought-after in recent years, when few people can remember hearing her live, than previously when her reputation rested more on memories of her live performances. The earlier records in particular have captured her voice extremely well and display an exceptional technique and beauty of tone: the electrical records, though less satisfactory in some ways, still show a fine technique and quality of voice.

'AH! NON CREDEA MIRARTI' ('La Sonnambula') (Bellini)
HMV DB256 (2-053135) recorded 1917

Possibly the finest of all her recordings: stunningly beautiful and accurate singing well caught by the Victor recording engineers. Transferred at 78rpm and digitally noise reduced (see the note on the introduction page).

If you would like to download this recording you can do so from this page.

There are more recordings of Galli-Curci on my page here.