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Licia Albanese (b1913)

Licia Albanese studied initially with Emmanuele de Rosa in her home town of Bari, visiting him every day, and continued her studies in Milan with Giuseppina Baldassare-Tedeschi (a distinguished former Madama Butterfly) with whom Albanese developed a close relationship. She made her unofficial operatic début in 1934 substituting for a sick colleague as Butterfly in the second act of Madama Butterfly at the Teatro Lirico in Milan, and went on to win a national singing competition in Bologna in the same year. Some uncertainty attaches to the details of her formal début. This was either in the rôle of Mimì/La Bohème at the Teatro Petruzelli, Bari, under the name Alicia Albanese, in 1934; or during 1935 in Parma or Milan, on both occasions as Butterfly. She was quickly engaged to sing Micaela/Carmen and Pamina/Die Zauberflöte in Rome, and Mimì in Naples. During 1935 she also made her débuts at the Verona Arena (Anna/Loreley) and La Scala, Milan (Lauretta/Gianni Schicchi and Mimì), where she began a long vocal partnership with Beniamino Gigli. She took part in the 1937 Coronation season at Covent Garden, singing Liù/Turandot and Nanetta/Falstaff, and in 1938 sang Silvia in the Italian première of Haydn’s L’isola disabitata at the Florence May Festival.



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