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Gina Cigna

Born in France to Italian parents, Gina Cigna initially trained as a pianist, studying with Alfred Cortot at the Paris Conservatoire, where she was awarded a gold medal for her playing, and embarking on a career as a professional pianist. However, after meeting the distinguished French tenor Maurice Sens, whom she married in 1923, she followed his advice and turned to singing. Cigna studied with Emma Calvé, Hariclea Darclée and Rosina Storchio, but was mainly self-taught.

In 1926 she auditioned for Toscanini at La Scala, Milan, where she made her début in 1927 under her married name of Genoveffa Sens as Freia/Das Rheingold, without attracting much attention. During the following year she appeared at Monte Carlo as Musetta/La Bohème while continuing to study with Storchio and Giannina Russ. Under the name Gina Cigna she sang the title rôle in Catalani’s Loreley at Carpi and appeared at Trieste in Wolf-Ferrari’s Sly and at Nice.




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