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Aino Ackte (1876 - 1944)


The soprano Aïno Ackté was born into an extremely musical family: both parents were singers and her sister was the contralto Irma Tervani. Aïno received her first singing lessons from her mother and made her début in Helsinki in 1893, astounding the audience with the purity of her voice and her technical accomplishment. In the following year she entered the Paris Conservatoire where she studied with Duvernoy, Giraudet and Vidal. While in France she changed her name from Achté (in French, ‘acheté’ means ‘bought’) to Ackté. She made a successful début at the Paris Opera in 1897 as Marguerite in Faust, and for the following six years the Opera was to be her artistic home. Here she took the rôles of Herwine in the first performance of Alfred Bruneau’s La Cloche du Rhin and of Nedda in the French première of Leoncavallo’s Pagliacci. Other parts which she sang at this time at the Opera included Juliette/Roméo et Juliette, Elsa/Lohengrin, Elisabeth/Tannhäuser and Alceste in Gluck’s opera of the same name. She returned as a guest to the Opera in 1910 to take the title rôle in Massenet’s Thaïs.

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