Adelina Patti, Queen of Song

Adelina Patti: Bird-like Baroness from the Bronx
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Even in semi-retirement, she still had sufficient clout to refuse to travel to London for the recording sessions and demanded that the recording equipment be brought to her private castle in Wales. My Lord! Now I understand why I am Patti! Oh yes! What a voice! What an artist! I understand everything!

The voice was not large, but it could fill any opera hall of the day and the freshness of her voice and spontaneity of her singing were remarkable. She was born to a family of singers and learned to sing before she could walk and talk by imitating her parents. Ettore Barili, who laid the foundation of my singing. My brother-in-law, Mr. Strakosch, taught me certain embellishments and cadenzas, but it was to Ettore Barili that I owed the foundation as well as the finish of my vocal equipment. With him I studied solfeggi, trills, scales; the chromatic scales came naturally.

I think I was trilling when I came into the world. She sang professionally from her childhood until her last concert in They stood her on a table, clutching her favorite doll, so she could more easily be seen. The hall seated two thousand and within a week her performances were completely sold out. Her determined little airs and manners then already showed plainly that she was destined to become a ruler of men.

Her opera debut eight years later at age 16 was as Lucia di Lammermoor. Without pay.

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But if she was successful, she would be given a contract. She asks you frankly if you do not think it beautiful and allows you to part the thick tresses and see for yourself that the dark roots do not show.

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It is a marvelously beautiful tinge - a real red gold, not any washed out, streaked result, and the effect, with the marked contrast of the black eyes and brows, is decidedly piquant. The afternoon that I saw her she sat before a great window through which the sun poured down upon her, surrounded by her intimate friends and associates. There were the tenors Castlemari and Lloyd, snowy haired Maretrok beaming upon her as she called him her "dear old Max," Nicolini and any number of adoring female friends.

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To those she chatted like a sweet, coquettish child, in every known language, for Patti is a famous linguist. Her tiny Chihuahua lay cuddled in her asp upon her velvet gown, her pet mocking bird sent forth a gush of melody akin to his mistress' divine notes, and a superb parrot screamed and chattered in the next room. On the days before Patti sings, she denies herself to everybody and scarcely speaks aloud. She is extremely careful of that wondrous voice, even directing one of her friends to scream out, "Come in," whenever a tap was heard at the door, for us sho naively expressed it "I am going to sing to-morrow night and I'm not going to ruin my voice screaming "Come in.


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Patti's Youthfulness and Beauty. Women seem to take a perennial interest in Mme. Patti's secret of youth and beauty. As, through my attendance on the great prima donna, I am supposed to be acquainted with her toilet secrets, almost every woman I meet nowadays inquires:. Rowland, do tell us how Patti manages to look 25 when we all know she is over 50! Since Patti's marriage to Baron Cederstrom that question is asked with increasing frequency, with added queries as to whether she really is all that is claimed in that line. I want to say right here that Patti does look young and lovely.

If we did not know her real age, I am quite sure we would set her down as a woman not over 30 years of age. Nature gave Mme. Patti a good figure and luscious black eyes, with one of the sweetest dispositions I have ever known. Patti's intelligence, with good grooming, has done the rest. She has made a scientific study of the art of eating, bathing, resting and working, and to the observation of these she attributes the preservation of her good looks.

Adelina Patti, Queen of Song

Patti's complexion was just like any other woman's. When I first became acquainted with her, she had very nearly spoiled her skin by the use of cosmetics. Every maker of cosmetics in the world opens business by sending samples of his or her wares to Mme. She receives about five jars every day of her life, and she used to try them all! There is no more of that now, for she has learned that the secret of youth and beauty may not be found in chance jars of cosmetics, but in the wisdom that shines forth in abstemious living and the use of only toilet accessories of known and tried purity.

Poor Patti! What a time of it she had until she found the futility of personal experiment with the blooms of youth and antiwrinkle creams! Because the ravages of stage paint had begun to tell on her skin she was anxious to find something to counteract its effects. This it was that led her to experiment. If the sample jar of cosmetic burned her skin, she threw it away. If it didn't, she went on using it.

Every jar was acknowledged either by the diva or by her maid, and these letters of acknowledgment were in many cases widely advertised by manufacturers as "testimonials" from the great singer. Nowadays Mme. Patti seldom bothers with any of these things, although she is particular in returning thanks for even the smallest courtesies. Therefore most of the much prized letters of thanks which skillful manufacturers make use of in advertising all sorts of compounds are written not by Patti, but by some one else. An amusing incident which occurred during one of my visits at Craig-y-Nos will illustrate this.

A friend of the singer had been much amused by the use of a letter signed by Patti and used to advertise a patent medicine. She brought the advertisement with her one day to show to Madame.

Adelina FINAL the Final Recordings at Craig-y-Nos Castle.

Karoline will look over it first. I fancy," with a twinkle in her eye, "she knows more about it than I do. Karoline Bauermeister, Mme. Patti's faithful companion, so long with her that she transacts much of the diva's personal business, came into the room. She took the advertisement and looked over it. First a look of perplexity, then one of amazement and annoyance, came over her face. Such as would cause her annoyance are destroyed or returned. The others are answered in Patti's name, and in the majority of cases Mme. Patti never hears of the letters at all. This freedom from annoyance is one of the reasons why Patti has been able to preserve her joyous and childlike expression.

Nothing that can wound or harass her ever gets to her ears if the faithful Karoline and her devoted attendants can prevent it. Of course not all of us can thus spend our lives shielded from cares, but it should teach us the wisdom of ignoring petty annoyances and letting deeper troubles sit on our hearts as lightly as possible unless we wish them to plant telltale lines in our faces. Now, you wonder what I did for Mme. Patti's complexion when a number of years ago she asked me to take care of it! Just what I would do for any woman's - gave it a thorough cleaning until I got the pores well opened and working in healthy condition; then I fed her skin with cream to give it the nourishment that the use of the strong stage cosmetics had robbed it of.

For one hour every morning she sat in a chair and had her skin carefully treated. She was deeply interested in what I told her of skin foods and tonics and with her mirror in her hand followed the applications, asked questions and obeyed directions like a little child. She is most strict in her observance of my orders. She sleeps with retiring cream on her face. She never applies a powder to her face without first putting on a skin lotion expressly prepared to prevent the powder getting in to the pores of the skin.

The washing of the face is an important process with the singer. On August 20 of the same year, in the second letter to Mrs. Rogers, Patti begins in a somewhat different vein, but concludes with an uninhibited account of her successes and her encounters with royalty:. You will be sorry to hear that I have been suffering a great deal lately with my poor knee owing to the application of a burdock leaf, which I was led to believe would entirely cure it, instead of which it caused violent inflammation and agonies of pain.


You can imagine how unhappy it made me, for it was just when we had a great number of distinguished guests staying here, among others Sir George and Lady Higginson and their daughter, and my knee was so bad that I was quite unable to walk. We sent to Paris for the famous Dr. Leroux, and he said I was suffering from Arthritis, and ordered massage for my knee 4 hours every day - and he was also most anxious to burn the knee with what is called " Pointes de feu," but such a severe remedy was not necessary, and I am glad to say that my knee is now really better, and I am able to walk again.

We had another very celebrated French doctor here last week who feels confident that in a very short time he will completely cure me with an elixir which he also guarantees to be a regenerator of youth! We have now a large party of friends staying with us, and next week we are expecting several more. We have given several Concerts in the Theatre lately and my voice was never clearer or stronger. At supper I was placed at the table set apart for Royalties, Princess Mary sitting on the right of the host, and I on his left. And the Prince of Wales stood up and proposed my health, and made a graceful speech in which he expressed the fervent hope that I should live for very many years to sing so beautifully as I had done this evening, and saying how much he and all real lovers of good singing regretted that I spent so little time in London and afforded them so few opportunities of hearing me - you can imagine how all this touched me, and as a mark of their affection for me, the Prince and Princess of Wales have both sent me large and very beautiful autographed photographs of themselves, signed "Alexandra " and "Albert Edward In a letter to Mrs.