Calvé, Emma


1894 card signed by the great French Belle Epoque dramatic soprano best known for her “Carmen”, sang at Metropolitan Opera 261 times 1893-1904



Type: Signed Card
Description: (b. Rosa Emma Calvet, 1858-1942) Perhaps the most famous French Belle Epoque female international opera singer, sang regularly at the Metropolitan Opera and at Covent Garden in London. She made her operatic debut in 1881 in Gounod’s “Faust” in Brussels and later sang at La Scala and at principal theatres in Naples, Rome, and Florence. Returning to Paris in 1891, she created the part of Suzel in Mascagni’s “L’amico Fritz” and because of her great success in it, was chosen to appear as Santuzza in the 1891 French premiere of “Cavalleria Rusticana” in Paris, one of her greatest parts, repeating her success in it in London. In 1892, she spent 6 months in Rome studying under the last castrato Head of the Sistine Chapel Choir, adding half an octave to the top of her range. Her next triumph, and her most famous role, was as Carmen; before starting to study this part, she went to Spain, learned Spanish dances, mingled with the people and patterned her characterization after the cigarette girls she watched at work and play. In 1894, she made her appearance in the role at Paris’ Opéra-Comique and was immediately hailed her as perhaps the greatest Carmen ever, the ideal of Bizet’s cigarette girl of Seville. She first appeared in America 1893–94 as Mignon. After her Met Opera debut as Santuzza, she appeared 261 times with the company 1893-1904. She created the part of Anita, written for her, in Massenet’s “La Navarraise” in London in 1894 and sang his “Sapho”. She sang in the 1902 premiere of Reynaldo Hahn’s “La Carmelite,” creating that role. Her Met career abruptly ended in 1904 in a dispute with the music director and when she next reappeared in NYC, it was with the Hammerstein Company in 1907.

Signed verso of a 2 3/4 x 3 1/2 woman’s engraved calling card, adds “[18]94”; most frameable!

Condition: Very good

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