Farrar, Geraldine


1930 ALS of the retired soprano opera singer and silent screen actress


Autograph ID: 5004
Condition: Very good, minor mount remnants verso, light folds
Description: “(1882-1967) American soprano opera singer and film actress, noted for her beauty, acting ability, and her voice. At 5 she began studying music in Boston and by 14 was giving recitals. Later she studied voice with American soprano Emma Thursby in New York, in Paris, and finally with Italian baritone Francesco Graziani in Berlin. She created a sensation at the Berlin Hofoper in her 1901 debut as Marguerite in Gounod’s “Faust” and remained with the company for 3 years, during which she continued studies with Lilli Lehmann, to whom she had been recommended by Lillian Nordica.. She appeared in the title roles of Ambroise Thomas’ “Mignon” and Massenet’s “Manon”, as well as Juliette in Gounod’s “Roméo et Juliette”. Her admirers in Berlin included Crown Prince Wilhelm with whom she is believed to have had a relationship beginning in 1903. In 1906, she debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in “Romeo et Juliette” and appeared in the Met premiere of Puccini’s “Madama Butterfly” in 1907 and remained a member of the company until her retirement in 1922, singing 29 roles there in some 500 performances. She created the title roles in Mascagni’s “Amica” (Monte Carlo, 1905), Puccini’s “Suor Angelica” (New York, 1918), Giordano’s “Madame Sans-Gêne” (New York, 1915), as well as the Goosegirl in Humperdinck’s “Königskinder” (New York, 1910), for which Farrar trained her own flock of geese. She recorded extensively for the Victor Talking Machine Co. and was often featured in that firm’s advertisements. She also appeared in silent movies, filmed between opera seasons. She starred in over a dozen films from 1915-20, including De Mille’s 1915 adaptation of “Carmen”. One of her most notable roles was as Joan of Arc in the 1917 film “Joan the Woman”. Farrar had a 7-year love affair with Arturo Toscanini. Her ultimatum, that he leave his wife and children and marry her, resulted in his abrupt resignation as principal conductor of the Metropolitan Opera in 1915. She retired from opera in 1922 at 40. By this stage, her voice was in premature decline due to overwork. She gave 25-35 performances each season at the Met alone, including 95 as Butterfly and 58 as Carmen in 16 seasons. In 1960 she was awarded 2 stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, in music and film categories.

10 x 8 ALS on blue letterhead with crest at top left, Ridgefield, Conn., July 9 1930, to a Detroit girl, nice letter of apology for her mislaid letter. Farrar, in retirement, is enjoying “a heavenly summer of quiet and beauty”, sends requested autograph. With hand-addressed envelope.”
Type: Letter

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