Portrait as Aida inscribed to her teacher Marcella Sembrich’s accompanist, pianist-composer Frank La Forge
Autograph ID: 5006
Condition: Very good, tiny abrasion at top center edge
Description: “(1902-1986) Italian-American dramatic soprano, particularly associated with the Italian repertory. Daughter ofItalian tenor Ferruccio Giannini (1868-1948), who came to the US in 1885, and with whom she first studied, later studied with Marcella Sembrich in New York. She began in concert in 1923, in New York, also appearing in England. She made her stage debut in Hamburg, as Aida and Santuzza, later appearing in Berlin, Vienna, London. She sang at the Salzburg Festival in 1934, as Donna Anna and Alice Ford, and made her debut at the Paris Opéra in 1936, as Donna Anna. In 1938, she created, in Hamburg, the role of Hester Prynne in “The Scarlet Letter”, an opera by her brother Vittorio Giannini (1903-1966). She sang at the Metropolitan Opera 1935-42, also appearing at the Lyric Opera of Chicago (1938–42) and the San Francisco Opera (1939–43). She also took part in the 1st season of the New York City Opera in 1943, as Tosca. After WW II, she appeared in Paris, London, Berlin, and Vienna, and then turned to teaching, notably in Zurich.
SP, 5 ¼ x 3 ½ German postcard left profile bust portrait as Aida by Hamburg photographer R. F. Schmiedt, inscribed to composer-pianist-voice teacher Frank La Forge: “To Frank La Forge – friend – superb accompanist whose songs have given great pleasure to my audience & myself. [signed].” Undated but most certainly pre-WW II.
FRANK LA FORGE (1879-1953) American pianist, composer and arranger of art songs. He went to Vienna in 1900 to study piano with Theodor Leschetizky. In the following years he toured Europe, Russia, and the US as an accompanist to Marcella Sembrich. He moved to New York City in 1920, where he became a music teacher, coach, and accompanist. La Forge recorded prolifically for the Victor Talking Machine Co., as a soloist and accompanist starting in 1906. As a soloist, he recorded works by Chopin, Liszt and MacDowell, as well as serving as an accompanist for many singers and instrumentalists. In performance he usually accompanied entirely from memory, and La Forge claimed he had a repertoire of 5,000+ memorized accompaniments embracing all schools. He taught a number of important American singers, including Marian Anderson, Lawrence Tibbett, and Richard Crooks. He composed some 40 songs for voice and piano 1906-40, as well as a few piano solos, choral works, and at least one solo for violin and piano. Some of the songs are sacred, and many of his early songs were composed to German texts and modeled on the German Lied. Later songs were composed in the more accessible “concert ballad” style, quite popular at the time, and many were written for specific singers to show off their individual talents.”