Sofia Scalchi

Sofia Scalchi

Italian opera singer
Date of Birth: 29.11.1850
Country: Italy

  1. Biography of Sofia Scalchi
  2. Early Life and Training
  3. Professional Debut
  4. Career and International Success
  5. Later Career and Legacy

Biography of Sofia Scalchi

Early Life and Training

Sofia Scalchi, an influential Italian opera singer, was born on November 29, 1850, in Turin. She shared the same birthplace and year as the renowned lyric tenor Francesco Tamagno. Scalchi received vocal training under the guidance of the prima donna Augusta Boccabadati.

Professional Debut

In 1866, Scalchi made her professional debut at the Opera Theatre of Mantua, portraying the fortune teller Ulrica in Giuseppe Verdi's "Un ballo in maschera." Her first significant international success came on November 5, 1868, at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, where she debuted in London. She performed the role of the gypsy Azucena in Verdi's "Il trovatore."

Career and International Success

Scalchi became a member of the Covent Garden troupe and performed there until 1890. She showcased her versatility by taking on various roles for contralto and mezzo-soprano repertoire, including Amneris in "Aida" and several male roles traditionally performed by both men and women, such as Arsace in Handel's "Partenope." In 1882-1883, she embarked on her first journey to the United States, touring with James Henry Mapleson's opera company. Scalchi made history as one of the performers at the grand opening of the Metropolitan Opera in New York on October 22, 1883, where she sang Charles Gounod's "Faust." She returned to Mapleson's troupe a year later but came back to the Metropolitan Opera in 1891, performing there for five more seasons.

Later Career and Legacy

Despite her long stint at Covent Garden, Scalchi failed to create any significant new characters. Nevertheless, she participated in several important American premieres, including the last two works by Verdi, "Otello" and "Falstaff." She also appeared in the first American productions of Amilcare Ponchielli's "La Gioconda" and Umberto Giordano's "Andrea Chénier." In 1896, Scalchi left the Metropolitan Opera and established her own opera company a year later, which embarked on a farewell tour across the country. Critics praised her vocal power, range, and remarkable flexibility, although they noted distinct breaks between her registers. Unfortunately, Scalchi never made any gramophone recordings, and her voice is lost to future generations. She passed away in Rome on August 22, 1922. At the age of 25-26, she married Count Luigi Alberto Lolli, an aristocrat from Ferrara, becoming Countess Lolli. After her marriage, Scalchi often signed her name as Sofia Scalchi-Lolli in private correspondence and on posters.