Adelina Patti: “sweetest singer of the age”

Adelina Patti awed audiences for much of the latter half of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th with her beautiful voice, impeccable technique and dramatic stage presence. People said she “was the sweetest singer of the age.”

Born in Madrid, Spain, in 1843 to Italian parents who were both opera singers, Adelina was primarily raised in the U.S., where she was considered a child prodigy. Her first performance came at the age of seven. “She was so tiny that she had to stand on a table in order that the audience might see her.” 

Adelina continued performing in the U.S., Canada, and the West Indies as a child and into her teens. But a performance in New York in 1859, in her debut in grand opera as Lucia in “Lucia di Lammermoor,” made her a star. After this performance, she began performing in Europe as well. 

Adelina Patti portrait, circa 1867
Adelina Patti, circa 1867

Over the years, Adelina became particularly renowned for her performances of Italian opera, including works by composers such as Verdi, Bellini, and Donizetti. And she was also known for her performances of French and German opera. 

Adelina continued to perform well into her 60s. Today, she is remembered as one of the greatest opera singers ever. And musicians and music lovers worldwide continue to admire and study her recordings. 


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Adelina Patti portrait – National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, NPG.80.187

HATCH, GLADYS F. “ADELINA (ADELE JUANA MARIA) PATTI.” The Journal of Education, vol. 90, no. 19 (2255), 1919, pp. 512–512. JSTOR, Accessed 6 Mar. 2023.

Herman Klein. “Adelina Patti, 1843-1919.” The Musical Times, vol. 60, no. 921, 1919, pp. 603–05. JSTOR, Accessed 6 Mar. 2023.