Above: soprano Mafalda Salvatini
Having been a devoted opera-lover for over half a century, it's quite unusual for me to encounter a singer I never heard - and rarer still to find one I've never heard of.
The lovely photo of Mafalda Salvatini (above) sent me on a research quest. Italian-born (in 1886), Salvatini studied with Pauline Viardot and Jean de Reszke. Her career was centered in Berlin, where she made her operatic debut in 1908 as Aida, opposite Enrico Caruso. Among the roles she sang were Tosca, Santuzza, Carmen, Senta, and Turandot. She later appeared at Paris, Vienna, Riga, Dresden, and at La Monnaie, Brussels. She retired from the stage in 1932.
Salvatini made a few recordings of arias, sung in German. She was the mother of famed set and costume designer Rolf Gérard. At the outbreak of World War II, she took refuge in Switzerland, where she died in 1971.