Item #6611 [Soprano Adelina Patti.]. James E.? McClees, photographer.

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[McClees, James E.?, photographer.]

[Soprano Adelina Patti.]

Ca. 1860. Salted paper print. 5 1/4 x 7 1/2" on 9 x 11 1/2" mount. Possibly photographed by James E. McClees of Philadelphia, as this was acquired with some other salted paper photographs bearing his blind-stamped imprint (626 Chestnut Street).

A captivating early photograph of Adelina Patti, apparently taken around the time of her operatic debut in November of 1859.

Adelina Patti (1843–1919) was born in Madrid into a family of talented musicians, including her Italian parents—her father a tenor and mother a soprano, sisters Amalia and Carlotta, both singers, and brother Carlo, a violinist. The family moved to the Bronx, New York, where Adelina grew up. She sang professionally even from childhood, and developed into a coloratura soprano. She made her operatic debut at age 16 on 24 November 1859 in the title role of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor at the Academy of Music, New York. Patti remains one of the most famous sopranos in history. The composer Giuseppe Verdi, writing in 1877, described her as being perhaps the finest singer who had ever lived and a "stupendous artist.” Verdi's admiration for Patti's talent was shared by numerous music critics and social commentators of her era.

Due to her enormous popularity and professional longevity Patti was photographed on many occasions. Early photographs, which include a few daguerreotypes, are far less common. The present image appears to be among the earliest known paper photographs of her.

A lovely early image of Adelina Patti, captured at the outset of her remarkable career.

REFERENCES: Adelina Patti at; Patti, Adelina (1843–1919) at

Item #6611


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