Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981

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American soprano.

From the description of Rosa Ponselle collection of performances, recorded interviews, and films, 1926-1987. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 86164288

Rosa Ponselle was an American soprano whose real name was Rosa Ponzillo. Her sister Carmela Ponselle (1892-1977) was a mezzo-soprano.

From the description of Papers, ca. 1911-1981. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122576040

Rosa Ponselle was an American soprano. Kenneth Miller was a violinist who lived in Lawrence, Kansas.

From the description of Letters to Kenneth C. Miller and other papers, ca. 1922-1925. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 144652348

From the guide to the Letters to Kenneth C. Miller and other papers, ca. 1922-1925, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981), American singer generally regarded as one of the great dramatic sopranos of the 20th century; sang at the Metropolitan Opera from 1918 to 1937.

Carmela Ponselle (1892-1977), Rosa's elder sister, a mezzo-soprano who sang at the Metropolitan from 1925 to 1935.

From the description of Rosa and Carmela Ponselle Music Collection, 1940-1975. (The Juilliard School). WorldCat record id: 465212945

Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981) was a noted American soprano, whose voice was famed for its opulent tone, breadth of range and interpretative warmth. She began studying music with her mother, an amateur singer. She and her sister, Carmela sang together under their real name, Ponzillo, in vaudeville shows in Pittsburgh and New York.

Her manager and voice teacher, William Thorner, introduced her to Caruso who arranged for her audition at the Metropolitan Opera. Her debut with the Metropolitan Opera was on Nov. 15, 1918, in the role of Leonora in La Forza del Destino, opposite Caruso. She was instantly successful, and her career took off from there. She went on to sing a variety of Italian opera roles at the Metropolitan.

Her last performance with the Metropolitan Opera was on Feb. 15, 1937 as Carmen. During her career, she sang 22 roles, performing 356 times with the Metropolitan Opera in New York and on tour. After retiring, she became active in social affairs.

From the guide to the Rosa Ponselle collection of performances, recorded interviews, and films, 1926-1987, (The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.)

Since Rosa Ponselle's career has been covered in depth elsewhere, most recently in the biography Rosa Ponselle: A Centenary Biography by James Drake (1997), only the outlines of her life are presented here.

Rosa Ponselle (born Ponzillo) was born in Meriden, CT, on January 22, 1897. She had her early training from her mother and appeared with her sister Carmela in vaudeville. She later took voices lessons with William Thorner, who introduced her to Enrico Caruso. Caruso paved the way for her Metropolitan Opera debut on November 18, 1918 in which she was cast as Leonora opposite the tenor in La Forza del Destino . Ponselle remained a mainstay of the company until her final performance in the title role of Carmen on February 15, 1937. Within a year she had retired from singing.

In 1936, Ponselle married Carl Jackson, son of a former mayor of Baltimore, Maryland. The couple moved to Baltimore, where Jackson built their home, "Villa Pace," located in Green Spring Valley. After their divorce in 1950, Ponselle began to be more active, teaching and becoming involved with the Baltimore Civic Opera as well as community life in Baltimore.

Rosa Ponselle died at Villa Pace, on May 25, 1981.

From the guide to the Rosa Ponselle papers, ca. 1911-1981, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Greenway, Lauder. Opera and recital collection [sound recording], 1901-1972. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Montemezzi, Italo, 1875-1952. Autograph letter signed, dated : Milan, 14 April 1931, to [Bruno] Zirato, 1931 Apr. 14. Pierpont Morgan Library.
referencedIn Charles A. Sink autographed photograph collection, 1894-1972 Bentley Historical Library , University of Michigan
creatorOf Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981. Letters to Kenneth C. Miller and other papers, ca. 1922-1925. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Rosa Ponselle collection of performances, recorded interviews, and films, 1926-1987 The New York Public Library. Rodgers and Hammerstein Archives of Recorded Sound.
referencedIn Bruno David Ussher collection of photographs, Bulk, 1922-1935, 1892-1957 USC Libraries Special Collections
referencedIn England, George Allan, 1877-1936. Woodstock Historical society collection, [18--]-[ongoing]. Woodstock Historical Society Museum
referencedIn Secrist, John, 1918-1958. Papers from the John Secrist Jr. collection, 1919-1973 (bulk 1949-1958). Library of Congress
referencedIn Horowitz, Vladimir, 1903-1989. The papers of Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz, 1784-1991 (inclusive). Yale University, Music Library
referencedIn Ussher, Bruno David. Bruno David Ussher collection of photographs, 1892-1957 (bulk 1922-1935). University of Southern California, USC Libraries
referencedIn Smith, Susie May. Susie May Smith oral history, 1985. Cornell University Library
creatorOf Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981. Correspondence from Eugene Ormandy, 1976. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981. Papers, ca. 1911-1981. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Letters to Kenneth C. Miller and other papers, ca. 1922-1925 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf Rosa Ponselle papers, ca. 1911-1981 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
referencedIn The Papers of Vladimir and Wanda Toscanini Horowitz., 1784-1991 Irving S. Gilmore Music Library, Yale University
referencedIn Villella, Tom. Correspondence to Eugene Ormandy, 1976. University of Pennsylvania Libraries, Van Pelt Library
creatorOf Swanson, Gloria. Papers. Series I. Correspondence, 1907-1983. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981. Rosa Ponselle collection of performances, recorded interviews, and films, 1926-1987. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Papers from the John Secrist Jr. Collection, 1919-1973, 1949-1958 Recorded Sound Section, Motion Picture, Broadcasting andRecorded Sound Division Library of Congress
referencedIn Autograph collection. Texas Woman's University Library, Mary Evelyn Blagg-Huey Library
referencedIn Fickénscher, Arthur, 1871-1954. Papers of Arthur Fickénscher, 1895-1995. University of Virginia. Library
creatorOf Ponselle, Rosa, 1897-1981. Rosa and Carmela Ponselle Music Collection, 1940-1975. The Juilliard School, Lila Acheson Wallace Library
creatorOf Rosa Ponselle [microform] : a collection of 17 scrapbooks, news clippings, photographs, 1911-Dec. 1935. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Pinza, Ezio person
associatedWith Ponce, Manuel M. (Manual Maria), 1882-1948 person
associatedWith Ponselle, Carmela, 1892-1977. person
associatedWith Porter, Cole, 1891-1964 person
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associatedWith Rossini, Gioacchino person
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correspondedWith Secrist, John, 1918-1958. person
associatedWith Serafin, Tullio, 1878-1968 person
associatedWith Shelton, Maud Key person
associatedWith Sink, Charles Albert, 1879-1972 person
associatedWith Smith, Ken, composer person
associatedWith Smith, Susie May. person
associatedWith Souir, Edith person
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associatedWith Stewert, Charles person
associatedWith Strauss, Johann 1825-1899 person
associatedWith Strauss, Richard, 1864-1949 person
associatedWith Stritch, Elaine person
associatedWith Sutherland, Joan, 1926- person
associatedWith Swanson, Gloria. person
associatedWith Tchaikovsky, Peter Ilich, 1840-1893 person
associatedWith Tibbett, Lawrence, 1896-1960 person
associatedWith Torrieri, Mary person
associatedWith Tosti, F. Paola (Francesco Paolo), 1848-1919 person
associatedWith Tosti, F. Paolo (Francesco Paolo), 1846-1916 person
associatedWith Tosti, Francesco person
associatedWith Ussher, Bruno David. person
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associatedWith Villella, Tom. person
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associatedWith Ward's Quartet corporateBody
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associatedWith Weill, Kurt, 1900-1950 person
associatedWith Windheim, Marek person
associatedWith Wolf-Ferrari, Ermanno, 1876-1948 person
associatedWith Yurka, Blanche person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Operas--Excerpts
Songs (High voice) with piano
Singers--Interviews
Songs (medium voice) with piano
Occupation
Vocalists
Singers
Function

Person

Birth 1897-01-22

Death 1981-05-25

Americans

English,

French,

German,

Italian,

Spanish; Castilian

Information

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Ark ID: w63b7f41

SNAC ID: 62306172