Giacomo Puccini at the Columbia Phonograph Company
Gianni Viafora Italian painter
Giacomo Puccini Italian composer
Elvira Puccini Giacomo Puccini's wife
On February 21, 1907, shortly before Puccini's departure from New York City, where he was supervising productions of some of his operas at the Metropolitan Opera, his voice was preserved in a single-sided 78rpm recording entitled "La voce di Puccini" made by the Columbia Phonograph Company.
An English translation of that recording:
[Introduction by Gianni Viafora:]
'At 12:30 in the afternoon, from the little office of the Columbia Phonograph Company of New York, in the presence of Signora Elvira Puccini, Signora Gina Ciaparelli Viafora, as well as Mr. Emerson, President of Columbia, this is Gianni Viafora speaking now, on the eve of Maestro Giacomo Puccini's return to Italy, showered with glory and honors from audiences at the Metropolitan Opera House, where such great acclaim and enormous success has greeted his immortal operas. Here, today, more than 5,000 miles from Torre del Lago, where he finds so much poetic inspiration, Maestro Puccini will leave us a recording of his voice that will be listened to so ardently by many of his Italo-American friends and admirers and be a precious souvenir for generations. To you, sublime genius, worthy successor to the great composers who have represented Italy and make it the world's leading exporter of the arts of music and singing, we wish you safe journey with a fervent salute from our [correcting himself:] your admirers here present.'
[Applause and shouts of: "Long live Maestro Puccini! Hail! Hip, hip, hurray!"]
[Giacomo Puccini speaks:]
'My heartfelt thanks, dear Mr. Viafora, for all your kind words. I am really deeply grateful to the great public of New York for the very enthusiastic welcome they have given my operas. I accept your wishes for a safe journey, and conclude by cheering: America Forever!'
[Elvira Puccini speaks:]
'I'd like to say that the tributes accorded to my husband have made me very happy. I send a warm and sincere appreciation to everyone, especially the lovely American women, who were so very kind to us.'
Notes: Gianni Viafora was an Italian painter who immigrated to New York City. His wife, Gina Ciaparelli, was a soprano who appeared with the Metropolitan Opera between 1907 and 1910 in seven performances as Mim“ in Puccini's La Boheme.
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