The great Argentinian soprano Hina Spani (1896-1969) in "In quelle trine morbide" from Act 2 of Puccini's Manon Lescaut. The recording was made for HMV in 1927. She was accompanied by the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, conducted by Carlo Sabajno.
The following biographical notes on Spani come from "Andrea's Subito-Cantabile: A Site for Collectors of the Great Singers of the Past" ("Spani's real name was Higinia Tunon. She started to take singing lessons at the age of eight and gave her first public concert in Cordoba at the age of 12. Her first teacher was Amanda Campodonico in Buenos Aires. She left for Italy to continue her studies with Vittorio Mortatti in Milan.
She made her début as Anna in Catalani's Loreley at La Scala in 1915. Soon after she appeared at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Micaela, Nedda and Ines in Meyerbeer's L'Africana. World War I disrupted her career but she gave many recitals in which she often sang German Lied repertoire. This preference for German music continued to the end of her career. In 1919 she returned to Italy and appeared in various opera houses. She sang her first Elsa in Wagner's Lohengrin in the same year, this being one of her most famous roles. She also appeared as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, as Maddalena, Desdemona, Mimì, Marina, Sieglinde, Santuzza and Wally. In 1924 she added Aida, Amelia and Giulietta (Zandonai). She sang Margherita in Boito's Mefistofele opposite de Angelis, Pertile and Arangi-Lombardi, conducted by Toscanini. In 1926 she sang recitals in Italy (often Wagner's Wesendonck-Lieder!) and appeared in all Italian, Spanish and South American opera houses. She declared that she preferred song to opera and that the expressive power of the Lied was to her the greatest source of satisfaction. She also appeared in Australia and Switzerland. She added further roles to her repertoire: Leonora (Trovatore), Madame Butterfly, Marguerite in Faust and Tosca. During her final years she mostly sang dramatic roles such as Turandot and Lady Macbeth. Nevertheless she continued to sing lyric roles. She terminated her operatic career in 1940 but continued to give recitals until 1946. She became a highly esteemed professor at the Music High School of the University of Buenos Aires. For some years Hina Spani was the Director of that institute. Her career was mostly centered in South America, Spain and Italy. She did neither appear at the Met nor in England or Germany. This may be the reason why she is still underrated. She enjoyed a long and successful career and sang opposite the greatest singers such as Caruso, Chaliapin, Bonci, De Angelis, Ruffo, Stracciari, Gigli and many others.
Spani was a true dramatic soprano. Her upper register was particularly remarkable, coupled with brilliance and a fine attack. She was very responsive to changing moods and to the sense of words. In the opinion of renowned critic John Steane (in his book "The Grand Tradition"), she made some of the most satisfying and exciting operatic records to be heard from the early years of electrical recordings. With Hina Spani we can learn what impassioned singing is about."