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Natalina "Lina" Cavalieri (25 December 1874 – 7 February 1944) was an Italian operatic soprano, actress, and monologist.
Lina Cavalieri was born on Christmas Day at Rieti, some 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of Rome. She lost her parents at the age of fifteen and became a ward of the state, sent to live in a Roman Catholic orphanage. The vivacious young girl was unhappy under the strict discipline of the nuns, and at the first opportunity she ran away with a touring theatrical group.
At a young age, she made her way to Paris, France, where her appearance opened doors and she obtained work as a singer at one of the city's café-concerts. From there she performed at a variety of music halls and other such venues around Europe, while still working to develop her voice. She took voice lessons and made her opera debut in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1900 (as Nedda in Pagliacci), the same year she married her first husband, the Russian Prince Alexandre Bariatinsky. In 1904, she sang at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo then in 1905, at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre in Paris, Cavalieri starred opposite Enrico Caruso in the Umberto Giordano opera Fedora. From there, she and Caruso took the opera to New York City, debuting with it at the Metropolitan Opera on 5 December 1906.
Cavalieri remained with the Metropolitan Opera for the next two seasons, performing again with Caruso in 1907, in Puccini's Manon Lescaut. She became one of the most photographed stars of her time. Frequently referred to as the "world's most beautiful woman", she was part of the tightlacing tradition that saw women use corsetry to create an "hour-glass" figure.