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Luisa Tetrazzini (29 June 1871 – 28 April 1940) was an Italian coloratura soprano of great international fame. Tetrazzini's voice was remarkable for its phenomenal flexibility, thrust, steadiness and thrilling tone. She enjoyed a highly successful operatic and concert career in Europe and America from the 1890s through to the 1920s, but her final years were marred by poverty and ill health.
Tetrazzini was born in Florence, the daughter of a military tailor. Reportedly, she began singing at the age of three. Her first voice teacher was her elder sister, Eva Tetrazzini (1862–1938), who also was a successful singer. Tetrazzini later studied at the Instituto Musicale in Florence. According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera (second edition, 1980), she made her operatic debut in Florence in 1890. The role was Inez in Meyerbeer's L'Africaine, taken when the scheduled soprano canceled on short notice. The first part of her career was spent mainly in the Italian provincial theaters and touring in Russia (she performed to considerable acclaim in Saint Petersburg), Spain and South America. Her 1890s' repertory consisted primarily of lyric-coloratura parts such as Violetta, Philine, Oscar, Gilda and Lucia. Tetrazzini made her American debut in San Francisco in 1905. The Metropolitan Opera's general manager, Heinrich Conried, took an option on her services at that time but unaccountably failed to engage her. After great success, she went on to New York where she was a sensation, eventually working under contract to Oscar Hammerstein.