|Year of Birth:||Not entered yet.|
|Year of Death:||1981|
Rosa Ponselle (January 22, 1897 – May 25, 1981) was an American operatic soprano with a large, opulent voice. She sang mainly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and is generally considered by music critics to have been one of the greatest sopranos of the past 100 years.
She was born Rosa Ponzillo on January 22, 1897, in Meriden, Connecticut, the youngest of three children. The family lived on the city's west side in a neighborhood chiefly populated by immigrants from the south of Italy, first at the corner of Lewis Avenue and Bartlett Street, then on Foster Street, where Ponselle was born, moving when she was three to Springdale Avenue. Her parents were Italian immigrants from Caiazzo, near Caserta. Ponselle had an exceptionally mature voice at an early age and, at least in her early years, sang on natural endowment with little, if any, vocal training. Instead, her early prowess as a piano student (which was cultivated by a local music teacher, Anna Ryan, the organist of a nearby Catholic church), seemed to incline Rosa to instrumental rather than vocal music. But with the influence and example of her older sister, Carmela, who was then pursuing a career as a cabaret singer, Rosa began to augment her engagements as a silent-movie accompanist in and around Meriden by singing popular ballads to her audiences while the projectionist changed film reels. By 1914, her reputation as a singer led to a long-term engagement at the San Carlino theater, one of the largest movie houses in New Haven, near the Yale campus.