Adelina Patti was the greatest soprano of the 19th century and probably the most famous woman in the world at that time after Queen Victoria. Giuseppe Verdi is said to have called her the greatest singer he had ever heard.
She was born Spain and brought up in the US, in New York, where she gave her first concert at the age of seven. In 1861 she sang at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, performing the role of Amina in Bellini’s La Sonnambula. The following year she performed for President Abraham Lincoln at the White House, and soon became very successful and very wealthy, earning up to $5000 a night at the height of her career.
She lived much of her life at Craig-y-Nos castle on the River Tawe in the Brecon Beacons, where she built a small theatre that still stands today.
Ah! Mon Dieu! Maintenant je comprends pourquoi je suis Patti! Oh oui! Quelle voix! Quelle artiste! Je comprends tout!’
Ah! My God! Now I understand why I am Patti! Yes, what a voice! What an artist! I understand all!
She made more than 30 recordings, some of them at the castle, which demonstrate her beautiful, lyric tone. When Adelina Patti heard the recording of herself singing, her accompanist recalled that she said: “Yes, what a voice! What an artist! I understand all!”
She died at Craig-y-Nos in 1919 and was buried at Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris, near the tomb of Rossini.