A recording from 1905 of one of the 19th century's most famous opera singers Adelina Patti singing "The Last Rose of Summer", a song based on the poem by Irish poet Thomas Moore. Although the sound quality isn't great and her voice is past its prime (she was 62 yrs old), through the dust and scratches we can hear glimpses of why Giuseppe Verdi, writing in 1877, described her as being perhaps the finest singer who had ever lived. Patti's piano accompanist for this recording and others she made at the time, Landon Ronald, recalls his experience working with her:
"When the little (gramophone) trumpet gave forth the beautiful tones, she went into ecstasies! She threw kisses into the trumpet and kept on saying, 'Ah! Mon Dieu! Maintenant je comprends pourquoi je suis Patti! Oh oui! Quelle voix! Quelle artiste! Je comprends tout!' [Ah! My Lord! Now I understand why I am Patti! Oh yes! What a voice! What an artist! I understand everything!] Her enthusiasm was so naïve and genuine that the fact that she was praising her own voice seemed to us all to be right and proper."
January 28, 2013