Maria Carbone (1908-2002) was mentioned in my last post about Nicola Fusati. It turns out that she’s another singer with a medical connection. She studied medicine for 4 years before switching to vocal studies. I don’t know what university she attended when a medical student. Her training in singing was at the Conservatorio di San Pietro a Majella in Naples. She made her debut when only 22 years of age at the Teatro San Carlo also in Naples as Margherita in Boito’s Mefistofele. She subsequently appeared at all the major houses in Italy. She also sang in South America, Germany, Switzerland, and Norway.

She moved up from lyric roles to heavier ones like Minnie in Puccini’s Fanciulla and the title roles in Strauss’ Salome and Elektra. She appeared in the premieres of many 20th century operas that didn’t make it. She’s quoted in Lanfranco Rasponi book about 56 20th century divas The Last Prima Donnas. “I spent my life creating operas that never saw the light again.” After her retirement in the 50s she devoted her time to teaching in Venice, Milan , and Turin.

She made only two recordings, both complete operas (Otello and Carmen) under Maestro Carlo Sabajno and the La Scala Orchestra and Chorus. She was only 23 when both these operas were recorded. Her singing with Fusati of the love duet from Otello is linked on my previous post. I have no explanation as to why such a fine artist was so under recorded. But that’s the way it is.

First The Willow Song and the Ave Maria from the last act of Otello followed by Je dis que rien ne m’épouvante (in Italian) from the third act of Carmen. Incidentally, both complete recordings with Carbone are available on Spotify. Hers was a fine voice that deserved better from posterity.