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Giuseppina Strepponi
Birth: Sep. 8, 1815
Death: Nov. 14, 1897

Opera Singer. An acclaimed bel canto soprano, she had a short but spectacular career in Italy during the 1830s and 1840s. She later became the second wife of composer Giuseppe Verdi. Clelia Maria Josepha Strepponi was born in Lodi, Lombardy, Italy, the daughter of a minor composer. In 1830 she enrolled at the Milan Conservatory as a piano and vocal student, and after her father's death in 1832 she was awarded a scholarship to continue her studies. She won first prize in singing in 1834, the year she made her professional debut at Milan's Teatro Orfeo, and quickly became a reigning prima donna. Strepponi was hailed throughout Italy for her magnetic stage presence, intelligent acting, and flexible, wide-ranging vocal technique; she also won raves in her only opera appearances abroad, in Vienna in 1835. Her repertory included the title characters of Bellini's "Norma" and "Beatrice di Tenda", Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor", Rossini's "La Cenerentola", and Pacini's "Saffo", and the roles of Elvira in "I puritani", Ninetta in "La gazza ladra", Adina in "L'elisir d'amore", and Imogene in "Il pirata". Donizetti wrote the title role of "Adelia" (1841) specifically for her. Strepponi's personal life at that time was rocky. As chief breadwinner for her family she was obliged to keep a relentless performing schedule, and she had liasons with a married singer and a theatre manager that resulted in three illegitimate children. By 1844, health issues and overwork had brought about the decline of her voice. Audiences booed her at Palermo in 1845 and she retired from the stage soon afterwards, moving to Paris in 1846 to become a singing teacher. Strepponi had a great ear for talent and championed Verdi's music from the beginning. She sang in his first two operas, "Oberto" (1839) and "Un giorno di regno" (1840). After the failure of the latter she helped persuade the La Scala opera house management to mount "Nabucco" (1842) by agreeing to create the role of Abigaille; it was a resounding success. Verdi was reluctant to cast her in his "Ernani" (1844) and "I due Foscari" (1844) because of her deteriorating vocal condition, but she continued to be a steadfast supporter, giving him good career and financial advice. They saw much of each other in Paris and by 1848 were living together; three years later she was mistress of his estate at Sant Agata, outside of Busseto, Italy. Verdi zealously guarded his privacy and tantalizing glimpses of his life are found in Strepponi's diaries and letters. A devout Catholic, she referred to him as "a brigand" for his lack of belief and quietly yearned for marriage. "God is perhaps punishing me for my sins by ordaining that I shall have no legitimate joys before I die" she wrote in 1853. They were finally wed, secretly, in 1859. Friends of the couple agreed that Strepponi had a "civilizing" influence on the composer, who in his earlier days was dictatorial, tactless and lacking humor. Her devotion was tested in the early 1870s over Verdi's interest in soprano Teresa Stolz (the first great Aida), especially after sordid rumors about them surfaced in the press. We'll probably never know the full extent of that relationship, though at one point Strepponi was worried enough to draft a letter to her husband stating, "If there's nothing in it, be calmer in your attentions...I have the right to ask if not for your caresses at least for your consideration". Stolz somehow remained a friend of the Verdis for the rest of their lives. Strepponi died at 82 at Sant Agata, with Verdi by her side. She was originally buried in Milan's Cimitero Monumentale; after Verdi's death in 1901 she was reinterred with him at the Casa di Riposo per Musicisti. (bio by: Bobb Edwards) 
 
Family links: 
 Spouse:
  Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
Casa di Riposi per Musicisti
Milan
Provincia di Milano
Lombardia, Italy
Plot: Verdi Tomb
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
Record added: Jul 12, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11340690
Giuseppina Strepponi
Added by: Bobb Edwards
 
Giuseppina Strepponi
Added by: Creative Commons
 
Giuseppina Strepponi
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Bunny Boiler
 
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