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Emma Nevada
Birth: Feb. 7, 1859
Nevada City
Nevada County
California, USA
Death: Jun. 20, 1940
Liverpool
Merseyside, England

Opera Singer. A leading coloratura soprano of the late 19th Century, she earned particular praise for interpreting the "bel canto" roles of Bellini and Donizetti. Born Emma Wixom in the Alpha mining camp where her physician father was working, she was raised in Nevada City, California and at age five started singing in the Baptist Church as well as in a local camp where, according to legend, the miners showered her with gold coins. In 1868, Emma moved to Austin, Nevada when her family followed the silver mining there, but after her mother's death in 1872 she was sent to Oakland's Mills College. There she manifested a talent both for music and languages, becoming fluent in several American Indian and European tongues; following her 1876 graduation, she undertook a tour of Europe, but when the leader died suddenly at sea she remained rather than returning with the other girls. Living first in Berlin, she then spent three years in Vienna studying with the legendary voice teacher Mathilde Marchesi, during which time she took her stage name from her hometown. Emma made her May 17, 1880 operatic debut at Her Majesty's Theatre of London in the role that would be her signature piece, Amina from Vincenzo Bellini's "La Sonnambula". She took Amina to several Italian venues and in Genoa was heard by Maestro Giuseppe Verdi who hired her for La Scala Milano. In late 1881, she appeared at Pisa in the title role of her friend Ambrose Thomas' "Mignon"; Emma increased her repertoire, adding Marguerite from Charles Gounod's "Faust", Gilda of Verdi's "Rigoletto", and Elvira in Bellini's "I Puritani". She continued to garner rave reviews despite occasional complaints about her taking liberties with the musical scores and made her Paris bow in 1883 at the Opera-Comique as Zora in Felicien David's "La Perle du Bresil", while the Theatre-Italien first saw her in 1884 as the title heroine of Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor". At Norwich, England, she premiered the oratorio song "The Rose of Sharon" which Sir Alexander MacKenzie wrote for her; the fall of 1884 saw her first return to her native land on a tour in which she alternated starring turns with the great soprano Adelina Patti. She appeared throughout America as Amina and Lucia, as well as being seen in Gounod's "Mireille", and though she was well-received everywhere, her greatest success probably came in San Francisco as Amina. On October 1, 1885 Emma wed Dr. Raymond Palmer in Paris and was to reside in that city for a number of years. (Ambrose Thomas "gave away the bride", and Emma was to name her daughter "Mignon"). Joining the Catholic Church around the same time, Gounod stood as her "Godfather". The year 1886 saw her only appearances at Covent Garden, London, where she was, as frequently, Amina. Her career continued on both sides of the Atlantic; in 1899, she sang in concert at New York's Metropolitan Opera while introducing cellist Pablo Casals to American audiences. Emma retired from opera in 1907 but in 1910 sang one final time, as the title lead of Leo Delibes' "Lakme", in Berlin. In her later years she taught a number of students. As far as is known, she left no recordings; today, her medallion is one of three, along with those of Malibran and Pasta, that adorns Maestro Bellini's monument in Naples, and "The Emma Nevada House" in Nevada City has been preserved as a bed-and-breakfast. (bio by: Bob Hufford) 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  William W. Wixom (1826 - 1888)
 
 Children:
  Mignon Nevada (1886 - 1971)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
St Peter and St Paul Churchyard
Crosby
Metropolitan Borough of Sefton
Merseyside, England
 
Maintained by: Find A Grave
Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
Record added: May 27, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 52896793
Emma Nevada
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
Emma Nevada
Added by: Bob Hufford
 
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- Tom A. Hawk
 Added: Feb. 7, 2014
Born in the land of silver.
- Dan
 Added: Jun. 24, 2013

- nevermore
 Added: Feb. 7, 2013
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