Opera Singer. Called "the new Patti", she was one of Europe's leading coloratura sopranos over a long career. Born Jadwiga Szayer in the southern Polish city of Wadowice, she was raised in Stary Sacz from age three by a well-off family. Just when her talent became apparent is unclear, but after private vocal study in her native land she trained in Vienna and in Milan, then made her 1909 professional debut at Rome's Teatro National as Marguerite from Charles Gounod's "Faust". Over the next decades she sang the standard roles of the lyric and coloratura repertoires including the title leads of Leo Delibes' "Lakme" and Donizetti's "Lucia di Lammermoor" as well as the doomed Gilda in Verdi's "Rigoletto", Violetta of the same composer's "La Traviata", Rosina in Rossini's "The Barber of Seville", and Mimi from Puccini's "La Boheme". After appearing at Italy's principal venues including Naples' Teatro San Carlo and La Scala Milano, Ada sang the title heroine of Jules Massenet's "Thais" in Warsaw, assumed the roles of Santuzza in Pietro Mascagni's "Cavalleria Rusticana" and Nedda of Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci" at Alexandria, Egypt, performances conducted by the respective composers, and toured Russia. Stuck traveling at the outbreak of World War I, she spent two years at the Vienna State Opera then moved on to Lviv and Warsaw; after the conflict she spent time in South America, earning particular praise at the Teatro Colon of Buenos Aires, then in 1921 undertook an American tour which took her to Chicago and to new York's Carnegie Hall. Ada was the Queen of the Night in Mozart's "The Magic Flute" for opening night of the 1923 La Scala season and continued performing her signature roles, though with time she devoted herself mainly to recitals. During World War II she ran an underground theater in Warsaw then was heard in Krakow in her native Poland. Having been a respected teacher since 1936, she spent her full time instructing a number of distinguished students after her 1947 retirement from the stage. She died while at a rest sanitarium in Ciechocinek, Poland leaving a significant recorded legacy, a portion of which has been preserved.
Bio by: Bob Hufford