Lucrezia Bori was born in Valencia, Spain in 1887. She made her debut as Micaëla in 1908 at the Teatro Adriano in Rome and was engaged at La Scala the following season. In 1910, the Metropolitan Opera of New York was visiting Paris. Lina Cavalieri was to sing the title role in Puccini’s Manon Lescaut. She cancelled and the relatively unknown Lucrezia Bori sang the role opposite none other than Enrico Caruso. Despite being offered a Met contract after this performance, Bori fulfilled her La Scala obligation and joined the Metropolitan in 1912. This began a nearly 25-year career with the Met, and it is this relationship for which she may be best remembered.
Bori’s lyric-soprano voice was expressive and her manner, patrician. She died in 1960 in New York.
Emmy Destinn (Emilie Pauline Kittel) was born in Prague in 1878 and showed promise as a violinist at a very young age. At 14, she began her singing studies with Marie Loewe-Destinn (whose name she adopted) and made her debut as Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana in 1897 at the Dresden Opera. Her success in the role resulted in a five-year contract with the Berlin Imperial Opera, where she premiered in Leoncavallo’s Roland von Berlin. Her international career was launched in Bayreuth singing the role of Senta in 1901. She appeared at the London premiere of Madama Butterfly at the Royal Opera House opposite Caruso in 1906. She was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in 1908 and in 1910 she appeared in the premiere of La Fanciulla del West. She retired in 1926 and lived her remaining few years in her beloved Czechoslovakia. She died in 1930.
Lucrezia Bori & Emmy Destinn
The Published Edison Disks and Cylinder Recordings