Tilde Carotini: a forgotten opera gem
There is only one recording of her voice, dating back to 1904 in a duet from Gaetano Donizetti’s “La Favorita“. The baritone, for the occasion, was the famous Mattia Battistini, known as the king of baritones and baritone of the kings.
Tilde Carotini was born in 1864 in Jesi, in the center of Italy. Her debut took place in 1884 at the Teatro Cagnoni in Vigevano, as Isabella in the opera “L’Ebreo” by Giuseppe Apolloni. Her career took her to some of the main Italian theaters, like Bologna, Rome, and Verona, and, eventually, abroad, to Madrid, Montevideo, and St.Petersburg.
She was a star at the Teatro Regio in Parma, a temple of opera, where she appeared in four different productions in the 1886-1887 season: Mefistofele by Boito, Dinorah by Meyerbeer, Fausta by Bandini, and Rigoletto by Verdi. On February 19 she sang the aria “Oh mio Fernando” from Donizetti’s “La Favorita” during a gala evening organized in her honor.
In 1891, while singing La Gioconda by Amilcare Ponchielli at the Goldoni theater in Ancona, she met the tenor Alfredo Zonchi, who then became her husband.
Death in Venice
A tragic end
Despite living in the golden age of Italian opera, the age of Verdi, Puccini (by the way, she even sang the part of the musico in Manon Lescaut), Ponchielli and so many others, and being one of the most beloved singers of her time, Tilde Carotini didn’t make it through history, trapped in its pages or perhaps just in her own tragedy.
It’s unfortunate that there is basically no audio documentation of her interpretations; I sure would love to hear her Favorita…
About the author
Composer and conductor, Gianmaria Griglio is the co-founder and Artistic Director of ARTax Music.
Interested in some more music? Take a look at this series!