“We lived in London, of which city I am very fond, from the time I was two, till I was fourteen, then we came to America. After residing here a couple of years, it was decided I should make a career, and we went to Italy. I was taken to Madame Anna Casaloni at Turino. She was quite elderly at that time, but she had been a great singer. When she tried my voice, she told me it was quite properly placed—so I had none of that drudgery to go through.
“At first my voice was a very light soprano, hardly yet a coloratura. It became so a little later, however, and then gradually developed into a dramatic soprano. I am very happy about this fact, for I love to portray tears as well as laughter—sorrow and tragedy as well as lightness and gayety. The coloratura manner of singing is all delicacy and lightness, and one cannot express deep emotion in this way.
“We subsequently went to Milano, where I studied with Madame Viviani, a soprano who had enjoyed great success on the operatic stage.
“After several years of serious study I was ready to begin my career. So I sang in Milan and other Italian cities, then at Covent Garden, and now I am in the Metropolitan. In Italy I created the role of Fiora in Amore del tre Re, and sang with Ferrari-Fontana. I also created Francesca in Francesca da Rimini, under its composer, Zandonai. I have a repertoire of about thirty operas, and am of course adding to it constantly, as one must know many more than thirty roles. Since coming to New York, I have learned Aida, which I did not know before, and have already appeared in it. It was learned thoroughly in eight days. Now I am at work on Madame Butterfly.
“I work regularly every morning on vocal technic. Not necessarily a whole hour at a stretch, as some do; but as much time as I feel I need. I give practically my whole day to study, so that I can make frequent short pauses in technical practice. If technic is studied with complete concentration and vigor, as it always should be, it is much more fatiguing than singing an opera role.
“You ask about the special forms of exercises I use. I sing all the scales, one octave each—once slow and once fast—all in one breath. Then I sing triplets on each tone, as many as I can in one breath. I can sing about fifteen now, but I shall doubtless increase the number. For all these I use full power of tone. Another form of exercise is to take one tone softly, then go to the octave above, which tone is also sung softly, but there is a large crescendo made between the two soft tones. My compass is three octaves—from C below middle C, to two octaves above that point. I also have C sharp, but I do not practice it, for I know I can reach it if I need it, and I save my voice. Neither do I work on the final tones of the lowest octave, for the same reason—to preserve the voice.