I’d like to begin with the article written by the musical critic Teodoro Celli from “Il Messaggero”, Rome, because before talking about her voice, he dwells upon her physical appearance.
I will explain you why: whenever you read a review about a performance of Lina Pagliughi you will find, in the majority of them, a reference to her stoutness, even when the reviews are full of praise for her voice and her vocal art.  Living in Rome I have always had a deep regret  that she never appeared at the “Teatro Reale dell’Opera”, during her golden days. There was only one performance (one!) of Rigoletto at the “Terme di Caracalla” in 1938, with Galliano Masini and Gino Bechi. Only in 1949 she appeared at the “Teatro dell’Opera” in “I Puritani”, called in a great hurry to replace an ill Margherita Carosio, scheduled for the role of Elvira. (Two performances). Pagliughi  sang her part very well (I was present at the first performance),  her performance was a success, but I am sure that, had she sung  the same opera on that stage in her golden days, she would have achieved a triumph. But my wishes to hear her legendary Lucia at the Teatro Reale dell’Opera (so called till 1944) became a dead letter.  Perhaps the direction of  the Teatro Reale dell’Opera ignored the voice and gave to her stoutness the greater importance.

Her golden days lasted till 1943, when I heard her in a fabulous concert with Francesco Merli. After the war she was still in good vocal condition but she began to be more cautious about her technique, especially on the high notes. (But she launched  a beautiful  Eflat at the end of the cabaletta “Vien diletto”, when she sang I Puritani in 1949).
And now let’s get back back to her physical constitution. In 1973 I wrote about her for The Record Collector but I limited my work only to her chronology and biography. She was still alive and I didn’t dare to deal with a so delicate matter. Mme Lina often spoke witheringly of the argument using some joking allusion, but it was never my intention to insist on discussing it. For what concerns myself I can grant that, every time I heard her in the theater I was so conquered by her voice that I never paid attention to her physical appearance. But very often the great theaters refused to schedule her and even at La Scala, where she achieved great triumphs, she had to fight with the opposition of the Director Mataloni who didn’t accept her figure for Mosè by Rossini. The tenacity of Maestro Gino Marinuzzi, who had already directed Mosè for the EIAR, with Pagliughi in the part of Sinaide,won out over this opposition; he rightly held that no other soprano could have portrayed Sinaide as well as Pagliughi. The performance was a triumph and the critic PARIBENI, from the newspaper “L’Ambrosiano”, wrote: “Among the many characters of the biblic drama only two resulted perfect: Mosè and Sinaide, Tancredi Pasero and Lina Pagliughi.” I have already said that she spoke rarely of her stoutness, it is my opinion that she suffered much because of her length. She was not tall, she was of low stature and this increased the impression she created as soon as she entered the stage. Mezzosoprano Jole Jacchia, a  well-known second leading singer told me that  before facing the audience, Pagliughi told her: “Be careful to the reaction of the audience as soon as I appear on the stage”. And, in fact there was always a murmur of surprise that changed in admiration as soon as she opened her mouth.
Other memorable “Soirées” were the concert dedicated to the Brazilian composer Gomes, with Beniamino Gigli, Cloe Elmo and Tancredi Pasero and a fabulous Lucia di Lammermoor with Beniamino Gigli.  The echoes of this great success induced CETRA to record the complete opera with Lina Pagliughi and Giovanni Malipiero.  She sang again Lucia at La Scala with Gigli in 1947 and those performances were the last she sang there.

Her career went on till 1960. At Radio Lugano, Switzerland, she sang in two concerts, one dedicated to opera arias, the other to concert arias she had often sung in her recitals. Thus ended the career of Lina Pagliughi, who now left her house in Milan where she had lived for many years and went to settle in Gatteo a Mare, a charming countryside on the sea, in Romagna. The reason of this move was the quietness of the area (though crowded in Summer) and the purity of the air, compared to the smog of Milan. But another reason was that Pagliughi’s husband, Primo Montanari was born in Gatteo, not very far from Gatteo a Mare. There she lived in a beautiful villa and owned an entire building nearby. The citizens of Gatteo a Mare considered her as a national glory and dedicated a theater-cinema to her, calling it Cinema Pagliughi.


I wish to avoid to narrate in detail her biography, that has been dealt with in many books, magazines  and by myself (The Record Collector 1973 and  “Lina Pagliughi”  Tima Club edition 1989), I’ll rather answer many questions delivered to me by the editor. But, before answering the questions I will resume here her career, to emphasize the most important events:

NOTE : The names of the town means that she sang there in concerts and, mainly,
in opera. I avoid to mention the numberless smaller cities and regions of Italy where
she appeared from the beginning of her career to its end.


San Francisco 1919  Washington Theater    Concerts at age 12.
1920  Temple Israel, Jean Parker School, Dante Alighieri Society :  Concerts  
1920   The concert entitled  “La Piccola Tetrazzini”
Milano            1927   Teatro Nazionale    Rigoletto  (debut)   
Torino             1927   Teatro Vittorio Emanuele    Lucia di Lammermoor  


Appearances in Trieste and  Budapest                                     
Tour in South America  (many towns including Buenos Ayres and Montevideo : Barbiere di Siviglia, Carmen, Rigoletto, Guarany.

Copenhagen        Il Barbiere di Siviglia & Rigoletto   (with Stracciari)
Lisbon                 Carmen (with Zanelli), la Sonnambula, Lucia di
The Hague (Holland)  and  Amsterdam                   

The Hague              gli Ugonotti (with Tullio Verona), +  la Sonnambula    Verona                     
Budrio (Teatro Consorziale)      Lucia di Lammermoor  with  Aureliano Pertile
Milano                       (Teatro alla Scala)   Rigoletto  with D’Alessio, Galeffi
& Bruna Castagna

Barcelona + Montecarlo + Genova + Padova          

Appearances in : Padova, Pavia, Trieste, Brescia
Montecarlo    Théatre du Casino   Lucia di Lammermoor    with Alcaide     
“              “               “           Rigoletto   with Alcaide & Lulli
Genova    Teatro Carlo Felice       Il Barbiere di Siviglia   with L.Cecil & Galeffi
Napoli      Teatro San Carlo           Il Barbiere di Siviglia  with Ederle-Franci/Inghilleri


 Turin + Catania + Tournée  in Australia with Apollo Granforte, Primo Montanari, Cesarina
Valobra, Pedro Mirassou, Bruna Castagna

Appearances in Trieste, Geneva, Pavia, Bari

Novara + Bologna         
Her first Radio broadcast by EIAR  Torino:  Linda di Chamounix  with Stracciari
Appearances in Bari, Mantova, Catania, Bologna
EIAR   Turin and Rome  (Serraglio, il Re, Guarany, la Gazza ladra)


Appearances in Bologna, Verona, Trieste, Venice
EIAR   Rome and Turin   (I Puritani , L’Elisir d’amore, L’Impresario, Il Matrimonio segreto)

Appearances in Napoli, Mantova, Florence, Perugia
Milan      Her first concert from EIAR sponsored by “Martini & Rossi”  (producers of wines,
Vermouth...) She sang with Enzo De Muro Lomanto
Rome  (Augusteo)    EIAR   (Mosè, a broadcast entirely dedicated to Donizetti with Giuseppe
De Luca, Enzo De Muro Lomanto)
Milan    (Teatro Lirico-Guarany)    Parma  (Lucia with Ziliani/Civil/Malipiero)

Appearances in Cremona,  Turin-EIAR  Concert with Tito Schipa, Genova, Padova, Novara, Bergamo, Bologna
Milan  (La Scala)    Mosè  with Pasero-Cigna-Elmo
A concert dedicated to Gomes  with Beniamino Gigli-Cloe Elmo-Tancredi Pasero
Milan   Concert  with Beniamino Gigli-Enrico De Franceschi
EIAR  Turin  Arianna a Nasso


Verona    Cremona    Milano (Castello Sforzesco)     Venice    Pavia
London    Rigoletto    with Beniamino Gigli & Carlo Tagliabue
Tournée in Brazil       San Paul   Rio de Janeiro
Roma EIAR  (il Barbiere di Siviglia)

Tournée of concerts in Great Britain with her husband Primo Montanari and the flutist John Amadio
Pisa   Cremona    Trieste   Bologna   Turin     Milan (Castello Sforzesco)
EIAR     Turin  il Conte Ory       Rome  L’Impresario
Rome (Terme di Caracalla)  Rigoletto  with Galliano Masini & Gino Bechi

Napoli   Pavia   Livorno    Parma   Piacenza    Florence  (Teatro Verdi)   Genoa
Tour of concerts     in New York   Chicago   San Francisco   with the flutist John Amadio
Milan  (La Scala)   Rigoletto  with Basiola/Galeffi-Malipiero
Florence  (Maggio Musicale Fiorentino)   the Magic Flute   with Mafalda Favero-Tancredi Pasero
Ferruccio Tagliavini
EIAR Turin   Concert Martini & Rossi  with Giovanni Malipiero
Rome   (il Barbiere di Siviglia-Serraglio)

Novara    Ravenna    Bari   Pisa   Brescia    Verona  (Teatro Nuovo)   Milan  (Teatro Puccini)
EIAR       Turin   Concerts Martini & Rossi   a) with Tancredi Pasero   b) with Giovanni Malipiero
EIAR       Turin   Lucia di Lammermoor  with Giovanni Malipiero
Roma       (Teatro Adriano for Accademia di Santa Cecilia)  Concert conducted by Bernardino
Molinari, dedicated to Vincenzo Bellini – with Gabriella Gatti & Aurelio Marcato

Piacenza    Reggio Emilia    Pavia   Rovigo   Naples    Verona
Roma (Teatro Brancaccio - La Traviata)
EIAR    Roma   (Rigoletto    il Barbiere di Siviglia)
EIAR    Turin     Concert Martini & Rossi with Tito Gobbi)

Como    Rimini   Treviso
EIAR    Turin    Concert Martini & Rossi with Francesco Merli
Rigoletto  with Prandelli & Mascherini

EIAR   Milan     Concert  with Armando Borgioli 
Como     (Teatro Sociale) il Barbiere di Siviglia  with Basiola & Pasero

Ravenna     Concerts
Milan  (Castello Sforzesco)  La Traviata  with Galliano Masini-Piero Guelfi
no more EIAR but  “RAI”      Concert  with Emilio Renzi    /    Pavia    Turin

Reggio Emilia     Parma    La Spezia     Pisa   
Roma  (Teatro Adriano)     Lucia di Lammermoor    la Traviata
RAI Roma          la Sonnambula with G.Malipiero-N.Rossi Lemeni
RAI Turin           Concert Martini & Rossi  with G.Malipiero




Milan  (La Scala)   Lucia di Lammermoor   with Beniamino Gigli-U.Savarese-C.Siepi
Modena  (Teatro Municipale)   Lucia di Lammermoor   with Beniamino Gigli
RAI Roma         Rigoletto  with Giacomo Lauri Volpi-Tito Gobbi
Il Conte Ory      Lucia di Lammermoor  with Filippeschi
Roma                The sound-track of Rigoletto  with M.Filippeschi-T.Gobbi     
Roma   (Teatro Adriano + Teatro Quirino)   Barbiere, Lucia, Traviata

Pisa     San Remo    Turin
RAI Turin    Concert Martini & Rossi  with Giacinto Prandelli
RAI Turin    Concert dedicated to Verdi  “ Giacinto Prandelli
RAI Rome   l’Elisir d’amore   with Tito Schipa & Luciano Neroni
RAI Turin    i Puritani  with Filippeschi-P.Guelfi-Neroni 

Rome  (Teatro dell’Opera)   i Puritani  with  Filippeschi-Tagliabue-Neroni
Turin     San Marino   
RAI Turin    Concert Martini & Rossi  with Vasco Campagnano
RAI Turin    La Reginetta delle rose (Leoncavallo)  with Cesare Valletti       
RAI Turin    Concert Martini & Rossi  with Renato Capecchi

Asti    Ventimiglia    Turin    San Remo    Ravenna     
Rovereto      Concert with Tito Schipa
RAI  Turin    la Figlia del Reggimento     la Traviata     Parsifal  with Maria Callas-B.Christoff
The Seasons  (Haydn)  with Rodolfo Moraro-Sesto Bruscantini
Carmen   with Giulietta Simionato-Amedeo Berdini-Mario Borriello

Vercelli   Sondrio   Turin   Savona     Asti    Venice   Cremona
Turin  (Teatro Alfieri)  Lucia di Lammermoor  with Tito Schipa

RAI Milan   Un Giorno di Regno        La Campana sommersa       La Reginetta delle rose  with E.Renzi
Il Principe felice  (Bossi)                             
RAI Turin    Le Stagioni  (The Seasons-Haydn)   with Petre Munteanu-Renato Capecchi 
RAI Turin    Concert Martini & Rossi  with Giuseppe Taddei

Turin    Sondrio    Savona   Cremona
RAI Roma   i Puritani  with Filippeschi-Panerai-Bruscantini       La Fille de Mme Angot  (in italian)
L’Usignolo  (The Nightingale by Stravinsky)          Lord Inferno  (Ghedini)

   RAI Turin   Concert Martini & Rossi  with Giuseppe Di Stefano
RAI Milan   Concert Martini & Rossi  with Antonio Galiè

Reggio Calabria     Turin     Bari  
RAI Milan    Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra  (Rossini) 

Turin    Parma        
RAI Milan    Concert with Rolando Panerai
Roma   Teatro Argentina    Missa Solennis  (Beethoven)   with Marga Höffgen-Petre Munteanu
Perugia  (Sagra Musicale Umbra)    Missa Solennis  (Beethoven)   with Marga Höffgen-Petre Munteanu
RAI Roma    Concert Martini & Rossi  with Boris Christoff


Ravenna     Genova     Bari     Piacenza
RAI Roma    Viaggio d’Europa  (Rieti)       Un curioso accidente  (Jacopo Napoli)  

Bergamo      Teatro Duse          La Risurrezione di Lazzaro  (Perosi)
Treviso    Teatro Comunale      La Risurrezione di Lazzaro  (Perosi)  with Luigi Borgonovo

Venezia        La Risurrezione di Lazzaro  (Perosi)  with Luigi Borgonovo  (Cardinal Roncalli was present)  

Lugano  RSI  (Radio Svizzera Italiana)    Concert opera arias

Lugano  RSI   Ancient arias and opera arias