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Exhibits:  The Sheridan Libraries and Museums

On Tour

Travels to Europe

Although she performed relatively little in continental Europe, Rosa Ponselle appeared multiple times in London at the Royal Opera House at Covent Garden in the leading roles of La Traviata, Norma, and Carmen, and in the title role of Romano Romani's Fedra at its premiere.

Her only performances in the homeland of her parents were of La Vestale in Florence in 1933, when conductor Vittorio Gui, notorious for not allowing encores of individual arias, allowed Rosa to repeat an aria mid-performance because he heard a voice behind him exclaim "When shall we ever experience something like this again in our lifetimes?" and he thought "Indeed they are right! They shall have it again!"

In addition to performing in operas, she gave many recitals containing beloved art songs and arias as well as some of her own vaudeville arrangements at well-known theaters in Italy and England, such as The Grand Hotel in St. Moritz. These were often attended by the who's who of society, including royalty from throughout Europe such as Queen Astrid of Belgium and Princess Mafalda.

Metropolitan on the Road

The Metropolitan Opera toured every year around the United States, which allowed for more performance opportunities and for what could be considered role preparation for future seasons in New York. It was on these tours that Ponselle was able to sing her beloved Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. On one tour, she also had her only real social encounter with Enrico Caruso, who spent one of their train rides together reminiscing about a lost love. 

It was also through these tours that Rosa first became acquainted with the opera house and patronage in Baltimore, Maryland.