+ Expand all text to enable full keyword searching

Guide to the Marietta Gazzaniga musical excerpts scrapbook, 1845-1883

Collection Overview


New School Institutional Collections

Collection Identifier


Creator - Composer

Bellini, Vincenzo, 1801-1835

Creator - Composer

Donizetti, Gaetano, 1797-1848

Creator - Compiler

Gazzaniga, Marietta, 1824-1884

Creator - Composer

Verdi, Giuseppe, 1813-1901


Marietta Gazzaniga musical excerpts scrapbook, 1845-1883


1 scrapbook : 1 box

Language of Materials

The majority of the scrapbook pages are in Italian, with a few pages written in French and English.


A scrapbook of musical excerpts kept by opera singer Marietta Gazzaniga (1824-1884), who toured the United States and Cuba in the mid-nineteenth century. The Italian soprano compiled autographs, letters, and poems from major nineteenth century Italian composers and other music personalities, notably Giuseppe Verdi, into the bound volume, which spans almost forty years.

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Marietta Gazzaniga musical excerpts scrapbook, MP.0015.01, box 1, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Return to Top »

Biographical Note

Marietta Gazzaniga (born 1824 in Voghera, Kingdom of Lombardy-Venezia, now Italy, near Milan, died 1884 in Milan) was an Italian opera singer. She studied voice with composer and teacher Alberto Mazzucato and made her debut in Voghera in 1840 in the roles of Giovanna Seymour in Gaetano Donizetti’s Anna Bolena and Romeo in Vincenzo Bellini’s  I Capuleti e i Montecchi, both mezzo-soprano roles. She soon began singing dramatic soprano roles in various theaters in Italy, becoming especially associated with soprano roles in the operas of Giuseppe Verdi. Between 1845 and 1848 she sang the leading soprano roles in Verdi’s  Giovanna d’Arco (Lucca, 1845),  Attila and  I due Foscari (Genoa, 1847), and  I Lombardi and  Nabucco (Naples, 1848).

In 1849, Gazzaniga married the Marquis Oberto de Malaspina, and she sang the title role in the premiere of Verdi’s Luisa Miller in Naples. In 1850 in Trieste, she premiered another Verdi opera, in a role written for her, as Lina in  Stiffelio. She made her debut at La Scala in Milan in Verdi’s  Gerusalemme in 1851. Gazzaniga also became known in the non-Verdi roles of Lucrezia in  Lucrezia Borga and Paolina in  Poliuto by Donizetti (Milan, 1851) and the title role of  Norma by Bellini (Parma, 1852). In addition, she had a notable success in the title role of  Saffo by Pacini (Naples, 1849), a role she would later perform in America.

Despite several acclaimed appearances throughout Italy, in 1853, following what was considered a disastrous performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto with Gazzaniga in the role of Gilda, Verdi rejected her for the premiere of  La Traviata, claiming he had been dissatisfied with her in the premieres of  Luisa Miller and  Stiffelio. She nevertheless added Violetta in  La Traviata to her repertoire, and after returning to Italy from a tour of Spain in 1855, sang twenty-six performances of the opera that year alone.

Gazzaniga was engaged for an American tour by opera impresario and conductor Max Maretzek, and she arrived in the United States in 1857. Her American debut was made at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia as Leonora in Il Trovatore, and her New York debut was in  La Traviata that same year. In the winter of 1857, Gazzaniga performed in Havana, Cuba, and during the voyage there, the Marquis de Malaspina died of smallpox. Gazzaniga quickly developed an enthusiastic following among audiences in Havana, and returned there to perform in 1858. She continued to tour in the United States under the management of Jacob Grau, returning to Italy for performances in 1862 and 1863. In 1868, she married her second husband, Luciano Albites, a voice teacher.

In her last years in America, Gazzaniga began teaching, and gave fewer performances, although she started to add contralto roles to her repertoire, singing Azucena in Il Trovatore in 1871 and Ulrica in  Un Ballo in Maschera for a benefit performance in 1876. She returned to Italy for the last time in 1879, and remained there until her death in 1884.


Brown, Alston. A History of the New York Stage. New York: Dodd, Mead and Company, 1903. Retrieved from http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/digital/collections/cul/texts/ldpd_6864656_002/ldpd_6864656_002.pdf.

Dwight, John S, ed. Dwight’s Journal of Music. Vol. 13-14. Boston: Oliver Ditson and Company, 1859. Retrieved from https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=f2QPAAAAYAAJ&rdid=book-f2QPAAAAYAAJ&rdot=1.

Gottschalk, Louis Moreau. Notes of a Pianist: The Chronicles of a New Orleans Music Legend, 1st Princeton ed. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/books/edition/_/QtApiA4qe-YC?hl=en&gbpv=1.

“Married.” The New York Times, April 17, 1868. https://www.nytimes.com/1868/04/17/archives/married.html?searchResultPosition=1.

“Marietta Gazzaniga: Death of a Songstress Whose Voice Has Long Been Silent.” The New York Times, January 4, 1884. https://www.nytimes.com/1884/01/04/archives/marietta-gazzaniga-death-of-a-song-stress-whose-voice-has-long-been.html.

Riggs, Geoffrey S. The Assoluta Voice in Opera, 1797-1847. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2003. Retrieved from https://books.google.com/books?id=GhXggJliLF8C&printsec=frontcover&source=gbs_ge_summary_r&cad=0#v=onepage&q&f=false.

Roselli, John. “Gazzaniga, Marietta.” In The Grove Book of Opera Singers, edited by Laura Macy, 183. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008. Retrieved from https://www.google.com/books/edition/The_Grove_Book_of_Opera_Singers/N0zthpCZuAUC?hl=en&gbpv=1&dq=marietta+gazzaniga&pg=PA572&printsec=frontcover.

Rutherford, Susan. Verdi, Opera, Women. Cambridge University Press, 2013. Retrieved from ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/newschool/detail.action?docID=1543591.

Staccioli, Roberto. “Gazzaniga, Marietta.” In Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani. Vol. 52 (1999). Accessed April 8, 2020. http://www.treccani.it/enciclopedia/marietta-gazzaniga_(Dizionario-Biografico)/.


Return to Top »

Scope and Content of Collection

The scrapbook is a black, leatherbound book inscribed “ALBUM” on the cover in gold embossed lettering, with decorated music manuscript pages inside. It is dedicated to Marietta Gazzaniga and appears to have been kept by her as a scrapbook of musical autographs, containing many handwritten musical excerpts dated (although not in chronological order) and autographed by important personalities of Gazzaniga’s era. It also contains letters and poetry written to Gazzaniga. The pages include inscriptions from (mostly Italian) composers, opera singers, and theatrical celebrities of the nineteenth century, including what appears to be a excerpt from one of Giuseppe Verdi’s operas in his own hand, as well as a letter written in French and signed by Giacomo Meyerbeer.

Identifiable signatures in the book:

Antonio Bazzini, Italian composer and violinist Adelaide Borghi-Mamo, Italian mezzo-soprano Giovanni Bottesini, Italian composer, conductor, and double-bassist Gaetano Braga, Italian composer and cellist Ernesto Cavallini, Italian composer and clarinetist Eugenio Cavallini, Italian composer, conductor, and violinist Domenico Donzelli, Italian tenor Giulia Grisi, Italian soprano Giuseppe Lillo, Italian composer Stefano Golinelli, Italian composer and pianist Alberto Mazzucato, Italian composer, teacher of Gazzaniga Saviero Mercadante, Italian composer Giacomo Meyerbeer, German composer Alamanno Morelli, Italian actor Napoleone Moriani, Italian tenor Giuditta Pasta, Italian soprano Achille Peri, Italian composer and conductor Federico Ricci, Italian composer Luigi Ricci, Italian composer Adelaide Ristori, Marchioness del Grillo, Italian actress Antonietta Robotti, Italian actress Giovanni Battista Rubini, Italian tenor Lorenzo Salvi, Italian tenor Tommaso Salvini, Italian actor Camillo Sivori, Italian composer and violinist Giuseppe Torre, Italian librettist Giovanni Battista Velluti, Italian castrato Giuseppe Verdi, Italian composer Musical works quoted: “Ah, troppo tardi” from Norma by Vincenzo Bellini “Allor che avvinto sarem dai Numi” from  Virginia by Saviero Mercadante “Bella e di sol vestita" from  Maria di Rohan by Gaetano Donizetti “Ella è tremante” from  I Puritani by Bellini “La tomba è un letto sparso di fiori” from  Luisa Miller by Giuseppe Verdi “O mon Fernand” from  La Favorite by Donizetti “Tacea la notte” from  Il Trovatore by Verdi “Tu che le vanità” from  Don Carlo by Verdi


Return to Top »

Administrative Information

Finding aid written by Jason Adamo.

Publication Information

New School Institutional Collections - May 13, 2020

66 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY, 10011

Preferred Citation note

[Identification of item], [date (if known)], Marietta Gazzaniga musical excerpts scrapbook, MP.0015.01, box 1, New School Archives and Special Collections, The New School, New York, New York.

Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research use. Please contact archivist@newschool.edu for appointment.

Use Restrictions

To publish images of material from this scrapbook, permission must be obtained in writing from The New School Archives and Special Collections. Please contact: archivist@newschool.edu.

Custodial History note

Due to the absence of accession file, the original donor of the scrapbook to the Mannes School of Music is presently unknown. The staff of The New School Archives and Special Collections has no information regarding how the scrapbook came into the possession of Mannes School of Music.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Transferred to The New School Archives and Special Collections from Mannes School of Music's Harry Scherman Library in 2015.

External Support

In 2014, as a condition of a loan agreement, New York University Libraries made a digital surrogate of this scrapbook. A MARC-encoded bibliographic record was created for the scrapbook with the title, "Scrapbook, 1845-1860," and the digitized scrapbook files, hosted by New York University, are linked to this bibliogaphic record. Since then, the inclusive dates have been determined to be incorrect and amended in this finding aid.

Return to Top »

Keywords for Searching Related Subjects


  • Correspondence.
  • Manuscripts.
  • Scrapbooks.


  • Composers -- Italy -- Correspondence
  • Music -- Italy.
  • Opera -- Italy -- 19th century
  • Sopranos (Singers)

Return to Top »

Other Finding Aids note

For item-level description and images from the Marietta Gazzaniga musical excerpts scrapbook, see the New School Archives Digital Collections at http://digitalarchives.library.newschool.edu/index.php/Detail/collections/MP001501.

Return to Top »

Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Collection Guide Last Updated: 05/13/2020

Creative Commons License This collection guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.