SEMBRICH, Marcella (In Costume)

Three quarter standing portrait in costume and wig. Signed lower left.

Present Whereabouts Unknown.

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Marcella Sembrich was born Prakseda Marcelina Kochańska in Austrian Galicia (today the Ukraine) on February 15, 1858 and died on January 11, 1935. She was essentially a Polish coloratura soprano. Her father was Kasimir Kochanski, but she adopted her mother’s maiden name. Her début was in Athens in 1877. She made her first appearance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on October 24, 1883 as Lucia di Lammermoor. She worked in New York in 1883, and 1898-1909 (except one season) and, in total, she sang more than 450 Met performances in her 11 seasons there, and remained associated with the company until 1909, when the silver jubilee of her Met debut was celebrated with a farewell gala and she retired from the operatic stage. She retired from the concert stage in 1916. She was a director of the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia 1924 – 1935, and at the Juilliard Graduate School of Music in New York. She was a pioneer of the song recital without opera arias.

The photograph is clearly identified as Sembrich in the artists papers. It has not been possible to identify from which opera the costume she wears, though it may be Manon.