Rosa Raisa

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Rosa Raisa (30 May 1893 - 28 September 1963) was a Polish-born, Italian-trained, Russian-Jewish dramatic soprano. She was one of the most highly-acclaimed operatic performers of her time with a voice of great power. In 1926 she created the role of Turandot at La Scala, Milan.


She was born Raitza Burchstein, the daughter of Herschel and Frieda Leah, in Bialystok in 1893. She left Poland at the age of 14 due to the pogroms and emigrated to Italy. There she met well-connected people (the Dario Ascarellis) who recognized her talent and potential and sponsored her at the Naples Conservatory (San Pietro a Majella).

Her teacher at the conservatory, the contralto Barbara Marchisio (1833–1919), had been one of the most prominent Italian singers of the mid-19th century. (See, for example, Marchisio's entry in The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Opera, edited by Harold Rosenthal and John Warrack, Oxford University Press, second edition, 1980.) Marchisio brought Raisa in 1912 to Cleofonte Campanini, the leading operatic conductor and impresario. He engaged the 20-year-old singer for the Parma Verdi Centenary and signed her for his Chicago Opera. In her Chicago "Aida" debut at the famous Auditorium, she revealed "a voice the like of whose power had never been heard on that stage."

Debuts and successes followed rapidly for Raisa: Parma, Philadelphia, Chicago, a tour of North America, London and Paris. During the early period of World War I she made debuts at...
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