Visetti, Alberto

BORN 13 May 1846, Salona, Dalmatia - DIED 9 Jul 1928, London
BIRTH NAME Visetti, Alberto Antonio
GRAVE LOCATION Brookwood, Surrey: Brookwood Cemetery (Plot 123)

Alberto Antonio Visetti was born in Dalmatia as the son of an Italian landowner and an English mother. His father sent him to Padua to study surgery, but the sight of dissecting affected him and he turned his attention to music.

He studied at the conservatory in Milan, where Arrigo Boito was a fellow student and a friend. Boito wrote the libretto for his "Cantico des Cantici". Alberto Mazzucato was his teacher and Visetti won several awards. In Milan he met Verdi.

He worked as a conductor at Nice and then moved to Paris, where he was assistant to Daniel Auber, who introduced him at the court of Napoleon III. His opera "Les Trois Mousquetaires" had a libretto by Dumas Père. It was produced but the manuscript was lost during the Siege of Paris.

In May 1871 he moved to England where he became a professor at the Royal College of Music. He also taught at the Guildhall School of Music. He obtained english citizenship in 1884. For five years he was musical advisor to the famous singer Adelina Patti and he wrote the song "La Diva" for her. From 1878 to 1890 he was director and conductor of the Philhamonic Society of Bath. He translated a number of books and wrote a biography of Verdi in 1905. In 1921 he became a fellow of the Royal College of Music.

When he married Mary Jane Sagar (born Diehl) in 1889 he became stepfather to Radclyffe Hall, who later made herself a name as a novelist. The marriage was difficult because Mary Jane was mentally unstable and Visetti continued his affairs with his female students. Radclyffe Hall would later claim that Visetti had made advances to her when she was a teenager. Among his students were Agnes Nicholls (1877-1959, she seduced the young Radclyffe Hall), Louise Kirkby-Lunn (1873-1930), Clara Butt (1872-1936), Denise Orme (1885-1960), Gwynn Parry Jones (1891-1953) and Edmund Burke (1876-1970). Visetti died in 1928 in London.

• Wife: Visetti, Mary Jane (1890-1928, Southport, Lancashire: St. Andrew's Church)

Related persons
• was a friend of Boito, Arrigo
• is stepfather/stepmother of Hall, Radclyffe
• was adviser of Patti, Adelina, Baroness Cederström
• wrote about Verdi, Giuseppe
• knew Verdi, Giuseppe


The grave of Alberto Visetti at Brookwood Cemetery, Woking.
Picture by Androom (25 Jun 2009)


• Clarke, John M., London's Necropolis, A Guide to Brookwood Cemetery, Sutton Publishing, Stroud, Gloucestershire, 2004
Albert Visetti - Wikipedia

Visetti, Mary Jane

Published: 12 Jul 2009
Last update: 20 Feb 2022