Cavalieri, Lina

BORN 25 Dec 1874, Viterbo, Lazio - DIED 7 Feb 1944, Firenze, Toscana: via Suor Maria Celeste 8
BIRTH NAME Cavalieri, Natalina
CAUSE OF DEATH killed by bomb attack
GRAVE LOCATION Roma, Lazio: Cimitero Monumentale del Verano, Piazzale del Verano, 1 (Nuovo Reparto, Riquadro 167, numero 150, fila 97)

The dramatic soprano Lina Cavalieri was the daughter of construction assistant Florindo Cavalieri and his wife the seamstress Teonilla Peconi (1848-1931). She lost her father in 1909 when she was fifteen years old. She worked as a seamstress but she also received singing lessons from Arrigo Molfetta. When she was seventeen years old she gave birth to a son, Alessandro (1892-1993). Probably Molfetta was the father.

Her good voice and her great looks earned her work at musical open air cafes in Rome and soon her name was on the playbills of the Concerto delle Varieta in Rome. In Vienna she appeared at the Ronach Theatre and some called her 'the prettiest girl in Vienna'. She went to Paris where she sang and danced at the Folies-Bergere. She was often photographed.

In Paris the Russian prince Prince Alexander Bariatinsky (1870-1910) fell in love with her. They started an affair in 1897 and he convinced her that she should pursue a career in opera and she took lessons with Mathilde Marchesi in Paris and Maddalena Mariani-Masi in Milan. She took singing lessons to develop her voice and performed in music halls in several countries. In 1900 she debuted as an opera singer in Lisbon as Nedda in Leoncavallo's "Paglicacci" but the public didn't like her. At the same moment Baryatinsky ended their affair because his parents and Tsar Nicholas II were strongly opposed to a marriage. It is unclear if there had been a marriage ceremony between her and Baryatinsky, but he certainly married the Tsar's morganatic daughter Catharina in 1901.

Lina was about to give up her opera career but supported by her sister Ada she continued it and succeeded. She sang in Naples, Warshaw and Monte Carlo. Her earnings enabled her to buy a mansion in Paris that was managed by Ada. She appeared with Enrico Caruso in Giordiano's "Fedora" in 1905 at the Sarah Bernhardt Theatre and on 5 December 1906 they performed together in the same opera at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. She stayed with the Metropolitan Opera for two seasons and in 1907 she performed with Caruso again in Puccini's "Manin Lescault". In 1909 she opened a beauty salon on Fifth Avenue in New York where she sold articles from Paris but also her own beauty cream. In 1910-1911 she was engaged at the Manhattan Opera Company.

In 1910 she married Robert Winthrop Chandler, but they separated after their honeymoon in Paris. He returned to the USA alone and they divorced in 1912. She stayed in Europe and was engaged in St. Petersburg. In 1913 she married the tenor Lucien Muratore. He had divorced his wife Marguerite Bériza and was living with the prima ballerina Marceline Rouvier and their baby daughter Ariane when he met Lina. He left Marceline for Lina and Marcellina was even forced to continue dancing in the operas in which Cavalieri and Muratore sang.

She retired from the stage in 1914 and concentrating on her cosmetics business. She ran a cosmetic salon in Paris and wrote articles for magazines. In 1915 she moved to Italy to play in a silent movie. The First World War caused her to move to the USA where she appeared in several more movies. After five years of retirement she toured with her husband in the USA before she divorced him in 1927 in Paris. The New York Times that her admiration for Mussolini might have been a reason for Muratore to leave her. In 1928 he married a young woman named Marie Louise Brivaud. Cavalieri married Giovanni Campari, a member of the family that created the famous drink. She returned to Italy with him but the marriage didn't last long.

In the 1930s the writer Paolo d'Arvanni (pseudonym of Arnaldo Parvoni) became her last partner. She worked as a volunteer nurse after the start of the Second World War. In Florence her former colleague Titta Ruffo was still a close friend. He had cancelled a visit on 7 February 1944 to her villa in Florence and on that day at dinner time it was destroyed by an allied bombing raid. There was a story at the time that her servants reached the nearby air-raid shelter but Cavalieri and her partner were killed because there were collecting her jewellery from the house. She was buried in the grave of her parents at the Verano cemetery in Rome.

Related persons
• was painted by Boldini, Giovanni
• cooperated with Caruso, Enrico
• was pupil of Marchesi, Mathilde

5/12/1906American premiere of Giordano's "Fedora" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Enrico Caruso was Count Loris and Lina Cavalieri was Fedora. Arturo Vigna was the conductor. [Caruso, Enrico][Giordano, Umberto]
18/1/1907Puccini's "Manon Lescaut" is performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Lina Cavalieri sang the title part and Puccini was present during the performance. Other singers were Enrico Caruso, Antonio Scotti. Arturo Vigna was the conductor. [Caruso, Enrico][Puccini, Giacomo]
12/8/1913Leoncavallo's "Pagliacci" is performed at the Gran Teatro Circo in San Sebastian. Performers were Lina Cavalieri, Titta Ruffo and Guillaume Ibos. [Leoncavallo, Ruggero]


The grave of Lina Cavalieri at the Cimitero Monumentale del Verano, Rome.
Picture by Androom (21 Apr 2023)


Lina Cavalieri - Wikipedia
Stage Beauty
Fedora (opera) - Wikipedia
Manon Lescaut (Puccini) - Wikipedia
Lina Cavalieri - Wikipedia
Titta Ruffo | Cronology

Cavaroc, Honoré

Published: 18 Feb 2024
Last update: 18 Feb 2024