Fornia, Rita

BORN 17 Jul 1878, San Francisco, California - DIED 27 Oct 1922, Paris
BIRTH NAME Newman, Regina
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 90, ligne 15/91, numéro 24/87 (ashes))

The coloratura soprano Rita Fornia was the daughter of immigrants from Prussia. Her father was a wholesale jeweller. In 1890 she attended a concert by Adelina Patti in San Francisco and she decided she wanted to be an opera singer. In New York she studied with Emil Fischer and Sofia Scalchi. In 1890 she continued her studies in Berlin with Selma Nicklass-Kempner. She debuted in Hamburg in 1901 as Eudoxie in Haévy's "La Juive". In 1902-1903 she studied with Jean de Reszke in Paris.

In August 1903 she returned to the USA. She sang at the Savage English Grand Opera Company until 1906. In 1907 Heinrich Conried contracted her at the Metropolitan Opera, where she debuted in Mascagni's "Iris" on 6 December 1907. In 1908 she sang with Geraldine Farrar and Enrico Caruso in a performance of "Faust". On 22 May 1909 she married the art dealer James P. Labey. She performed over 500 times at the Metropolitan Opera until 1922 and she sang in several premieres.

Around 1915 she started to suffer from health problems and not long after her final performance as Suzuki in "Madame Butterfly" on 7 April 1922 she underwent an operation. She died six months later during a visit to her sister in Paris. Her husband survive her for 24 years.

Related persons
• was a friend of Farrar, Geraldine

25/1/1915Premiere of Giordano's "Madame Sans-Gêne" at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Arturo Toscanini was the conductor. Geraldine Farrar was Caterina Hubscher. Giovanni Martelli was sergaent Lefebvre. Andrés de Segurola was Fouché. Paul Althouse was Count Neipperg. Pasquale Amato was Napoléon. Andrés De Segurola was Fouché. Leonora Sparkes, Rita Fornia and Sophie Braslau were the laundresses. Minnie Egener was Princess Elisa. [Farrar, Geraldine][Giordano, Umberto][Toscanini, Arturo]
14/12/1918Premiere of Puccini's "It Trittico" at the Metropolitan Opera. It was a collection of three one-act opera's, "Il tabarro", "Suor Angelica" and "Gianni Schicchi". The conductor was Roberto Moranzoni. [Farrar, Geraldine][Muzio, Claudia][Puccini, Giacomo]


The grave of Rita Fornia at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (01 Nov 2022)


Il trittico - Wikipedia
Madame Sans-Gêne (opera) - Wikipedia
Rita Fornia - Wikipedia

Forst, Willi

Published: 12 Mar 2023
Last update: 12 Mar 2023