Litta, Marie


American singer, whose real name was Marie von Ellsner. Her father was a musician, though but little known, and she early showed her remarkable talent. At four years of age she appeared in public, and at nine she sang at Steinway Hall, New York, where she was received as a virtuosa. When she was thirteen years old her father took her to Cleveland, Ohio, where she obtained an opportunity to sing between the acts at a German theatre. She was heard by a Mr. Hugo Hench, a gentleman of culture, who became interested in her, and obtained for her a hearing with Mr. John Underer, an experienced singing-master. Mr. Underer was charmed with her voice, and offered to give her daily instruction, under which she advanced rapidly. Litta became a great favorite with the public, and when her teacher decided that she should go abroad to study, a generous offer to defray her expenses came from Mr. A. B., Hough. In September, 1874, she had a benefit concert, which was a remarkable success, and she left in a few days for Paris, where she became a pupil of Mme. Viardot. Within a year she mastered many difficult parts and made her debut at Drury Lane, London, in 1876, as Isabella, in Robert le Diable, with Nilsson as Alice. Her attention was next turned to perfecting her acting, and she returned to Paris to study under La Grange. Her success now became wonderful, and during the next few years she obtained a place among the best of lyric artists. In 1878 she returned to America and appeared under the management of Max Strakosch, being everywhere received with enthusiasm. She later  engaged Mr. Henry L. Slayton to be her manager, and for five years before her death sang almost constantly. Her health finally gave out and she returned to her home in Bloomington, 111., where she died.