Lucca, Pauline


Brilliant dramatic singer; born in Vienna. Her parents were Italian, her father being a merchant. Recognizing their daughter's talent they placed her under the instruction of Uschmann and Lewy. When Pauline was about thirteen years old she entered the chorus of the Opera House and gained what scant musical training she could from the local theatres. She obtained an engagement at Olmutz, where she appeared as Elvira in Ernani, immediately becoming a favorite. Before leaving, the inhabitants honored her with a musical serenade and torchlight procession. Her next engagement was at Prague where she sang the part of Valentine in The Huguenots and Norma. Meyerbeer was at that time looking for an artist to create the part of Selika, in his yet unpublished L'Africaine. Hearing of Mile. Lucca's success he went to Prague to hear her and was so charmed with her singing and dramatic ability that he engaged her to come to Berlin. While there he superintended her work and she appeared in three of his greatest characters besides Selika; Alice in Roberto, Bertha in II Prophete, and Vielka in the Camp of Silesia. Her first appearance in London was in 1863 at Covent Garden in the role of Valentine. She was equally well received there and sang in London every season, with the exception of 1869, until 1872. She continued to sing throughout Germany, adding the roles of Margherita, Cherubino, Carmen, Zerlina, Leonora and others. Auber was so delighted with her rendering of his Zerlina that he gave her the pen with which Fra Diavolo was written, in token of his admiration. The Czar of Russia wished to hear her and he politely requested the King of Prussia to allow her to sing at St. Petersburg, which request was granted and again she scored new triumphs. In 1872 she went to America for a two years' tour which was a memorable one. Upon her return to Europe she sang at all the principal cities. At Vienna she added Anna, and Madeline in Le Postilion to her successful parts. She had married Baron von Rahden in 1869, but while in America she obtained a divorce from him and later married Baron von Wallhofen, who died in Vienna in 1899. She is living in Vienna now and devoting much of her time to giving lessons.