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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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The Sopranos: 1920

The Sopranos: 1920

New York circa 1920. "Viafora and Herbert." The sopranos Gina Ciaparelli-Viafora (seated) and Evelyn Herbert. G.G. Bain Collection. View full size.

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The Ladies

Gina Ciaparelli-Viafora was an Italian born mezzo who was married to a sculptor named Gianni Viafora who was apparently well enough known to Giacomo Puccini that he introduced the composer on a recording made before his return to Italy in 1908. Gina appeared on a number of occasions at the Met between about 1907 and 1910 playing Mimi in La Boheme.

Evelyn Herbert (1898-1975) studied with Caruso in New York. He persuaded the Chicago opera to hire her, however she developed voice problems and had to retrain. She became popular on the Broadway stage performing in operettas, most famously as Barbara Frietchie in "My Maryland" and in Oscar Hammerstein II's "New Moon." This photo may date from the period when she was retraining her voice.

Lost to the ages

This is sad, as the treasured photos they have on the walls are probably the unnamed ones I see in various flea markets selling for ten cents apiece. Name and date the backs of your photos now. Then make sure your children get them.

It must be over

When she sings.

Lots of worn pages

Must be some hard-working sopranos!

SHORPY HISTORICAL PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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