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Elvira: 1910

Elvira: 1910

New York circa 1910. "Elvira de Hidalgo." The young (b. 1891) Spanish soprano around the time of her appearance with the Metropolitan Opera as Rosina in "The Barber of Seville." 8x10 glass negative, Bain News Service. View full size.


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Small waist for publicity

There are two different requirements that this beautiful lady would recognize:

--To be able to sing well - so she WOULD have worn a corset, but not tightly laced, and probably cut low to give plenty of room for lung expansion.

--To appear beautiful in publicity photos. She would probably have laced very tightly in order to have the correct shape.

Years ago I met a lady who was the daughter of a professional photographer who operated during WW1. She said that she that many young ladies came to have their portrait taken to send to their boyfriend who was in the army. She said that she often helped lace corsets very tightly before the photograph, and released the suffering girl afterwards. Result - a small waist on a photo proving that the girl was more beautiful than those with larger waists.

What a Waist!

She could hula-hoop with a Cheerio!

Interesting perspective

Do I see it right, are all the vertical lines behind the lady fanned out? It looks like they converge around where her feet would be. I don't recall anything like that in contemporary photography of a person in a room.

[Result of a downward angle of view, further accentuated by a relatively wide-angle lens. - tterrace]

My, but she is pretty!

Beauty is so often of its time, but Elvira is still a lovely young woman 100 years later.

Singing and breathing

As a former opera singer, I know that there is no way that she wore a corset that tight when she was performing, especially not anything written by Rossini!


If she were only allowed to take a deep breath. Her range would have probably been another three octaves.

Painful, not Photoshopped

Those dreadful corsets! Today, the image would be charged with bad Photoshopping; then, it was just bad and painful fashion.

Rosina in "The Barber of Seville"

Thanks to YouTube we can hear her:

In Full Flower

What a lovely young woman! She is simply blooming with youth. That thin waist and heart-shaped face would alas grow thick and coarse in her later years. Intrigued, I did a quick search and found her bio on Wikipedia (she taught Maria Callas in her later years) and several pictures as she aged. Made me think of Wordsworth:

Though the radiance which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass, of glory in the flower

From the wisdom of Wikipedia

Elvira de Hidalgo (December 28, 1891 – January 21, 1980) was a prominent Spanish coloratura soprano, who later became a pedagogue. Her most famous pupil was Maria Callas.

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