Saturday, October 12, 2019



Paola Koralek, an Hungarian soprano that made her debut at Royal Theatre of Budapest in “The Queen of Saba”, was often in Italy on tour. In August 1908 she reached Pistoia, in September she was in Varese and in October in Forlì; then she treaded the boards of Vittorio Emanuele Theatre in Messina. On December, 28, together with the tenor Angelo Gamba, she sang Aida in front of an enthusiast Sicilian public. That evening, people from Messina and Reggio Calabria flocked in to enjoy a second performance besides the Opera. That Sunday, they had two reasons to be particularly euphoric: in fact, at sunset, Reggio Calabria provided a priceless show to everybody could admire it from the opposite Sicily. In one click, some roads were enlightened as if by magic by the “new light”, such as the electric light. These were two very good occasions to protract the celebrations late at night. The following Monday, at 5,20 in the morning, a three seconds telluric shock, followed by a violent seaquake, tragically woke up the two cities bringing a great number of people from sleep to death in a flash. Paola Koralek, mad with fear, threw herself out of a window of the Hotel Trinacria and received injuries to the four limbs that influenced her artistic career forever. Alas, her stage fellow Angelo Gamba was much more unluckier. He reached Messina with his family to spend the New Year’s holidays, but he was buried under the debris with all his relatives. Trapped to the neck, he couldn’t help his kin that cried louder and louder. Hearing the terrible silence that followed the last supplication of one of his relatives, Gamba died of a broken heart. Some of the rescuing assured to have heard him singing, in a whisper before dying, “O terra addio, addio valle di pianto”. It was the aria that a few hours before provided him loud applause: Radamès and Aida’s farewell to the world.

Chronology of some appearances

1903 Savona Teatro Chiabrera Tosca (Tosca)
1904 Biella Teatro Sociale Tosca (Tosca)
1905 Modena Teatro Municipale Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1906 Reggio Emilia Teatro Municipale Fedora (Fedora)
1907 Catania Teatro Bellini Tosca (Tosca)
1908 Pistoia Politeama Mabellini Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1909 Firenze Politeama Nazionale Aida (Aida)
1910 Novara Teatro Coccia Gioconda (Gioconda)
1911 Venezia Teatro La Fenice Gioconda (Gioconda)
1912 Palermo Teatro Massimo Gioconda (Gioconda)
1913 Brescia Teatro Grande Gioconda (Gioconda)
1914 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Gioconda (Gioconda)
1917 Firenze Hotel Baglioni Concerto


Her real name was Anna Gyenge. As a child she came to North America, where she received her education. She made her debut in 1915 at Budapest. In the 1916-1917 season she sang at the Strand Theatre in New York. In  the 1918-1920 seasons she was a member of the Scotti Opera Company. In 1920 she made her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in New York as Musetta in ''La Bohème''. Till 1922 she sang at the Metropolitan Opera smaller parts and travelled around North America with Scotti Opera Company. With this opera troupe she already sang such a principal parts like Tosca or Madama Butterfly. In 1925 she came to Europe and was engaged by to the Dresden State Opera. In 1926 she appeared in Dresden in the German première of G. Puccini's ''Turandot'' in the title role. In 1928 the same part she sang at the Arena di Verona. In the 1927-1935 seasons she was a member of the Vienna State Opera. In the 1930-1932 seasons she was a member of the National Opera of Budapest. In 1929 she sang at  Covent Garden in London the part of Donna Anna in ''Don Giovanni''. The same year she appeared at La Scala as Turandot.  In 1929 at Grand Opéra in Paris she performed in G. Verdi's ''Aida''. She also guested at the State Opera in Berlin. In 1930 she came again to America, where she appeared with San Carlo Opera Company and at the Philadelphia Opera. In 1931 she sang at Philadelphia in the American première of Alban Berg's ''Wozzeck'' under Stokowsky (as Marie). After her retirement from the stage she taught singing in Philadelphia.

Chronology of some appearances

1916-1917 New York Strand Theatre
1918-1920 Antonio Scotti Opera Company
1920-1922 New York Metropolitan Opera
1925-1926 Dresden State Opera
1927-1935  Vienna State Opera
1928 Arena di Verona
1929 London Covent Garden
1929 Milano La Scala
1930-1932 Budapest National Opera


Her real name was Elza Szamek. She was a pupil of the pedagogue Quirino Merli. In 1904 she sang at the Budapest National Opera the role of Dalila in the première of the opera ‘’Samson et Dalila’’of Saint-Saëns and had a shining success. The next year in this opera house she appeared as Carmen. Already in 1906 she began to take over soprano parts; thus she sang in 1906 at the Budapest première in Puccini’s ‘’Madama Butterfly’’ in the title role. In 1904 and 1905 she was staying at the Vienna  Court Opera. In 1906 she took part in a tour through North America with the Savage Opera Company. In 1906 with this opera troupe she appeared in the première of Puccini’s ‘’Madama Butterfly’’ also in North America and Washington. Her last big role which she interpreted in Budapest was the Martha in ‘’Tiefland’’ of E. d'Albert. Already in 1913 she retired from the stage.

Chronology of some appearances

1904 Budapest National Opera Samson et Dalila (Dalila)
1905 Budapest National Opera Carmen (Carmen)


1. Paola koralek Germania (Franchetti) Tu non sei buono 10099 86335 Pathé, Milano 1912
2. Paola koralek Gioconda (Ponchielli) Così mantieni il patto with Paola Koralek 760-A Edison, London 1911
3. 4. Paola koralek Gioconda (Ponchielli) Ora posso morir...Ebbrezza with Adolfo Pacini 86344, 86345  Pathé, Milano
5. Paola koralek Isabeau (Mascagni) Sol ultima preghiera with Giuseppe Di Bernardo 12571 86239 Pathé, Milano 1912
6. Paola koralek Traviata (Verdi) Addio del passato 86336 Pathé, Milano 1912
7. Elsa Szamosi Carmen (Bizet) Habanera (in German) 3604 Dacapo, Budapest
8. Elsa Szamosi Carmen (Bizet) Habanera 115040  Ho 449 Odeon, Budapest 1910-01-01
9. Elsa Szamosi Cavalleria Rusticana (Mascagni) Voi lo sapete 1653 Label defected
10. Elsa Szamosi Les contes d'Hoffmann (Offenbach) Barcarola 15638 Dacapo, Budapest
11. Elsa Szamosi Mignon (Thomas) Is mered ama hout 115039  Ho 447 Odeon, Budapest 1910-01-01
12. Elsa Szamosi Samson et Dalila (Saint-Saëns) Dalila priaja 73362 5935ab Gramophone, Budapest 1913-10-28
13. Anne Roselle Aida (Verdi) O patria mia 66745 (J24133) Grammophon, Berlin 1928
14. Anne Roselle Bohème (Puccini) Donde lieta uscì 66403 (J24088) Grammophon, Berlin 1926
15. Anne Roselle Bohème (Puccini) Mi chiamano Mimì 66403 (J24087) Grammophon, Berlin 1926
16. Anne Roselle Otello (Verdi) Sei mir gegrüsst, Jungfrau Maria (Ave Maria) 66745 (B24389) Grammophon, Berlin 1928
17. Anne Roselle Turandot (Puccini) Die ersten Tränen 73024 (B24319) Grammophon, Berlin 1926
18. Anne Roselle Turandot (Puccini) In diesem Schlosse 73024 (B2431 8) Grammophon, Berlin 1926

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