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Giuseppina Cobelli

September 4, 2015

The name Giuseppina Cobelli probably does not strike very many people as being familiar. That’s natural but Giuseppina Cobelli was one of the most noted opera sopranos of the last century. This was news to me as well until a couple of years ago.

In our neighborhood in rural North Carolina, I met a neighbor named Cobelli. I looked into his genealogy a bit and doing so I ran across Giuseppina Cobelli. I became intrigued as I am also a great supporter of opera. Because we also live in Italy, I visited the birth place of this famous opera singer and began to learn quite a bit about her. She was born August 11, 1898 in the town of Maderno in the province of Brescia on the shores of Lake Garda. Maderno is a small port town that is now home to a modern ferry connects the entire lake. The house where she was born is now a large hotel. However near the entrance there is a large plaque dedicated to the memory of Maderno’s most famous daughter. After she studied locally, Giuseppina made her operatic debut in 1924 as a young woman in Amsterdam with a performance of La Giaconda. From that point on, she tackled a variety of complex roles and was known widely as one of the very best sopranos to grace the operas of Richard Wagner.


Giuseppina’s Home Town of Maderno

When I visited Maderno in 2013, I was fortunate enough to have met a man who wrote an entire book about Giuseppina Cobelli. Signor Maurizio Righetti’s “”La Donna del Lago – Giuseppina Cobelli – Il Soprano Gardesano” is undoubtedly the definitive book about this famous opera singer. It is written in Italian and provides a complete biography, a list of her performances, letters exchanged with music world greats of the day and details of her personal life. If you are a fan of opera, this is a must read book.

Giuseppina Cobelli was one of the most famous people in the world of opera during her time. Her repertoire was enormous as was the variety of venues in which she played. Although she toured most of Europe, she also performed in South America as well. She performed from 1924 to 1942. She died at Salò near her birthplace on September 1, 1948. This sweet looking and sweet sounding woman left a wealth of operatic performances. However, very few voice recording exist. Here is a 1925 recording of Giuseppina singing “Voi lo sapete” from Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana. The record is a little scratchy but remember it was made 90 years ago.

Read author Allen E. Rizzi’s latest books available at

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  1. allenrizzi permalink

    I have seen a lot of activity on this blog in the last couple of days (10-21-2016). If you have some information to share, please leave a comment. Thanks!


  2. Kristie permalink

    Hi, do you have any info on her sister Luisa Cobelli?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Unfortunately, I do not. However, I recall there was some information about her in the book I cited: ”La Donna del Lago – Giuseppina Cobelli – Il Soprano Gardesano.” This book is in Italian only and may be purchased by contacting the Comune di Maderno in Brescia, Italy.


      • Kristie permalink

        Thank you for your reply. I will get a copy of the book.
        I have recently learned that Giusseppina is my great great great Auntie. It would be great to learn more.
        Was your neighbor related to her?
        Kind regards

        Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kristie – My neighbor was only very distantly related, not directly. I believe there is a photo of Giussepina’s entire family, including her sister Luisa in the book. Unfortunately we are in Italy at the moment and the book is in our home in America. Please keep in touch after September 1 and I will try to be of help. Tanti cari saluti dall’Italia.


      • Kristie permalink

        Thank you so much, that would be great.
        Tanti saluti dall’Inghilterra.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Beth Ferri permalink

        I would love to see the family tree. I have been told that Giussepina Cobelli was the first cousin of my grandfather (his mother’s name was Maria Cobelli–her sibling would have been Giussepina’s parent). I have visited Moderno to see my grandfather’s home and have seen the pensione she ran after she became deaf and had to quit her career in opera. I would love to be able to verify this family history.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I would suggest you get a copy of “La Donna del Lago – Giuseppina Cobelli” by Maurizio Righetti. There is some information that may be of use. If you are in Moderno, look Maurizio up.


  3. Kristie permalink

    Hi Allen, i hope you had a great time on holiday. Just wondering if you could help further with the Giuseppina book. She was actually my Grandads Auntie, i put too many “greats” on my original email.
    it would be amazing to see some old photos.
    Kind Regards

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kristie kirk permalink

    Thank you so much, I will send my email via your twitter if that is ok.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Kristie kirk permalink

    Hi, just noticed I cant send it via twitter. whats the best way of sending my email?


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