Frances Alda

Frances Alda holding a lit candle.
Title:
Frances Alda
NFSA ID:
1525923
Year:
1910
Category:
Access fees

Frances Alda became a leading soprano at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York in the early 20th century.

Born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1879, she came to live in Australia in as a young child. She initially received singing training from her grandmother Fanny Simonsen, who was herself a prima donna. Alda made her Australian debut in 1897 in a JC Williamson production called Matza.

Setting off for Europe in 1902, she became a leading soprano at the Metropolitan Opera Company in New York from 1908–29. She was known for her performances as Desdemona in the opera Otello and Mimi in the opera La Bohème.

This photograph, taken in New York, shows Alda dressed as Mimi, on the set of a Metropolitan Opera production of La Bohème, by Giacomo Puccini. It was taken by the Russian-born photographer Herman Mishkin, who was principal photographer at the Metropoliton Opera Company from 1910–32.