Lillian Nordica, 1878Item 17290 info
Nordica Memorial Association
Lillian was born in Farmington in 1857, the sixth child of Edwin and Amanda Elizabeth Allen Norton. At age 18, she graduated from the New England Conservatory, then gave recitals and appeared with the Gilmore Band in America and Europe.
She studied further with Sangiovanni of the Conservatory of Milan. He suggested her stage name, Giglio Nordica, Lily of the North.
In 1879, she made her Milan debut as Elvira in Don Giovanni, then performed Violetta in Traviata in Brescia. She received nine curtain calls to wild applause, and with a stage manner later to become famous, she bowed to all, from the proscenium boxes to the gallery.
Lillian's success was the talk of Milan and opera aficionados traveled from other cities to hear the new soprano. Every box and seat in the house was sold out, and on her first appearance, Lillian was greeted with storms of applause. The enthusiasm continued throughout the evening.
At the final curtain, she was called out thirteen times, while the whole audience rose and cheered at the tops of their voices.