26 – French contralto Marie Delna (1875-1932) as Didon (“Les Troyens à Carthage”), creation at the Opéra-Comique, June 9, 1892. It marked her extraordinary debut, aged 17. Edmond Clément sang the role of Hylas.

With her opulent voice and commanding stage presence, she was dubbed the “sensational contralto”. Despite her prestigious international career and after a foray into teaching, she died in poverty, her funeral being paid by her former colleagues of the Opéra.

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