Upper Swansea Valley
Madam Adelina Juana Maria Patti (1843-1919)
Adelina soon rose to international fame and performed at Covent
Gardens in 1861. The doors of high society were opened to her,
and in 1868 she married the Marquis de Caux, Equerry to Napoleon
III of France, at a Roman Catholic Church in London.
By kind permission
rise from relative poverty to world renown indicated a remarkable
talent underwritten by great strength of character. This great
star was already deeply attached to Ernest Nicholini, a French
Tenor, with whom she had often performed, sometimes Juliet to
She was now commanding over £1000 for each appearance,
and a tour of the Americas in 1889 brought over £100,000
in fees and other commissions. Continuing her brilliant career,
the Diva travelled the world from her remote Welsh castle, leaving
by horse and carriage along a privately built road to an isolated
railway station at Penwyllt where a small waiting room, richly
furnished, was placed at her disposal.
|Madam Patti was kind to her staff
and generous to the local communities, (see the pages on Coelbren School) giving many charitable
concerts for hospitals at Swansea, Neath and Brecon. She often
raised over £700 at a single performance.
Known as the Diva, she cared for her staff and continued to pay those who were ill, sending the doctor to them and their families. Adelina usually arranged a hamper of food for the household and would often take it herself.
Those who served her long and faithfully were given a pension upon retirement and those with no alternative accommodation were given a room at the castle for the rest of their days.
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