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Paola Koralek (Soprano) (Budapest 1882–Viareggio 1924)




Paola Koralek, an Hungarian soprano that made her debut at Royal Theatre of Budapest in “The Queen of Saba”, was often in Italy on tour. In August 1908 she reached Pistoia, in September she was in Varese and in October in Forli; then she treaded the boards of Vittorio Emanuele Theatre in Messina. On December, 28, together with the tenor Angelo Gamba, she sang Aida in front of an enthusiast Sicilian public. That evening, people from Messina and Reggio Calabria flocked in to enjoy a second performance besides the Opera. That Sunday, they had two reasons to be particularly euphoric: in fact, at sunset, Reggio Calabria provided a priceless show to everybody could admire it from the opposite Sicily. In one click, some roads were enlightened as if by magic by the “new light”, such as the electric light. These were two very good occasions to protract the celebrations late at night. The following Monday, at 5,20 in the morning, a three seconds telluric shock, followed by a violent seaquake, tragically woke up the two cities bringing a great number of people from sleep to death in a flash. Paola Koralek, mad with fear, threw herself out of a window of the Hotel Trinacria and received injuries to the four limbs that influenced her artistic career forever. Alas, her stage fellow Angelo Gamba was much more unluckier. He reached Messina with his family to spend the New Year’s holidays, but he was buried under the debris with all his relatives. Trapped to the neck, he couldn’t help his kin that cried louder and louder. Hearing the terrible silence that followed the last supplication of one of his relatives, Gamba died of a broken heart. Some of the rescuing assured to have heard him singing, in a whisper before dying, “O terra addio, addio valle di pianto”. It was the aria that a few hours before provided him loud applause: Radames and Aida’s farewell to the world.

Chronology of some appearances

1903 Savona Teatro Chiabrera Tosca (Tosca)
1904 Biella Teatro Sociale Tosca (Tosca)
1905 Modena Teatro Municipale Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1906 Reggio Emilia Teatro Municipale Fedora (Fedora)
1907 Catania Teatro Bellini Tosca (Tosca)
1908 Pistoia Politeama Mabellini Andrea Chenier (Maddalena)
1909 Firenze Politeama Nazionale Aida (Aida)
1910 Novara Teatro Coccia Gioconda (Gioconda)
1911 Venezia Teatro La Fenice Gioconda (Gioconda)
1912 Palermo Teatro Massimo Gioconda (Gioconda)
1913 Brescia Teatro Grande Gioconda (Gioconda)
1914 Bari Teatro Petruzzelli Gioconda (Gioconda)
1917 Firenze Hotel Baglioni Concerto



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