Giannini, Dusolina

American-Italian soprano, 1902 - 1986

Biographical notes:

She was born in Philadelphia to Italian parents and studied with her father, Ferruccio Giannini, who was a tenor and ran his own opera company. Her mother Antonietta Briglia-Giannini was an excellent violinist. She was immediately given singing lessons by her father. Dusolina’s sister was also a singer, one of her brothers became a cellist and the other one a well-known composer. At the age of thirteen she sang Azucena in her father’s company.  Later she continued her studies with Marcella Sembrich . And it was in New York where there was the scene of her first triumph. She substituted for the indisposed Anna Case at a concert in Carnegie Hall. In 1924 she started recording for the Victor company. The same year she was very successful in London. In 1925 she made her debut as Aida at the Hamburg State Opera. She appeared there until 1930.  In 1928 she sang a number of highly successful performances at Covent Garden. She was invited to sing Aida in a complete opera recording (her partners were Pertile, Minghini-Cattaneo and Inghilleri under Sabajno). This recording enjoyed almost legendary fame and familiarized her name throughout the world. She never actually sang at La Scala. In 1934/35 she appeared as Donna Anna at the Salzburg Festival. Guest appearances took her to Monte Carlo, Zurich, Oslo, Amsterdam, San Francisco and Mexico City. In 1936 she made her Met debut as Aida and remained a member of the Met ensemble until 1941. She continued to sing in Europe. After 1962 she was director of the Opera Studio in Zurich.


As Tosca


As Donna Anna


As Carmen



Verdi - Aida (Sabajno/Minghini-Cattaneo, Pertile, Inghilleri, Masini)


Recital (Arias by Bellini, Verdi, Bizet, Puccini, Neapolitan folk songs)

Preiser - LV

Dusolina à l’Opéra 1927 - 1932 (Arias by Verdi, Bellini, Bizet, Puccini, Mascagni, Ponchielli)


Les Divas Américaines


Opera Stars sing on Radio Vol. 1

The Fourties

Schubert - Lieder on Record Vol. 2 1929 - 1952


Mike Richter’s Opera Page: The Record of Singing Vol. 3



As Leonora in “Il Trovatore”


Her favorite role was Aida


It was said that her voice seemed incapable of receiving and transmitting the quality of sound, resulting in a certain harshness of tone which is found in some of her records.

She is a true spinto soprano of brilliance (forward placement), above all in the upper register. Frequently you may notice an unsteadiness (Norma). I like her in the more dramatic parts. She is not an “angelic” singer.

My coach told me that she was an outstanding interpreter of German songs. She had studied them with Michael Raucheisen, in German! Fortunately, she made some very fine Lieder recordings ( Gretchen am Spinnrade, Ständchen).

Dusolina Giannini is an expressive and passionate singer, backed by a strong temperament and impeccable musicianship . She is Aida in the famous integral recording, conducted by Carlo Sabajno, and opposite a fine cast (particularly fine is Irene Minghini-Cattaneo as Amneris).

My favorite recordings:

- Son giunta! (Leonora in La Forza del Destino / Verdi / HMV 1928)

 Ritorna vincitor! (Title role in Aida / Verdi / HMV 1928)

- Un bel di vedremo (Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly / Puccini / HMV 1928)

- Manella mia (Valente / HMV 1928)

- Ohie Meneche “La fiera del Mast’Andrea (Neapolitan Folk Song / HMV 1928)

- Gretchen am Spinnrade (Schubert / HMV 1929 / Michael Raucheisen)

- En vain pour éviter (Title role in Carmen / Bizet / HMV 1932)