Hariclea Darclée - Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore: The life and times of the first Tosca February 03 2023

Hariclea Darclée
Vissi d’arte, vissi d’amore | The life and times of the first Tosca

Author: René Seghers

500 pages
Hardcover with dustwrapping, printed on luxurious paper

Over 110 colour(ed) and meticulously restored photographs

Including a 78-page Chronology, discography, index of names
Limited edition of 100 copies
Publisher: Darclee.com


Author Rene Seghers and his book

Author Rene Seghers and his book

After 25 years and overcoming many obstacles on his part, author René Seghers finally published his biography on Hariclea Darclée, the first Tosca, Catalani’s Wally, Mascagni’s Iris and Luisa in I Rantzau and many more! And how: the exclusive 100 copies limited edition book is designed as a piece of art in the Art Nouveau style of Darclée’s time. The 500 page full color book is printed on luxurious paper. It includes a 78 page chronology and features over a 100 photographs in full color! Seghers: “I was so impressed by the novel AI photo enhancement and coloring techniques that I postponed the book’s printing by a full year in order to restore and color all photographs to the max. That makes this the very first full color biography of any 19th century singer.”


Hariclea Darclee biography by Rene Seghers

The result of both the design (by Dick Bak) and the high quality print, with gorgeous hard cover/dust wrapping and beautifully printed flyleafs is stunning. Yet the most surprising aspect has not yet been mentioned: the on location research that took Seghers all over the world to wherever Darclée performed.

[CLICKABLE IMAGE] Hariclea Darclée Book by René Seghers

In Romania he retraced her personal archives, including over 1.000 handwritten letters. The book has extensive chapters on her lost Fonotipia recordings.


These chapters describe exactly what happened to them. In addition Seghers retraced the original 78RPM disc of the two alleged Darclée songs that surfaced in the 1970s, said to have been made late in her retirement. The proved genuine, but were not at all made during her retirement but in 1910, when was still singing great premieres! All the credible and incredible comes documented with footnotes on the pages. The photos appear where they belong in the text. The book fully restores Darclée to the position she held in her day, the one of the foremost prima donna of her times, along with Gemma Bellincioni.


Catalani dedicated the score of La Wally to Darclée, who created it. Puccini and Mascagni wrote Tosca, Iris and I Rantzau for her. She created other operas by them, Wagner, Massenet and others in South-America, Spain or Russia. Darclée was the initial candidate to create Gounod’s grand-opéra version of Roméo et Juliette – while still in conservatory! Gounod himself gave Hariclea Hartulary her stage name: Darclée.


Hariclea Darclee signed photo in Tosca

Overcome with stage fright Patti stepped in but failed to make an impression after which Darclée emerged victorious after all. Henceforward she was billed from Moscow to New York as the soprano who drove Patti out of Paris. Her life was a rollercoaster of unheard of triumphs, disappointments, bankruptcies, a failed marriage to a philandering gambler (captain Iorgu Hartulary) followed by passionate liaisons with a King (Don Carlos I), a tenor (Emilio De Marchi) and a baritone (Eugenio Giraldoni).

[CLICKABLE IMAGE] Vintage signed photograph of Hariclea Darclée shown as Floria Tosca in Puccini's opera.

The book is however not a fan book or a hagiography. Seghers quotes the good and the bad and puts her life in the perspective of her times. The hard to access Romanian archives unearthed important and wholly novel details about the beginnings of Leoncavallo and Puccini. Special attention is given to her creations of and appearances in lesser known works. La Wally and Mascagni’s Iris are currently on the rise, but Gomes’s Condôr, Vallini’s Il Voto, De Lara’s Amy Robsart, Pachierrotti’s O Eidelberga mia, Panizza’s Aurora, Rubinstein’s Demon, Mancinelli’s Ero e Leandro and Mascagni’s I Rantzau up to Saint-Saëns’s Proserpine are presented here in the proper framework of their time.


A point is made for forgotten masterpieces, such as Condôr and her completely forgotten 1906 creation of the first Romanian opera, Alexis Catargi’s Enoch Arden. The latter title was thought lost until Seghers rediscovered the score. It is currently scheduled for a highlights recording in the Summer, including Darclée’s full part, to be released on a companion CD to the book. The mentioned 78 page chronology is one of the most detailed chronologies of a 19th Century singer to date. Her colleagues get more than the usual sideline.

Hariclea Darclee book Inside A look inside the book Hariclea Darclée by Rene Seghers

In this book the reader is a fly on the wall from the performances up to the long sea journeys that took star studded Italian opera troupes to Argentina, Brasil, Chile, Montevideo or New York. The biographies of Emilio De Marchi and Eugenio Giraldoni and the genesis of Tosca gain new dimensions. A final point of attention are the discographical references to colleagues that appeared with her in opera and concert. Apart from the familiar ones there are a number of singers wholly forgotten today that left obscure cylinders and the like.

For more information on Darclée and the book see: www.Darclee.com.



- Hariclea Darclee Signed Photograph as Tosca

- Opera Singers Autographs Manuscripts

- Opera Singers CDVs and Cabinet Photos

- Opera Singers Autographs



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