Ancarina Massimimi

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Ancarina Massimimi was an Italian opera singer, who, it seems, visited South Africa in 1894-5 under the auspices of impresario A. Bonamici, possibly with his Lyric Opera Company.

She is specifically mentioned as leading an (unnamed) "Italian Opera Company", that put on a season of operas at the Opera House Cape Town late in 1894. An interesting facet was the fact that the company was virtually a double one, with two distinct casts doing the same opera on alternate nights. However, even though Boonzaier (1923) considered the large company as consisting of excellent performers who maintained "a high standard of excellence … in all the works they performed", the particular season failed to gain much public support and the undertaking was ultimately "a disastrous failure". (Boonzaier, in Bosman, 1980: p.401)

The works presented by the company included such standard operatic works as Lucia di Lammermoor (Donizetti), La Favorita (Donizetti), Cavalleria Rusticana (Rossini), The Barber of Seville (Beaumarchais/Rossini), Carmen (Bizet), Rigoletto (Verdi), La Gioconda (Ponchielli) and Ernani (Verdi).


D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman, 1928. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel I: 1652-1855. Pretoria: J.H. de Bussy. [1]: p. 401

Jill Fletcher. 1994. The Story of Theatre in South Africa: A Guide to its History from 1780-1930. Cape Town: Vlaeberg

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