Sunday, December 29, 2013

The Male Patti

Italian-American soprano Adelina Patti performed from 1851 (when she was 8) until 1914 (when she was over 70).

By far the most famous opera singer of her generation, Patti had many imitators. One of them was a man named Everett Stewart, a former postal employee from Wichita, Kansas. He joined the minstrel show run by McIntyre & Heath in 1887, ultimately billing himself as Stuart, the Male Patti. Under that name he wore gorgeous jeweled gowns, danced in high heels and sang in a soprano voice as the star of an 1898 Broadway musical called The New 1492, where he played Queen Isabella.

Posters from an archive of performing arts images at the Library of Congress.