Masiello, Alberta

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Alberta Masiello (c.1916-1990), best know as a vocal coach and accompanist, was born in Milan, Italy, to a family of opera singers.

Her grandfather, Giuseppe La Puma, worked with many famous opera singers and conductors. In addition to singing, he founded the Mascagni Center of Culture, where he taught piano and voice with his daughter (and Masiello's mother), Giuseppina La Puma.

Masiello was considered a child prodigy on piano and earned a degree from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Milan in 1932. She intended to follow in her mother's footsteps as a singer in America and she attended Juilliard for several years. She also taught there as an assistant instructor and accompanist, working with Paul Althouse and Mme. Anna Schoen-René, while doing private vocal coaching at home. During World War II she found some success in New York City as a folk singer, adopting a Spanish persona named "Yola." Her singing career continued after the war with major mezzo-soprano roles at the New York City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Wagner Opera Company. Within a few years she turned to the coaching and accompaniment side of opera, and worked for the Dallas Civic Opera and Chicago Opera (where she established a professional relationship with Maria Callas). She then began a long tenure at the Metropolitan Opera House. She earned the title of assistant conductor and worked there as a vocal coach. She continued to give private lessons, and taught master classes at the Mannes College of Music and Juilliard. Alberta Masiello was perhaps best know to opera audiences as a guest panelist on the Texaco Opera Quiz, a radio program that ran during intermission of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

From the description of Alberta Masiello papers, 1894-1990. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 84113257

Alberta Masiello (c.1916-1990) was born in Milan, Italy, to a family of renowned opera singers. Her grandfather, Giuseppe La Puma, began singing at an early age, and worked with many famous opera singers and conductors (e.g. Caruso, and Toscanini). He had a repertoire of about 100 roles for the baritone voice. In addition to singing, he founded the Mascagni Center of Culture, where he taught piano and voice with his daughter (and Masiello’s mother), Giuseppina La Puma. She inherited her father’s gift for singing, and after his death in 1940, continued to prepare students for traditional Grand Opera performances.

Masiello was considered a child prodigy on piano, and earned a degree from the Royal Conservatory of Music in Milan in 1932. Although she intended to follow in her mother’s footsteps as a singer in America, she first attended Juilliard for several years. She also taught there as an assistant instructor and accompanist, working with Paul Althouse and Mme. Anna Schoen-Rene, while doing private vocal coaching at home. During World War II she found some success in New York City as a folk singer, adopting a Spanish persona named “Yola.” Her singing career continued after the war with major mezzo-soprano roles at the New York City Opera, Fort Worth Opera, and Wagner Opera Company. But within a few years she turned to the coaching and accompaniment side of opera, and worked for the Dallas Civic Opera and Chicago Opera (where she established a professional relationship with Maria Callas). She then began a long tenure (over 20 years) at the Metropolitan Opera House, and earned the title of Assistant Conductor. However, she remained a vocal coach, and did not conduct any operas for the Met. She continued to give private lessons, and taught master classes at the Mannes College of Music and Juilliard. But opera audiences perhaps best knew Alberta Masiello as a guest panelist on the Texaco Opera Quiz, a radio program that ran during intermission of Metropolitan Opera radio broadcasts.

Source: New York Times Obituary, New York Times Company, January 14, 1991

From the guide to the Alberta Masiello papers, 1894-1990, (The New York Public Library. Music Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Alberta Masiello papers, 1894-1990 The New York Public Library. Music Division.
creatorOf Masiello, Alberta. Alberta Masiello papers, 1894-1990. New York Public Library System, NYPL
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Music Collection corporateBody
associatedWith Callas, Maria, 1923-1977. person
associatedWith Chapin, Schuyler. person
associatedWith Cruz-Romo, Gilda, 1940- person
associatedWith La Puma, Giuseppe person
associatedWith La Puma, Giuseppe. person
associatedWith La Puma, Giuseppina person
associatedWith La Puma, Giuseppina. person
associatedWith McArthur, Edwin. person
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera Guild. corporateBody
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Metropolitan Opera (New York, N.Y.). National Council. corporateBody
associatedWith National Opera Institute (U.S.) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
Vocal coaches
Opera companies
Occupation
Baritones (Singers)
Function

Person

Active 1894

Active 1990

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