Say, don’t you remember Toti Dal Monte?
No, of course you don’t. Not unless you’re Italian, and a long-time opera goer, and getting pretty elderly by now — about as old as I am, for example, which is quite a lot so. Anyway, she was a soprano, and dearly beloved by Italian opera lovers in the decade of the 19-hundreds. Also the decade of the 19-teens, and twenties, and thirties, and even forties, because say what you will about Toti Dal Monte (not that that was her birth name, but it was the one she sang under, pretty much all over the world, for all those years), she had staying power.
Her favorite role. I think, was Mimi, the woman who supported herself (in extreme poverty) by making knick-knacks for fashionistas and fell in love with the also impoverished artist, Rodolfo, in one of my own favorite operas, La Boheme.
That’s the one I saw her sing, in the Royal Opera House in Naples, Italy, in 1945. At the time she was on, I would guess, the Naples leg of her maybe third or fourth final farewell tour. She was dearly, dearly beloved by just about every opera fan (which is very close to every living human being over six) in Italy. They were right to love her, too. I can attest to that, because in 1945 the voice was still beautiful.
The body, on the other hand, maybe not so much. In general build she was shaped more or less like a pumpkin. There’s a bit in the first act of Boheme where her brand new boyfriend, Rodolfo, is supposed to sweep her up and carry her across the stage. Sweeping and carrying were not available in that performance, though. Her Rodolfo was no taller than she was and a bit on the pudgy side himself, so they settled for him putting his arm around her shoulder and she kind of leaning against his side as they strolled across the stage.
Ah, memories, memories.
But listen, I’m not telling you all this just to give my recollections a little airing. I’ve got a problem here.
As I said, I saw this performance in 1945, and I’m absolutely positive of the date because, although I was in Italy before that, it was 1945 before I could wander around Naples on my own. But I looked up Toti in the Wikipedia the other day, and it says flatly that she retired in 1943.
So what do I do about that gross error?
I did what I was supposed to do. I looked up the instructions the Wikis supplied for such cases, and what it says is that I should be a good citizen and correct the error.
And how do I do that?
It doesn’t say. I read all the material about how the Wikis work and how much they need money, and all the rest of their backchat for the viewers. If there was any instructional material that says who you’re supposed to contact with your correction, however, I couldn’t find it.
So — do any of you know how you go about making a correction? If you do, will you please tell me?