Singer Adelina Patti was born on 19 February 1843 in Madrid into a family of Sicilian musicians. Trained chiefly by her stepbrother Ettore Barili, a popular baritone, she was a precocious talent who made her operatic début in November 1859 at the New York Academy of Music. After seasons in New York, New Orleans, and Havana, she sailed to England, where she was engaged by Frederick Gye, the manager of Covent Garden. She first appeared in the role of Amina in Bellini’s La sonnambula in May 1861. This performance established her name in London as did her debut in Paris (November 1862). She would become the highest paid singer ever.
During the 1860s she divided her life and career between the two cities. In July 1868 Patti married Henri de Roger de Cahusac, Marquis de Caux, who was eighteen years her senior. The wedding took place in London and the couple settled in a residence in Clapham Park which Patti named Rossini Villa, but most of the time the partners were living apart. They were divorced in July 1885. She had an affair with the French tenor Ernest Nicolini. In 1878 she bought Craig-y-nos Castle in where she and Nicolini led an extravagant life. They married in June 1886. After Nicolini’s death in January 1898 she married Rolf Cederström a year later. He was a Swedish baron twenty-seven years her junior and both had become British subjects. Patti made her final appearance at thr Royal Albert Hall in December 1906. She died in September 1919. Her embalmed body was taken to Paris to be buried in Père Lachaise near to her father and her close friend Gioachino Rossini.