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Nina Morgana; Diva Who Sang With Caruso

July 12, 1986

Nina Morgana, a well-known coloratura soprano who was believed to be the last living singer to have appeared in recital with tenor Enrico Caruso, has died in New York. She was 93.

Miss Morgana died Tuesday at Tompkins Community Hospital in Ithaca. She had lived at a nearby care center for the last several years.

Her singing career began in 1901 at the Pan America Exposition in Buffalo, her hometown. She went on to perform as a soloist with the New York Metropolitan Opera and New York Philharmonic.

She toured nationally with the Metropolitan in the teens and '20s, appearing in 1917 in Los Angeles at Clune's Auditorium at Grand Avenue and 9th Street, later to become Trinity Auditorium and the first home of the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Miss Morgana was the widow of Bruno Zirato, the managing director of the New York Philharmonic from 1956 to 1959. Caruso was the best man at their June 15, 1921, wedding. He died six weeks later; her husband died in 1972 at the age of 88.

Miss Morgana--at Caruso's suggestion--studied for four years in Milan, Italy, with his friend and teacher, Theresa Arkel.

After her studies there, Caruso hired her as an assistant artist on his concert tours. She had met Zirato, Caruso's private secretary and business manager, while touring with him.

The Metropolitan's then-general manager, Giulio Gatti-Casazza, engaged her, and she made her debut as Gilda in "Rigoletto," in 1920, remaining with the company until 1935.

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