Josephine Lucchese

This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet an opera singer who pulled herself up by her own bootstraps.

On September 22, 1920, Josephine Lucchese made her operatic debut. Born in 1893 into San Antonio’s famous Lucchese boot-making family, she learned mandolin at six and piano at ten before starting vocal training at fifteen. In 1911, she moved to New York, where she made her public debut in 1920. Her career quickly took off, and audiences began flocking to hear her perform in the Barber of Seville and other classic operas.

Josephine Lucchese was a trailblazer, in part because she was one of the few successful opera singers at that time who was not trained in Europe. Eventually, Lucchese moved to Austin, where she taught at the University of Texas from 1956 to 1968. She died in San Antonio in 1974.

Next time on This Week in Texas Music History, we’ll meet a man with a voice as big as Texas.

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