The Patti Boudoir - not so much a bedroom but a private sitting room for favoured guests invited to a private audience.
In 1905 - 1906, when Patti finally retired, the 'Gram O Phone Co' finally persuaded the Diva to record her voice. She agreed to this, but only if the recording could take place at Craig Y Nos. The company brought in its equipment and installed it in the dressing room next to her boudoir.
Hear one of the Adelina Patti Recordings.
After recording the first piece, she insisted on hearing it before continuing. They set up the equipment in the Patti Boudoir as she was descending the main staircase for breakfast the following morning and played to Patti her first piece. She remained still and listened and afterwards said in French, "Now I know why they love me."
Patti then went on to record another twenty pieces, sixteen of which were cut and sold for £1 each.
It had been the ambition of all 'Talking Machine' companies to record the great soprano, but for many years she had refused to sing for them.
The phonograph had been replaced by an infant gramophone, which the diva considered a mere toy and unable to produce the true quality of her voice. Madam Patti was approaching 63 when the music world finally persuaded her to face the recording machine and sing for posterity. It was agreed that a recording team should travel to Craig-y-nos, and in 1906 they arrived at the castle and installed their equipment in the theatre.
The Diva was kind and generous but somewhat temperamental, calling everyone 'darling or devil as the mood dictated'. Very devout, she was said to be the singer with a flawless voice and personality to match. Each session lasted about an hour, and the whole recording took four days to complete. She found it difficult to remain still when singing into the machine's small funnel, and was gently restrained from moving to the demands of the music.
Initially she was quite nervous and after the first recording asked to hear it immediately. Although this would spoil the work, her wish was granted and the piece recorded once again.
With the sound of her voice the great soprano finally shared an experience that had captivated audiences around the globe. Although praying before each recording, she felt reassured and faced the remainder with less foreboding.
Shortly after completing her repertoire, the recording team hid the gramophone near the main staircase, and as the Baroness descended to dinner the air was filled with the sound of her voice. She is said to have remained still and very pale, clinging to the banisters throughout. Although in the twilight of her glorious career, her voice rang true and was professionally superb.
Unfortunately, Patti recorded no more, but her voice and technique overcame the shortcomings of that early equipment and produced a quality of sound that sped the gramophone in to the homes of many. A glorious career was drawing to its close, and the new technology paid tribute to a remarkable lady.
Until Patti gave her voice and reputation to this new technology the public had not taken it seriously, something that changed through her endorsement and performances. Not only through the sale of records but through the classes that required gramophones.
The hall at Craig Y Nos can justifiably claim to be the foundation of the modern recording industry.
The quality of the recording as it exists today however is poor. The original cylinder was dropped and destroyed while being moved and all that remains on the CDs that you can buy today are somewhat scratchy versions of the original recordings, taken off old 78 RPM records.
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