Nightingale of the North-Georgina Stirling
Twillingate Museum and Crafts
Twillingate, Newfoundland and Labrador

04 Georgina's Singing Career


Georgina was offered a singing engagement with an opera company in Milan, Italy in 1890.


Dr. Wm. Stirling was so impressed with his daughter's growing local reputation as a singer he decided that Georgie should go to Paris and study voice.

On October 27, 1888, Georgie sailed from the rugged shores of North Twillingate Island to St. John's and thence to Liverpool. By late fall she was wandering the lively boulevards of Paris.


Georgina, around the time of her debut at 'La Scala' in Milan.
Milan, Italy


In Paris Georgina took daily lessons with Madame Malthide Marchesi, a world-renowned mentor, whose school was at the very center of Parisian musical society. Madame Marchesi was personally acquainted with many of the great composers of the day, including Liszt and Massenet, and held soirees at which the great opera impresarios of Europe would select promising new talent. It was at one of there soirees that Georgina was chosen to sing in Milan.

The second year of studies 1890 Miss Georgie saw a full schedule of events for the Ecole Marchesi. During these events the impresarios of the various opera companies came to engage the most promising singers for the coming opera season. Miss Georgie was offered a singing engagement in Italy. At the end of the scholastic year she accepted a position with an opera company in Milan. Miss Toulinguet made her debut at La Scala in Milan, with the Italian Royal family in attendance


In 1896, Miss Georgie, or Mademoiselle Marie Toulinquet as she was now known in the opera world, had accepted a two year engagement with the New Imperial Opera Company Ltd. of New York City.

Georgina Ann Stirling made her American debut with the New Imperial Opera Company Ltd. in October 1886 as prima donna soprano. Her singing astonished the opera audiences of New York City and held them spellbound! Unfortunately the collapse of the company left Georgina stranded in the middle of the operatic season. She accepted singing engagements with the Boston Harmony Orchestral Society for the remainder of the concert season, singing in Washington and Brooklyn.


Opera Singer Marie Du Bedat, known as 'Ireland's Nightingale' was a close friend of Georgina.


Marie du Bedat was known as "Ireland's Nightingale". She was born in Dublin, of French extraction and had been prima donna of The Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company of London for three years.

In the spring of 1897 when Georgina's engagement with the Boston Symphony was finished she invited her friend Marie du Bedat to holiday with her at Twillingate. Their arrival in St. John's coincided with the Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee celebrations and the fourth centennial of Newfoundland's discovery by John Cabot. Immediately invitations were extended to both divas to take part in the celebrations.


Madame Sofia Scalchi was a well known prima donna contralto in the operatic world.


Sofia Scalchi, a well-known prima donna contralto in operatic circles. She was born in Turin, Italy and studied under Augusta Boccabadati. She made her Italian debut at age sixteen.


The Scalchi Operatic Tour of America
25 October 1897


On October 18, 1897, Georgina made her debut with the Scalchi Operatic Company, under the direction of Sophia Scalchi. This was a thirty week engagement as the prima donna soprano. In company with her friend, Marie du Bedat, they toured the United States. "The Raleigh", North Carolina opera program said of Marie Toulinquet: Mlle. Toulinguet has been declared the greatest dramatic soprano in the whole world.

The Scalchi tour proved to be a very successful and rewarding one for Marie Toulinguet. At the conclusion of this tour she was offered a singing engagement in Italy, one that she felt she could not refuse as it would be an advancement to her career.


Georgina's engagement at Chioggia, Italy raised her to the height of her career.
Chioggia, Italy


In the summer of 1898, Georgina returned to Italy for a singing engagement in Venice. A new Mass had recently been composed and was being premiered at Chioggia, Italy. Maria Toulinguet was sought after for the leading role. Three telegrams were sent pressuring her to assume the role; this singing engagement brought her to the height of her brilliant career. Her performance of this role was overwhelmingly accepted by the citizens of Chioggia and a special night was held in her honor on October 29, 1898; live canaries and mounds of flowers were thrown from the opera boxes. A reception was held at the Ricordo, Chioggia, following the performance and she was presented with a testimonial, praising her beautiful voice. This indeed was a night of triumph and honor!! Her singing career continued in Italy and at the turn of the century she was again singing in Milan.
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