Rosa Ponselle (1897-1981)
Legendary Metropolitan Opera diva, honored on a U.S. postage stamp (Inducted 1998)
Rosa Ponselle was born Rosa Melba Ponzillo in Meriden. She started singing in vaudeville and joined her sister Carmella on Broadway. Enrico Caruso encouraged her to audition for the Metropolitan Opera. For twenty-two years, she appeared in starring roles at the Met. She retired at the height of her career but continued to mentor young artists. In honor of her distinguished accomplishments, the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center (ACCC) dedicated the Rosa Ponselle Memorial Garden. The non-profit center for the arts and sciences and site of the first public library in Meriden, ACCC renovated the Garden in 2008. The Memorial Gardens are located at the Augusta Curtis Cultural Center, 175 East Main Street in Meriden.
The Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame Historic Site Survey project was funded through generous grants from: