Spani, Hina

Argentine soprano, 1896 - 1969


Biographical notes:

Her real name was Higinia Tunon. She started to take singing lessons at the age of eight and gave her first public concert in Cordoba at the age of 12. Her first teacher was Amanda Campodonico in Buenos Aires. She left for Italy to continue her studies with Vittorio Mortatti in Milan. She made her début as Anna in Catalani’s Loreley at La Scala in 1915. Soon after she appeared at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires as Micaela, Nedda and Ines in Meyerbeer’s L’Africana. World War I disrupted her career but she gave many recitals in which she often sang German Lied repertoire. This preference for German music continued to the end of her career. In 1919 she returned to Italy and appeared in various opera houses. She sang her first Elsa in Wagner’s Lohengrin in the same year, this was one of her most famous roles. She also appeared as Elisabeth in Tannhäuser, as Maddalena, Desdemona, Mimì, Marina, Sieglinde, Santuzza and Wally. In 1924 she added Aida, Amelia and Giulietta (Zandonai). She sang Margherita in Boito’s Mefistofele opposite de Angelis, Pertile and Arangi-Lombardi, conducted by Toscanini. In 1926 she sang recitals in Italy (often Wagner’s Wesendonck-Lieder!) and appeared in all Italian, Spanish and South American opera houses. She declared that she preferred song to opera and that the expressive power of the Lied was to her the greatest source of satisfaction. She also appeared in Australia and Switzerland. She added further roles to her repertoire: Leonora (Trovatore), Madame Butterfly, Marguerite in Faust and Tosca. During her final years she mostly sang dramatic roles such as Turandot and Lady Macbeth. Nevertheless she continued to sing lyric roles. She terminated her operatic career in 1940 but continued to give recitals until 1946. She became a highly esteemed professor at the Music High School of the University of Buenos Aires. For some years Hina Spani was the Director of that institute.



Recital (Arias and songs by Verdi, Wagner, Gounod, Massenet, Leoncavallo, Puccini, Catalani, Buchardo, Ugarte)

Preiser - LV

Recital (see above)


Songs and Canciones (Dvorak, Scarlatti, Pergolesi, Paradisi, Caccini, Obradors, Buchardo, Nin, Granados, Ugarte, Campi, Brahms)

Hamburger Archiv

Giovanni Zenatello (Duets from Verdi’s Un Ballo in Maschera)

Preiser - LV

Scala Edition Vol. 2


Puccini - The Supreme Operatic Recordings


Verdi - The Supreme Operatic Recordings


Les Introuvables du Chant Verdien


Great Voices - The “Carlo Felice” in Genoa Vol. 5


Mike Richter’s Opera Page: Record of Singing Vol. 3




Her career was mostly centered in South America, Spain and Italy. She did neither appear at the Met nor in England or Germany. This may be the reason why she is still underrated. She enjoyed a long and successful career and sang opposite the greatest singers such as Caruso, Chaliapin, Bonci, De Angelis, Ruffo, Stracciari, Gigli and many others.

Hina Spani was a true dramatic soprano. Her upper register was particularly remarkable, coupled with brilliance and a fine attack. She was very responsive to changing moods and to the sense of words.

In my opinion, she made some of the most satisfying and exciting operatic records to be heard from the early years of electrical recordings. With Hina Spani we can learn what impassioned singing is about!

My favorite recordings:

  Ma dall’arido stelo divulsa (Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera / Verdi / HMV 1927)

- Aurette, a cui si spesso (Elsa in Lohengrin / Wagner / HMV 1927)

- In quelle trine morbide (Title role in Manon Lescaut / Puccini / HMV 1927)

- Decidi il mio destin with Apollo Granforte (Nedda in Pagliacci / Leoncavallo / HMV 1927)

- D’amor sull’ali rosee (Leonora in Il Trovatore / Verdi / HMV 1928)

- Sola ne’miei prim’anni (Elsa in Lohengrin / Wagner / HMV 1928)

- Ebben? ne andrò lontano (Title role in La Wally / Catalani / HMV 1928)

- Vissi d’arte (Title role in Tosca / Puccini / HMV 1929)

- Tu! tu! piccolo Iddio! (Cio-Cio-San in Madame Butterfly / Puccini / HMV 1929)

- Canciòn del carretero (Buchardo / HMV 1930)