Madama Europa

Madama Europa was the nickname of Europa Rossi (fl. 1600), an opera singer, the first Jewish opera singer to achieve widespread fame outside of the Jewish community.[1][2]

She was the sister of the Jewish violinist and composer Salamone Rossi who is known to have been employed at Mantua from 1587 to 1628.[3]

She probably took her name from appearances in the mythical role of Europa in an intermezzo before 1600 at the court of the Dukes of Mantua.[4]

She probably died with her brother in the War of the Mantuan Succession, when, following the fall of Mantua to the Austrian troops of the Holy Roman Empire, imperial soldiers sacked the Jewish ghetto.[5]


  1. ^ Don Harran, "Madama Europa, Jewish singer in late Renaissance Mantua", in Festa musicologica: essays in honor of George J. Buelow ed. Thomas J. Mathiesen, Benito V. Rivera, George J. Buelow, 1995 p197
  2. ^ Emily Taitz, Sondra Henry & Cheryl Tallan, The JPS Guide to Jewish Women: 600 B.C.E.to 1900 C.E., 2003
  3. ^ Schwarz, Boris (1983). Great Masters of the Violin. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 35–36. ISBN 0-671-22598-7.
  4. ^ Eduard Birnbaum, Judith Cohen, Jewish musicians at the court of the Mantuan dukes (1542-1628) (1978) "However, Newman points out that the name "Madama Europa" is listed already before 1600 among the salaried employees of the Mantuan court; he therefore assumes that Rossi's sister had already appeared as "Europa" in an earlier Intermezzo".
  5. ^ Shlomo Simonsohn, History of the Jews in the Duchy of Mantua (1977)

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