Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Adolf Friedrich's wife ... or mistress

There is no evidence that Duke Adolf Friedrich of Mecklenburg-Strelitz ever contracted a legal marriage with the woman he loved.

The woman was Italian soprano Mafalda Salvatini (1888-1971).  She spent most of her career in Berlin with the Berlin State Opera and the Deutsche Oper Berlin.  She was a guest artist with the Vienna State Opera and also sang in Riga, the Netherlands and Belgium.    Salvatini, however, never performed in her native country. 

After retiring from the stage,  Mafalda Salvatini moved to Switzerland. She died in Lugano in 1971 at the age of 82.

Mafalda was Adolf Friedrich's mistress from 1908 until his death.  She bore him two sons, Horst Gerard, and Rolf Gerard, a set and costume designer.

Rolf Gerard was born in 1909 in Berlin, but later became a naturalized British citizen.  He celebrated his 100th birth in 2009, and died at Ascona on November 19, 2011.   His "legal" father was named Walter Gerard.   In 1951, he married a Russian woman named Kira.

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