Clara Anastasia Novello (1818-1908)

Clara Novello, 1867.

Clara Anastasia Novello was born in London, England, to Vincenzo and Mary (Hehl) Novello on 10 June 1818. Vicenzo Novello was a well-known composer and organist. Clara followed in her father’s footsteps becoming a successful sopranist from an early age. She stopped her singing career, however, in her adult years after marrying Giovanni Battista Gigliucci to follow her husband’s political career and raise a family.

Clara and Giovanni first met in Bologna in 1842 where Clara was performing. They later met again at the Novello home in England and on 22 November 1843, the couple was married in England. They moved to the Gigliucci family estate in Fermo where they settled.

Between 1844 and 1849, Clara and Giovanni had four children: Porzia (1844), Giovanni (1845), Mario (1847), and Valeria (1849).

Except for a brief return to singing between 1848 and 1860 when the family was in need of money, Clara’s life followed that of her huband’s and she devoted herself to the home and rasing their children.

On 12 March 1908, Clara died in Rome, Italy, at the age of 89.


Clara Novello (Mario’s mother) on her marriage to Count Giovanni Battista Gigliucci:

…on both sides relatives disliked our marriage. Seven nuns were among my newest relatives and naturally to these a theatrical artist could only be an imp of Satan! ‘Tridui’ (three days’ prayer) were offered by them to prevent our union – in vain! Little by little, however, these ladies grew actually quite fond of me, and my family forgave us.