Music: Mother's Mass

To their neighbors in Philadelphia it seemed as if the Gianninis made music all the time. The father, Ferruccio, was an oldtime opera singer who could boast that he had once sung with Patti. The mother, Antoinetta, played the violin. Daughters Euphemia and Dusolina sang. Son Francis had a cello when he was big enough to wield one. Son Vittorio practiced endlessly on the piano.

Dusolina was first of the young Gianninis to reach the headlines. At 19 she was suddenly called upon to substitute for Soprano Anna Case in a Manhattan concert. Critics raved over the warm beauty of her voice,...