Angelina Bottesini

Giovanni Bottesini's sister (1825-1915)

Even before her older brother began playing the Bass, Angelina seemed aware of his future as a Bassist Leader: her pet name for him was "Capofundo," which very loosely translates as "Head Bassist."

Never a musician, this versatile woman adapted a lifestyle similar to her brother's. She was adept at discovering his abandoned living quarters in foreign cities, which, with rent having been paid "in perpetuity," were often stocked with jewels and other luxuries Bottesini had left behind and forgotten.

This way she established homes and even business enterprises in most European capitals, especially London, Paris, Barcelona, and Venice.

Her business ventures included brief control of the winery that produced Vino Dragonetti, a factory in Alexandria that manufactured saintly relics, and a musicians' agency, of which the only prominent client was, oddly enough, the young Serge Koussevitzky.

Her most successful business was Chocolats du Bottesini in Paris. It became a major supplier of confections to the aristocracy, and it didn't succumb to Moristo until 1943.

In the 1880s and 90s, Angelina was very wealthy. She financed several revivals of Bottesini's forgotten operas. But she was relentlessly pursued by Moristo and died in poverty.

"We all must learn where to place our fingers."
© 1997, Jeff Brooks (