After the early death of her father already in 1894 she appeared together with her twin sister Jessie Pickens in cabarets and vaudeville theaters in New York, where both girls sang duets. Then she became an operetta singer in New York and appeared since 1897 also in London in operettas. Here she heard in 1898 by the famous tenor Jean de Reszke, who encouraged her to turn to the opera. She studied under Victor Capoul and Mathilde Marchesi in Paris and made her debut in 1901 at the Grand Opéra in Paris as Juliette in ‘’Roméo et Juliette’’ of C. Gounod. During her appearance at the Grand Opéra in Paris she accepted the name Bessie Abott (after the family name of her mother). She sang there the following parts: Marguerite in ‘’Faust’’, Gilda in ‘’Rigoletto’’, the forest bird in the French première of R. Wagner’s ‘’Siegfried’’ (1901) and Zerline in ‘’Don Giovanni’’ (1902). In 1906 she was engaged by the Metropolitan Opera in New York. Here she made her debut as Mimi in G. Puccini’s ‘’La Bohème’’ opposite Enrico Caruso. She sang in this house also Philine in ‘’Mignon’’, Gilda in ‘’Rigoletto’’, Juliette in ‘’Roméo et Juliette’’ and the principal role in ‘’Martha’’. She remained a member of the Metropolitan Opera till 1908 and also guested in Chicago and San Francisco. In 1909 she made guest appearances at the Opéra de Monte-Carlo. She performed in the premiere of the opera ‘’Naristé’’ by Bellenot and Mimi in ‘’La Bohème’’. As a guest she sang also in St. Petersburg and Lisbon. In 1910 she traveled through North America with her own opera troupe. In 1912 she appeared at the Knickerbocker Theatre in New York in the operetta ‘’Robin Hood’’ of De Koven. In 1912 she married the sculptor and author T. Waldo story, a brother of the first husband of Emma Eames, and picked up her career.
1906-1908 New York Metropolitan Opera
1909 Opéra de Monte-Carlo
RECORDINGS FOR SALE
Edison 2-min cylinders, New York 1906?
Faust (Gounod): Air des bijoux B23
Martha (Flotow): Qui sola, vergin rosa B56
Rigoletto (Verdi): Caro nome B37
Victor, New York 1907-02-01
Lakmé (Delibes): Où va la jeune hindoue 88084 C4232
Zauberflöte (Mozart): Gli angui d'inferno 88051 C4231
Victor, New York 1907-03-13
Roméo et Juliette (Gounod): Je veux vivre 87007 B4305
Victor, Camden NJ 1908-05-27
Mignon (Thomas): Io son Titania 88171 C6237