Famous Singer Tells of Acquaintance With the Unfortunate Michaele Bellavin.
Tina de Spade, the famous little singer whose bright eyes won the heart of Michaele Bellavin, the unfortunate brother of Bishop Tikhon, formerly at the head of the Greek-Catholic Church in this city, has come back to San Francisco.
Her Russian admirer is not here to greet her, for he died of a broken heart the day after she went away from San Francisco to seek new renown among the opera singers of Italy, her native land. Nor is Bishop Tikhon in California to take note of her return. He could not endure the solitude of his American exile when Michaele had died for love, and three months after the latter's demise he gave up the charge of this important diocese, the control of which had made him the leading power of the Greek Church in America, and he followed the route of the beautiful opera singer across the continent and ocean to Italy, and then through the European capitals to St. Petersburg.
"Oh, no, I never loved that Russian gentleman," said Miss de Spada to an "Examiner" representative at her hotel last evening. "Really, I had never met Mr. Bellavin but once. I knew that he was in love with me, for he used to send me flowers every day and he used to send me letters, all letters of admiration, written in very good Italian, although he spoke the language very little. I could hardly understand him when he spoke Italian, but he wrote the language very well. As I could speak neither English nor Russian; all our conversation, what little we had, was in Italian, and so I hardly knew what he was talking about except that he said he loved me, which I understood very well."
The little singer, attired in a Japanese kimono, spoke with sympathy about her unfortunate admirer, and she evidently thought of him with respect.
"The only time I ever met him, I was sitting in one of the boxes at the Tivoli and he came in and introduced himself to me. He seemed to be a very nice gentleman and I listened attentively to all that he was trying to say to me in Italian. I never encouraged him to love me. Indeed, I never encouraged him in any degree, and that was the only time that I ever saw him. I am very sorry that he loved me, and it is very unfortunate that he should have taken the matter so seriously to heart.
"It was just after I got to my home in Milan that I heard of his death. My mother took the newspaper 'La Tribuna,' published in Rome, and one day when I was very tired from my singing she read the news to me while I was resting. Suddenly she said: 'What is this?' "A Tragedy of Love in San Francisco. Story About the Famous Opera Singer Tina de Spada!"'
"'Mamma, do not joke with me in that way,' I said to her, but she said she was not joking, and then she and I together read the story, which had been reprinted from 'L'Italia,' the Italian newspaper in San Francisco. I was very much astonished and very much shocked. It seemed so strange that a man whom I had met only once should have considered himself in love with me to that extent. But it is difficult to account for people's actions sometimes. I think that a few months afterwards I saw Mr. Bellavin's brother, Bishop Tikhon, in NapIes, but I did not speak to him. I am very sorry for the whole affair about the death of Mr. Bellavin, but I do not think that I am in any way to blame."
During the coming grand opera season Miss de Spada is to take more ambitious roles, than she formerly did, among them being the characters of Marguerite in "Faust," Mimi in "La Boheme," Violetta in "La Traviata," and she says that her favorite roles are Manon and Zaza. In all these she has been singing with success in Italy.
The San Francisco Examiner, August 26, 1908.