Elisabetta (Mazzoni) Bain, 79, died suddenly on Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013, at her home in Manchester.
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She was born in La Spezia, Italy, to Pietro Mazzoni and Johana Kier on Jan. 28, 1934. Although her father had businesses in both Scotland and Italy, when World War II broke out in 1939 her father was sent to a British internment camp on the Isle of Man and the rest of the family was split up, based on their ages, and sent to Glasgow and the surrounding area. She spent most of her younger life in the British school system where she played hockey and received her "Highers with Honours" from St. Michaels College in Troon, Scotland. Bringing with her the music and academic certificates she had won in Troon, she returned to La Spezia, Italy, and passed the entrance exam for acceptance in to the Parma Conservatory of Music where she studied voice and piano for three years. She had a two and a half octave range, and became a coloratura soprano, which is a type of operatic soprano who specializes in music that is distinguished by agile runs and leaps. She then returned to Troon to help the family business and also performed at several concerts, including special Christmas guest appearances at the Johnny Walker House and the Grant Distillers House, where she would perform requested operatic arias. She was also the first female choir master for St. Meddan Church in Troon. In 1956 she married Murdoch Ian Bain, where they resided in Troon. In 1957, her son, Mark, was born. In 1961, the family moved to Coleraine, Northern Ireland, where she quickly found the local Portrush Music Society and became their leading soprano, starring in lyric operas like "The Gypsy Baron," "The Desert Song," and "Brigadoon." Even from her younger days, she was always billed with stage name of "Bettina Mazzoni." Friends and family called her "Bettina." In 1970, the troubles in Northern Ireland were at their high point, and after several events, which dramatically affected the family, she decided that the family would be safer in America. The family settled in Manchester to be close to existing family. She auditioned for the Connecticut Opera and was quickly placed in the soprano chorus for the first two seasons. Her talent being recognized, by 1972 she was on the same stage with Beverly Sills in "Norma." In 1973 she played the Contessa in "Cavalliera Rusticana" with Placido Domingo. Family always came first for Bettina and when her son, Mark, was struck in a hit-and-run car accident in 1973, leaving him with extensive therapy recuperation, she left the Connecticut Opera and put her professional singing career on hold. Later, she became a therapeutic director at Green Lodge Nursing Home and after that became the first music therapeutic director at the Meadows Convelescent Home, both in Manchester. Believing in the power of music to lift the spirit and then the body, she often spoke of Billy who had a very bad stutter when he spoke, but after coaching by Betty, had no stutter when he sang. Billy sang in the Christmas show that year and everyone was in tears. Bettina was a great contributor to charities and some of her favorites were The Disabled Veterans National Foundation and The International Fund for Animal Welfare, among many others.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to
in Bettina's name.
The family wishes to thank all their amazing neighbors who constantly helped with the chores that come with living in Connecticut, especially Andy and his brother, Matt, who were always there and provide continued support through these times.
Bettina is survived by her husband of 57 years, Murdoch Ian; her son, Mark; her grandchildren, Malcolm and Duncan; her sister, Emilia; and her brother, William.
In remembrance and tribute to an amazing woman, spouse, mother, and grandmother, we leave you with Bettina's favorite quote from Guiseppe Verdi's opera "Nabuco," "Va Pensiero Sull Ali Dorate," "My thoughts go forth on wings of gold." God bless you. You are with the chorus of the angels now.
Funeral service will be held on Saturday, Nov. 16, at 9:30 a.m. from the John F. Tierney Funeral Home, 219 W. Center St., Manchester, with at Mass of Christian Burial celebrated at 10 a.m. at St. James Church, 896 Main St., Manchester, followed by burial in East Cemetery, Manchester.
Family and friends may call at the funeral home on Friday, Nov. 15, from 6 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m.
For online condolences please visit
John F. Tierney Funeral Home
219 West Center Street
Manchester, CT 06040-4857
Published in Journal Inquirer from Nov. 14 to Nov. 18, 2013