How did a former Reedsburg native become a renowned opera star and promoter?
Electa Anette “Nettie” Root was born in Point Bluff, WI, in 1859, and raised in Reedsburg. Her life and times are chronicled in an article in the Ramsey County History by Roger Bergerson. His article is titled “How Nettie Snyder put the City [of St Paul] on the Musical Map.”
“She showed an interest in the performing arts early on: at the age of ten, she appeared in a school play at Reedsburg town hall and at fifteen directed a children’s concert in La Crosse,” noted the author.
After her first marriage failed, Nettie married F.H. Snyder in 1889 and shortly thereafter she went to Italy in 1891 to study voice. A newspaper of that era, reported that “[Nettie’s] voice was in excellent quality and she sang with a faultlessness managed, with sentiment so exquisite and beautiful.”
Nettie was credited as being the “only woman in the country involved in opera management.” As an aggressive concert promoter she revitalized the opera company in St. Louis. She was a friend of the great opera singer, Enrico Caruso, and of many other famous performers of the time.
“The characteristic that stands out above all others, however, was her deep desire to develop an appreciation in others for the music she so loved”, concluded the author.