By Leonard Rodriguez
This column highlights inspiring stories of Latino leaders. For more than 500 years, Latino men and women have positively influenced the face of United States society. Let us celebrate these outstanding hispanics.

Adelina Patti

Born in Spain in 1843, Adelina Patti is one of the greatest sopranos of all time and the nation’s first prima donna. A child prodigy, she toured the U.S., performing publicly for the first time at age 8. Ten years later, in 1861, she made her debut at London’s Covent Garden and performed there every season until 1884. She became known as the “First Covent Garden Aida” and “The epitome of the prima donna.” She toured the world like a queen, traveling in private rail cars and residing in preferred castles. She sang in the greatest opera houses, earning as much as $5,000 a performance. Assured of her place in history, Patti is called “the most celebrated diva of her time.”