Actual picture of Fanny Farah Farkentelli that I bought in San Francisco and now in my home-
Young Fanny Farah Farkentelli was born in San Francisco near Haight Street to a well to do family that had roots in Italy. Her mother made clothing and hats and she made Fanny a fabulous accordion dress for her sixth birthday. Her father who worked for the newspaper took the above picture the night before as they were all going to the Opera House to see Enrico Caruso sing. Fanny loved the dress so much that she wore it to bed after they got home much to the chagrin of her mother. She tossed and turned all night long with dreams of ice cream and arias in her head.
At 5:18 the next morning she woke with a jolt as the whole house was shaking. Fanny ran down the stairs screaming and her parents rushed her outside. Everything was falling around them and all they could do was run up the hill. The earthquake shook and shook some more and finally it stopped. Her father figured the safest place to be was in Golden Gate Park and that is where they ended up staying for months as the city burned to the ground behind them.
Fanny wore the accordion dress for weeks on end, wreaking of smoke. She met Eduardo Di Capua who wrote the melody for O Solo Mio and lived in the tent beside her. Enrico Caruso had abandoned his musicians and his 200 suitcases after the earthquake so Eduardo was left to fend for himself. The love for her soiled but still spectacular dress inspired him to teach Fanny the accordion. Fanny did not have much else to do so she played and played until she became the O Solo Mio Queen.
Fanny learned as much as she could in the tent city from Eduardo and when they returned to their old home she played on the steps. The house was still a wee bit crooked so Fanny would forever play her accordion on a slant. She won hundreds of contests and was sought after from far and wide. Fanny never married until one day in 1939 she met Franco Faranoucci, another accordion player at The New York’s Worlds Fair. They fell in love at first sight and were now billed as a duet. They were called The Fabulous Faranouci’s and they toured with The Flying Willenda’s.
Fanny and Franco would play their accordions while The Flying Willenda’s did their high wire act. They would play strong slow loud music while the audience gasped at the daredevil stunts. During the finale of the show Fannie would break into her crowd-pleasing song of O Solo Mio. How many times over the years did Fanny play that popular Italian song? On the back of the above picture of Fanny Farkentelli Faranoucci there are over ten thousand, three hundred and forty seven marks. One for each and every time she played O Solo Mio.
Me and Sophia and my accordian dress