Baby name story: Herva

Richard Tucker (Radamès) and Herva Nelli (Aida) in the NBC radio/TV broadcast of "Aida" in 1949.
Richard Tucker and Herva Nelli in “Aida

In last week’s post on Radames, I mentioned the televised 1949 concert performance of the opera Aida in which the lead part was sung by soprano Herva Nelli.

According to her 1994 obituary in Gramophone magazine, Herva was born in Italy in 1909 and named after French politician Gustave Hervé, who was at that time an ardent socialist (though he later changed his views).

The surname Hervé has the same root as the name Harvey: both come from a Breton personal name made up of the elements haer, meaning “battle,” and vy, meaning “worthy.”

What are your thoughts on the name Herva? (Would you consider using it as a feminine version of Harvey?)

Source: Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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