A singer (mezzo-soprano) and composer herself, Elsa Respighi created ballets out of Respighi's Ancient Airs and Dances suites and completed his final opera Lucrezia in 1937. Throughout her long life she championed her husband's work unfailingly. In 1955 she produced a memoir of her encounters with some of the most influential cultural figures of the early twentieth century. She also published a biography of Respighi in 1962. In 1969 she established Fondo Respighi in Venice, to promote music education in Italy. She was also at the forefront of the 1979 Respighi Centenary celebrations, which saw a number of long-neglected works performed and recorded for the first time. Since then, several of her own works, chiefly for solo voice with accompaniment, have been given their premiere.