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Peter Branscombe

(b ? Moravia or Upper Austria, ?1740s; d Aachen, bur. Aug 7, 1792). Austrian theatre manager, actor and singer. He was engaged at Brünn (now Brno) in 1770, from the autumn of that year as director of the troupe. For long periods he toured in Austria, southern Germany and the Rhineland. In early summer ...

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Jane Schatkin Hettrick

(b ?Russia,?1739/40). Italian composer and singer. She was the daughter of the (?Venetian) scenographer and librettist Girolamo Bon (Boni, Bonno, Bono, Bonn, Le Bon, Buon, Bunon) and the Bolognese singer Rosa Ruvinetti Bon. In 1743, at the age of four, she entered the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice as a pupil. She probably rejoined her parents at some time during their engagements at St Petersburg, Dresden, Potsdam and Regensburg between ...

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Peter Branscombe

(fl. 1786-88). Italian soprano, sister of Teresa Saporiti. Her husband was the impresario Pasquale Bondini, and Caterina was a popular soprano in her husband’s company in the mid-1780s. She sang Susanna in the first Prague production of Figaro in early December 1786, and on 14 December a performance was given for her benefit; her praises were sung in poems distributed in the theatre. She created the role of Zerlina in ...

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John A. Parkinson and Simon McVeigh

(b Bologna, 1745; d London, c1806). Italian violinist and composer. He was a pupil of Pugnani and friend of Sir William Hamilton, and settled in London around 1769. A prominent orchestral violinist, he was leader of the second violins at the Handel Commemoration of ...

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Aristide Wirsta

(fl 1762–90). French violinist and composer. He played the violin at the Paris Opéra from 1762 to 1790. His Journal de violon, consisting mostly of airs arranged for violin and various other instruments, was published from 1784 to 1788. He was best known for his ...

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(b Hlukhiv, Ukraine, 1751; d St Petersburg, 28 Sept/Oct 10, 1825). Ukrainian composer, singer and music director, active in Russia. He began his musical training early, possibly at the Hlukhiv choir school, and in 1758 went to sing in the Russian imperial court chapel in St Petersburg, where he became one of Empress Elizabeth's favourite choirboys. Singled out for his unusual talent, he was trained in opera and eventually performed major roles in court productions: in ...

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Charles Hamm and Kimberly Greene

(b London, England, March 20, 1774; d London, England, Feb 17, 1856). English tenor and composer. He made his debut as a boy soprano at Covent Garden in 1787. He sang in Europe after his voice broke, returning to England at the turn of the century, where he established a reputation as one of the country’s leading tenors. He traveled to the United States in the autumn of ...

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Elizabeth Keitel

(b Vernon, Eure, March 31, 1722; d after 1779). French violinist, composer and teacher. He was the son of Nicole Picot and Antoine Branche, a dancing-master and possibly the musician who was active in Lyons in 1732. In 1748 Branche dedicated his Première livre de sonates à violon seul et basse...

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Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German soprano . She sang in Dresden before going to the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera in 1724. She made frequent appearances at the Hamburg Opera until 1726, under Telemann’s direction; her roles included Arethusa in Keiser’s Cupido (1724), Ursel in Keiser’s ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, Dec 17, 1734; d London, April 10, 1802). English soprano. The daughter of the fencing-master Charles Brent (1692/3–1770), she was taught by Thomas Arne and made her stage début as Liberty in his Eliza in Dublin on 29 November 1755...

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Barry S. Brook, Richard Viano and Valerie Walden

(b Paris, Nov 6, 1753; d Colligis, Aisne, March 18, 1823). French composer and cellist. He studied with Jean-Baptiste Cupis, and may also have received lessons from Berteau, one of whose sonatas is included in Bréval's tutor. By 1774 he was an active cello teacher and the following year he published his op.1, ...

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(b Paris, Dec 13, 1744; d Villers-sur-Mer, Calvados, Dec 5, 1824). French harpsichordist, pianist and composer. Both her father and her husband were financial officers for the crown, and her wealth allowed her to maintain salons in the Marais district of Paris and down the Seine at Passy. She was the musical star of these ...

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Franco Piperno

(b Florence; fl 1737–58). Italian mezzo-soprano . Initially a singer of intermezzos, in 1742 she married the bass Pietro Pertici, with whom she performed commedie per musica; as members of companies specializing in opera buffa the two contributed significantly to the wide success of the genre. Brogi took soubrette and leading juvenile roles in the highly successful comic operas of Auletta, Chinzer, Latilla and others. She worked mainly in Tuscany but also sang in Venice, Milan, Turin, Brescia, Mantua, Genoa and Bologna; outside Italy she appeared in comic opera in London (...

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Kenneth E. James

(b Bath, 1757/1760; d London, before Jan 7, 1810). English violinist and composer. He played in major concerts in Bath as early as 1771, and was leading the city orchestra five years later. Apart from one short period, he subsequently led most of the major performances in Bath until just after the turn of the century. However, he was well known as a performer and concert director throughout the west of England, appearing in Bristol in ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, c 1759; d off Scilly Isles, March 1784). English soprano and actress . She made her début as a child in Arne’s The Fairy Prince (November 1771) and appeared regularly on the London stage from autumn 1772. She created the roles of Clara in ...

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Alice B. Belgray and Newell Jenkins

(b ?Fano, 1744; d Colmenar de Orejo, nr Madrid, Dec 16, 1798). Italian composer, violinist and orchestra director, active in Spain. The son of Stefano Brunetti (of Fano) and Vittoria Perusini, he probably studied the violin in Livorno with Pietro Nardini. Having moved with his parents to Madrid by ...

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James L. Jackman

(fl Bologna, 1748–9). Italian singer and composer. This minor figure in 18th-century comic opera is noted here mainly to distinguish him from his more illustrious predecessor, Giuseppe Maria Buini. Librettos refer to him as ‘bolognese’, but no relationship has been traced to either G.M. Buini or the singer Rosalba Buini. He sang in the ...

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Gerald Gifford

(b Yorks., 1730; d Portici, Sept 3, 1782). English harpsichordist, organist and composer. A pupil of Keeble, he acquired considerable celebrity as an organist and harpsichordist. Burney remarked that Burton ‘was an enthusiast in his art: but having in his youth exercised his hand more than his head, he was not a deep or correct contrapuntist. He had, however, in his pieces and manner of playing them a style of his own’. In ...

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Christopher Raeburn

(b Vienna, 1763; d after 1810). Austrian soprano. She was the daughter of Karl von Sardi, a professor at the military academy in Vienna. On 20 March 1786 she married the Italian bass Francesco Bussani. She specialized in opera buffa and made her début sang Despina the première of ...

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Christopher Raeburn

(b Rome, 1743; d after 1807). Italian bass. He started his career as a tenor, appearing in Rome in 1763 in Guglielmi’s Le contadine bizzare. He sang in Venice, Milan and Rome for the next 15 years, and first appeared in Vienna in ...