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Natan Shahar

(b Yekatrinoslav [now Dnepropetrovsk], Dec 5, 1894; d Tel-Aviv, April 2, 1982). Israeli composer and singer. He emigrated to Palestine from the Ukraine in 1906. He studied at the Teacher's Seminary in Jerusalem where his teachers included Abraham Zvi Idelsohn. During World War I he moved to Egypt and enlisted in the British Army. After the war he returned to Palestine and, while earning his living as an accountant, took singing lessons with Jehuda Har-Melaḥ. A countertenor with a phenomenal ability to improvise, he travelled to the USA in 1923 to further his singing studies; there he specialized in improvisation and distinctive vibrato singing, similar in style to Arab-Bedouin singing or ululation. Commissioned to write an orchestral accompaniment for songs improvised in a Bedouin style, he enlisted the compositional assistance of Lazar Seminski, who encouraged him to continue to compose. His first songs, Ya leil (‘Oh night’) and ...

Article

[Conn, Catherine ]

(b New Orleans, LA, Sept 3, 1910; d New York, NY, April 17, 2007). American popular singer and actress of German Jewish heritage. She trained as a singer and actress in Europe and New York and began her career with appearances in Broadway musicals in the early 1930s. While continuing to perform on the stage, she starred in a number of Hollywood movies in the 1930s, famously alongside the Marx Brothers in A Night at the Opera (1935). She also acted and sang with Bing Crosby in two movies. Carlisle married the playwright and theater director moss Hart in 1946. After taking some time off to raise her two children, Carlisle established a second career in television in the 1950s. She regularly appeared on the popular TV show “To Tell the Truth” between 1957 and 1978. Her career as a singer continued with her debut at the Metropolitan Opera in Johann Strauss’s ...

Article

Pier Paolo Scattolin

(b Bologna, between 1536 and 1539; d Bologna, probably on Dec 22, 1613). Italian composer and singer. He was a Minorite and was of Jewish origin. He is first heard of at Padua, where documents (in I-Pca ) show that on 2 May 1567 he was employed by the Cappella del Santo as a singer; this appointment was reconfirmed on 7 May 1569. He then moved to Bologna as maestro di cappella at the church of S Francesco and lived in the monastery attached to it. His presence there is sporadically documented between 1573 and 1590. A document dated 30 November 1591 registers his discharge from the monastery because ‘he had taken no pleasure in his service’. It also states that during his absences from Bologna he was active at Iesi, Faenza and Ripatransone (near S Benedetto del Tronto). By 26 October 1594 he was back at Bologna, but only in ...

Article

[Sarah, Sarra]

(b 1592; d Venice, 1641). Italian poet and amateur singer. In 1614 she married Jacob Sullam, son of the Jewish Mantuan banker Moses Sullam, who, along with his parents, was Salamone Rossi’s benefactor. With her husband and parents, she aided Leon Modena, a relative, in his publications (Modena was the moving spirit behind Rossi’s collection of Hebrew works, Hashirim asher lish’lomo, 1622/3). Copio hosted a literary salon in her home, where she served as patron to aspiring young writers, among them the Christians Giovanni Basadonna, Baldassare Bonifacio and Numidio Paluzzi. After reading Ansaldo Cebà's epic poem Ester (1615–6), she exchanged letters with the author during the years 1618–22; Cebà broke off the correspondence when he realized that he was making little progress in his attempt to convert Sara to Catholicism. Cebà published 53 of his own letters, omitting Sara’s, in 1623. In one, he refers to the pleasure of listening to Sara sing the heroic lament of Andromache from his epic, saying that old age and infirmity prevented him from leaving his native Genoa to hear her. Sara seems to have accompanied herself, on what may have been a Spanish guitar; in this she belongs to the Renaissance tradition of female poets who sang and played, with one difference: she is the only known Jewish female poet to have done so in her own time. Of her own poems, a handful were published among Cebà's letters and 14, some with noticeable musical imagery, were edited in ...

Article

Winton Dean

[Mrs Mozeen; first name unknown]

(fl 1737–53). English soprano and actress. A pupil or protégée of Kitty Clive, she appeared first as a child in a pantomime at Drury Lane (1737) and was principally associated with that theatre until 1748. She had two seasons with Handel: 1740–41 at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, where she created the parts of Clomiris in Imeneo, and Achilles in Deidamia, and sang in revivals of L’Allegro, il Penseroso, Acis and Galatea and Saul; and 1743 at Covent Garden, where she played one of the Philistine and Israelite Women at the première of Samson and sang ‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ in the first London performance of Messiah. The parts Handel composed for her indicate a flexible light soprano with a compass of d′ to b″.

Miss Edwards was very active in London theatres, especially in works by Arne and Samuel Howard, and in pantomimes and songs between acts; she also acted in straight plays, including Shakespeare; like Mrs Clive, she sometimes included specially composed songs. About ...

Article

Motti Regev

(b Tel-Aviv, Jan 3, 1939). Israeli singer and lyricist. He was a member of the Nakhal Army Entertainment Ensemble from 1957 until 1960. His early recordings (1960–66) as a solo artist and as a member of the Yarkon Bridge Trio gained widespread popularity. He became dissatisfied with the Israeli popular music of the 1960s and turned to rock music, and between 1967 and 1972 he worked with rock-oriented musicians to record several albums which are generally considered to constitute the birth of Israeli rock. These include The High Windows Trio (1967, with Shmulik Kraus), Shablool (1970, with Shalom Hanoch) and At Avigdor’s Grass (1972, with Miki Gavrielov). In the late 1970s and the 1980s he made a series of albums with the composers Shem-Tov Levy and Yoni Rechter which included rock interpretations of Israeli traditional songs and some new songs in a similar style. During the 1980s and 90s he worked many times with his previous associates and continued to develop his brand of soft rock to critical acclaim. In creating a style rooted in Israeli musical traditions, he became an important and well-loved figure in the development of Israeli popular music from ...

Article

Dafni Tragaki

[Sarah Skinazi]

(b Constantinople, 1897?; d Athens, 1980). Greek singer of Jewish origin, famous for her recordings of smyrneiko (urban popular song from Smyrna) and rebetiko song. Eskenazy came from a poor family who moved to Thessaloniki around 1900, where she started performing as a dancer until she got married to a wealthy man and gave birth to a son, Paraschos. A few years after her marriage, her husband died and Roza moved to Athens, where she launched her successful career as a musician. In Athens her voice was discovered by the famous rebetiko composer and recordings’ supervisor for the local Columbia record company, Panagiotis Tountas, who promoted Roza as a performer of the cosmopolitan repertoire of the café-aman. As a singer born in the late Ottoman empire, Roza could fluently sing urban popular songs of the Eastern Mediterranean (smyrneiko, i.e. from Smyrna, and politiko, i.e. from Constantinople), rebetiko...

Article

Winton Dean

(b c1741; d after 1779).?English mezzo-soprano and harpsichordist. She may have been the daughter of a Mrs Frederica who sang in the pasticcio opera L’incostanza delusa at the New Theatre in the Haymarket early in 1745. Cassandra was an infant prodigy as a harpsichordist; she played Handel keyboard concertos for her own benefit at the New Haymarket on 10 April 1749 at the reputed age of five and a half, and at Hickford’s Room on 29 April 1750. She and her mother gave two concerts at Amsterdam in July 1750. She studied singing under Paradies, and was engaged by Handel for his oratorio season of 1758, when she appeared in revivals of The Triumph of Time and Truth (Deceit), Belshazzar (Daniel), Jephtha (Storgè), Judas Maccabaeus (Israelite Man) and Messiah. On the last day of 1757 Lord Shaftesbury wrote that Handel ‘has just finished the composing of several new songs for Frederica his new singer, from whom he has great expectations’. These were the five additional songs (adapted from opera arias) first sung in ...

Article

Winton Dean

(b ?Cremona, c1723; d Chelsea, Dec 23, 1804). Italian mezzo-soprano. After singing in Bergamo in 1742, she was engaged for the 1742–3 Italian opera season in London, appearing at the King’s Theatre in Brivio’s Mandane, Galuppi’s Enrico and Sirbace and Porpora’s Temistocle (she took male parts in all four operas). In 1745 she was in a pasticcio, L’incostanza delusa, at the New Haymarket Theatre, but she made her name in Handel’s Covent Garden oratorio seasons from 1747 to 1754. She appeared first in revivals of the Occasional Oratorio and Joseph. On 1 April, 1747 she sang the Israelite Man and Second Israelite Woman at the première of Judas Maccabaeus and made such a hit in the air ‘’Tis liberty alone’ that, according to Burney, ‘she was not only encored in it every night, but became an important personage, among singers, for a considerable time afterwards’. Handel composed parts for her in ...

Article

Winton Dean

(b London, Sept 7, 1731; d London, Feb 9, 1765). Soprano and composer of Italian descent. She was a daughter of Charles Gambarini, counsellor to the Landgrave of Hessen-Kassel. She took the second soprano part at the first performance of Handel’s Occasional Oratorio in 1746, and in the Covent Garden revival a year later assumed most of Duparc’s role as well. She created the Israelite Woman in Judas Maccabaeus in 1747, and probably sang Asenath in Joseph and his Brethren the same year. Her name appears in the performing scores of Samson and Messiah, but it is not certain when she sang in these works. Her voice seems to have been a mezzo with a regular compass of d′ to g″, extended occasionally down to b and up to a″. About 1748–50 she published some harpsichord pieces and songs in Italian and English, including a setting of ‘Honour, riches, marriage-blessing’ from ...