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Barbara Chmara-Żackiewicz

(b Glinno, nr Poznań, April 9, 1757; d Warsaw, July 23, 1829). Polish impresario, librettist, actor and singer. He was a central figure in the history of the Polish theatre. He studied in Kraków (1770–73), where he attended many theatrical and concert performances organized by Sierakowski, prompting him to change the direction of his career away from the army and towards the theatre. He probably completed his studies at the Piarist school in Warsaw. For a few months during 1778 he studied acting with L. Montbrun, a Warsaw theatrical impresario. Soon afterwards he made his début as an actor in N.T. Barthé’s comedy Zmyślona niewierność (‘Imaginary Infidelity’), and on 11 July 1778 as a singer and librettist in the première of Maciej Kamieński’s opera Poverty made Happy. In 1783 he became the director of the National Theatre in Warsaw, remaining in this position (with some breaks) until ...


(b Bayon, Lorraine, c1740; d nr Beauvais, c1810). French composer, singer and actor. According to Fétis he studied music at the archiepiscopal school of Nancy. By 1762 he was a singer and composer in Lyons, where his pastoral La bergère des Alpes was performed in the following year. By 1764 he was a pensionnaire of the Lyons opera. He was on the staff of a small music school in Lyons (1765) and was also a musician at the cathedral. He sang comic parts in Mâcon and by 1770 had become a comédien in Strasbourg. That year he was co-winner of the Parisian Concert Spirituel annual prize for ‘musique latine’. He then moved to Paris and was an actor at the Théâtre Italien from about 1774 to 1778. During these years he also sang in and wrote sacred works for the Concert Spirituel, and in quick succession composed several stage works, including ...


Roger Fiske

revised by Irena Cholij

(b Southampton, bap. March 4, 1745; d London, July 25, 1814). English composer, dramatist, poet, novelist, actor, singer and entertainer. Dibdin was the 12th child of a parish clerk and a sorely tried mother who produced at least 14 children. His own claim to have been educated at Winchester College is not supported by the school records, though he did have lessons from James Kent and Peter Fussell, successive cathedral organists there. As a composer he was self-taught; he himself thought that he had learnt to compose by scoring Corelli’s concertos from the separate parts and from reading Rameau’s Traité de l’harmonie in English, but he must have learnt mainly from his practical experience in the theatre. By the age of 15 he was singing occasionally in such Covent Garden operas as required a chorus, supplementing his income by working for the music publisher John Johnson. The variety of his talents was already astonishing. He was only 18 when he published, more or less in full score, ...