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H. Wiley Hitchcock

revised by Tim Carter

[‘La Romanina’]

(fl 1582–1620). Italian soprano, lutenist and dancer, wife of Antonio Archilei . Probably a pupil of her husband, whom she married most likely in 1582, she was a protégée of Emilio de' Cavalieri in Rome and was with him in the service of Cardinal Ferdinando de’ Medici before he became Grand Duke of Tuscany in 1587. She participated in the festivities for the wedding of Eleonora de' Medici and Vincenzo Gonzaga in 1584. When Cavalieri was made artistic superintendent at the Medici court in 1588, she went with her husband to Florence, where she became one of the most famous singers of her time. She apparently remained in the service of the Medici until her death.

She had a major part, as soprano soloist and lutenist, in the spectacular ‘intermedii et concerti’ for the comedy La pellegrina during the festivities for the marriage of Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine of Lorraine in ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(?bap. Dorking, March 6, 1682; d London, April 4, 1737). English singer, actress and dancer. Miss Cross was ‘the girl’ in Purcell’s theatre company in the last few months of his life, when he wrote several songs for her, including ‘I attempt from love’s sickness’ (in The Indian Queen), ‘Man is for the woman made’ (The Mock Marriage) and ‘From rosy bowers’ (The Comical History of Don Quixote, part iii). Daniel Purcell and Jeremiah Clarke later wrote for her. A pert and lively personality is indicated by the prologues and epilogues she delivered and her acting roles such as Hoyden in John Vanbrugh’s The Relapse. In 1698 she apparently received 500 guineas for sexual services to Peter the Great during his London visit, and later went to France with ‘a certain baronet’. She returned to sing in the first English opera in the Italian style, ...

Article

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[Moll]

(b c1650; d London, bur. Feb 24, 1708). English soprano, dancer and actress. From her first appearance on the stage as a girl in the early 1660s Mary Davis was particularly praised, by Pepys and others, for her dancing. Late in 1667 her singing of ‘My lodging it is on the cold ground’ so attracted Charles II that it ‘Rais’d her from her Bed on the Cold Ground, to a Bed Royal’. As his mistress she sang and danced at court, appearing in John Crowne’s masque Calisto in 1675 and singing Venus in Blow’s Venus and Adonis, in which her daughter by the king, Lady Mary Tudor, was Cupid. In 1686 she married the French-born composer and woodwind player James Paisible.

BDA DNB (J. Knight) LS J. Downes: Roscius Anglicanus (London, 1708); ed. J. Milhous and R.D. Hume (London, 1987) J.H. Wilson: All the King’s Ladies...