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Baglioni [Poggi], Clementina  

Barbara Dobbs MacKenzie

Member of Baglioni family (opera)

(fl 1753–88). Italian soprano, daughter of Francesco Baglioni. In 1753–9 she toured northern Italy with her father and one or two sisters, appearing in five comic operas at Venice in 1754–5. She also performed there in 1760–65 and 1775–8. Although best known for comic roles, she also sang in opera seria, appearing at Turin in 1759–60 (Galuppi’s La clemenza di Tito, Traetta’s Enea nel Lazio) and at Parma in 1761 and 1763 (J. C. Bach’s Catone in Utica). In 1762 she was in Milan and Vienna (Hasse’s Il trionfo di Clelia) and in 1767 in Naples, by which time she had married Domenico Poggi. She returned to Vienna where, in 1768, Mozart wrote for her the elaborate part of Rosina in La finta semplice, which however she never performed. She sang in Vienna in 1772–4 with her sisters Costanza and Rosina, and may have done so in Paris in ...

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Baglioni, Giovanna  

Barbara Dobbs MacKenzie

Member of Baglioni family (opera)

(fl 1752–1770s). Italian soprano, daughter of Francesco Baglioni. She began her career singing with her father in productions of comic opera. Her first role was Eugenia, a serious part in Galuppi’s comic Arcifanfano, re dei matti (1752, Parma). She continued to sing serious roles in productions of comic opera in northern Italy with her father and her sisters in the early 1760s; by ...

Article

Bakšić, Amila  

Ivan Čavlović

(b Mostar, 1953). Bosnian-Herzegovinian soprano. Bakšić graduated from the Secondary Music School in Mostar. In 1976 she graduated from the Department for Music Theory and in 1979 from the Department for Solo-Singing at the Academy of Music in Sarajevo. She studied solo-singing in the class of the famous opera singer and professor Milica Buljubašić-Zečević. As a student she began to sing at the Music Scene of Sarajevo, first at the student concerts and then on the opera stage. In 1979 she made her début as Rosette in Manon. In 1981, at the very beginning of her career, she performed her first leading role as Floramye in the operette Little Floramye by Ivo Tijardović.

After graduating from the Department for Solo-Singing Bakšić passed the audition at the National Theatre Opera in Sarajevo and has since become a permanent soloist in the opera and operetta repertoire. Some of her leading roles include Rosette in ...

Article

Bannister, Elizabeth  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

[née Harper]

Member of Bannister family

(bap. Bath, Nov 22, 1757; d London, Jan 15, 1849). English soprano. She was admired as a charming woman with a pure voice and unadorned singing style. Most of her stage career was spent in summer seasons at the Haymarket, where she sang from 1778 and created many roles in operas by Shield and Arnold, including Eliza in The Flitch of Bacon and Laura in The Agreeable Surprise. She also sang in concerts and was at Covent Garden from 1781 to 1786, creating the title role in Shield’s Rosina. She married the actor John Bannister in 1783, reputedly teaching him to sing and turning him into a model husband and father. She retired in 1792 to ‘trim Friendship’s lamp round her family fire’.

BDALSA. Pasquin [pseud. of J. Williams]: The Children of Thespis, 2 (London, 1787,13/1792)‘Mrs Bannister’, Thespian Magazine, 1 (1792),117–18J. O’Keeffe...

Article

Barilli-Patti, Caterina Chiesa  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Patti family

(b Rome; d Rome, Sept 6, 1870). Italian soprano, wife of Salvatore Patti. She studied singing with Barilli, her first husband, and sang Eleanora at the first performance of Donizetti’s L’assedio di Calais in 1836 at the S Carlo, Naples, also appearing there in I puritani, Gemma di Vergy and Coppola’s La pazza per amore. She is said to have sung Norma in Madrid the night before the birth of her youngest child, Adelina Patti. After singing for a time in New York, she retired to Rome. The children of her first marriage, Clotilde (a contralto), Ettore (a baritone), Antonio and Nicolo (basses) Barilli, all had successful careers. Her eldest daughter by Patti, Amalia (b Paris, 1831; d Paris, Dec 1915), appeared as a soprano in opera and on the concert platform in the USA until her marriage to the pianist and impresario Maurice Strakosch....

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Benda [Hatašová], Anna Franziska  

Article

Bland [Romanzini], Maria Theresa  

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Member of Bland family

(b ?1768/9; d London Jan 15, 1838). English soprano and actress. She was said to have had Italian Jewish parents who came to England when she was very young and, despite reports of a certificate stating that she was born and baptized at Caen in Normandy in September 1770, it seems almost certain that she was the ‘Italian Lady (four years old)’ who sang with the conjurer Breslaw and his Italian company at Hughes's Riding School near Blackfriars Bridge in May 1773. After further seasons with Breslaw she sang in 1780 with an Italian puppet show and the next year was in a pastoral medley at the Italian Opera and sang Cupid in King Arthur at Drury Lane. Miss Romanzini was a leading member of Charles Dibdin's child company at the Royal Circus, and then sang principal female roles in English operas in Dublin in ...

Article

Borosini, Rosa  

Winton Dean

[née d’Ambreville]

Member of Borosini family

(b Modena, c1693; d after 1740). Italian soprano, wife of Francesco Borosini. She was the daughter of the second maestro di cappella at Modena, and probably married Borosini in 1722. She sang in opera at Modena (1713–14, 1717 and 1720), Venice (1715–16), Mantua (1718) and Turin (1719). On 1 March 1721 she was engaged for Vienna at a salary of 1800 florins, retiring on a pension in 1740. She sang in a number of oratorios by Caldara and in Fux’s Costanza e Fortezza at Prague in August 1723. Her sister Anna (wife of the cellist Giovanni Perroni) sang at Bologna (1711), Modena (1713), Venice (1714 and 1726) and Milan (1728). She was engaged for Vienna at the same time as Rosa, but at a lower salary. Both singers sang in Vivaldi’s operatic undertakings in Venice and Mantua. Eleonora Borosini, a singer active at Innsbruck, Düsseldorf and Mannheim (...

Article

Brambilla, Teresa  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Brambilla family

(b Cassano d’Adda, Oct 23, 1813; d Milan, July 15, 1895). Italian soprano, sister of Marietta Brambilla. She made her début in Milan in 1831 and sang throughout Italy with great success for 15 years. In 1846 she appeared in Paris as Abigaille in ...

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Brambilla-Ponchielli, Teresa  

Elizabeth Forbes

[Teresina]

Member of Brambilla family

(b Cassano d’Adda, April 15, 1845; d Vercelli, July 1, 1921). Italian soprano, niece of Marietta Brambilla. She studied with her aunts Marietta and Teresa. She made her début in 1863 as Adalgisa at Odessa, afterwards singing in Lisbon, Madrid, Paris, St Petersburg and Italy. In ...

Article

Brown, Anne  

Trudi Ann Wright

(b Baltimore, MD, Aug 9, 1912; d Oslo, Norway, March 13, 2009). American soprano. Born to a music-loving mother and prominent physician father whose grandparents were slaves, Brown premiered the role of Bess in the original production of Porgy and Bess (1935). She studied music, first at Morgan State College and then the Juilliard School, where she was the first African American to win the Margaret McGill scholarship. Brown learned of Gershwin’s new opera, then titled Porgy, while at Juilliard, and immediately requested an audition. She sang for Gershwin a few days later and left their meeting as Bess. Gershwin frequently invited Brown to his apartment to sing parts of the opera as he composed. As a result, Bess grew from a secondary character into one of the opera’s leading roles.

After the original Broadway run and tour of Porgy and Bess ended in 1936, Brown continued with her career in the DuBose Heyward musicals ...

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Bumbry, Grace  

Alan Blyth

revised by Meredith Eliassen

(Melzia Ann)

(b St. Louis, MO, Jan 4, 1937; d Vienna, May 7, 2023). American mezzo-soprano and soprano. Bumbry started singing in church and youth choirs. She won a scholarship to a local music school through a talent contest organized by the St. Louis radio station KMOX. However, the school was segregated and refused to admit the African American Bumbry. KMOX executives then arranged for an appearance on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS). Bumbry’s break came in the form of scholarships to Boston University, Northwestern University in Chicago, and then the Music Academy of the West with Lotte Lehmann, and in Paris with Bernac. Bumbry made her début in 1960 at the Paris Opéra as Amneris in Aida. She then joined Basle Opera in 1960, performing for four seasons. Bumbry explored Europe’s superior artistic opportunities—she was the first black artist to appear as Venus in Tannhäuser at Bayreuth in 1961...

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Caccini, Settimia  

Susan Parisi

Member of Caccini family

(b Florence, Oct 6, 1591; d Florence, c1660). Italian soprano and composer, younger daughter of Giulio Caccini. According to Severo Bonini, she established ‘an immortal reputation’, having ‘mastered to perfection the art of singing’. She was taught to sing and compose by her father, and by 1600 was performing at the Florentine court. Although not mentioned by name, she and her elder sister Francesca are undoubtedly the ‘figliuole’ of Giulio Caccini who sang in Il rapimento di Cefalo in October 1600 for the marriage of Maria de’ Medici and Henri IV of France. Four years later, at the invitation of Maria de’ Medici, the Caccini family spent six months in Paris, performing at the courts of Modena and Turin en route. It was once thought that Settimia went to Mantua in 1608 to sing in Monteverdi’s L’Arianna but it is now known that the singer was another Florentine woman. In ...

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Callas [Kalogeropoulou], (Cecilia Sophia Anna) Maria  

Desmond Shawe-Taylor

(b New York, NY, 2 Dec 1923; d Paris, 16 Sept 1977). Greek soprano.

She was American by birth and early upbringing, and Italian by career and by marriage to G.B. Meneghini, whose surname she incorporated with her own during the period of her marriage (1949–59). She became a Greek citizen in 1966. In 1937 she left the United States for Greece and in 1939 became a pupil of the well-known soprano Elvira de Hidalgo at the Athens Conservatory. Two years later she sang Tosca in Athens (27 August 1942), and went on to appear, in 1944, as Santuzza, Marta (in Eugen d’Albert’s Tiefland), and Leonore (Fidelio). Returning to New York with her parents in 1945, she was heard by former tenor Giovanni Zenatello, who engaged her for Amilcare Ponchielli’s La Gioconda in Verona. This successful appearance (2 August 1947...

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Corrie, Rosalie  

Peter Ward Jones

revised by Rachel E. Cowgill

[Mrs Geeson]

Member of Corri family

(b Edinburgh, 1803; d c1860). Italian soprano, daughter of Natale Corri. Her singing tutor was Tommaso Rovedino, and she made her début (aged 15) at Drury Lane on 30 January 1818, in an oratorio conducted by Sir George Smart: the New Monthly Magazine wrote, ‘her voice is melodious, full and flexible; her execution is very considerable, but she is perhaps too fond of exhibiting her uncommon powers in this particular’. With her sister Frances she sang at the King’s Theatre in London in 1819–21, travelling from there to Dublin to perform in the first Irish productions of Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Le nozze di Figaro in 1819 (directed by Haydn Corri). She played Polly to Madame Vestris’s Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera at the Haymarket theatre on 22 July 1820, and sang at the Teatro Re in Milan in 1823. Back in London Rosalie married William Geeson on ...

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Costa, Anna Francesca  

Mirosław Perz, Colin Timms, and Nigel Fortune

[Checca]

Member of Costa family (ii)

(fl 1640–54). Italian soprano, sister of Margherita Costa. She was in the service of Gian Carlo de’ Medici in Florence but in October 1644 left for Paris, where she was warmly welcomed by Cardinal Mazarin and the queen. During Carnival 1645 she sang in an opera performed privately in the Palais Royal and in Carnival 1646 she appeared in Cavalli’s Egisto. In Paris she also sang in Sacrati’s La finta pazza (1645) and in Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo as Euridice (1647). Returning to Italy, she was in Rome until 1650, and then in Florence in the service of Leopoldo and Cardinal Gian Carlo de’ Medici. In Bologna in 1652 she signed the dedication of the opera Ergirodo (composer unknown) and in 1654 she sang in Florence in Cesti’s Alessandro vincitor di se stesso. Letters of recommendation dated 1654 indicate that she went again to Paris. She was the mistress of the Prince of Wales (later Charles II) during his Parisian exile....

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Danzi [née Marchand], (Maria) Margarethe  

Roland Würtz

Member of Danzi family

(b Munich, 1768; d Munich, June 11, 1800). German soprano and composer. She was the daughter of the singer, actor, and theatre director Theobald Marchand, who came from Strasbourg and whose troupe was active in Mainz, Frankfurt, Mannheim, and Munich. From an early age she played children’s roles in the theatre and performed as a pianist and singer. In Munich she received tuition from the soprano Franziska Lebrun (née Danzi), who later became her sister-in-law. She and her younger brother Heinrich lived in Salzburg from 1781 to 1784 with Leopold Mozart, who taught her singing and the keyboard (she is often mentioned in his letters as ‘Gretl’). He supported her first attempts at composition (sonatas for piano or for violin and piano) and tried to have them published by the Viennese publisher Christoph Torricella, but without success. Wolfgang Mozart heard her sing on his visits to Salzburg in ...

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Dérivis, Maria  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Dérivis family

(bc1845; d after in or 1877). French soprano, daughter of Prosper Dérivis. She made her début in 1869, sang Marguerite in Gounod’s Faust at the Paris Opéra in 1873 and was engaged at the Théâtre de la Monnaie from 1875 to 1877, singing Mireille, Isabelle (...

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Devriès, Fidès  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Devriès family

(b New Orleans, April 22, 1851; d 1941). Dutch soprano, daughter of Rosa de Vries-van Os. She studied in Paris and made her début in 1869 at the Théâtre Lyrique in Halévy’s Le val d’Andorre. After singing at the Théâtre de la Monnaie, in 1871 she was engaged at the Paris Opéra, making her début as Marguerite, later singing Isabelle (Robert le diable), Inès (L’Africaine) and Ophelia, which she sang in the 100th performance of Hamlet (1874). At the Théâtre Italien she sang Amelia (Simon Boccanegra) and Salome (Hérodiade), then in 1885 she created Chimène in Massenet’s Le Cid at the Opéra. She sang Elsa in the first Paris performance of Lohengrin at the Eden-Théâtre in 1887. In Monte Carlo she added Aida, Violetta and Leïla (Les pêcheurs de perles) to her repertory and in ...

Article

Devriès, Jeanne  

Elizabeth Forbes

Member of Devriès family

(b New Orleans, before July 1850; d 1924). Dutch soprano, daughter of Rosa de Vries-van Os. She studied with Duprez in Paris, making her début there in 1867 at the Théâtre Lyrique as Amina (La sonnambula). The same year she created Catharine in Bizet’s ...