- Elizabeth Forbes
(b Sacramento, CA, Dec 7, 1865; d Paris, May 15, 1903). American soprano. She studied with Sbriglia and Mathilde Marchesi in Paris and made her début (under the name of Ada Palmer) as Massenet’s Manon at The Hague in 1888. Massenet, impressed by her beauty and her voice with its range of three octaves, wrote the title roles in two operas for her: Esclarmonde, in which she made her Paris début at the Opéra-Comique in 1889; and Thaïs, in which she made her Opéra début in 1894. She appeared in Brussels (1890–91) and at Covent Garden (1891), where she sang Manon. She created the title role in Saint-Saëns’s Phryné (1893, Opéra-Comique) and also sang Gilda and Gounod’s Juliet. She sang in St Petersburg, Moscow and New York, making her Metropolitan début in 1895 as Manon opposite Jean de Reszke. She did not have an outstandingly large or beautiful voice, but its phenomenal range compensated for any lack of size and warmth....