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date: 09 December 2019

French, Mrs.locked

  • Nicholas Tawa

Extract

(fl Philadelphia and Baltimore, 1818–1825). American soprano. She began her music studies with Benjamin Carr, in Philadelphia, when she was Miss Halveran and a pupil in Mrs. Riverdi’s Seminary for Young Ladies. Later she continued her lessons with Henri-Noel Gilles. After she married, her husband met with financial disaster, and she began to sing in public in order to provide for her husband and children. Gerson gives her first name as Cecelia, basing his claim on a poem published in Philadelphia comparing the singing of “St. Cecelia” with “our Cecelia”; the name was probably used metaphorically, however. She was described as the finest American singer of her time, rivaling the best European singers, including the noted Angelica Catalini. She had a beautiful voice that reached effortlessly to d′′′ (and even f′′′′ when necessary), a thorough command of vocal technique, and praiseworthy taste in the introduction of melodic embellishments. She appeared from Salem, Massachusetts to Richmond, Virginia, principally as a recitalist. Her repertory consisted mostly of British and American popular ballads and a few French and Italian songs. When, in ...

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