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(fl 1691–6). Italian singer. She is described in contemporary documents as ‘torinese’, although that may refer to her service in the court of Turin; she is also described as ‘ musica di camera to His Royal Highness of Savoy’ in the libretto of La pace fra Tolomeo e Seleuco by C. F. Pollarolo (1691, Piacenza). A singer of no particular distinction, she usually took second female parts. Among the most important productions in which she appeared were those at the Teatro S Giovanni Grisostomo in Venice, where she sang with the best singers of the time: G. F. Tosi’s L’incoronazione di Serse (1691) and C. F. Pollarollo’s Ibraim sultano, Onorio in Roma (both 1692), Rosimonda and Ercole in Cielo (both 1696) and L’Ulisse sconosciuto (1698). By 1695 Aureli had married the librettist Pietro d’Averara. She seems not to have been related to the Bolognese family of singers of the same name....

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J.B. Steane

(b Barcelona, Oct 8, 1919; d Creixell, Tarragona, Sept 1, 2005). Spanish baritone . He studied in Barcelona and made his début there in 1948. In the following years he established himself as the most popular Spanish baritone of his time, singing with great success in Madrid and throughout South America, where he made his début in 1954 at the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. His North American début followed in 1960, when he sang a ‘suavely elegant’ Sharpless in Madama Butterfly at Dallas, returning there and to Philadelphia regularly during the decade. Heavier roles, such as Nabucco, Amonasro and Scarpia, which he increasingly undertook at this time, also brought acclaim, but by 1969 he was reported to be sounding tired, his high notes no longer steady. His robust but polished style and resonant tone distinguish many opera and zarzuela recordings widely circulated in Spain; elsewhere he is remembered chiefly for his Figaro in ...

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(b London, March 30, 1872; d London, April 10, 1952).English baritone. His operatic career began when he sang Gunther in the Covent Garden 1908 Ring under Richter, and he sang a variety of roles (in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Tiefland and Così fan tutte) in the ensuing seasons. He was a leading bass-baritone in the Beecham Opera Company and took an active part in Boughton’s Glastonbury festivals. In ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Osaka, Dec 11, 1939). Japanese soprano . She studied in Tokyo, then in Milan and Parma, making her début in 1963 at Reggio Emilia as Suzel (L’amico Fritz). She sang at La Scala and elsewhere in Italy; in France, Belgium, Germany and Austria; in North and South America and with Fujiwara Opera in Tokyo. She took part in the première of Joachim Ludwig’s ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Bologna, Feb 19, 1754; d Bologna, Sept 22, 1816). Italian tenor . He studied with Arcangelo Cortoni and made his début in 1773 in Modena. After singing in various Italian cities, he was engaged at the court operas of Berlin and then St Petersburg (1777–81), where he was much admired in works by Paisiello. He appeared in Lisbon, Madrid, Vienna, at the King’s Theatre, London (...

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J.B. Steane

(b Kottbus, Oct 7, 1869; d Berlin, July 5, 1937). German baritone . He made his début at Halle in 1890 and from 1894 sang for three seasons at Nuremberg. He then joined the Berlin Staatsoper, where he remained until 1917, serving also as stage manager from 1910 onwards. At Bayreuth he sang first in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Novara, May 27, 1876; d Novara, March 23, 1941). Italian tenor . He made his début in 1898 in Italy and sang there for a decade. In 1908 he went to New York, where he made his Metropolitan début as the Messenger in Aida. He remained as chief comprimario at the Metropolitan for 30 years, creating roles in Puccini’s ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, ?1745; d Edinburgh, July 1, 1786). English actress and soprano . Daughter of the trumpeter Valentine Snow, she eloped with the actor Robert Baddeley and in 1764 made her début as Ophelia at Drury Lane. Although the prompter Hopkins found her Ophelia ‘very bad, all but the singing’, she made a charming heroine in genteel and Shakespearean comedy. In English operas she was particularly successful as Patty (The Maid of the Mill) and Rosetta (Love in a Village). She created roles in Dibdin’s Ephesian Matron and Recruiting Sergeant and her performance of his song in praise of Shakespeare, ‘Sweet Willy O’, was the hit of the Garrick Jubilee. Her beauty gained her many admirers, but her scandalous private life, extravagance and indulgence in laudanum eventually destroyed her. After 1780 she appeared only in Dublin, the provinces and finally Edinburgh, where she died in poverty....

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David Cummings

(b Craiova, Oct 17, 1904). Romanian tenor. Originally a baritone, he studied at the Bucharest Conservatory and made his début at Cluj in 1931, as Germont; later the same year he sang the tenor roles of Flotow’s Lyonel (Martha) and Stradella. At the Bucharest Opera (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Imola, c1803; d Imola, Nov 17, 1865). Italian bass. He studied in Milan, making his début in 1827 at Trieste. He appeared at La Scala (1830–32), in Lisbon, Madrid, Bergamo, Rome, Vienna, Venice, London, where he sang Don Giovanni at Drury Lane (1858...

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J.B. Steane

(b S Colombano al Lambro, Sept 14, 1876; d Milan, July 6, 1937). Italian baritone . He was trained at the Milan Conservatory, first appearing as Figaro (Barbiere) in his native town. He sang regularly at La Scala, where his greatest success was as Gianni Schicchi. He sang this role at the first performances of the opera in Milan and at Covent Garden in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Frascati, April 8, 1947). Italian mezzo-soprano. She studied in Rome, making her début in 1970 at Spoleto as Maddalena (Rigoletto), and then sang at all the leading Italian theatres, including La Scala, the Rome Opera, La Fenice and S Carlo. Her repertory includes Amneris, Eboli, Ulrica, Azucena, Preziosilla, Laura (...

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Hans Joachim Marx

(bc 1700; d after 1726). German bass . He was mentioned in the Hamburg Relations-Courier (4 Dec 1724) as ‘the new bass Mons. Bahn’, who was billed to sing Argante in Handel’s Rinaldo at the Gänsemarkt theatre. He had previously made his début as Mars on 2 November in Giovanni Porta’s ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Rawtenstall, Lancs., March 28, 1930). English contralto . She studied in London, making her début in 1963 at Glyndebourne as Pallas Athene (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Third Lady (Die Zauberflöte). In 1964 she sang Azucena for the WNO and a Valkyrie at Covent Garden the following year, joining the Royal Opera, of which she was still a member in 1991. Her large repertory includes Amneris, Ulrica, Mistress Quickly, Mamma Lucia, Suzuki, Erda, Filippyevna (Yevgeny Onegin), the Innkeeper (Boris Godunov), Grandmother Buryjovka (Jenůfa), Evadne (Troilus and Cressida), She-Ancient (Midsummer Marriage) and, her best’known role, Auntie (Peter Grimes), which she sang on the 25th anniversary of her début at Covent Garden, and also in Florence (1988). At Wexford in 1990 she sang Widow Sweeney in Maw’s The Rising of the Moon. She has a rich voice, strong in the lower register....

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Michael Talbot

(b ?Venice, 1700 or 1701; d Venice, Feb 1, 1733). Italian singer . Having sung contralto roles in operas performed in the provinces from as early as 1720, she made her Venetian début in Vignati’s I rivali generosi at S Samuele in 1726. Her career was short; the last opera in which she is known to have appeared was Orlandini’s Adelaide (S Cassiano, Carnival 1729). A contract that she made with Vivaldi on 13 October 1726 shows her to have been a worthy seconda donna; for singing in only one opera (Vivaldi’s Farnace, given at S Angelo, Carnival 1726–7) she was to receive 200 ducats, payable in instalments before, during and after the performances. Her retirement may have been caused by her marriage to a Venetian spicer, Angelo Venzoli. She died from an injury sustained when a carnival booth in St Mark’s Square collapsed.

R. Giazotto: Antonio Vivaldi...

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Dennis Libby

(b ?Genoa, ?1758; d after 1784). Italian soprano . She was said to have come from an impoverished noble Genoese family, her real name being Maria Bertaldi. Although she sang in opera seria alone from 1778 to 1784, retiring after her marriage, she made a great impression and was long remembered. She appeared at Pavia, Venice, Milan (as seconda donna in the distinguished company that opened La Scala in ...

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Noël Goodwin

(Havell )

(b London, July 2, 1922; d Beaconsfield, February 24, 2007). English conductor . After studies at the RAM, in 1947 he joined the New London Opera Company at the Cambridge Theatre as a répétiteur; he made his début there that year conducting Carl Ebert’s production of Rigoletto. He went to Glyndebourne as a répétiteur in 1950, returning (1953–8) as chorus master and associate conductor, working closely with Vittorio Gui on the Italian repertory. During that period he was also principal conductor at the Wexford Festival. In 1959 he became a resident conductor at Covent Garden, where he remained until 1965, giving over 200 performances of 16 operas. He toured with the English Opera Group to the USSR and Portugal, conducting Albert Herring and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. From 1963 to 1967 he was music director of the WNO. He first conducted the Sadler’s Wells Opera in 1957...

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(b Florence; fl 1680–1717). Italian contralto castrato . The earliest reference to him is in 1680, when he sang in Le pompose feste di Vicenza (composer unknown) in Vicenza and the role of Tazio in P. S. Agostini’s Il ratto delle Sabine in Venice. In 1682 he took the leading role in Legrenzi’s Ottaviano Cesare Augusto at Mantua, and from that year until at least 1693 he styled himself ‘musician to Ferdinando Carlo Gonzaga, Duke of Mantua’. From 1684 he sang in many Italian cities. In 1700 he appeared in Ariosti’s Lucio Vero in Florence (Pratolino) and in his La festa d’Imeneo in Berlin. From 1708 he was in Vienna in the service of the Emperor Joseph I, and he took part in the production of C. A. Badia’s Gli amori di Circe con Ulisse (1709) and the intermezzo Vespetta e Milo (1717; by A. Scarlatti and F. Conti) in Dresden. Tosi mentioned him (as Baron Ballerini) for his qualities as an actor, and in particular for his masterly execution of dramatic recitative....

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Noël Goodwin

(b Åbenrå, Feb 21, 1945). Danish soprano. She studied at the Esbjerg Conservatory and at the opera school of the Royal Theatre, Copenhagen, where she made her début as Yaroslavna (Prince Igor) and joined the Danish Royal Opera in 1975. Her roles included Fiordiligi, Leonora (...

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Noël Goodwin

(b Budapest, March 14, 1918). Hungarian soprano . She planned to be a dancer, but following an injury she turned to singing and made her début at the National Opera in Budapest in 1939 as Gilda. Resuming her career after the war, she joined the Staatsoper in Munich in ...