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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Berlin, Aug 24, 1904; d Berlin, Dec 29, 1989). German soprano. She studied in Berlin, making her début in 1926 at the Städtische Oper as a Bridesmaid (Der Freischütz). After appearing at Leipzig, in 1936 she returned to Berlin, where she continued to sing until 1958. She also appeared in Vienna (1941–5) and sang Blonde at Glyndebourne (1936), Papagena, Marzelline and Sophie at Covent Garden (1938), the title role in the première of Weismann’s Pfiffige Magd at Leipzig (1939), Blonde, Susanna and Pamina at Salzburg (1939–43), and Mimì and Violetta in Dublin (1950). Her roles included Rosina, Norina, Regina (Mathis der Maler), Nicolai’s Mrs Ford, Aennchen, Butterfly, Zerbinetta and the Composer. In 1958 she took her farewell as Mimì, then taught at the Berlin Hochschule. A stylish singer with a light, flexible voice, she excelled at first in soubrette roles, later becoming a fine lyric soprano....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Wiener Neustadt, June 26, 1911; d Vienna, June 24, 1993). Austrian tenor . He studied in Vienna, making his début in 1936 at Linz. After singing in Basle, St Gall and Hanover, he was engaged in 1943 at the Städtische Oper, Berlin, but sang only Nando (Tiefland) before the war closed all German theatres. In 1945 he reappeared in Berlin as Turiddu, later singing Babinski (Švanda the Bagpiper), Radames, Vasco da Gama, Don José and Bacchus. He also sang Parsifal in Rome (1949), Tannhäuser in Naples (1950), Walther in New York (1951), Siegmund and Tristan. He sang the Drum Major at Salzburg (1951); Siegfried at the Paris Opéra (1955); and Parsifal, Tristan and Tannhäuser at Bayreuth (1958–62). He created the Lord Mayor in Einem’s Der Besuch der alten Dame (1971) at the Vienna Staatsoper, where in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Regina, Sask., June 27, 1926). Canadian tenor. After studying in Vienna he sang Purcell’s Aeneas at Aix-en-Provence in 1961. The following year he made his British début at Covent Garden as Gonzalve (L’heure espagnole) and sang Pelléas for Scottish Opera. In 1963 he joined Sadler’s Wells Opera (later ENO), with which he sang for over 20 years; he created Governor Sciocca in Williamson’s The Violins of Saint-Jacques (1966), Hallam Matthews in Bennett’s A Penny for a Song (1967), Hernando de Sota in Hamilton’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun and Mars Plaisir in Blake’s Toussaint (1977); he also sang Shuisky, Loge, Herod, Dr Suda (Osud) and operetta roles such as Eisenstein, Danilo, and Pluto (Orphée aux enfers). He created Bernard of Clairvaux (Charles Wilson’s Heloise and Abelard) at Toronto (1973) and sang the Prince/Manservant/Marquis in ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Paris, Dec 1, 1854; d Nice, Jan 16, 1923). French bass. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début as Baskir in Félicien David’s Lalla-Roukh for the Opéra-Comique in 1879. He remained with the company until 1916, taking a wide variety of roles, some of them comic and comprimario such as the Sacristan in ...

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(b Bologna, fl 1716–67). Italian singer. She is referred to in some programmes as Ferrarese – perhaps through confusion with her father, the bass Francesco Belisani – but is the ‘Belisania’ mentioned in the celebrated frontispiece of Marcello’s Il teatro alla moda. She sang in opera seria and pastoral dramas from 1716 (Armida abbandonata), mostly in works by the Bolognese composer G. M. Buini, whom she married in 1721, but parts were also written for her by Vivaldi (Gliinganni per vendetta, 1720), Chelleri, Orlandini, Brivio and others. From 1727 she styled herself virtuosa of the Prince of Hessen-Darmstadt, governor of Mantua.

G. F. Malipiero: Antonio Vivaldi, il prete rosso (Milan, 1958) S. Durante: ‘Alcune considerazioni sui cantanti di teatro del primo settecento e la loro formazione’, Antonio Vivaldi: teatro musicale, cultura e società: Venice 1981, 427–82 E. Selfridge-Field: ‘Marcello, Sant’Angelo and Il teatro alla moda’, ...

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Piero Rattalino

(b Bitonto, Bari, Feb 17, 1888; d Rome, Feb 8, 1964). Italian conductor . At the Naples Conservatory he studied with Alessandro Longo, Nicola d’Arienzo and Giuseppe Martucci. He made his début at the S Carlo with Aida in 1908, and as music director of the Caramba-Scognamiglio Operetta Company, 1912–16, he toured Italy. In 1917 he went to the Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires, and for some years alternated between South America and Europe. He first appeared at Covent Garden in 1926, conducting Boito’s Mefistofele at Shalyapin’s Covent Garden début and participating in Melba’s farewell performance. From 1926 to 1930 he was a regular conductor of the Italian repertory at Covent Garden, during which time he conducted the British première of Turandot (1927) and the London débuts of Ponselle (1929) and Gigli (1930), and from 1926 to 1935 he was also guest conductor at the Metropolitan. In ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b La Fère, Aisne, June 2, 1819; d Paris, Sept 13, 1876). French bass. He studied at the Paris Conservatoire and made his début in 1846 at Antwerp. After singing in Toulouse, Lyons, the Hague, Ghent and Brussels, he was engaged at the Paris Opéra, making his début in 1855 as Marcel in Les Huguenots. His roles included Bertram (Robert le diable), Balthazar (La favorite), Walter Furst (Guillaume Tell) and Zaccharie (Le prophéte). He took part in many premiéres and created Gargantua in Labarre’s Pantagruel (1855), the Count of Poitou in Halévy’s La magicienne (1858), Soloman in Gounod’s La reine de Saba (1862), Archbishop Turpin in Mermet’s Roland à Roncevaux (1864), Don Pédro in L’Africaine (1865) and King Claudius in Thomas’ Hamlet (1868). His voice was a deep bass, ample in size and dark in tone. He made his last appearance at the Opéra in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Loreto, Oct 17, 1778; d after 1828). Italian bass. He made his début in 1805 and, after singing at Venice, Reggio Emilia and other cities, appeared in 1811 in Spontini’s La vestale at S Carlo. There he created the following roles in operas by Rossini: Elmiro in Otello (1816); Idraote in Armida (1817); the title role in Mosè in Egitto and Ircano in Ricciardo e Zoraide (1818), Phoenicius in Ermione and Douglas in La donna del lago (1819); and Leucippo in Zelmira (1822). He also sang Atkins in the first performance of Donizetti’s Alfredo il grande (1823), Clemente in the première of Bellini’s Bianca e Gernando (1826) and the King in the first performance of Donizetti’s Gianni di Calais (1828), the last named at the Teatro del Fondo. He visited London in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Genoa, Jan 20, 1935). Italian tenor. He studied in Milan, making his début at the Piccola Scala in 1960, then singing at La Scala, the Rome Opera and other Italian theatres. In 1966 he sang Auber’s Fra Diavolo at Wexford. He first sang at Glyndebourne in 1967...

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(fl 1670–1707). Italian bass. His name appears first in 1670 in Milan, where he took the role of Giacco in Ippolita reina delle amazzoni, by Lodovico Busca, P. S. Agostini and P. A. Ziani. From 11 March 1678 until his dismissal on 15 January 1707 he was a virtuoso singer in the service of the dukes of Parma, Ranuccio II and Francesco I Farnese; he was also a musician of the church of the Madonna della Steccata Parma, from ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(fl 1772–98). Italian soprano. She was prima buffa in the Italian opera company at the King’s Theatre, London, in the 1786–7 season, when Burney found her singing ‘extremely graceful and pleasing’, and she substituted for Mara in Tarchi’s serious opera Virginia. She had been singing in Italy since ...

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[Marianna] (Garberini) [‘La Romanina’]

(b Rome, ?1684; d Rome, Feb 26, 1734). Italian soprano. She first appeared in opera seria at Siena in Carnival 1704 (as Garberini Benti), first sang in Naples in 1706, Florence and Venice in 1707, and became one of the stars of the day. She apparently married Domenico (or Giuseppe) Bulgarelli near the beginning of ...

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André Tubeuf and Elizabeth Forbes

[Bergougne, Jeanne Marie Louise ]

(b Villefranche-de-Lauragais, nr Toulouse, May 6, 1934). French mezzo-soprano . She studied at the Toulouse Conservatory and in 1958 made her operatic début at La Scala in L’enfant et les sortilèges (Teapot, Squirrel). She appeared as the Second Lady in Die Zauberflöte at the Aix-en-Provence Festival in 1959, the year she joined the Opéra (her début was as Mercédès). Among the many parts she has played in Paris are Concepcion, Zerlina, Despina, Ascanio, Annina, Dorabella, Emilia (Otello), Aunt Lavinia (Damase’s L’héritière), Grandmother Buryjovka, Auntie (Peter Grimes) and Marcellina (notably in the 1973 Figaro inaugurating Liebermann’s administration). With a repertory ranging from Monteverdi to the 20th century, she is particularly delightful on stage in travesty, ingénue or soubrette roles. She sang Maffio Orsini in the Carnegie Hall concert performance of Lucrezia Borgia in which Caballé made her American début (1965). She first appeared at Glyndebourne in ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Brünn [now Brno], April 17, 1874; d New York, Feb 27, 1915). German baritone, later tenor . He was a pupil of Adolf Robinson, who also taught Leo Slezak and Joseph Schwarz. His début as Telramund in his native city in 1896 was followed by engagements at Olmütz (now Olomouc) and Berlin, where he remained as principal baritone for the next ten years. At Bayreuth where he sang first in 1901, his roles were Gunther, Amfortas and Klingsor. As his early recordings show, he had a sturdy high baritone voice, useful in Verdi as well as Wagner, and when in 1909 he made the change to tenor he encompassed heroic roles such as Radames, Otello and Samson, though still specializing in Wagnerian heroes. It was for these that he was engaged in 1913 by the Metropolitan, where his début as Siegmund early in 1914 was described as ‘manly, interesting and commendable’ (W. J. Henderson). He went on to sing Walther, Tristan, Lohengrin, Parsifal and Siegfried, but contracted pleurisy and died at the height of his career....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(Ingemar )

(b Torsåker, June 4, 1903; d Jan 21, 1985). Swedish bass-baritone . He studied at the Stockholm Conservatory with John Forsell, made his début at the Stockholm Royal Opera in 1929 as Monterone (Rigoletto) and continued to sing there for the next 30 years. In 1942 he sang the Dutchman at Bayreuth and in ...

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Patrick O’Connor

(Philibert )

(b Panissières, Dec 14, 1830; d Paris, Sept 29, 1888). French tenor . He made his début in Poitiers in 1849 as Fernand in Donizetti’s La favorite, but when the theatre closed he took to singing in local cafés-concerts. In 1855 he was engaged by Offenbach to be a member of the first company at the Bouffes-Parisiens, and was a great success in the opening performance, Offenbach’s Les deux aveugles; later he created several roles, including Paimpol in Une nuit blanche and Kokikako in Ba-ta-clan. He was then engaged for the Opéra-Comique where he created 12 roles, including those of Simplet in Gautier’s Le mariage extravagant, Aignelet in Bazin’s Maître Pathelin and Xailoun in Offenbach’s Barkouf.

Berthelier was credited with the discovery of Hortense Schneider, who became Offenbach’s greatest female interpreter, and with whom he appeared at the Palais-Royal in Jeune poule et vieux coq (1858). He later appeared at the Variétés, Renaissance, Nouveautés and Gaîté theatres in many roles, including Zappoli in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Turin, Oct 22, 1949). Italian tenor . In 1978 he sang Ferrando (Così fan tutte) in Susa, then appeared at many Italian and other European cities. His repertory includes Don Ottavio, Pylades (Piccinni’s Iphigénie en Tauride), the Fisherman (Guillaume Tell), Lindoro (L’italiana in Algeri...

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J.B. Steane

(b Stuttgart, Feb 12, 1869; d Bayreuth, Nov 24, 1907). German bass-baritone . He was trained by his father, Heinrich, who was a singer, as was his mother, Marie. In 1889 he made his début at Ulm as the Hermit in Der Freischütz, subsequently appearing in Hamburg, Berlin and Munich. At the Metropolitan he made a successful début in 1899 as Hans Sachs in Die Meistersinger, and sang most of the principal Wagnerian bass-baritone roles there and on tour. He sang at Covent Garden first in 1900 and at Vienna in 1902, but his artistic home was Bayreuth, where he sang from 1901 (when he took the title role in the first performance there of Der fliegende Holländer) to 1906. He was much admired by Cosima Wagner, though his few recordings suggest that his ample voice was used in the very ways for which singing at Bayreuth in those years was commonly criticized. He committed suicide, having become a victim of depression on the death of his wife in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Melegnano, nr Milan, July 1, 1881; d Melegnano, Nov 4, 1954). Italian bass . He made his début in 1902 at Pinerolo as Silva (Ernani) and first sang at La Scala in 1905 and at the Colón, Buenos Aires, in 1910. He sang Gurnemanz in the Spanish première of ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(Oscar )

(b Malmö, Feb 24, 1901; d Stockholm, March 29, 1979). Swedish tenor . He studied in Copenhagen, Berlin and with John Forsell in Stockholm, where he made his début at the Royal Opera as Froh (Rheingold) in 1924 while still a student. Although he visited the other Scandinavian capitals and also the USA, he spent his career mainly in Stockholm. His huge repertory ranged from operetta roles to Wagner and included Cavaradossi, Sadko, Golitsïn (...