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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Fermo, Ascoli Piceno, Sept 20, 1846; d Florence, May 31, 1905). Italian mezzo-soprano . She made her début in 1864 as Bellini’s Romeo at Novara, then appeared in Florence, Genoa, Naples, Lisbon, Buenos Aires and at La Scala, where she created Laura (La Gioconda) in 1876...

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Truus de Leur and Elizabeth Forbes

(b Jakarta, Aug 30, 1936; d Amsterdam, Sept 25, 1983). Dutch bass-baritone . He studied at the Amsterdam Muzieklyceum, then with Hans Cleuver and Herman Schey. He made his début in 1960 in Amsterdam as Dulcamara, in 1963 in the USA at San Francisco as Rossini’s Don Basilio and in 1973 at the Vienna Staatsoper as Beckmesser. In 1964 he became a principal bass-baritone at the Deutsche Oper am Rhein where he remained until his death. He had a wide repertory including Varlaam, Nick Shadow, Mozart’s Figaro and Don Alfonso, Janáček’s Šiškov, Forester and Baron Prus, Beckmesser, Don Quichotte and Bettler Akki (Ein Engel kommt nach Babylon). He created Wurm in Einem’s Kabale und Liebe at the Vienna Staatsoper (1976), repeating the role in Florence (1977). As a guest artist he appeared in Europe, the USA, Russia and Japan. A fine Mozartian, he had a firm-toned voice, good diction and excellent musicianship, of special value in the 20th-century music in which he excelled....

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David Cummings

(b Magdeburg, Jan 11, 1894; d Berlin, Nov 3, 1932). German soprano . She studied at the Magdeburg Conservatory and the Berlin Musikhochschule. After engagements at Breslau and Regensburg she sang at the Berlin Staatsoper (1920–27). Powerful performances in the dramatic repertory took her to Barcelona, Munich, Hamburg, Mannheim and Vienna. She appeared at the Wagner festival at Zoppot (now Sopot) between ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Naples, c 1944). Italian tenor . He studied in Naples, making his début in 1969 at S Carlo as Pinkerton. He sang throughout Italy, including La Scala, where in 1977 he sang the Drum Major (Wozzeck), and Germany; he appeared in Paris, Brussels and at the Metropolitan Opera, where he made his début in 1978 as Rodolfo (Luisa Miller) and took over Enzo from Domingo after the first act of La Gioconda in 1982. His roles included not only the Duke, Alfredo, Don Carlos, Arvino (I Lombardi), Gabriele Adorno (which he sang at Covent Garden in 1981), Ernani, Henri (Les vêpres siciliennes), Manricoand Canio, but also Donello (La fiamma), Zandonai’s Romeo, Avito (L’amore dei tre re), Don José, Laca (Jenůfa), Vakula the Smith and Prince Andrey (Khovanshchina). He had a strong, not always steady voice with ringing top notes....

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Katherine K. Preston

(b Boston, 1824; d Paris, July 1896). American soprano . The daughter of a pianist mother and an Italian violinist, she was the granddaughter and niece respectively of the composers James Hewitt and John Hill Hewitt. In 1843 she and her father travelled to Italy; she studied first with Giuditta Pasta, then with Vaccai, Nani and Lamberti. Later she married a cellist. Her début (as Elvira in Ernani) was in 1847 in Milan; her American début, on 8 December 1847 (as Amina), was with the Astor Place Opera Company in New York. Her reception there was mixed, and she returned to Europe for further study in London and Paris. In 1852 she and her husband travelled to California, where she appeared with great success. The following year she went to Lima with the Lorini Opera Company, and in 1862 was performing in San Francisco with the Bianchi Company. Biscaccianti had a voice of great richness and beauty; she was one of the first American-born singers to enjoy success abroad. She eventually returned to Europe and established herself as a teacher in Milan....

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Alan Blyth

(b Kråkstad, Nov 8, 1927; d Oslo, Sept 4, 2006). Norwegian soprano . She studied at Oslo and Frankfurt. She made her stage début in Oslo as Donna Anna in 1957, and became a member of the Wuppertal Opera (1957–9), then of the Deutsche Oper am Rhein, Düsseldorf (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Stora Tuna, Dalarna, Sept 11, 1912; d Stockholm, Oct 10, 1957). Swedish tenor . The younger brother of Jussi Björling, he studied with his father, David Björling, and made his début in 1937 at Göteborg. From 1940 until his death he was engaged at the Royal Opera, Stockholm, where he sang both lyric and character roles. His repertory included Don Ottavio, Pedrillo, Monostatos, Missail, David, the four comic tenor roles in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Stockholm, Nov 2, 1907; d Helsingborg, April 8, 1983). Swedish baritone . He studied in Stockholm, making his début there in 1934 as Billy Jack-rabbit (La fanciulla del West) at the Royal Opera, where he was engaged for nearly 40 years. He appeared in Vienna, Munich, Paris, Chicago, San Francisco and at La Scala. In 1951 he sang Kurwenal, Amfortas and Wotan at Covent Garden, and Wotan at the first Bayreuth festival after World War II. He made his Metropolitan début in 1952 as Kurwenal. Though renowned internationally as a particularly fine Wagner singer, he also sang Don Alfonso, Count Almaviva, Don Giovanni, Yevgeny Onegin, Amonasro, Iago, Tonio, Escamillo, Méphistophélès, Scarpia and John the Baptist, as well as the Dutchman, Wolfram and Hans Sachs. He sang Captain Balstrode in the first Swedish performance of Peter Grimes (1945). The title roles of Hindemith’s Mathis der Maler...

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Bertil H. van Boer

(b Stockholm, Aug 10, 1757; d Vaxhälla, March 17, 1810). Swedish actor, singer and librettist . He made his début as an actor as Count Almaviva in Beaumarchais’ play Le barbier de Séville in 1785 at the New Swedish Theatre, where he became well known for his comic roles and original opera librettos, mostly written for Carl Stenborg’s comic opera. In 1790 he became an administrator at the Royal Dramatic Theatre, a position he held until after Gustavus III’s assassination in 1792. In 1794 he turned to publishing in the provincial town of Linköping. During his career he supplied the texts for more than 65 one-act comedies with music, including the Singspiels Födelsedagen (‘The Birthday’, 1790), Fricorpsen eller Dalkarlarne (‘The Free Corps or Men from Dalacarlia’, 1788) and Marknaden (‘The Market Place’, 1792), all with music by Kraus. His tenor voice was considered expressive but fairly weak; his main talent as an actor lay in his satirical portrayals of figures such as Abbé Vogler in the first of the operas named above....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Rotherham, Jan 1, 1934). English mezzo-soprano. She studied in London, making her début in 1955 with Sadler’s Wells Opera as Olga (Yevgeny Onegin) and singing with the company until 1973, as Dorabella, Rosina, the Composer (Ariadne auf Naxos), Offenbach’s Helen and Boulotte, Rosalind, which she created in ...

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Cori Ellison

(b Plattsburgh, ny , Jan 10, 1951). American tenor . While still at school he began his studies with Renata Carisio Booth, who remained his principal teacher. After apprenticeships with the Goldovsky and Wolf Trap opera companies, he made his début with the Washington Opera in 1976 as Lindoro in L’italiana in Algeri. In 1978 he was the first winner of the Richard Tucker Foundation Award. The following year he made his New York City Opera début in Le comte Ory, and he has subsequently sung widely in Europe and the USA. His Metropolitan Opera début was in 1981, again as Lindoro, and since 1983 he has appeared regularly at the Rossini Festival at Pesaro. His repertory includes some 30 roles, mostly by Bellini, Donizetti, Mozart and Rossini. Although the range (extending to f ″) and prodigious flexibility of his voice are widely acknowledged, its penetrating timbre, and his unusually muscular approach to this repertory, have provoked controversy....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Lessebo, July 10, 1939). Swedish tenor . He studied in Stockholm, making his début in 1962 as a baritone at Göteborg. He made his tenor début in 1967 as Grigory at the Royal Opera, Stockholm. He created Martin in Braein’s Anne Pedersdottor (1971, Oslo) and the Narrator in Werle’s Tintomara (1973, Stockholm). His repertory included Florestan, Siegmund, Don José, Hermann (The Queen of Spades), Cavaradossi and Števa (Jenůfa), which he sang at the 1974 Edinburgh Festival. The bright timbre of his voice enabled him to sing lyric as well as dramatic roles, while a compelling stage presence brought him success as Jimmy Mahoney in Weill’s Mahagonny, Gustavus III in the Swedish version of Un ballo in maschera and the King in G. J. Vogler’s Gustaf Adolf och Ebba Brahe (1973, Drottningholm). In 1986 he became artistic director of the Municipal Theatre of Malmö....

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b New York, Oct 15, 1931). American baritone. He made his début in 1955 as Moralès (Carmen) at San Francisco, where his later roles included Paolo (Simon Boccanegra), Ping, Fra Melitone, Beckmesser and Schaunard. At Glyndebourne (1957–70) he sang Papageno, Harlequin (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Cologne, Dec 12, 1921). German bass-baritone . He studied in Stuttgart and Cologne, making his début in 1947 at Frankfurt as Mozart’s Figaro. In 1950 he was engaged at the Hamburg Staatsoper, where he remained for over 30 years. At Bayreuth (1954–60) he sang Beckmesser, Kothner, Klingsor and Donner. He appeared in Vienna, Berlin, Munich, Milan, San Francisco, New York and London, where he sang Wozzeck and Dr Schön in the British première of Lulu with the Hamburg company at Sadler’s Wells (1962). His other roles included Leporello, Don Alfonso, Pizarro, Alberich and John the Baptist (Salome). He took part in the first performances of Henze’s Der Prinz von Homburg (1960), Krenek’s Der goldene Bock and Einem’s Der Zerrissene (1964), Goehr’s Arden must die (1967), in which he sang Arden, Kelemen’s Der Belagerungszustand (1970), and Constant’s ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b New York, March 24, 1954). American soprano, daughter of William Blankenship. She studied in New York, making her début in 1984 at Ulm as Idamantes, a mezzo role. She made her soprano début in 1986 as Katerina Izmaylova at Basle, where she also sang First Lady (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Gatesville, tx, March 7, 1928). American tenor, father of Rebecca Blankenship. He studied at the Juilliard School and in Vienna, making his début in 1956 at Klagenfurt. He was engaged at Brunswick, Mannheim, Berne, Munich (from 1965) and the Vienna Volksoper and Staatsoper. He also sang at Aix-en-Provence (...

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[Julius ]

(b Waco, tx , Dec 29, 1898; d Hollywood, ca , July 14, 1943). American baritone . He studied at Central Texas College, Bishop and Virginia Union College, and then at Columbia University Medical School, but abandoned the idea of a career in medicine. He made his début at the Aeolian Hall, New York, in April 1924. He appeared in W. Frank Harling’s hybrid opera Deep River and Gruenberg’s The Creation and In Abraham’s Bosom, and then in 1927 created the role of Joe in Kern’s Show Boat, a role he also sang in the first film version in 1929. Later roles in opera included the Voodoo Man in Shirley Graham du Bois’ Tom-Tom and Amonasro in Aida, and the title roles in Boris Godunov and Gruenberg’s The Emperor Jones. He was one of the first African American singers to appear in opera in the USA. His final appearance was in the film ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Berlin, April 25, 1788; d Berlin, Nov 2, 1856). German bass-baritone . He studied in Berlin, where he made his début in 1808 at the Hofoper in Winter’s Das unterbrochene Opferfest. He took part in the Berlin première of Spontini’s Olympie (1821) and, at the Berlin Schauspielhaus, created Huldbrant in E. T. A. Hoffmann’s ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Modena, 1800; d Turin, Oct 12, 1850). Italian soprano . She made her début in 1817 at Parma, then sang in Venice, Rome and at La Scala, where in 1826 she sang Vaccai’s Giulietta and the title role in Meyerbeer’s Marguerite d’Anjou. At Naples she sang in five Donizetti premières: Amelia in Elisabetta, o Il castello di Kenilworth (S Carlo) in 1829; Cristina in I pazzi per progetto (Fondo) and Sela in Il diluvio universale (S Carlo) in 1830; La Contessa in Francesca di Foix (S Carlo) and Chiarina in La romanziera e l’uomo nero (Fondo) in 1831. She sang the title role in Rossini’s Matilde di Shabran at the Théâtre Italien, Paris (1832), and Angelina (La Cenerentola) at the King’s Theatre, London (1833). Her other roles included Rosina, Bellini’s Giulietta, Imogene, Elvira, Amina and Norma as well as Donizetti’s Zoraide, Eleanora (...

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Gabriella Biagi Ravenni

(b Lucca, Feb 5, 1742; d after 1798). Italian librettist, dancer and choreographer. A brother of Luigi Boccherini, he made his début as a dancer in Venice in 1757, but his major successes were achieved in Vienna between 1759 and 1767 (for example, Noverre’s revived Médée et Jason) and from 1769 to 1771. He used this success to begin a career as a librettist; he was a member of the Accademia dell’Arcadia (with the name of Argindo Bolimeo) and published a collection of sonnets. His libretto Turno, re dei Rutoli, a dramma tragico (Vienna, 1767), was never set to music, but reveals a progressive approach to drama; its commendation by Calzabigi, appended to the libretto, led to contact with Salieri, who set to music most of Boccherini’s subsequent librettos. These reveal a talent for pantomime and choreography, and handle theatrical conventions with ease. From 1772 to 1775...