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Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b Genoa, 1821; d Milan, 1896). Italian mezzo-soprano . She studied with her father, the composer and teacher Natale Abbadia, making her début in 1836 at Sassari. In Vienna she sang Corilla in Donizetti’s Le convenienze ed inconvenienze teatrali (1840). At La Scala she created Giulietta in Verdi’s ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Lemberg [now L’viv], July 14, 1872; d Weidling, nr Vienna, Sept 1, 1932). Polish soprano of Austrian parentage . She first appeared as a child prodigy, singing operatic arias in her native town. At 13 she entered the Vienna Conservatory; she later studied in Milan, becoming highly proficient in florid singing while developing a voice of considerable power. She made her début (1889) in La sonnambula at the Vienna Opera. In the Munich première of Falstaff she sang Mrs Ford, and at Dresden in 1902 sang Tosca in the opera’s German première. She retired in 1908, having sung some 70 operatic roles, ranging from coloratura parts such as the Queen of Night and Lucia to dramatic roles including Sieglinde and Venus. A few rare gramophone records made in 1902 display some dubious stylistic qualities along with an extraordinary fluency in decorative work and a warm, limpid tone characteristic of the Lamperti school....

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Anna Amalie Abert

(b Kochowitz, nr Leitmeritz, Bohemia, Sept 20, 1832; d Stuttgart, April 1, 1915). Bohemian composer. After studying at the Prague Conservatory, he was engaged in 1853 as a double-bass player at the Stuttgart Hofkapelle where he then served as Kapellmeister from 1867 to 1888. Between 1852 and 1894 he composed orchestral and chamber music in addition to sacred and secular vocal works. He was most important in the field of operatic composition, his six operas winning him acclaim as one of the masters between Meyerbeer and Wagner. His first opera, Anna von Landscron (1858), was firmly rooted in the German Romantic opera tradition. However König Enzio, produced four years later, clearly showed the influence of French grand opera, which the composer had studied first-hand during a long visit to Paris. He was especially successful in 1866 with his third opera, Astorga, whose less dramatic text allowed scope for his primarily lyrical style to develop. In ...

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(b Riverside, ny , 1878; d New York, Feb 9, 1919). American soprano . She appeared first with her sister Jessie in vaudeville, then, in London, in operetta; she was heard there in 1898 by Jean de Reszke, who helped her to study in Paris with Victor Capoul and Mathilde Marchesi. Her début at the Opéra as Juliet in ...

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Samuel Claro-Valdés

(b Santiago, 1863; d Santiago, May 29, 1911). Chilean composer. He studied theory and singing at the National Conservatory, and the organ and composition privately. He was organist at Santiago Cathedral, and occasionally conducted zarzuelas. In 1902 he composed the first act of his opera-ballet Caupolicán; based on the 16th-century poem La araucana by Alonso de Ercilla, the libretto is by Pedro Antonio Pérez and Adolfo Urzúa Rozas. The première of Act 1 took place at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, in June 1902. Acevedo then received an award that enabled him to study in Milan, where he composed the last two acts of Caupolicán. The complete work, comprising three acts and 11 scenes, was given its first performance at the Teatro Municipal, Santiago, on 8 December 1942, more than 30 years after the composer’s death. Acevedo also composed masses and other religious works, but the public, devoted to Italian opera at that time, never accepted his music....

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Julian Budden

(b Verona, Nov 4, 1878; d Milan, Oct 12, 1946). Italian playwright, librettist and journalist . After graduating in law at the University of Padua he devoted himself to literature, first as theatre critic of the Arena (Verona), then as playwright. His first stage work was the one-act comedy I fioi di Goldoni in Venetian dialect; thereafter he proved remarkably successful in a comic-sentimental vein with such plays as Una capanna e il tuo cuore (1913), Capelli bianchi (1915), Felicità Colombo (1935) and its sequel Nonna Felicità (1936). In 1911 he made the acquaintance of Giulio Ricordi, head of the publishing firm, of whom he left a valuable memoir in his Giulio Ricordi e i suoi musicisti (Milan, 1933, 2/1945 as Giulio Ricordi, amico dei musicisti). It was Ricordi who first put him in touch with Puccini, who briefly considered setting his Spanish-derived libretto ...

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Lesley A. Wright

[Colombeau, Jules-Adenis]

(b Paris, June 28, 1823; d Paris, Jan 1900). French playwright and librettist. He studied at the Collège Bourbon (Lycée Condorcet) and began his career as a dramatist with Le fils du bonnetier (1841), a vaudeville written with Ludger Berton. For the next decade, however, he was employed in business and on the editorial staff of the daily newspaper Le corsaire (1847–9). He began writing more vaudevilles and comedies in the 1850s, usually in collaboration with others. He was a member of the Société des Gens de Lettres and secretary of the Société des Auteurs et Compositeurs Dramatiques.

From 1856 onwards Adenis, in collaboration or alone, produced the librettos for more than two dozen opéras comiques, opérettes and opéras. He worked with Bizet, also a good friend, and with Guiraud and Massenet early in their careers. Contemporary critics occasionally judged his work harshly but he seems to have been generally regarded as competent and dependable, if unoriginal. His sons Eugène and Édouard also wrote plays and librettos; their work is sometimes confused with that of their father....

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David Cummings

[Chapman, Adele ]

(b Boston, 1855; d Dieppe, Feb 1924). American soprano . She studied with Pauline Viardot and Giovanni Sbriglia in Paris. Her début role was Meyerbeer’s Dinorah, at Varese in 1876. She appeared with the Mapleson Company in New York and after returning to Europe sang at the Opéra from ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

[Agniez, Louis-Ferdinand-Léopold]

(b Erpent, Namur, July 17, 1833; d London, Feb 2, 1875). Belgian bass and composer. He studied in Brussels where his opera Hermold le Normand was performed at the Théâtre de la Monnaie on 16 March 1858. After a period of study in Paris he toured Germany and the Netherlands with Merelli’s Italian company, then in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Verdello, Bergamo, Nov 23, 1882; d Buenos Aires, July 6, 1954). Italian soprano . She studied in Milan and made her début in 1903 at Pavia as Fedora. She sang throughout Europe, in South America and in Russia. After an engagement at the Manhattan Opera House, New York (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Verona, July 21, 1874; d Abington, pa , July 26, 1951). Italian tenor . He made his début in 1895 at Nuovi Ligure. In 1897, after singing Rodolfo for the first time at Cagliari, he took the role in the American première of La bohème at Los Angeles and in the New York première (...

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John Koegel

(b Puerto Príncipe, Cuba, ?Nov 28, 1844; d Havana, ?Dec 31, 1918). Pianist, music teacher, arranger, conductor, composer, and lawyer of Cuban birth, naturalized American. Born into a prominent family in Puerto Príncipe, Cuba (present-day Camagüey), Agramonte strongly supported the movement for independence from Spain. He studied music and the law in Cuba, Spain, and France. After vocal studies with Enrico Delle Sedie (1822–1907) and François Delsarte (1811–71) at the Paris Conservatory, he immigrated to the United States, settling in New York in 1869, where he remained until after Cuban independence in 1898. He became a US citizen in 1886.

In the 1870s and 1880s, Agramonte taught music at the Academy of Mount Saint Vincent in the Bronx. In the 1890s he taught with Dudley Buck and William Mason at the Metropolitan College of Music and ran his own School of Opera and Oratorio at his home, teaching singers such as ...

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Emilio Casares

(b Bilbao, Aug 10, 1838; d Mendoza, Argentina, July 19, 1901). Spanish composer. He studied in Madrid, Paris, and then Milan, where he was a pupil of Lauro Rossi. He held conducting posts in Bilbao and Madrid before settling in Buenos Aires in 1876, where he conducted at the Teatro de la Opera. He sometimes acted as impresario, and his final appointment was as director of the National Conservatory of Music.

Most of Aguirre’s music is lost, including the opera Gli amanti di Teruel (first performed at the Teatro Principal in Valencia on 16 December 1865). With an Italian text (by Rosario Zapater) and cast with Italian singers, the opera reflected the domination of Italian opera in Spain at the time. It was favourably received in the press, but comparisons made with Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti suggest it was of no great originality. Aguirre wrote two other operas, ...

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David Cummings

(Karlovich )

(b S. Ukraine, 15/May 27, 1846; d Moscow, Feb 17, 1919). Ukrainian conductor . He studied at the St Petersburg Conservatory with Anton Rubinstein and Nikolay Zaremba. He was chorus master at the Kiev Opera from 1868 and conducted Tchaikovsky’s Oprichnik there shortly after its St Petersburg première in ...

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J.B. Steane

(b Amsterdam, Feb 1, 1866; d Paris, Sept 12, 1925). Flemish baritone . He began as an actor in comedy, and in 1889 made his operatic début as Méphistophélès in Faust at Amsterdam. Massenet heard him in Antwerp and arranged for him to study in Paris with Jean-Baptiste Faure. He then travelled widely in France and the USA, making his début at the Metropolitan in ...

Article

Elizabeth Forbes

(b London, 1 May ?1814; d London, Sept 25, 1847). English contralto . She made her début in 1830 in London at the King’s Theatre as Pippo in La gazza ladra. In 1831 she went to Italy and married a lawyer; she continued to sing, appearing at the Teatro della Cannobiana (...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Lazise, Lake Garda, Jan 6, 1824; d Verona, May 11, 1906). Italian baritone . He studied in Verona and Milan, making his début in 1858 at Novara as Germont. For the next 20 years he sang at all the leading Italian theatres, including S Carlo, where he created Raoul in Donizetti’s posthumously performed ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Villafranca Veronese, 1828; d Colognola ai Colli, 1907). Italian soprano . She made her début in 1849 at Verona as Bellini’s Beatrice di Tenda, also singing Donizetti’s Maria Padilla. In 1854 at the Teatro S Benedetto, Venice, she scored a triumph as Violetta not long after the disastrous première of Verdi’s ...

Article

Howard Rye

[Charles Wesley]

(bCincinnati, May 29, 1890; dLos Angeles, Feb 4, 1970). Americanpianist. The year of his birth had been estimated as 1904, but the combination of a birthplace of Cincinnati (given by zur Heide, 1977) and the middle initial W. (in a musicians’ union report of 1932) suggests that he is almost certainly the Charles Wesley Alexander whose social security application gives 29 May 1890. He studied music and played in theater orchestras in Cincinnati. After moving to Chicago he was house pianist at Kelly’s Stables at least from 1924 to 1928. He worked there with Johnny and Baby Dodds and Freddie Keppard, among others, and in 1927–8 made a number of recordings under Johnny Dodds’s leadership, including Blue Piano Stomp (1928, Vic. 21554). In spring 1931 he joined Louis Armstrong’s big band, with which he may be seen and heard in the short films ...

Article

Galina Grigor′yeva

(b Moscow, 13/May 25, 1888; d Moscow, April 16, 1982). Russian composer . He studied with Taneyev, Vasilenko and Konstantin Igumnov at the Moscow conservatory (1910–16), where from 1923 until 1964 he was a composition professor. In general his music is characterized by emotional depth and colourfulness, and by its close links with l9th-century Russian traditions. His six operas, which span his creative career, are lyrical, melodic and expressively direct with flexible and varied vocal parts. These works incorporate folk melodies and employ leitmotif technique. Bela, commissioned by the Bol’shoy Theatre for the centenary of Lermontov’s death, ran for a year after its first performance on 10 December 1946. The music includes melodies collected in the Caucasus by Taneyev in 1885. Although the opera has not been revived and its final version, completed in 1949 was never staged, Alexandrov derived four later works (op.51a–d) from its music. ...