(b London, England, March 20, 1774; d London, England, Feb 17, 1856). English tenor and composer. He made his debut as a boy soprano at Covent Garden in 1787. He sang in Europe after his voice broke, returning to England at the turn of the century, where he established a reputation as one of the country’s leading tenors. He traveled to the United States in the autumn of 1840 and, at the age of 68, “surpassed all expectations” with the “pathos, sublimity, power, and wonderful execution” of his voice. He appeared first in concert, with a selection of tenor and baritone airs from opera and oratorio mixed with popular ballads. His American operatic debut, at the Park Theatre in New York, was in Stephen Storace’s The Siege of Belgrade, and he went on to re-create many of his famous roles, in Charles Horn’s The Devil’s Bridge, Thomas Dibdin’s The Cabinet, and Weber’s Der Freischütz. At one point he astonished audiences and critics by appearing in seven demanding roles in less than two weeks....
revised by Kimberly Greene
[Francisco Rafael ]
(b San Antonio, TX, May 16, 1883; d New York, NY, Dec 12, 1943). American operatic tenor and recitalist of Mexican and German heritage. He was the most prominent Mexican American opera singer of his day, although perhaps to advance his career he used the Italian-sounding first name “Rafaelo,” and press reports sometimes identified him as Spanish instead of Mexican American or Mexican. Díaz attended the German-English School and the West Texas Military Academy (now Texas Military Institute) in San Antonio. He studied piano with Amalia Hander, a local music teacher, and at the Stern Conservatory in Berlin. After vocal studies with Vincenzo Sabatini in Milan, he returned to the United States and in 1911 began appearing in small roles with the Boston Grand Opera Company, quickly moving up to more prominent assignments. He accompanied the soprano Luisa Tetrazzini on a tour in 1913 and made his Metropolitan Opera debut in Massenet’s ...
(b Ottawa, ON, Sept 20, 1885; d New York, NY, Dec 26, 1958). American mezzo-soprano. She began her vocal training with Frank Buels in Ottawa at the age of 13, then continued her studies in Europe with, among others, Auguste-Jean Dubulle, Jacques Bouhy, William Shakespeare, Carlo Carignani, and Anna Schoen-René. After her professional debut as a contralto at the Ottawa Basilica (1902), she toured with Emma Albani in Britain and Canada (1906) and made her stage debut as Micaëla in Pavia (1909). In 1910, after her contracts with Covent Garden to sing Yniold (in Pelléas et Mélisande) and Mallika (in Léo Delibes’s Lakmé) had not led to performances, she left London to join her future husband, a plantation manager, in Java, and began to study the traditional songs of Southeast Asia.
After concert tours in Asia, Australia, and New Zealand, Gauthier settled in New York, where from ...
(b New York, NY, March 30, 1858; d Kansas City, MO, Sept 23, 1935). American bass and comedian. He was expected to follow his family tradition and become a lawyer, but after his father’s death he abandoned his studies and used his inheritance to form his own acting company. The company failed, partly because, being exceptionally tall, Hopper towered comically above the rest of his troupe. He then studied singing (he had a fine bass voice), and struck huge success in 1884 when John McCaull cast him in John Philip Sousa’s Désirée. He solidified his reputation in The Begum (1887) and The Lady or the Tiger? (1888). He then played leading roles in several shows opposite the diminutive Della Fox, where the disparity in their height was deliberately exploited for its comic effect; productions included Castles in the Air (1890), Wang (...
(b Dublin, Ireland, Jan 19, 1846; d Rochester, NY, March 19, 1916). Tenor of Irish birth. After studying with Henry Phillips in England he moved to Italy. He made his New York debut in 1871 with the Parepa-Rosa English Opera Company, and in the mid-1870s moved permanently to the United States as a singer of opera, light opera, and oratorio. He was a founding member of the Boston Ideal Opera Company (1887). During the next ten years he became one of the most popular tenors in the country, celebrated for a number of Gilbert and Sullivan roles and for the title role in De Koven’s Robin Hood. He retired in 1896 and taught in New York, then lived briefly in California before settling in Rochester about 1912. Karl possessed a light, lyric voice and considerable personal charm; his integrity and prestige contributed significantly to the popularization of light opera in the United States....
[Constantia](Caecilia Josepha Johanna Aloisia)
Member of Mozart family
(b Zell, Wiesental, Jan 5, 1762; d Salzburg, March 6, 1842). Soprano, wife of (3) Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and later of his biographer Georg Nikolaus Nissen. She was the third of four daughters of the bass, prompter and copyist Fridolin Weber, and thereby related to the composer Carl Maria von Weber (see Weber family). She first met Mozart in 1777–8 in Mannheim; he fell in love with her elder sister Aloisia, who rejected him. Constanze moved with her family to Vienna in September 1779; from 2 May 1781 Mozart lodged with her mother, and on 4 August 1782 married Constanze in the Stephansdom. There were six children, of whom two, (5) Carl Thomas and (6) Franz Xaver Wolfgang, survived to maturity. During a visit to Salzburg, she sang one of the soprano parts in a performance at the abbey of St Peter of the Kyrie and Gloria of her husband’s Mass in C minor ...
Member of Wagner family
(b Seelze, nr Hanover, Oct 13, 1826; dWürzburg, Oct 16, 1894). Soprano, adopted daughter of (1) Richard Wagner’s elder brother, Albert. Through the influence of her uncle, she made her début at Dresden in 1844 as Agathe. She created the role of Elisabeth in Tannhäuser (19 October 1845) and also sang in Auber’s Le maçon. After studying in Paris with the younger Manuel García (1846–8), she sang in Hamburg (1849) and was then engaged at the Hofoper, Berlin (1850–61), where she took over the part of Fidès in Le prophète from Pauline Viardot. In 1852 she was announced to sing at Covent Garden, but a lawsuit brought by Benjamin Lumley, manager of the rival opera company at Her Majesty’s Theatre, prevented her from appearing. She eventually made her London début in 1856 at Her Majesty’s as Rossini’s Tancred, Donizetti’s Lucretia Borgia and as Romeo in Bellini’s ...
Roger C. Anderson
(b Brooklyn, NY, Aug 7, 1883; d Plattsburg, NY, Sept 13, 1953). American concert and radio baritone. His father, who emigrated from Denmark, and his mother were professional singers. He became the most popular and best known American-born baritone during the years immediately preceding World War I to the mid-1920s. He attended New York University, where he was a member of the Glee Club, and established a friendship with the future music critic Deems Taylor, graduating in 1905. He later studied with Percy Rector Stevens and French baritone Victor Maurel.
The concert stage and recital hall were the venues where he established and maintained his reputation and public acclaim, making numerous appearances at Carnegie Hall, and sometimes traveling to Europe. His repertoire included a wide range of popular songs and ballads, both American and European, opera arias, and sacred hymns. He was described as having excellent diction along with a voice pure in tone. He made a brief excursion into opera, debuting as Silvio in ...