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(b 1780; d after 1833). Italian bass . He sang in Italy from about 1807, then appeared at the Théâtre Italien, Paris (1815). Engaged at the King’s Theatre, London, he made his début as Count Almaviva, then sang Don Giovanni (1817...

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Theodore Fenner

(b Reggio Emilia, c1765; fl 1786–1826). Italian bass. Between 1786 and 1794 he sang in some of the leading theatres in Italy, including those at Bologna, Florence, Venice, Turin and Milan. In 1794 he went to Vienna, singing in operas by Cimarosa and Paisiello at the Hoftheater until ...

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Dennis Libby

(b Rome, ?Feb 20, 1744; d Florence, July 5, 1826). Italian tenor. He began in opera seria in 1768 at Bologna and Venice, then appeared at Udine in 1770. He sang in Copenhagen (Sarti’s Demofoonte, 1771) and Germany, resuming his Italian career in ...

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John Rosselli

(b Como, c 1750–55; d after 1798). Italian castrato singer. Most of his career was spent in Russia. He sang the female leads in three successive seasons at the Teatro Argentina, Rome (1772–4), starting with Anfossi’s Alessandro nell’Indie, then appeared in Venice and Vienna, and reached St Petersburg in ...

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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 (...

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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 (...

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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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(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 ...

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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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Hans Joachim Marx

( fl c 1725). German soprano . She sang in Dresden before going to the Hamburg Gänsemarkt Opera in 1724. She made frequent appearances at the Hamburg Opera until 1726, under Telemann’s direction; her roles included Arethusa in Keiser’s Cupido (1724), Ursel in Keiser’s ...

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Franco Piperno

(b Florence; fl 1737–58). Italian mezzo-soprano . Initially a singer of intermezzos, in 1742 she married the bass Pietro Pertici, with whom she performed commedie per musica; as members of companies specializing in opera buffa the two contributed significantly to the wide success of the genre. Brogi took soubrette and leading juvenile roles in the highly successful comic operas of Auletta, Chinzer, Latilla and others. She worked mainly in Tuscany but also sang in Venice, Milan, Turin, Brescia, Mantua, Genoa and Bologna; outside Italy she appeared in comic opera in London (...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b London, c 1759; d off Scilly Isles, March 1784). English soprano and actress . She made her début as a child in Arne’s The Fairy Prince (November 1771) and appeared regularly on the London stage from autumn 1772. She created the roles of Clara in ...

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Dale E. Monson

(fl 1743–65). Italian tenor. Little is known of his life; librettos refer to him only as ‘bolognese’. He first sang in a revival of Buini’s Le frenesie d’amore in Bologna in 1736, then appeared in Rimini two years later. After 1743 he was regularly engaged as ...

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Dennis Libby

(fl 1772–88). Italian soprano. She was married to Antonio Carrara, a Venetian employed by David Garrick. By 1772 she had begun to sing in London concerts and was seconda donna at the Italian Opera in 1772–3, described by Walpole as ‘the prettiest creature upon earth’, but by Burney as having a ‘voice … naturally drowsy, childish, and insipid’; however, after lessons from Millico she sang with him as prima donna at Florence in ...

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John Rosselli

(d after 1790). Italian tenor . He sang in several London seasons (1754–6, 1764–6), first appearing as Danaus in Ipermestra by Hasse and Lampugnani; he earned praise – in Burney’s words – for singing with ‘much taste and feeling’, distinguished himself in J. C. Bach’s aria ‘Non sò d’onde viene’, originally written for Raaff, and appears to have been regarded as a conscientious artist. He went on singing in leading Italian opera houses (Turin, Milan and Rome) until at least ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(b Stourton, Wilts., bap. Jan 13, 1767; d Edinburgh, July 16, 1799). English mezzo-soprano. She moved to Dublin with her father, a cathedral singer, and sang in concerts there before her marriage. In December 1791 her husband was in a debtors’ prison and she went first to London, where despite Mrs Billington’s help she failed to find engagements, and then to Bath. Rauzzini taught her and promoted her career so that she was able to raise the money to free her husband. She made a successful London début in Shield’s ...

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Dennis Libby

(fl 1756–77). Italian tenor. He made his opera seria début at Bologna in May 1756, but did not then begin a sustained career. During the period 1760–68 he was with Jommelli’s company at Stuttgart (except for 1762, when he sang in Florence, Venice and Genoa). From autumn ...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

(fl 1763–6). Italian soprano. She sang with the Italian opera company in London between 1763 and 1765 and in concerts, including the first London appearance of the young Mozarts. She was in J. C. Bach’s Orione and Adriano in Siria and took the lead in two English operas at Drury Lane in ...

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Elizabeth Forbes

(b Presezzo, Bergamo, 1750; d Bergamo, Dec 31, 1830). Italian tenor . He was self-taught as a singer, but studied composition in Naples. After making his début in 1773 at the Regio Ducal Teatro, Milan, in the première of Gazzaniga’s Zon Zon, he sang in Turin, Venice, Bologna, Lucca, Rome, Parma and at La Scala, where he took part in the premières of Cimarosa’s ...

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Laurie Shulman

(b ?Paris, 1796; d Paris, June 1874). French tenor. After graduating from the Paris Conservatoire in 1818, he began a career as a concert singer. He was engaged by the Opéra-Comique from 1821 to 1823, making his début as Azor in Grétry’s Zémire et Azor...