Colbran, Isabella [Isabel] (Angela )
- Elizabeth Forbes
(b Madrid, Feb 2, 1785; d Castenaso, Bologna, Oct 7, 1845). Spanish soprano. After study with Francisco Pareja, Marinelli and Crescentini, she made her concert début in Paris (1801) and her stage début in Spain (1806), and the following year came to Italy, where she sang at Bologna; a contemporary account (quoted in Weinstock) gave her compass then as almost three octaves, from g to e‴. In 1808–9 she sang in the premières of Giuseppe Nicolini's Coriolano, Vincenzo Federici's Ifigenia and Vincenzo Lavigna's Orcamo at La Scala, Milan, and in 1811 she was engaged for Naples by the impresario Barbaia, whose mistress she became; she remained there for over a decade. A highly dramatic singer who excelled in tragedy, especially in Spontini's La vestale and Mayr's Medea in Corinto, she strongly influenced the operas that Rossini composed for Naples. Elisabetta, regina d'Inghilterra (...