Sembrich, Marcella [Kochańska, Prakseda Marcelina]
- Philip L. Miller
[Kochańska, Prakseda Marcelina]
(b Wiśniewczyk, Galicia, Feb 15, 1858; d New York, Jan 11, 1935). Polish soprano, later naturalized American. The daughter of a village musician, she had her first instruction in violin and piano with her father and as a child helped support the family by playing both instruments. She was 11 when a well-to-do villager made it possible for her to attend the conservatory at Lemberg (now L′viv), where her principal teacher was Wilhelm Stengel, whom she later married. Stengel took her to Vienna to sing and play for Julius Epstein, who advised her to cultivate her voice; Liszt later endorsed this suggestion. She studied with Viktor von Rokitansky and the younger G.B. Lamperti, and made her début in Athens on 3 June 1877 as Elvira in Bellini’s I puritani, adopting her mother’s maiden name. After further study in the German repertory, with Richard Lewy in Vienna, she appeared in Dresden in ...