Great Singers, First Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Great Singers, First Series.
he brought into the greenroom one night, when she came off the stage fatigued and panting with her efforts, a pot of foaming porter, which she drank with a sigh of deepest pleasure.  Touched by the young Irishman’s thoughtfulness, she pledged herself to help him whenever the opportunity came, and soon after sang at his benefit.  Mara had resolved not to sing again on the lyric stage, and her condescension was a godsend to Kelly, who was then very much out at elbows.  Speaking of her proffer, he says:  “I was thunderstruck at her kindness and liberality, and thankfully accepted.  She fixed on Mandane in ‘Artaxerxes,’ and brought the greatest receipts ever known at that house, as the whole pit, with the exception of two benches, was railed into boxes.  So much,” he adds sententiously, “for a little German proficiency, a little common civility, and a pot of porter.”


Mme. Mara made such a brilliant hit in opera that the public clamor for her continuance on the stage overcame her old resolutions.  The opera-house was reopened, and Sir John Gallini, with this popular favorite at the head of his enterprise, had a most prosperous season.  Both as a lyric cantatrice and as the matchless singer of oratorio, she was the delight of the public for two years.  In 1788 she went to Turin to sing at the Carnival, where it was the custom to open the gala season with a fresh artist, who supplied the place of the departing vocalist, whether a soprano or tenor.  Her predecessor, a tenor, was piqued at his dismissal, and tried to prejudice the public against her by representing her as alike-ugly in person and faulty in art.  Mara’s shrewdness of resource turned the tables on the Italian.  On her first appearance her manner was purposely full of gaucherie, her costume badly considered and all awry, her singing careless and out of time.  The maligner was triumphant, and said to all, “Didn’t I say so?  See how ugly she is; and as for singing—­did you ever hear such a vile jargon of sounds?” On the second night Mara appeared most charmingly dressed, and she sang like an angel—­a surprise to the audience which drove the excitable Italians into the most passionate uproar of applause and delight.  Mara was crowned on the stage, and was received by the King and Queen with the heartiest kindness and a profusion of costly gifts.  A similar reception at Venice tempted her to prolong her Italian tour, but she preferred to return to London, where she sang under Wyatt at the Pantheon, which was transformed into a temporary opera-house.  She now sang with Pacchierotti, the successor of Farinelli and Caffarelli, and the last inheritor of their grand large style.  “His duettos with Mara were the most perfect pieces of execution I ever heard,” said Lord Mount Edgcumbe.  One of the most pathetic experiences of Mara’s life was her passage through Paris in 1792 on her way to Germany, when she saw her former

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Great Singers, First Series from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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