Great Singers, First Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 182 pages of information about Great Singers, First Series.
with both attainments, Mme. Pasta has exhibited to her countrymen the beauty of a school too long neglected, in such a manner that they will no longer admit the notion of lyric tragedy being properly spoken without dramatic as well as vocal qualifications in its representative.”  The presence of Malibran and Sontag during this season inspired Pasta to almost superhuman efforts to maintain her threatened supremacy.  In her efforts to surpass these brilliant young rivals in all respects, she laid herself open to criticism by departing somewhat from the severe and classic school of delivery which had always distinguished her, and overloading her singing with ornament.

Honors were showered on Pasta in different parts of Europe.  She was made first court singer in 1829 by the Emperor of Austria, and presented by him with a superb diadem of rubies and diamonds.  At Bologna, where she performed in twelve of the Rossinian operas under the baton of the composer himself, a medal was struck in her honor by the Societa del Casino, and all the different cities of her native land vied in doing honor to the greatest of lyric tragediennes.  At Milan in 1830 she sang with Rubini, Galli, Mme. Pisaroni, Lablache, and David.  Donizetti at this time wrote the opera of “Anna Bolena,” with the special view of suiting the dominant qualities of Pasta, Rubini, and Galli.  The following season Pasta sang at Milan, at a salary of 40,000 francs for twenty representations, and was obliged to divide the admiration of the public with Mali-bran, who was rapidly rising to the brilliant rank which she afterward held against all comers.  Vincenzo Bellini now wrote for Pasta his charming opera of “La Sonnambula,” and it was produced with Rubini, Mariano, and Mme. Taccani in the cast.  Pasta and Rubini surpassed themselves in the splendor of their performance.  “Emulating each other in wishing to display the merits of the opera, they were both equally successful,” said a critic of the day, “and those who participated in the delight of hearing them will never forget the magic effect of their execution.  But exquisite as were, undoubtedly, Mme. Pasta’s vocal exertions, her histrionic powers, if possible, surpassed them.  It would be difficult for those who have seen her represent, in Donizetti’s excellent opera, the unfortunate Amina, with a grandeur and a dignity above all praise, to conceive that she could so change (if the expression may be allowed) her nature as to enact the part of a simple country girl.  But she has proved her powers to be unrivaled; she personates a simple rustic as easily as she identifies herself with Medea, Semiramide, Tancredi, and Anna Bolena.”


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