Great Singers, First Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 150 pages of information about Great Singers, First Series.

Not content with her supremacy at home, she sighed for other worlds to conquer, and after two years at Berlin she obtained leave of absence with great difficulty, and went to Paris.  French connoisseurs laughed at the idea of this German barbarian—­for some of the critics were rude enough to use this harsh term—­becoming the rival of Pasta, Cinti, and Fodor, and the idea of her singing Rossini’s music seemed purely preposterous.  On the 15th of June, 1826, she made her bow to the French public.  The victory was partly won by the shy, blushing beauty of the young German, who seemed the very incarnation of maidenly modesty and innocence, and when she had finished her first song thunders of applause shook the house.  Her execution of Rode’s variations surpassed even that of Catalani, and “La Petite Allemande” became an instant favorite.  Twenty-three succeeding concerts made Henrietta Sontag an idol of the Paris public, which she continued to be during her art career.  She also appeared with brilliant distinction in opera, the principal ones being “Il Barbiere,” “La Donna del Lago,” and “L’Italiani in Alghieri.”  Her benefit-night was marked by a demonstration on the part of her admirers, and she was crowned on the stage.

II.

The beautiful singer became a great pet of the Parisian aristocracy, and was welcomed in the highest circles, not simply as an artist, but as a woman.  She was honored with a state dinner at the Prussian Ambassador’s, and the most distinguished people were eager to be presented to her.  At the house of Talleyrand, having been introduced to the Duchess von Lothringen, that haughty dame said, “I would not desire that my daughter were other than you.”  It was almost unheard of that a German cantatrice without social antecedents should be sedulously courted by the most brilliant women of rank and fashion, and her presence sought as an ornament at the most exclusive salons.  It was at this time that Catalani met her and declared, “Elle est la premiere de son genre, mais son genre n’est pas le premier,” and a celebrated flute-player on her being introduced to him by a musical professor was accosted with the words, “Ecco il tuo rivale.”

In Paris, as was the case afterward in London, the most romantic stories were in circulation about the adoration lavished on her by princes and bankers, artists and musicians.  The most exalted personages were supposed to be sighing for her love, and it was reported that no singer had ever had so many offers of marriage from people of high rank and consideration.  Indeed, it was well known that about the same time Charles de Beriot, the great violinist, and a nobleman of almost princely birth, laid their hearts and hands at her feet.  Mile.  Sontag, it need not be said, was true to her promise to Count Rossi, and refused all the flattering overtures made her by her admirers.  A singular link connects the careers of Sontag and

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