Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 170 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

Mr. Lumley, the English impressario, was at this time scouring Italy for fresh voices, and, hearing Mlle. Cru veil i, secured her for his company, which when completed consisted of Mmes.  Persiani and Viardot, Miles.  Alboni and Cruvelli, Signori Cuzzani, Belletti, Gardoni, and Polonini.  Mlle. Cruvelli was now eighteen, and in spite of the Lind mania, which was raging at white heat, the young German cantatrice made a strong impression on the London public.  Her first appearance was in “Ernani,” on February 19, 1848.  The performance was full of enthusiasm and fire, though disfigured by certain crudities and the violence of unrestrained passion.  Her voice, in compass from F to F, was a clear, silvery soprano, and possessed in its low notes something of the delicious quality of the contralto, that bell-like freshness and sonority which is one of the most delightful characteristics of the human voice.  Her appearance was highly attractive, for she possessed a finely molded figure of middle height, and a face expressive, winning, and strongly marked.  She further appeared as Odabella in “Attila,” and as Lucrezia in “I Due Foscari,” both of which performances were very warmly received.  During the season she also sang in “Nino,” “Lucrezia Borgia,” “Il Barbiere,” and “Nozze di Figaro.”  Her Rosina in Rossini’s great comic opera was a piquant and attractive performance.

II.

The prevalence of the Lind fever, which seemed to know no abatement, however, made a London engagement at this period not highly flattering to other singers, and Mlle. Cruvelli beat a retreat to Germany, where she made a musical tour.  She was compelled to leave Berlin by the breaking out of the Revolution, and she made, an engagement for the Carnival season at Trieste, during which time she gave performances in “Attila,” “Norma,” “Don Pasquale,” and “Macbeth,” and other operas of minor importance, covering a wide field of characters, serious and comic.  In 1850 we hear of Mlle. Cruvelli creating a very great sensation at Milan at La Scala.  Genoa was no less enthusiastic in its welcome of the young singer, who had left Italy only two years before, and returned a great artist.  No stall could be obtained without an order at least a week in advance.

In April, 1850, she made her first Parisian appearance at the Theatre Italien in Paris, under Mr. Lumley’s management, as Elvira to Mr. Sims Reeves’s Ernani, and the French critics were highly eulogistic over this fresh candidate for lyric honors.  She did not highly strike the perfect key-note of her genius till she appeared as Leonora in “Fidelio,” at Her Majesty’s Theatre, in London, on May 20, 1851, Sims Reeves being the Florestan.  Her improvement since her first London engagement had been marvelous.  Though scarcely twenty, Mlle. Cruvelli had become a great actress, and her physical

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