Mme. Devrient retired permanently from the stage in the year 1849, having amassed a considerable fortune by her professional efforts. She made a second matrimonial venture with a rich Livonian proprietor named Bock, with whom she retired to his estate. Her retirement occasioned profound regret throughout Germany, where she was justly looked on as one of the very greatest artists, if, indeed, even this reservation could be made, who had ever shone on their lyric stage. The Emperor Francis I. paid Mme. Schroeder a compliment which had never before been paid to a German singer. He ordered her portrait to be painted in all her principal characters, and placed in the collection of the Imperial Museum. Six years after her farewell from the stage, an Italian critic, Scudo, heard her sing in a private house in Paris, and speaks very disparagingly of her delivery of the melodies of Schubert in a weak, thin voice. She, like Malibran, possessed one of those voices which needed incessant work and practice to keep it in good order, though she did not possess the consummate musical knowledge and skill of Malibran. She was a woman of great intelligence and keen observation; an artist of the most passionate ardor and impetuosity, always restrained, however, by a well-studied control and reserve; in a word, a great lyric tragedienne rather than a great singer in the exact sense of that word. She must be classed with that group of dramatic singers who were the interpreters of the school of music which arose in Germany after the death of Mozart, and which found its most characteristic type in Carl Maria von Weber, for Beethoven, who on one side belongs to this school, rather belonged to the world, like Shakespeare in the drama, than to a single nationality. Mme. Schroeder-De-vrient died February 9, 1860, at Cologne, and the following year her marble bust was placed in the Opera-House at Berlin.
The Childhood of a Great Artist.—Giulietta Grisi’s Early Musical Training.—Giuditta Grisi’s Pride in the Talents of her Young Sister.—Her Italian Debut and Success.—She escapes from a Managerial Taskmaster and takes Refuge in Paris.—Impression made on French Audiences.—Production of Bellini’s “Puritani.”—Appearance before the London Public.—Character of Grisi’s Singing and Acting.—Anecdotes of the Prima Donna.—Marriage of Mlle. Grisi.—Her Connection with Other Distinguished Singers.—Rubini, his Character as an Artist, and Incidents of his Life.—Tamburini, another Member of the First Great “Puritani” Quartet.—Lablache, the King of Operatic Bassos.—His Career as an Artist.—His Wonderful Genius as Singer and Actor.—Advent of Mario on the Stage.—His Intimate Association with Mme. Grisi as Woman and Artist.—Incidents of Mario’s Life and Character as an Artist.—Grisi’s Long Hold on the Stage for more than a Quarter Century.—Her American Tour.—Final Retirement from her Profession.—The Elements of her Greatness as a Goddess of Song.