Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

Her singing and acting in Desdemona made a marked sensation.  Though her powers were still immature, she flooded the house with a stream of clear, sweet, rich melody, with the apparent ease of a bird.  Undismayed by the traditions of Mali-bran, Pasta, and Sontag in this character, she gave the part a new reading, in which she put something of her own intense individuality.  “By the firmness of her step, and the general confidence of her deportment,” said a contemporary writer, “we were at first induced to believe that she was not nervous; but the improvement of every succeeding song, and the warmth with which she gave the latter part of the opera, convinced us that her power must have been confined by something like apprehension.”  Kubini was the Otello, Tamburini, Iago, and Lablache, Elmiro.  Her performance in “La Cenerentola” confirmed the good opinion of the public.  Her pure taste and perfect facility of execution were splendidly exhibited.  “She has,” said a critic, “more feeling than Mme. Cinti Da-moreau in the part in which the greater portion of Europe has assigned to her the preeminence, and execution even now in nearly equal perfection.”

M. Viardot, a well-known French litterateur, was then director of the Italian Opera in Paris, and he came to London to hear the new singer—­in whom he naturally felt a warm interest, as he had been an intimate personal friend of Mme. Malibran.  He was so delighted that he offered her the position of prima donna for the approaching season, but the timidity of the young girl of eighteen shrank from such a responsibility, and she would only bind herself to appear for a few nights.  The French public felt a strong curiosity to hear the sister of Mali-bran, and it was richly rewarded, for the magnificent style in which she sang her parts in “Otello,” “La Cenerentola,” and “Il Barbiere” stamped her position as that not only of a great singer, but a woman of genius.  The audacity and wealth of resource which she displayed on the first representation of the latter-named opera wore worthy of the daughter of Garcia and the sister of Malibran, Very imperfectly acquainted with the music, she forgot an important part of the score.  Without any embarrassment, she instantly improvised not merely the ornament, but the melody, pouring out a flood of dazzling vocalization which elicited noisy enthusiasm.  It was not Rossini’s “Il Barbiere,” but it was successful in arousing a most flattering approbation.  It may be fancied, however, that, when she sang the role of Rosina a second time, she knew the music as Rossini wrote it.


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