In July, 1855, she was at the Grand Opera, in Paris, performing in “Le Prophete,” etc., with Roger, having contracted an engagement for three years. In 1856 she was at Her Majesty’s Theatre with Piccolomini, and made her first appearance in the character of Azucena in “Il Trovatore.” Her performances were not confined to the opera-house; she sang at the Crystal Palace and in the Surrey Music Hall. In October she was again at the Italiens, commencing with “La Cenerentola.” She then, in conjunction with Mario, Graziani, and Mme. Frezzolini, began performing in the works of Verdi. “Il Trovatore” was performed in January, 1857, and was followed by “Rigoletto,” which was produced in defiance of the protestations of Victor Hugo, from whose play, “Le Roi s’amuse,” the libretto had been taken. Victor Hugo declared that the representation of the opera was an infringement of his rights, as being simply a piracy of his drama, and he claimed that the Theatre Italiens should be restrained from performing it. The decision of the court was, however, against the irascible poet, and he had to pay the costs of the action.
But why should the reader be interested in a yearly record of the engagements of a great singer, after the narrative of the early struggles by which success is reached and the means by which success is perpetuated has come to an end? The significance of such a recital is that of ardent endeavor, persistent self-culture, and unflagging resolution. Mme. Alboni continued to sing in the principal musical centers of Western Europe till 1864, when she definitely retired from the stage, and settled at her fine residence in Paris, midst the ease and luxury which the large fortune she had acquired by professional exertion enabled her to maintain. She occasionally appeared in opera and concert to the great delight of her old admirers, who declared that the youthful beauty and freshness of her voice had returned to her. Since the death of her husband she has only sung in public once, and then in Rossini’s Mass, in London in 1871.
Both the husband and the brothers of Alboni were gallant soldiers in the Italian war of independence, and received medals and other distinctions from Victor Emanuel. Mme. Alboni in private life is said to be one of the most amiable, warm-hearted, and fascinating of women, and to take the deepest interest in helping the careers of young singers by advice, influence, and pecuniary aid. In social life she is quite as much the idol of her friends as she was for so many years of an admiring public.