GREAT SINGERS, FIRST SERIES ***
Produced by David Widger
FAUSTINA BORDONI TO HENRIETTA SONTAG
GEORGE T. FERRIS
Copyright, 1879, By D. APPLETON AND COMPANY.
In compiling and arranging the material which enters into the following sketches of distinguished singers, it is only honest to disclaim any originality except such as may be involved in a picturesque presentation of facts. The compiler has drawn freely from a great variety of sources, and has been simply guided by the desire to give the reading public such a digest of the more important incidents in the careers of the celebrities treated of as should be at once compact, racy, and accurate. To serve this purpose the opinions and descriptions of writers and critics contemporary with the subjects have been used at length, and no means overlooked to give the sketches that atmosphere of freshness which is the outcome of personal observation. All that a compilation of this kind can hope to effect is best gained in preserving this kind of vividness, instead of revamping impressions and opinions into second-hand forms. Pains have been taken to verify dates and facts, and it is believed they will be found trustworthy.
It will be observed that many well-known singers have been omitted, or treated only incidentally: among the earlier singers, such as Anas-tasia Robinson, Mingotti, Anna Maria Crouch, and Anna Selina Storace; among more recent ones, such as Mmes. Fodor, Cinti-Damoreau, Camperese, Pisaroni, Miss Catherine Stephens, Mrs. Paton-Wood, Mme. Dorus-Gras, and Cornelie Falcon. This omission has been indispensable in a work whose purpose has been to cover only the lives of the very great names in operatic art, as the question of limit has been inflexible. A supplementary volume will give similar sketches of later celebrities.
The works from which material has been most freely drawn are as follows: Bernard's "Retrospection of the Stage"; Dr. Burney's various histories of music; Chorley's "Thirty Years' Musical Recollections"; Dibdin's "Complete History of the English Stage"; Ebers's "Seven Years of the King's Theatre"; Fétis's "Biographie des Musiciens"; Hogarth's "Musical Drama"; Sutherland Edwards's "History of the Opera"; Arsène Houssaye's "Galerie des Portraits"; Michael Kelly's "Reminiscences"; Lord Mount Edgcumbe's "Musical Reminiscences"; Oxberry's "Dramatic Biography and Histrionic Anecdotes"; Mrs. Clayton's "Queens of Song"; Arthur Simpson's "Memoirs of Catalani"; and Grove's "Dictionary of Music and Musicians."
The Art-Battles of Handel's Time.--The Feud between Cuzzoni and Faustina.--The Character of the Two Rivals as Women and Artists.--Faustina's Career.--Her Marriage with Adolph Hasse, and something about the Composer's Music.--Their Dresden Life.--Cuzzoni's Latter Years.--Sketch of the Great Singer Farinelli.--The Old Age of Hasse and Faustina
The Cardinal and the Daughter of the Cook.--The Young Prima Donna's _Début_ in Lucca.--Dr. Burney's Description of Gabrielli.--Her Caprices, Extravagances, and Meeting with Metastasio.--Her Adventures in Vienna.--Bry-done on Gabrielli.--Episodes of her Career in Sicily and Parma.--She sings at the Court of Catharine of Russia.--Sketches ol Caffarelli and Pacchierotti.--Gabrielli in London, and her Final Retirement from Art
The French Stage as seen by Rousseau.--Intellectual Ferment of the Period.--Sophie Arnould, the Queen of the most Brilliant of Paris Salons.--Her Early Life and Connection with Comte de Lauraguais.--Her Reputation as the Wittiest Woman of the Age.--Art Association with the Great German Composer, Gluck.--The Rivalries and Dissensions of the Period.--Sophie's Rivals and Contemporaries, Madame St. Huberty, the Vestrises Father and Son, Madelaine Guimard.--Opera during the Revolution.--The Closing Days of Sophie Arnould's Life.--Lord Mount Edgcumbe's Opinion of her as an Artist