This page attempts to give some biographical notes about singers mentioned in the previous pages. The notes are short and only relate to singers who were famous at the time of Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti.  Other modern singers have sung these roles, such as Joan Sutherland, Maria Callas, Adelina Patti, Carlo Bergonzi, Luciano Pavarotti, and others, but information about these can easily be found elsewhere.

Isabella Colbran:

Born in Madrid 1785 and died in Bologna 1845.  Spanish soprano considered to be the finest dramatic coloratura of her day. Debut in Paris 1801, Milan 1807.  Engaged for Naples, 1811, where she became the King's mistress but left him in 1815 to live with Rossini, who married her in 1822.  Rossini wrote "Elizabetta, Regina d'Inghilterra" for her and she created the leading soprano roles in his "Otello", "Semiramide", "Mose'" and other operas.

Maria Malibran:

Born in Paris in 1808 and died in Manchester in 1836. Spanish mezzo soprano. She studied with her father, Manuel Garcia. Her first public performance was in Paris in 1824. Her opera debut was in London, 1825 as Rosina in Rossini's "Barbiere di Siviglia".  She went to New York singing leading roles in her father's opera company.  While there she married Francois Eugene Malibran, but the union was short lived. After her Paris debut in 1826, triumphs followed in London, Naples, Rome, Bologna, Venice, Lucca, and Milan.  She created the title role in Donizetti's "Maria Stuarda" in 1835. A year later she fell from a horse and her injuries led to her death in September 1836, exactly a year after Bellini's death.

Giulia Grisi:

Born in Milan in 1811 and died in Berlin in 1869. Italian soprano whose debut was in Milan 1828. She created the role of Juliet in Bellini's "I Capuletti e i Mentecchi" and Adalgisa in "Norma".  She sung regularly in Paris between 1832 and 1849, creating the roles of Elvira in "I Puritani" and Norina in "Don Pasquale". Her London debut was in 1834 where she sung every season, except 1843, until 1861.  Her US debut was in 1854.  She was the wife of Mario, one of the most famous tenors of her day.

Giuditta Pasta:

Born in Saronno in 1798 and died in Blevio in 1865.  Italian soprano among the greatest of opera singers.  She studied in Milan and her appearances in Brescia in 1815 and London in 1817, were both failures.  Further studies with Scappa was followed by a successful debut in 1819 in Venice.  She caused  a sensation in Paris in 182 - 22, where the immense range of her voice and her dramatic gifts were matched by poignancy of expression.  She sung regularly in London, Paris, and St. Petersburg between 1824 and 1837.  She created the roles of Amina in Bellini's "La Sunnambula" in Milan 1831, and Norma Milan 1832 and Donizetti's "Anna Bolena", Milan 1830.

Antonio Tamburini:

Born in Faenza 1800 and died in Nice in1876. Italian baritone.  His debut was in Cento in 1818 and he sung in main Italian opera houses between 1824 an 1832.  His London debut was in 1832 .  He sung in Paris between 1832 and 1843 during the period of Rubini, Lablache, Grisi and Viardot.  He created the role of Riccardo in Bellini's "I Puritani" in 1835 and Malatesta in Donizetti's "Don Pasquale" in 1843.  He was also a noted Don Giovanni.  He retired in 1859.

Giovanni Battista Rubini:

Born in Romano in 1794 and died in Romano in 1854. Italian tenor.  He studied in Bergamo and his debut was in Pavia in 1814.  He sung in Naples from 1816 to 1831 and had sensational success in Paris in 1825 - 26 in Rossini operas.  He devided time between Paris and London between 1831 and 1843.  He toured with Liszt in 1843.  He retired, immensely rich in 1845.  Especially notable for his singing of Donizetti and Bellini, where his gift for broad cantabile excelled.  He sung with Pasta in "La Sunnambula" in 1831.

Luigi Lablache:

Born in Naples in 1794 and died in Naples in 1858.  Italian Bass of French and Irish parentage.  He studied in Naples and had his debut there in 1812.  Further studies followed by a 5 year engagement at Palermo.  His debut at La Scala in 1817 as Dandini in Rossini's "La Cenerentola".  An international career followed with appearances in Turin, Venice, Vienna (where he sung in Mozart's Requiem at Beethoven's funeral), Naples and London.  He became a great favourite in Paris and London 1830 - 56.  He created Riccardo in Bellini's "I Puritani" and title role in Donizett's "Don Pasquale".  He also taught Queen Victoria singing.

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