Albani (real name, Lajeunesse), Dame (Marie Louise Cécile) Emma

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Albani (real name, Lajeunesse), Dame (Marie Louise Cécile) Emma

Albani (real name, Lajeunesse), Dame (Marie Louise Cécile) Emma, famous Canadian soprano; b. Chambly, near Montreal, Nov. 1, 1847; d. London, April 3, 1930. In childhood she studied piano with her mother, and then piano, harp, and singing with her father. In 1856 she made her first public appearance in Montreal as a pianist and singer. In 1860 she sang for the visiting Prince of Wales there. In 1865 her family went to Albany, N.Y., where she sang at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church until 1868. She then went to Paris to study voice with Duprez and organ and harmony with Benoist, completing her vocal training with Lamperti in Milan. In 1870 she made her operatic debut as Amina in Messina, taking the professional name of Albani. On April 2, 1872, she made a notable debut at London’s Covent Garden as Amina. In succeeding years her career was closely associated with Covent Garden, where she was greatly admired. On Oct. 21, 1874, she made her U.S. operatic debut as Amina with the Max Strakosch company at N.Y.’s Academy of Music. On Dec. 23, 1891, she made her Metropolitan Opera debut in N.Y. as Gilda, but sang there for only one season. Her last great triumph at Covent Garden came on July 24, 1896, when she appeared as Valentine. Thereafter she devoted herself to a concert career, giving her farewell recital at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 14, 1911. After retirement, she fell upon hard times and gave voice lessons and even appeared in English music halls. In 1920 the British government granted her a pension. She was awarded the Gold Medal of the Phil. Soc. of London in 1897. In 1925 she was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Albani was a remarkable artist, excelling in coloratura, spinto, and dramatic roles. She was also a distinguished concert artist.


Forty Years of Song (London, 1911).


C. Macdonald, E. A: Victorian Diva (Toronto, 1984).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire

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Albani (real name, Lajeunesse), Dame (Marie Louise Cécile) Emma

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