Falcon, (Marie-) Cornélie

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Falcon, (Marie-) Cornélie

Falcon, (Marie-) Cornélie, renowned French soprano; b. Paris, Jan. 28, 1814; d. there, Feb. 25, 1897. She studied with Henri, Pelegrini, Bordogni, and Nourrit at the Paris Cons. (1827–31), taking premiers prix in singing and lyric declamation. On July 20, 1832, she made her operatic debut as Alice in Robert le diable at the Paris Opera, where she subsequently sang with such brilliant success that she was chosen to create the roles of Rachel in La Juive (Feb. 23, 1835) and Valentine in Les Huguenots (Feb. 29, 1836). In the spring of 1837 she suffered a vocal collapse, but soon managed to resume her career at the Opera and sang there until her final performance in Les Huguenots on Jan. 15, 1838. She made many attempts to regain her vocal prowess, resorting to various quack remedies and bogus treatments, all to no avail. On March 14, 1840, she made an unsuccessful return to the Opera in a special benefit performance, but her attempt proved disastrous and she retired to her villa near Paris. Despite the brevity of her remarkable career, her portrayals of Donna Anna, Giulia in Vestale, and the heroines in all 4 Rossini French operas, as well as those already noted, brought her great fame. Indeed, so much fame, that the description “Falcon type” subsequently was given to those singers who excelled in her chosen repertory.


C. Bouvet, C. F. (Paris, 1927).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire