Grisi, Giulici

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Grisi, Giulici

Grisi, Giulici, celebrated Italian soprano, sister of Giuditta Grisi; b. Milan, July 28, 1811; d. Berlin, Nov. 29, 1869. She received training from her sister and from her aunt, Grassini. She also studied with Celli and Guglielmi, with Marliani in Milan, and with Giacomelli in Bologna. In 1828 she made her operatic debut as Emma in Rossini’s Zelmira in Bologna. She soon won the admiration of Bellini, who wrote the role of Juliet for her in his I Capuleti ed I Montecchi, which role she created in Venice on March 11, 1830. In 1831 she made her debut at Milan’s La Scala in Strepponi’s L’ulla di Bassor, where she then created Adalgisa in Bellini’s Norma (Dec. 26, 1831) and Adelia in Donizetti’s Ugo, conte di Parigi (March 13,1832). Dissatisfied with her La Scala contract and unable to break it legally, she fled to Paris. On Oct. 16, 1832, she made her debut there with phenomenal success at the Theatre-Italien as Rossini’s Semiramide. She sang there regularly from 1834 to 1846, creating Elvira in Bellini’s I Puritani (Jan. 24, 1835), Elena in Donizetti’s Marin Faliero (March 12,1835), and Norina in the latter’s Don Pasquale (Jan. 3, 1843). On April 18, 1834, she made her London debut as Rossini’s Ninetta at the King’s Theatre, and subsequently sang regularly in the British capital with remarkable success. On April 6, 1847, she appeared as Semiramide in the first production of the newly organized Royal Italian Opera at London’s Covent Garden. She continued to sing there until her farewell appearance on July 24, 1861. In 1836 she married, but later separated from her husband. In 1839 she met the tenor Mario in London, with whom she became intimate. Although she was never divorced from her husband, she continued to live with Mario as his wife. They made a tour of the U.S. in 1854-55. Her outstanding vocal gifts were matched by her compelling dramatic talent. Her other famous roles included Alice in Robert le diable, Valentine, Anna Bolena, Lucrezia Borgia, and Leonora in II Trovatore.


E. Forbes, Mario and G. (London, 1985).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire