Malibran, María (Felicità née García)

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Malibran, María (Felicità née García)

Malibran, María (Felicità née García), famous Spanish mezzo-soprano, daughter of Manuel (del Popolo Vicente Rodriguez) Garía b. Paris, March 24, 1808; d. Manchester, Sept. 23, 1836. She was taken to Naples, where she sang a child’s part in Paër’s Agnese(1814). She studied voice with her father from the age of 15, and also studied solfeggio with Panseron. She made her debut as Rosina in II Barbiere di Siviglia at the King’s Theatre in London (June 7, 1825); then went to N.Y., where she sang in the same opera in her family’s season at the Park Theatre, which commenced on Nov. 29,1825. She became a popular favorite, singing in Otello, Tan-credi, La Cenerentola, Don Giovanni, and the 2 operas written for her by her father, L’Amante astuto and La Figlia dell’aria.She married the French merchant François Eugène Malibran, but he soon became bankrupt, and she returned to Europe without him in 1827. Malibran made her Paris debut as Semiramide at the Théâtre-Italien (April 8, 1828), then alternated her appearances in Paris and London during the 1829–32 seasons. She subsequently went to Italy, singing in Bologna (1832) and Naples (1833); made her debut at Milan’s La Scala as Norma (March 29,1836). She met the violinist Charles de Béroit in 1829; they lived together until her marriage to Malibran was annulled in 1836, and then were married that same year. Malibran suffered serious injuries when thrown from her horse in 1836; since she was pregnant, complications developed and she lost her life. Her voice was of extraordinary compass, but the medium register had several “dead” tones. She was also a good pianist, and composed numerous nocturnes, romances, and chansonnettes, publ, in album form as Dernières pensées.


I. Nathan, The Life of Mme. M. M. de Beriot(London, 1836); A. Pougin, M. M.: Histoire d’une cantatrice(Paris, 1911; Eng. tr., London, 1911); A. Flament, Une Etoile en 1830: La M.(Paris, 1928); P. Crump, Musset and M.(Cambridge, 1932); P. Larionoff, M. M. e i suoi tempi(Florence, 1935); A. Flament, L’Enchanteresse errante, La M.(Paris, 1937); S. Desternes and H. Chandet, La M. et Pauline Viardot(Paris, 1969); C. de Reparaz, M. M. (Madrid, 1976); H. Bushnell, M. M.: A Biography of the Singer(University Park, 1979); R. Giazotto, M. M. (1808–1836): Una vita nei nomi di Rossini e Bellini(Turin, 1986); A. Fitzlyon, M. M: Diva of the Romantic Age(London, 1987); O. Aceves, La pasión de M. M.: Biografia(Madrid, 1995).

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire