Marchisio, Barbara

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Marchisio, Barbara

Marchisio, Barbara, Italian contralto and teacher; b. Turin, Dec. 6, 1833; d. Mira, April 19, 1919. She studied with her brother, the composer Antonino Marchisio (1817–1875), and with L. Fabbrica in Turin, making her debut as Adalgisa in Norma in Vicenza (1856); she sang Rosina in Madrid that same year. Her sister, Carlotta Marchisio (b. Turin, Dec. 8,1835; d. there, June 28, 1872), also studied with her brother and with Fabbrica in Turin; made her debut as Norma in Madrid (1856). The 2 sisters first appeared together in Turin in 1858. After singing in Trieste, they made their joint debut at Milan’s La Scala in Semiramide (Dec. 29, 1858); this opera continued as their vehicle for their joint debut at the Paris Opéra (in French, July 9, 1860) and at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London (May 1, 1862). They last appeared together in Rome in 1871. After Carlotta died in childbirth, Barbara continued her career for several more years, appearing in Milan (1872) and Venice (1876). She then devoted herself to teaching, numbering Raisa and dal Monte among her students. Rossini held the Marchisio sisters in the highest esteem.

—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire