Storace, family of Italian-English musicians:
(1) Stephen (Stefano) Storace , double-bass player; b. Torre Annunziata, c. 1725; d. c. 1781. By 1748 he was in Dublin, where he played in the Smock Alley Theatre band. By 1758 he was in London, where he tr. several works for performance at Marylebone Gardens. He played in the band at the King’s Theatre, and also at the 3 Choirs Festival (1759–70), then took his family to Italy in 1778. He had 2 children who became musicians:
(2) Stephen (John Seymour) Storace , noted composer; b. London, April 4, 1762; d. there, March 19, 1796. He entered the Cons. di S. Onofrio in Naples about 1776, where he studied violin, then followed his sister to Vienna, where he became acquainted with Mozart. Two of his operas to Italian librettos were produced in Vienna with satisfying success: Gli sposi malcontenti (June 1, 1785) and Gli equivoci (Dec. 27, 1786). In 1787 he returned to London, where he produced another Italian opera, La Cameriera astuta (March 4, 1788), and a number of English operas, among which The Haunted Tower (Nov. 24, 1789) became extremely successful. His finest work for the stage, The Pirates, was premiered at the King’s Theatre on Nov. 21, 1792. During the 1792–93 season, he was in charge of the Italian opera productions at the Little Theatre and at Drury Lane. In addition to his many stage works, he also composed other vocal works and instrumental pieces.
J. Girdham, English Opera in Late Eighteenth-Century London: S. S. at Drury Lane (Oxford, 1997).
(3) Nancy (Ann or Anna Selina) Storace , celebrated soprano; b. London, Oct. 27, 1765; d. there, Aug. 28, 1817. She studied in London with Sacchini and Rauzzini. She began her career singing in concerts as a child, and appeared at Hereford’s 3 Choirs Festival in 1777; the following year she was taken by her parents to Italy, where she began her operatic career in Florence in 1780; then sang in Parma (1781) and Milan (1782). In 1783 she went to Vienna as prima donna, excelling in the performance of comic operas. She married the English composer John Abraham Fisher, but the marriage did not last. She created the role of Susanna in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro (May 1, 1786). In 1787 she returned to London and sang at the King’s Theatre until it was destroyed by fire in 1789; then sang at Drury Lane until 1796, appeared in Handel’s oratorios, and sang at the King’s Theatre in 1793. In 1797 she toured Europe with the tenor John Braham, who became her lover. She continued to sing in London playhouses until her retirement from the stage in 1808. She and Braham lived together until 1808.
G. Brace, Anna… Susanna: Anna Storace, Mozart’s First Susanna: Her Life, Times, and Family (London, 1991).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire