Maria Felicita Malibran

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Malibran, Maria (Felicità) (née García) (b Paris, 1808; d Manchester, 1836). Sp. mezzo-soprano. Studied with her father, Manuel García. Sang in Paër's Agnese in Naples at age 5. First public perf. Paris 1824. Opera début London (King's Th.) 1825 as Rosina in Il barbiere di Siviglia. Went to NY 1825 singing leading roles in her father's It. opera co. While there married François Eugène Malibran, but the union was short-lived. Début Paris Opéra 1828. Triumphs followed in London (CG début 1833), Naples, Rome, Bologna, Venice, Lucca, and Milan (La Scala début 1834). In 1836 married Belg. violinist Charles de Bériot with whom she had lived since 1830. Fell from horse in London, Apr. 1836 (while pregnant), her injuries leading to her death in Sept. when she collapsed after singing a duet at a Manchester fest. Her v. was notable for its colour and range, and was described as ‘like the costliest gold, but it had to be mined, forged, and stamped like metal under the hammer to make it malleable’. Her roles ranged from Angelina in La Cenerentola to Norma, Maria Stuarda, and Leonore. Her lively temperament, intensity as an actress, and exciting life made her a legend. She was a fine pianist and also comp. songs and nocturnes. Her younger sister was Pauline Viardot.

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Maria Felicita Malibran