Falcon, Marie Cornélie (1814–1897)

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Falcon, Marie Cornélie (1814–1897)

French soprano and mezzo-soprano. Name variations: Marie Cornelie Falcon. Born on January 28, 1814, in Paris; died on February 25, 1897, in Paris; studied with Bordogni and A. Nourrit at the Paris Conservatory.

Debuted at the Paris Opéra (1832); lost her voice during a performance (1838) and was forced to retire (1840).

Roles that demand a combination of dramatic soprano and dramatic mezzo-soprano are referred to as "falcon," a term borrowed from Marie Cornélie Falcon because she sang so many roles that overlapped between the soprano and mezzo-soprano voice. Marie Falcon entered the Paris Conservatory at age 13. Four years later, she won first prize in singing and soon made her debut at the Paris Opéra. The roles of Valentine in Meyerbeer's Les huguenots (1836) and Rachel in Halévy's La Juive (1835) were created expressly for her. Describing her voice, a contemporary wrote that it was "an incomparable metal, a timbre like nothing that has ever been heard." Despite this fact, she had problems in the upper register. Six years after her debut, in 1838, Falcon's voice gave out in the middle of a performance. She went to Italy for a holiday and further vocal training. In 1840, she returned to the stage in Paris where she was greeted with great enthusiasm. Unfortunately, her voice was never able to recover, and she retired from the opera stage.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia

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Falcon, Marie Cornélie (1814–1897)

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