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Fel, Marie (1713–1794)

Fel, Marie (1713–1794)

French soprano . Born in Bordeaux, France, on October 24, 1713; died in Chailot, France, on February 9, 1794; sister of Antoine Fel (1694–1771).

A student of Italian singer Mme Van Loo , Marie Fel made her debut at the Paris Opera in 1734, as Vénus in the prologue of Philomèle. She was a regular at the Opera until 1758, performing in over 100 premieres and revivals, including major roles in most of the works of Jean-Phillippe Rameau (1683–1764). Fel also appeared in works by Lully, Campra, Mouret, and Boismortier and was particularly known for her portrayal of Colette in Rousseau's Le devin du village. Praised for her clear and supple voice, her precise articulation, and her intelligence and grace, she was called "séduisante" by Voltaire, while the critic Friedrich Melchior Grimm quite literally fell in love with her. Apparently, Fel's romantic liaisons were as newsworthy as her performances; she was known to have been the mistress of the librettist Jean-Louis Cahusac and the painter Quentin La Tour. Upon her retirement from the Opera, she was replaced by her pupil, Sophie Arnould . Fel's brother Antoine Fel was also a singer as well as a composer.

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