Grisi, Giuditta (1805–1840)

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Grisi, Giuditta (1805–1840)

Italian mezzo-soprano. Born on July 28, 1805, in Milan, Italy; died on May 1, 1840, in Robecco d'Oglio near Cremona; daughter of Gaetano Grisi, one of Napoleon's Italian officers, and a mother who was also a singer; sister of soprano Giulia Grisi (1811–1869); cousin of ballerina Carlotta Grisi (1819–1899); studied with Josephina Grassini (1773–1850), the contralto, who was also her aunt, and at the Milan Conservatory; married Count Barni, in 1833.

Debuted in Rossini's Bianca e Faliero in Vienna (1825); sang in Florence, Parma, Turin and Venice as well as in London and Paris (1832); retired (1839).

Giuditta Grisi was a second-ranked singer who was the sister of the better-known Giulia Grisi . Although Giuditta's career was brief, it was consequential, taking her to Europe's major cities. She created roles in a number of operas, the most important being Romeo in Bellini's I Capuleti ed i Montecchi. She primarily sang mezzo roles early in her career and is thought of as a mezzo, essentially because of her creation of Romeo. In reality, Grisi sang soprano almost as often, but she never earned her reputation for her work as a soprano. Grisi and her sister sang together during the 1830 autumn season at the Teatro all Scala and during the 1832–33 Paris season. Giuditta's voice began to decline toward the end of her brief career, and she sang in smaller houses in the provinces. Known for the power of her voice, it was neither particularly beautiful nor sweet.

John Haag , Athens, Georgia