Elizabeth Rainforth

Last updated

Elizabeth Rainforth in Bickerstaffe and Arne's Love in a Village in 1838 Elizabeth Rainforth Love in a Village.jpg
Elizabeth Rainforth in Bickerstaffe and Arne's Love in a Village in 1838

Elizabeth Rainforth (1814–1877), was a British soprano opera and concert singer, and music arranger of the 19th century.



Elizabeth Rainforth was born in November 1814. She was the daughter of Sampson Rainforth, a custom-house officer, [2] and she became a pupil of Tom Cooke, Domenico Crivelli, and George Perry, and subsequently, for dramatic action, of Mrs. Davison. [3]

She first sang in public at the vocal concerts, 29 February 1836, when she sang an aria from Der Freischütz . Her success was so pronounced as to lead to an immediate engagement for the succeeding concert in March. On 27 October in the same year Miss Rainforth made her stage début as Mandane in Thomas Arne's Artaxerxes at the St James's Theatre, and for many seasons she was a popular dramatic singer at this theatre, the English Opera House, Covent Garden, and Drury Lane. At the same time her services as a concert-singer were in great demand. In 1837 she appeared in oratorio under the auspices of the Sacred Harmonic Society [3] and in 1838 she was pictured in Bickerstaffe and Arne's Love in a Village in 1838. [1] On 18 March 1839 she sang at the Philharmonic concerts; and in 1840 at the Concerts of Ancient Music. In 1836 and 1842 she was a principal singer at the Norwich Festival. In 1843 and 1845 her success at the Birmingham Festival and at the Worcester festival was no less emphatic; in 1844 she was performing in Dublin. On 27 November 1843 she created the rôle of Arline in Balfe's The Bohemian Girl . [3]

Rainforth appears to have been responsible for introducing the public to Lady Nairn's Jacobite song, The Hundred Pipers , some five or more years after that lady's death. Rainforth lived in Edinburgh from 1851 [4] or 1852 to 1856, [3] and contemporary publications post reviews of her performance of the song in the capital; [5] and she published the song with her own (and the now standard) musical arrangement in 1852. [6] [7] [8]

She retired from public life in 1859, and until 1871 she taught singing at Windsor. In 1871 she withdrew to Chatterton Villa, Redland, Bristol, where she died 22 September 1877. [3]

Critical appraisal

According to the Dictionary of National Biography, Miss Rainforth was an admirable singer, but lacked sufficient power to place her in the foremost rank of great sopranos. [3]

Related Research Articles

Solomon Northup Free-born African American kidnapped by slave-traders

Solomon Northup was an American abolitionist and the primary author of the memoir Twelve Years a Slave. A free-born African American from New York, he was the son of a freed slave and a free woman of color. A farmer and a professional violinist, Northup had been a landowner in Washington County, New York. In 1841, he was offered a traveling musician's job and went to Washington, D.C. ; there he was drugged, kidnapped, and sold as a slave. He was shipped to New Orleans, purchased by a planter, and held as a slave for 12 years in the Red River region of Louisiana, mostly in Avoyelles Parish. He remained a slave until he met Samuel Bass, a Canadian working on his plantation who helped get word to New York, where state law provided aid to free New York citizens who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery. His family and friends enlisted the aid of the Governor of New York, Washington Hunt, and Northup regained his freedom on January 3, 1853.

Carmen Miranda Portuguese-born Brazilian singer, dancer, and actress

Carmen Miranda, was a Portuguese-born Brazilian samba singer, dancer, Broadway actress and film star who was active from the 1930s onwards. Nicknamed "The Brazilian Bombshell", Miranda is known for her signature fruit hat outfit that she wore in her American films. As a young woman, she designed hats in a boutique before making her first recordings with composer Josué de Barros in 1929. Miranda's 1930 recording of "Taí ", written by Joubert de Carvalho, catapulted her to stardom in Brazil as the foremost interpreter of samba.

Patsy Cline American country music singer (1932–1963)

Patsy Cline was an American singer. She is considered one of the most influential vocalists of the 20th century and was one of the first country music artists to successfully cross over into pop music. Cline had several major hits during her eight-year recording career, including two number-one hits on the Billboard Hot Country and Western Sides chart.

Sam Cooke American singer-songwriter, civil-rights activist and entrepreneur

Samuel Cook, known professionally as Sam Cooke, was an American singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. Considered to be a pioneer and one of the most influential soul artists of all time, Cooke is commonly referred to as the "King of Soul" for his distinctive vocals, notable contributions to the genre and high significance in popular music.

Emma Albani Canadian opera soprano (1847 - 1930)

Dame Emma Albani, DBE was a leading opera soprano of the 19th century and early 20th century, and the first Canadian singer to become an international star. Her repertoire focused on the operas of Mozart, Rossini, Donizetti, Bellini and Wagner. She performed across Europe and North America.

Mary, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange Princess Royal

Mary, Princess Royal, was an English princess, member of the House of Stuart, and by marriage Princess of Orange and Countess of Nassau; she also acted as regent for her minor son from 1651 to 1660. She also was the first holder of the title Princess Royal.

Grace Jones Jamaican singer, actress and model

Grace Beverly Jones is a Jamaican-American model, singer, songwriter, and actress. In 1999, Jones ranked 82nd on VH1's 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll, and in 2008, she was honored with a Q Idol Award. Jones influenced the cross-dressing movement of the 1980s and has been an inspiration for artists including Annie Lennox, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Solange, Lorde, Róisín Murphy, Brazilian Girls, Nile Rodgers, Santigold, and Basement Jaxx. In 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 40th greatest dance club artist of all time.

Betty Garrett American actress, comedian, singer and dancer (1919–2011)

Betty Garrett was an American actress, comedian, singer and dancer. She originally performed on Broadway, and was then signed to a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She appeared in several musical films, then returned to Broadway and made guest appearances on several television series.

Wanda Jackson American singer, songwriter, and musician

Wanda LaVonne Jackson is an American singer and songwriter. She was among the first women to have a career in rock and roll, recording a series of 1950s singles that helped give her the title "The Queen of Rockabilly". She is also a country music artist and is considered among the genre's first female stars.

Wives of Henry VIII Six queens consort wedded to Henry VIII of England between 1509 and his death in 1547

In common parlance, the wives of Henry VIII were the six queens consort wedded to Henry between 1509 and his death in 1547. In legal terms, King Henry VIII of England had only three wives, because three of his marriages were annulled by the Church of England. However, he was never granted an annulment by the Pope, as he desired, for Catherine of Aragon, his first wife. Annulments declare that a true marriage never took place, unlike a divorce, in which a married couple end their union. Along with his six wives, Henry took several mistresses.

The Hundred Pipers

"The Hundred Pipers" is a Scottish song and jig attributed to Carolina Nairne, Lady Nairne and popularised from 1852 onwards. It takes as its themes events during and after the Jacobite Rising of 1745.

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark (1906–1969) Margravine of Baden

Princess Theodora of Greece and Denmark was by birth a Greek and Danish princess as well as Margravine of Baden through her marriage to Berthold, pretender to the throne of the Grand Duchy of Baden.

The Bonnie Banks o Loch Lomond Traditional Scottish folk song

"The Bonnie Banks o' Loch Lomond", or "Loch Lomond" for short, is a Scottish song. The song prominently features Loch Lomond, the largest Scottish loch, located between the council areas of West Dunbartonshire, Stirling and Argyll and Bute. In Scots, "bonnie" means "attractive", "beloved", or "dear".

Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark Princess consort of Hohenlohe-Langenburg

Princess Margarita of Greece and Denmark was by birth a Greek and Danish princess as well as Princess of Hohenlohe-Langenburg by marriage. A sister-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, she was for a time linked to the Nazi regime.

Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark Princess Christoph of Hesse

Princess Sophie of Greece and Denmark was by birth a Greek and Danish princess as well as Princess of Hesse-Kassel and Princess of Hanover through her successive marriages to Prince Christoph of Hesse and Prince George William of Hanover. A sister-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, she was for a time linked to the Nazi regime.

William Home, 8th Earl of Home

Lieutenant General William Home, 8th Earl of Home was a Scottish peer and the British Governor of Gibraltar between 1757 and 1761. Lord Home was a well-known spendthrift.

Byrdie Green Musical artist

Byrdie Green was a jazz and R&B singer from Michigan.

Catherine Stephens, Countess of Essex

Catherine Stephens, Countess of Essex was an English operatic singer and actress.

Marie Recio French opera singer

Marie Recio, née Marie-Geneviève Martin was a French 19th-century opera singer (mezzo-soprano), the second wife of Hector Berlioz.

Elizabeth Poole (singer)

Elizabeth Poole (1820–1906), was a British opera and concert soprano singer and actress of the 19th century.


The Hundred Pipers, music arranged by Elizabeth Rainforth - sheet music cover c.1852 The Hundred Pipers - sheet music cover c.1852.jpg
The Hundred Pipers, music arranged by Elizabeth Rainforth - sheet music cover c.1852
  1. 1 2 British Museum.
  2. Gilliland 2004.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Legge 1897.
  4. Fuld 2000.
  5. Weekly Review 1852.
  6. The University of Reading.
  7. Brown 1901.
  8. Kuntz 2010.
Works cited

Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Legge, Robin Humphrey (1896). "Rainforth, Elizabeth". In Lee, Sidney (ed.). Dictionary of National Biography . 47. London: Smith, Elder & Co.