Francesca Lebrun

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Francesca Lebrun, in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia Franziska Lebrun-Danzi.jpg
Francesca Lebrun, in the collection of the Art Gallery of South Australia

Francesca Lebrun, née Danzi (24 March 1756 – 14 May 1791), was a noted 18th-century German singer and composer.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

She was born Franziska Dorothea Danzi in Mannheim, Germany. Her father was the Italian-born cellist Innocenz Danzi and her younger brother was the composer and cellist Franz Danzi (1763–1826). She was renowned for her vocal dexterity and highly sought after by notable contemporaries, such as Anton Schweitzer, Ignaz Holzbauer, and Antonio Salieri, for the lead roles in their most challenging opuses.

Mannheim Place in Baden-Württemberg, Germany

Mannheim is a city in the southwestern part of Germany, the third-largest in the German state of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart and Karlsruhe with a 2015 population of approximately 305,000 inhabitants. The city is at the centre of the larger densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region which has a population of 2,400,000 and is Germany's eighth-largest metropolitan region.

Franz Danzi German composer and musician

Franz Ignaz Danzi was a German cellist, composer and conductor, the son of the noted Italian cellist Innocenz Danzi (1730–98). Born in Schwetzingen, Franz Danzi worked in Mannheim, Munich, Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, where he died.

Anton Schweitzer German composer

Anton Schweitzer was a German composer of operas, who was affiliated with Abel Seyler's theatrical company.

Her talent extended beyond the stage to the manuscript tablet[ citation needed ] and the keyboard; twelve sonatas of hers for fortepiano and violin survive, six of which have been recorded.


Francesca was the eldest child in the family of gifted musicians. Her mother (Barbara Toeschi), a dancer, and her father (Innocenz Danzi), an Italian cellist, were the core of the elite elector Mannheim court performers in the late 1750s. Her brothers, Franz (Ignaz) and Johann Baptist, were cellist and violinist respectively and were successful composers.

She made her first public appearance as a singer at the age of 16 and the following year was engaged by the Mannheim Opera. There seems to be some debate whether she first performed in Gassmann’s L’amore artigiano in May 1772, or Sacchini’s La Contadina in Corte, the role for which she earned the title virtuosa da camera. She stayed with the Mannheim court opera for four years and was cast in the premier roles: Parthenia in Anton Schweitzer's Alceste (1775, Schlosstheater Schwetzingen), and Anna in Holzbauer’s Günther von Schwarzburg (1777), a role composed specifically for her voice. At twenty-one she traveled to London to sing four opera series by J.C. Bach & Sacchini.

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen palace theatre in Schwetzingen, Germany

Schlosstheater Schwetzingen is a court theater in Schwetzingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany. The historic building, opened in 1753, is part of Schloss Schwetzingen and since 1952 the principal venue of the Schwetzingen Festival. It is also called Hoftheater, Hofoper, and Comoedienhaus. The frequently applied name Rokokotheater is misleading, because it shows also neoclassical elements, added in 1762.

Günther von Schwarzburg German king

Günther XXI von Schwarzburg, King of Germany, was a descendant of the counts of Schwarzburg and the younger son of Henry VII, Count of Schwarzburg-Blankenburg.

In 1778, she married oboe virtuoso and composer Ludwig August Lebrun (1752–1790) from Mannheim. That summer, now known as Signora Lebrun, she toured Italy with Ludwig. At the opening of the Teatro alla Scala in Milan on August 3, 1778, Francesca Lebrun was the female lead in Antonio Salieri's opera Europa Riconosciuta . She created a sensation in 1779 in Paris at the Concert Spirituel through her ability to fit Italian words to instrumental parts of symphonies concertantes and sing them. The Lebruns lived in London from 1779 through 1781 while Francesca appeared at the King's Theater. In 1780 the celebrated English artist Thomas Gainsborough painted her portrait.

Oboe musical instrument of the woodwind family

Oboes belong to the classification of double reed woodwind instruments. Oboes are usually made of wood, but there are also oboes made of synthetic materials. The most common oboe plays in the treble or soprano range. A soprano oboe measures roughly 65 cm long, with metal keys, a conical bore and a flared bell. Sound is produced by blowing into the reed at a sufficient air pressure, causing it to vibrate with the air column. The distinctive tone is versatile and has been described as "bright". When the word oboe is used alone, it is generally taken to mean the treble instrument rather than other instruments of the family, such as the bass oboe, the cor anglais, or oboe d'amore

Ludwig August Lebrun was a German oboist and composer.

Milan Italian city

Milan is a city in northern Italy, capital of Lombardy, and the second-most populous city in Italy after Rome, with the city proper having a population of 1,372,810 while its metropolitan city has a population of 3,245,308. Its continuously built-up urban area has a population estimated to be about 5,270,000 over 1,891 square kilometres. The wider Milan metropolitan area, known as Greater Milan, is a polycentric metropolitan region that extends over central Lombardy and eastern Piedmont and which counts an estimated total population of 7.5 million, making it by far the largest metropolitan area in Italy and the 54th largest in the world. Milan served as capital of the Western Roman Empire from 286 to 402 and the Duchy of Milan during the medieval period and early modern age.

Her compositions for Fortepiano and Violin were published in 1780. Schubart noted that she could sing A, 3 octaves above middle C with ‘clarity and distinctness’. Charles Burney wrote that and when she and her husband performed divisions of thirds and sixths it was impossible to discover who was uppermost of the interval. A celebrated soprano, she sang on major operatic and concert stages through Europe, including England, Germany and Italy to great acclaim.

Charles Burney 18th/19th-century English music historian

Charles Burney FRS was an English music historian, composer and musician. He was the father of the writers Frances Burney and Sarah Burney, the explorer James Burney, and Charles Burney, classicist and book donor to the British Museum.

Francesca’s family flourished as well, she gave birth to daughter Sophie while in London in June 1781 and daughter Rosine in 1783 in Munich. Francesca and Ludwig toured around Europe again in 1785, spending a season in Naples, then Berlin and London where Ludwig eventually passed in 1790. She performed only twice after his death and survived him by only five months, dying on 14 May 1791 at the age of 35. Incidentally, she was born and died in the same years as Mozart.

She was a respected composer of sonatas for violin and piano. It is thought, too, that she was a fine pianist, as reflected in her writing for the instrument.

Her daughters also became well-known. Rosine Lebrun (1783–1855) was a successful opera singer and actress and was a member of the Munich theatre company, 1801–30. Sophie [Dülken] (1781-1863) became a well-known pianist and composer. Sophie’s daughters and their daughters also became musicians.


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Antonio Sacchini Italian opera composer

Antonio Maria Gasparo Gioacchino Sacchini was an Italian composer, best known for his operas.

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Danzi or D'Anzi may refer to:

<i>G√ľnther von Schwarzburg</i> (opera) opera by Ignaz Holzbauer

Günther von Schwarzburg is a Singspiel in three acts by Ignaz Holzbauer set to a German libretto by Anton Klein. Loosely based on events in the life of the 14th-century German king, Günther von Schwarzburg, the opera premiered on 5 January 1777 at the Hoftheater in the Mannheim Palace.

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Sophie Lebrun Dulken was a German pianist and composer, the daughter of Munich court oboist Ludwig August Lebrun and singer and composer Francesca Lebrun. Sophie Lebrun was born in London while her mother was on tour. She studied singing with her uncle, composer Franz Danzi, and piano with Andreas Streicher.

Hofkapelle Stuttgart is a German orchestra based in Stuttgart which has existed since the 16th century. It was the band of the House of Württemberg. Since 2002, it is an orchestra founded by Frieder Bernius to play Baroque music in historically informed performance.