Marcella Sembrich (February 15, 1858 – January 11, 1935) was the stage name of the Polish coloratura soprano, Prakseda Marcelina Kochańska. She had an important international singing career, chiefly at the New York Metropolitan Opera and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, London.
The word coloratura is originally from Italian, literally meaning "coloring", and derives from the Latin word colorare. When used in English, the term specifically refers to elaborate melody, particularly in vocal music and especially in operatic singing of the 18th and 19th centuries, with runs, trills, wide leaps, or similar virtuoso-like material. Its instrumental equivalent is ornamentation. It is also now widely used to refer to passages of such music, operatic roles in which such music plays a prominent part, and singers of these roles.
A soprano[soˈpraːno] is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range of all voice types. The soprano's vocal range (using scientific pitch notation) is from approximately middle C (C4) = 261 Hz to "high A" (A5) =880 Hz in choral music, or to "soprano C" (C6, two octaves above middle C) =1046 Hz or higher in operatic music. In four-part chorale style harmony, the soprano takes the highest part, which often encompasses the melody. The soprano voice type is generally divided into the coloratura, soubrette, lyric, spinto, and dramatic soprano.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2017 population of 8,622,698 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 20,320,876 people in its 2017 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 23,876,155 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
Sembrich was born at Wisniewczyk, in Austrian Galicia, now part of Ukraine. She first studied violin and piano with her father. Later, she entered the Lemberg Conservatory and studied piano with her future husband Wilhelm Stengel and violin with Sigismond Bruckmann. She entered the Vienna Conservatory in Autumn 1875. It was only then that her remarkable voice was discovered. She studied violin with Joseph Hellmesberger Sr., piano with Julius Epstein, and voice with Viktor Rokitansky. After a year it was decided to give up study of the violin and piano and fully devote the young student to voice lessons. She arrived in Milan in September 1876 to study with one of the best vocal teachers on the continent, namely Giovanni Battista Lamperti, son of the eminent teacher Francesco Lamperti, with whom she would later study in 1885.
Vyshnivchyk is a village in the Terebovlya Raion area of the Ternopil Oblast, Ukraine. Located on the western bank of the Strypa river. It neighbours the village of Zarvanytsia. Its existence was first mentioned in writings in 1564 and currently has a population of 627.
Ukraine, sometimes called the Ukraine, is a country in Eastern Europe. Excluding Crimea, Ukraine has a population of about 42.5 million, making it the 32nd most populous country in the world. Its capital and largest city is Kiev. Ukrainian is the official language and its alphabet is Cyrillic. The dominant religions in the country are Eastern Orthodoxy and Greek Catholicism. Ukraine is currently in a territorial dispute with Russia over the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Including Crimea, Ukraine has an area of 603,628 km2 (233,062 sq mi), making it the largest country entirely within Europe and the 46th largest country in the world.
Lviv National Musical Academy named after Mykola Lysenko or informally Lviv Conservatory is a state conservatory located in Lviv (Ukraine).
After less than a year of study with the younger of the two Lampertis, Sembrich made her debut in opera at Athens as Elvira in Bellini's I puritani on June 3, 1877. She sang not only Puritani, but also Dinorah , Lucia di Lammermoor , Robert le diable and La sonnambula ! It is a testament to her proper early training and intelligence that a 19-year-old soprano could learn so many roles in a foreign language so quickly. While her success was solid, she still had much to learn. After Athens she was to appear with the Vienna Opera, but due to pregnancy she broke the contract. During her pregnancy and after the birth of her first son, Wilhelm Marcel, she continued her vocal studies, this time with Marie Seebach and Richard Lewey in Vienna.
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece. Athens dominates the Attica region and is one of the world's oldest cities, with its recorded history spanning over 3,400 years and its earliest human presence starting somewhere between the 11th and 7th millennium BC.
Elvira is a female given name. First recorded in medieval Spain, it is likely of Germanic (Gothic) origin.
Vincenzo Salvatore Carmelo Francesco Bellini was an Italian opera composer, who was known for his long-flowing melodic lines for which he was named "the Swan of Catania". Many years later, in 1898, Giuseppe Verdi "praised the broad curves of Bellini's melody: 'there are extremely long melodies as no-one else had ever made before'."
After a long and frustrating search for an opera engagement, she was hired as a guest at the Dresden Royal Opera House in September 1878, debuting as Lucia. Her success was immediate and she was dubbed the "Polish Patti." She was immediately made a member of the company and remained in Dresden battling opera house politics, until 1880. She broke her contract at Dresden and sang a number of concerts to raise money to go to London. She had an auspicious audition with the impresario Ernest Gye at Covent Garden and signed a contract there for five seasons. In June 1880 she created a sensation in her debut at Covent Garden as Lucia in Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor. She became a great favorite in the characters of Zerlina, Don Giovanni ; Susanna, The Marriage of Figaro ; Konstanze, The Abduction from the Seraglio ; Lady Harriet/Martha, Martha ; and, of course, Lucia.
Adelina Patti was an Italian-French 19th-century opera singer, earning huge fees at the height of her career in the music capitals of Europe and America. She first sang in public as a child in 1851, and gave her last performance before an audience in 1914. Along with her near contemporaries Jenny Lind and Thérèse Tietjens, Patti remains one of the most famous sopranos in history, owing to the purity and beauty of her lyrical voice and the unmatched quality of her bel canto technique.
Covent Garden is a district in Greater London, on the eastern fringes of the West End, between Charing Cross Road and Drury Lane. It is associated with the former fruit-and-vegetable market in the central square, now a popular shopping and tourist site, and with the Royal Opera House, which is also known as "Covent Garden". The district is divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre, north of which is given over to independent shops centred on Neal's Yard and Seven Dials, while the south contains the central square with its street performers and most of the historical buildings, theatres and entertainment facilities, including the London Transport Museum and the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Don Giovanni is an opera in two acts with music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Italian libretto by Lorenzo Da Ponte. It is based on the legends of Don Juan, a fictional libertine and seducer. It was premiered by the Prague Italian opera at the National Theater, now called the Estates Theatre, on 29 October 1787. Da Ponte's libretto was billed as a dramma giocoso, a common designation of its time that denotes a mixing of serious and comic action. Mozart entered the work into his catalogue as an opera buffa. Although sometimes classified as comic, it blends comedy, melodrama and supernatural elements.
In 1883, Marcella Sembrich went to the United States to sing in the newly founded Metropolitan Opera company. She made her Met debut as Lucia in the company premiere of Lucia di Lammermoor on October 24, 1883. She was also the Met's first Elvira in I Puritani, Violetta in La Traviata, Amina in La Sonnambula, Gilda in Rigoletto , Marguerite in Les Huguenots and Rosina in Il Barbiere di Siviglia. Due to the terrific financial loss of the company that year, Italian opera was abandoned and German opera reigned supreme at the Met for the next dozen years or so. While away from New York, Sembrich was a tremendous favorite at the Italian Opera in St. Petersburg, Russia, from 1890 to 1897.
The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States or America, is a country comprising 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is slightly smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U.S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D.C., and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico. The State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean. The U.S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The extremely diverse geography, climate, and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Amina was a Hausa warrior queen of the city-state Zazzau, in what is now in the north-west region of Nigeria. She is the subject of many legends, but is believed by historians to have been a real ruler. There are controversies among scholars as to the era of her reign; one school placing her in the mid-15th century, and a second placing her reign in the mid to late 16th century.
Gilda is a 1946 American film noir directed by Charles Vidor and starring Rita Hayworth in her signature role as the ultimate femme fatale and Glenn Ford as a young thug. The film is known for cinematographer Rudolph Maté's lush photography, costume designer Jean Louis's wardrobe for Hayworth, and choreographer Jack Cole's staging of "Put the Blame on Mame" and "Amado Mio", sung by Anita Ellis. In 2013, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant".
Sembrich returned to the Met in 1898. In total, she sang more than 450 Met performances in her 11 seasons there, and remained associated with the company until 1909, when the silver jubilee of her Met debut was celebrated with a farewell gala. She gave recitals until 1917. After this date, she taught students from the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia and at the Juilliard School of Music. Her students included Alma Gluck, Hulda Lashanska, Queena Mario, Edna de Lima, Dusolina Giannini, Josephine Antoine, Natalie Bodanya, Polyna Stoska, Jane Pickens. Additionally, some of her students in turn became important vocal teachers around the country. Among them were Anna Hamlin (teacher of Judith Raskin) at Smith College, Edith Piper and Florence Page Kimball (teacher of Leontyne Price) at Juilliard, Eufemia Gregory (teacher of Anna Moffo, Judith Blegen and Frank Guarrera) at the Curtis Institute.
Alma Gluck was a Romanian-born American soprano.
Hulda Lashanska was an American soprano.
Queena Mario was the stage name of Queena Marian Tillotson, an American soprano opera singer, newspaper columnist, voice teacher, and fiction writer.
The outbreak of World War I had made it impossible for the diva to return to her beloved Alps during the summers. Sembrich turned instead to the Adirondack Mountains area and spent summers at Lake Placid from 1915 to 1921, and then at a home on Lake George from 1922 to 1934. The Marcella Sembrich Opera Museum can be found at Bolton Landing, New York. The museum contains many mementos from the diva's career.
She died on January 11, 1935 at her home, 151 Central Park West in Manhattan, New York City.
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.
Renata Scotto is an Italian soprano and opera director.
Elvira de Hidalgo was a prominent Spanish coloratura soprano, who later became a teacher and vocal coach. Her most famous pupil was Maria Callas.
Margherita Carosio was an Italian operatic soprano. Her voice is preserved in many Parlophone and Ultraphon recordings made before World War II, as well as a memorable series made for HMV in London, beginning in 1946. She was still singing leading roles in her early sixties and was considered one of the leading bel canto sopranos of her day. She was born and died in Genoa.
Lucia Aliberti is a Sicilian soprano opera singer. She performed the bel canto roles of Bellini, Rossini, Donizetti, Verdi, Puccini, Vivaldi, Mercadante, etc.
June Anderson is a Grammy Award-winning American dramatic coloratura soprano. Originally known for bel canto performances of Rossini, Donizetti, and Vincenzo Bellini, she was the first non-Italian ever to win the prestigious Bellini d'Oro prize.
Natalie Dessay is a French singer and actress who had a highly acclaimed career as an operatic coloratura soprano before leaving the opera stage on 15 October 2013.
Margreta Elkins AM was an Australian mezzo-soprano. She sang at The Royal Opera and with Opera Australia and other companies, but turned down offers to sing at the Metropolitan Opera, Bayreuth and Glyndebourne. She recorded alongside sopranos such as Maria Callas and Joan Sutherland.
Mercedes Capsir was a Catalan Spanish opera singer, a high coloratura soprano, particularly associated with light Italian roles, such as Lucia and Gilda.
María Barrientos was a Spanish opera singer, a light coloratura soprano.
Sarah Coburn is an American operatic soprano who was born in Petersburg, Virginia and is the daughter of former United States Senator from Oklahoma, Tom Coburn. She graduated from Oklahoma State University and then received a Master of Music degree from Oklahoma City University, studying under Larry Wade Keller.
Giovanni Battista Lamperti was an Italian singing teacher and son of the singing teacher Francesco Lamperti. He is the author of The Technics of Bel Canto (1905) and source for Vocal Wisdom: Maxims of Giovanni Battista Lamperti (1931).
Margarethe Siems was a German operatic soprano and voice teacher. A Kammersängerin of the Dresden State Opera, between 1909 and 1912 Siems created leading roles in three operas by Richard Strauss: Chrysothemis in Elektra, the Marschallin in Der Rosenkavalier, and Zerbinetta in Ariadne auf Naxos.
Youngok Shin is a South Korean lyric coloratura soprano known for her interpretations of the bel canto repertoire.
Aglaja Orgeni, real name Anna Maria von Görger St. Jörgen, was a Hungarian operatic coloratura soprano.
Joanna Woś is a Polish operatic coloratura soprano.
Jessica Pratt is an operatic soprano. Born in Bristol, England, she has lived in Australia since 1991 and is the daughter of a tenor. She began by studying the trumpet for ten years before concentrating her studies on singing.
Darina Takova is a Bulgarian soprano and teacher. She is one of the leading sopranos of her generation.
Regina Isabel Luisa Pacini Quintero was a lyric soprano, First Lady of Argentina, who married with the Argentine political Marcelo Torcuato de Alvear.
Venera Gimadieva is a Russian operatic soprano. She is invited to the opera houses around the world as one of the leading lyric-coloratura sopranos of her generation.
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