Five Centuries of Women Singers

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Greenwood Publishing Group, 2005 - Biography & Autobiography - 331 pages
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"Five Centuries of Women Singers" explores the careers of twenty singers from the late sixteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. In addition to personal information, the stories of these singers tell a great deal about contemporary musical life, about musical and dramatic ideals of the time, and about performance practice. The experiences of the singers also reveal much about the business of music --how women were dealt with by teachers, impresarios, composers, and audiences--and the perseverance and pluck that were and are crucial ingredients of a successful career. The twenty singers were selected on the basis of their contribution to and influence on the art of singing, their significance in the history of performance, what their careers reveal about the life of a professional female musician, and finally for the originality of their achievements. All of the singers included reached the pinnacle of their art with persistence, ingenuity, and unsurpassed musicianship.

 

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Contents

Ladies of Italy
1
Laura Peverara c 15451601
3
Vittoria Concarini Archilei 1550c 1642
8
Virginia Andrea Ramponi Andreini 1583c 1630
12
Adriana Basile c 1580c 1642
14
Francesca Caccini 1587 c 1645
23
Barbara Strozzi 16191677
31
Anna Renzi c 1620 1660 or later
43
Giuditta Pasta 17971865
113
Wilhelmine SchroderDevrient 18041860
137
Jenny Lind 1820 1887
151
Pauline Garcia Viardot 18211910
169
Lillian Nordica 1857 1914
187
Nellie Melba 18611931
215
Jane Bathori 18771970
231
Marian Anderson 18971993
245

Marie Le Rochois c 16589 October 1728
51
Francesca Cuzzoni 1696 1778
59
Faustina Bordoni 17001781
65
Gertrud Elisabeth Schmahling Mara 17491833
77
Anna Selina Storace 17651817
97

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Page 2 - ... heard an echo answer unexpectedly. They accompanied the music and the sentiment with appropriate facial expressions, glances and gestures, with no awkward movements of the mouth or hands or body which might not express the feeling of the song. They made the words clear in such a way that one could hear even the last syllable of every word, which was never interrupted or suppressed by passages and other embellishments.
Page 2 - Furthermore, they moderated or increased their voices, loud or soft, heavy or light, according to the demands of the piece they were singing; now slow, breaking off with sometimes a gentle sigh, now singing long passages legato or detached, now groups, now leaps, now with long trills, now with short, and again with sweet running passages sung softly, to which sometimes one heard an echo answer unexpectedly.

About the author (2005)

Isabelle Emerson is Professor of Music, Department of Music, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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