GISELLE, ou les Wilis. A Ballet by Adolphe Adam on a plot adapted from Heine by Théophile Gautier; produced at the Grand Opera July 4, 1841, at Her Majesty's March 12, 1842. It contained one of Carlotta Grisi's greatest parts.
The subject was employed by Loder in his opera of 'The Wilis, or The Night Dancers.'GISMONDI, Celeste, a mezzo-soprano engaged at the opera in London from 1732–34. She made her first appearance (Dec. 1732) as Lisaura in Handel's 'Alessandro.' She played a small part in the 'Orlando ' (1733), one of her songs in which ('Amor e qual vento') contains Handel's first venture at a 'diminished seventh.' Parts were assigned to her (1733) also in 'Deborah,' 'Tolomeo,' and 'Ottone,' but, after this, she is said by M. Schcelcher to have assisted in setting up the rival theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The newspapers of the day (Nov. 3, 1735), however, give another account of her secession, by announcing the death of 'Signora Celeste Gismondi ... Wife to Mr. Hempson an English Gentleman, on Tuesday [Oct. 28], after a lingering Illness. She perform'd in Mr. Handel's Operas for several Winters with great Applause, but did not sing this season on any stage, on Account of her Indisposition.'Antonio, [App. p.648 "born at Fano in 1827 (Paloschi)"] appeared here first in 1857 at Her Majesty's Theatre. He possessed a sweet and high tenor voice, which was 'a welcome variety after the stentorian exhibitions of recent singers before him; and an elegance of style of which some critics, nevertheless, complained as cold, languid, and over drawn-out' (Chorley). He was the best that had been heard since the arrival of Tamberlik, and remained singing here for some years. His career was not long, and terminated in a very melancholy manner; in 1862 he became insane, and he died at Pesaro, Oct. 12, 1865.Cecilia née Bianchi, a somewhat distinguished prima donna in the latter years of the 18th century. She appeared in London (April 5, 1788) in 'Giulio Sabino' with the great Marchesi. With a good figure, face, and style, she had a voice too thin and small for the theatre; and this caused her to force its tones so much that she sang out of tune. Burney says she had 'a bad shake, and affectation.' She continued to sing during another season, after which her place was taken by Mara. In 1790 she was at Milan; and in 91 at Vienna, where she remained till 96. Fétis speaks of her as a brilliant singer, a judgment differing widely from that of Burney and Lord Mount-Edgcumbe.Josquin sometimes takes in Italian; see for example one of the chants from the 'Studij di Palestrina,' in Burney's Extracts, Brit. Mus. Add. MSS. 11,589.Gioacchino Conti, detto, so-called after his master, D. Gizzi, was one of the greatest singers of the 18th century. Born Feb. 28, 1714, at Arpino (Naples), he early under-went the preparation for the career of a sopranist. He gained a round, full, sweet voice of great extent and penetrating quality, which was united to a strong natural taste and feeling in music. At the age of 15 he made his debut at Rome, with immense success. In 1731 he excited the greatest enthusiasm there by his singing in Vinci's 'Didone' and 'Artaserse.' An anecdote is related of this occasion, showing how much other singers were already affected by his fame. [See Farinelli.] He sang at Naples in 1732 and 33 with the same success. Three years later (April 13, 36), he is announced in the London Newspapers as 'expected here in a few days.' This was the critical moment at which the split occurred in Handel's company, and the great master was at a loss for artists to replace those who had seceded. On May 5, he began with 'Ariodante,' and Gizziello, who then made his first appearance in London, 'met with an uncommon reception; in justice to his voice and judgment, he may be truly esteemed one of the best performers in this kingdom ' (Daily Post). In presence of Farinelli, no more could be said of the young singer, who was still 'so modest and diffident, that when he first heard Farinelli, at a private rehearsal, he burst into tears, and fainted away with despondency' (Burney). 'Atalanta' was brought out May 12, Gizziello again singing the principal man's part, as he did, a little later, in 'Poro.' In 1737 he appeared in 'Arminio,' 'Berenice,' 'Giustino,' and 'Partenope.' In 1743 he went to Lisbon, where the improvement in his style, due to the example of Farinelli, was at once perceived. Charles III, King of Naples, engaged both him and Caffarelli to sing in the 'Acchille in Sciro' of Pergolesi. Caffarelli came from Poland, and Gizziello from Portugal, and met for the first time. The former sang the first song with splendid effect, and Gizziello thought himself lost, as he listened to the continued applause; but he sang his own song, which followed, with such pathos and expression that he divided the honours of the performance. In 1749 he was invited by Farinelli to sing at Madrid with Mingotti; and stayed there three years. He then returned to Portugal. About the end of 1753 he quitted the stage, and settled at his native place. He died at Rome Oct. 25, 1761. An excellent mezzotint portrait of him was scraped by Alex. Van Haecken, after a picture by C. Lucy, in 1736, folio. A good impression of it is scarce.