A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Camporese, Violante

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CAMPORESE, Violante, was born at Rome, 1785. She belonged to a good family, and had cultivated music only as an amateur; but, having married a gentleman of the noble family of Giustiniani, she found herself compelled by circumstances to practise it as a profession. She appeared at first only in concerts. Possessed as she was of a very good soprano voice and great facility of execution, she was already a talented singer, when she was engaged for the private concerts of Napoleon in Paris, where she so profited by the lessons of Crescentini as to become an admirable artist. Ebers, while in Paris in the autumn of 1816, was introduced to Mme. Camporese at the house of Paer, and gives a good account of her voice, style, and appearance. She possessed a fine-toned voice of more than two octaves, from C in alt. to A below; but her best notes were from C to F. She 'cultivated a pure, chaste, and expressive style, was a handsome and elegant woman of 31, with dark hair, eyes, and complexion, a tall, slender figure, a fine Roman countenance full of tragic dignity, and features rather strongly marked.' The purity and force of her singing, and the exquisite quality of her voice, were united to an execution refined, polished, and free from any effort at display. From Paris she went to Milan, where she sang at La Scala to crowded and enthusiastic houses. While there, she is said to have given up an evening engagement in order to visit a poor insane musician in the hospital, whom she soothed by singing to him. She was as kind and charitable as she was talented. In 1817 she was engaged for the King's Theatre in London, and made her début on Jan. 11, in Cimarosa's 'Penelope.' She was not accustomed to the stage, and was therefore at first nervous and embarrassed, and made little effect. A critic of the day said, 'Her intonation is generally good, and her science is indisputable. It is alike manifest in what she does and in what she declines. She never attempts in the way of ornament what she cannot perfectly execute. Catalani takes her hearers by storm; Camporese wins by more quiet, more regular, but not less certain approaches.' As Susanna in 'Le Nozze di Figaro,' she established her reputation, and this success was followed by another when she played Donna Anna in 'Don Giovanni.' In May she appeared as Agnese in Paer's opera of that name, taken from Mrs. Opie's 'Father and Daughter,' in which she delighted the critics by her pure and tasteful singing. Ambrogetti's acting, however, was so strongly and painfully dramatic, that the piece gave more pain than pleasure, and was soon withdrawn. In July 'La Clemenza di Tito' was given, Camporese sustaining the principal part of Sesto. Lord Mount-Edgcumbe declares that she gave more effect to it than Braham or Tramezzani. She sang also at the Ancient Music and Philharmonic Concerts. Owing to a mistake, she was not re-engaged for the opera, and she consequently went to Milan. After singing there and at other places in Italy, she returned in 1821 to London, with an engagement for the season at a salary of £1550, with extra allowance for costumes, permission to sing at concerts, and her salary paid in advance. Meanwhile she was welcomed in all ranks of society, even the most exclusive. She sang, March 10, in 'La Gazza ladra,' with the greatest éclat; but, thinking she could succeed in comic parts still more than in tragic, she attempted Zerlina, but had the good sense not to repeat the experiment. In 1822 she was again engaged, and appeared in 'Le Nozze di Figaro' and 'Otello'; and she sang also at the concerts at the Argyll Rooms. She appeared again at the King's Theatre in 1823, bringing out at her benefit Rossini's 'Riccardo e Zoraide,' in which opera she took her leave Aug. 5. In 1824 she again returned; but her voice was worn, and she could not bear comparison with Malibran and Sontag, then in full force. She prudently retired to Rome; but we find her singing in Rossini's 'Aureliano' and other operas at Ancona, 1827. Two years later she came once more to London, and sang in concerts; but her voice was gone, and her performance was not successful. She had a public benefit concert, with guinea tickets, June 12. She was still living in 1860 [App. p.576 "She died at Rome, 1839].

[ J. M. ]