Men of the Time, eleventh edition/Alboni, Maria

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ALBONI, Maria, was born at Cesena, in the States of the Church, in 1824. Her father, who held a post in the customs department, gave her a good education. Having, at an early age, given proof of possessing an exquisite taste for music and singing, she became the pupil of Rossini, and at fifteen made her début at the Communal Theatre at Bologna. It was a great success, and led to her being engaged at the theatre of La Scala, at Milan, where she established her reputation so firmly that she undertook a professional tour through most of the capitals of Europe, and appeared, in 1846, at Covent Garden Theatre, London, then under the direction of Mr. Delafield. Here she presented a counter attraction to Jenny Lind at the rival house of Her Majesty's Theatre, and was at once enrolled amongst the leading singers of Europe. In 1847 she went to France, and in October gave three or four concerts at the Parisian Opera, and succeeded in attaining the highest position. She accepted an engagement, on her own terms, from M. Vatel, the director of the Italian Opera, and played in succession the parts of Arsace in "Semiramide"; of Malcolm in "Donna del Lago;" and of Orsinia in "Lucrezia Borgia;" besides appearing in "Cenerentola," "Il Barbiere," and other pieces. Madame Alboni has visited America and other countries, in all of which she has experienced an enthusiastic reception, and has appeared during provincial tours at Dublin, Edinburgh, Birmingham, Manchester, and most of the larger cities of the three kingdoms. During the last few seasons of her professional career Madame Alboni was engaged at Her Majesty's Theatre, and there was scarcely an opera of high merit in which she did not appear. Madame Alboni's celebrity as a lyric artiste is chiefly owing to the power, fine quality, flexibility, and compass of her rich contralto voice, which ranges as high as that of a mezzo-soprano; and her florid style of singing is rendered the more effective by her vivacity and grace. Some years since this lady became the wife of Count Pepolo, of the Roman States, though she retained upon the stage to the last that maiden name under which she first became a favourite, and she retired from public life in 1863.