Page:A Dictionary of Music and Musicians vol 1.djvu/274

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

and 'Respira almen' in 'Tolomeo.' His voice was very powerful, and he could hold his own against Handel's accompaniments, which appeared very noisy to critics of those days. In a satire called 'Harlequin Horace, or the Art of Modern Poetry,' 1735, this line occurs,—

    'And Boschi-like be always in a rage,'

to which the following note is appended: 'A useful performer for several years in the Italian operas, for if any of the audience chanced unhappily to be lulled to sleep by these soothing entertainments, he never failed of rousing them up again, and by the extraordinary fury both of his voice and action, made it manifest that, though only a tailor by profession, he was nine times more a man than any of his fellow-warblers.' His wife, Francesca Vanini, a contralto, had been a great singer, but came to London when much past her prime and her voice failing. She sang in 1711 as Goffredo in Handel's 'Rinaldo'; but in 1712 this was given to Margarita de l'Epine, and Boschi's wife appeared no more.

[ J. M. ]

BOSIO, Angiolina, born at Turin August 22, 1830, belonged to a family of artists, both musical and dramatic. She was educated at Milan, and learned singing under Cataneo. She made her first appearance at the age of sixteen, July 1846, in 'I Due Foscari' at Milan. After a short time she went to Verona, and thence to Copenhagen, confirming at each place the promise of excellence which she had already given. At Copenhagen no effort was spared to retain her for a prolonged engagement, but the climate was intolerable to her. She next appeared at Madrid, where she was enthusiastically applauded, and her re-engagement demanded unanimously. In 1848 she appeared in Paris in 'I Due Foscari,' but this time without effect. She went immediately to the Havana, and thence to New York, Philadelphia, and Boston. At all these places she was much admired. In 1851 she returned to Europe, and married a Greek gentleman named Xindavelonis. She was engaged for the next season by Mr. Gye at Covent Garden, and made her début in 'L'Elisir d'Amore,' July 15, 1852. Of her person all could judge; but her voice seemed wiry, strange, perpetually out of tune, and her execution wild and ambitious. Never was a first appearance more scant in musical promise of one who was destined during her short career to become so deservedly great a favourite. But Madame Bosio was curiously made up of contradictions. Her features were irregular and ill-formed; yet on the stage she was so pleasing as to be known by the sobriquet of 'Beaux yeux.' 'Next to Madame Sontag, she was the most ladylike person whom I,' says Mr. Chorley, 'have seen on the stage of the Italian Opera. She had a certain condescending gracefulness, which made up for coldness. This demeanour, and her happy taste in dress, had no small influence on the rapid growth of her popularity, which grew to exceed that of Madame Persiani, whom she replaced, and whom by many she was thought to surpass, though in no respect her equal as a singer.' At the end of this season she made her first hit in 'I Puritani,' taking the place of Grisi, who had declined to sing. This was the turning point of Bosio's fortune. During the winter she was the prima donna at Paris, and reappeared in the next spring in London in 'Matilda di Shabran,' 'Jessonda,' and 'Rigoletto.' The latter was produced May 14. 'Her gay handsome face, her winning mezzosoprano voice, not without a Cremona tone in it, redeeming the voice from lusciousness, and her neat, lively execution, were all displayed in this part, short as it is.' From this date Bosio met with nothing but most brilliant success. In 1854 she reappeared in 'Il Barbiere,' and the critics had no words too glowing to express their admiration. In 'I Puritani' she was, with the exception of course of Grisi, the best Elvira that had been seen. The winter season found her again in Paris, and the spring of 1855 in London at the Royal Italian Opera,—in 'Ernani' and 'Le Comte Ory.' She sang at the Norwich Festival, receiving £300 for four days. That same year she accepted an engagement at St. Petersburg, the terms being 100,000 francs for four months, with a guaranteed benefit of 15,000 francs and a permission to sing at private concerts. Her success was extraordinary. Thence she went to Moscow. In 1856 she returned to Covent Garden. Her most remarkable performance was in 'La Traviata,' in which she presented a very different reading of the character to that of Mlle. Piccolomini at the other house. In 1857 she reappeared in 'La Traviata,' and in 'Fra Diavolo' with Gardoni and Ronconi. In 1858, after again singing at St. Petersburg with the greatest success, she returned to London in May and reappeared at the new theatre, Covent Garden. Returning again to St. Petersburg she was nominated première cantatrice, an honour never bestowed before. On April 12, 1859, she suddenly died. Her delicate constitution could not endure the rigorous climate of Russia. Never was the loss of an admired singer and charming artist more acutely felt by the whole musical public. She was buried with public ceremonial, April 15, in the cathedral vaults at St. Petersburg.

[ J. M. ]

BOTTÉE DE TOULMON, an amateur, who was Librarian to the Conservatoire of Paris from Aug. 1831 till his death; born at Paris May 15, 1797, died there, from an attack brought on by the Revolution of 1848, March 22, 1850. His merits appear to have been chiefly those of devotion and perseverance. According to Fétis' account (Biogr. Univ.) he was incompetent and inaccurate, and his works—treatises on musical history and archæology, of which Fétis gives a list—appear not to be trustworthy. But he deserves the gratitude of all students of music for having published the catalogue of the compositions of Cherubini, which was kept up year by year by that master, and published after his death under the title of 'Notice des Manuscrits Autographes de Musique composée par feu M. L. C. Z.