February 20, 1816~ Rossini’s “Barber of Seville” premieres

Portrait of Gioacchino Rossini by Francesco Hayez, after a photograph by Étienne Carjat

1870 / Oil on canvas / 42 9/10”x34 1/5” / Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, Italy

The premiere of Gioachino Rossini’s opera buffa The Barber of Seville on 20 February 1816 at the Teatro Argentina in Rome was a verifiable disaster! …
http://www.interlude.hk/front/rossini-barber-sevillepremiered-today-1816/

Previous February 20 posts:

February 20~ African-American visual artists

February 20, 1872: The Met opens its doors to the public

Nancy Wilson: Born February 20, 1937

Artist Birthday Quiz for 2/20~

February 1, 1896~ Puccini’s La Bohème premieres

Poster by Adolfo Hohenstein
for the original production of Giacomo Puccini‘s La Bohème

1895 / Lithograph / 40”x26” / The Morgan Library & Museum, NYC

Previous February 1 posts:

February 1~ African-American visual artists

Piet Mondrian: March 7, 1872-February 1, 1944

I Want To Hold Your Hand

Artist Birthday Quiz for 2/1~

Leontyne Price: born on February 10, 1927

Leontyne Price received many honorary degrees as well as the Presidential Medal of Freedom (1965), the Kennedy Center Honors (1980), and the National Medal of Arts (1985). Her many recordings earned nineteen Grammy Awards, and she received a special Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989. For her performance on Live From Lincoln Center, Leontyne Price, Zubin Mehta and the New York Philharmonic, Price received the 1982 Emmy award for Outstanding Individual Performance in a Variety or Music Program.

Price has been described as a “lirico-spinto” soprano with a 3-1/2 octave range. Her rock-solid vocal technique and purity and her dramatic flair have been combined to create a mix suitable both for the opera and concert stage.

– See more at: http://www.afrovoices.com/price.html#top

Maria Callas: Born December 2, 1923

colorCallasMaria made her first professional appearance in von Suppe’s Boccacio in 1939 and sang the leading part in Tosca in 1942. After a series of disappointments and resenting envy by her colleagues, she returned to the American land of her birth. She lived there for two years (1945-1947), met the bass Nicola Rossi – Lemeni and through him came to know the tenor Giovanni Zenatello, artistic director of the Arena of Verona. Maria Kalogeropoulos left for Italy, met the industrialist Giovanni Batista Meneghini, married him, became Maria Callas and experienced her artistic life’s curtain raiser without suspecting that she was about to emerge as the lyric theatre’s most brilliant personality. Her first appearance in Italy as La Gioconda was directed by Tulio Serafin. Her acquaintance with him would lead her to new forms of expression.   http://www.hri.org/MFA/thesis/autumn97/callas.html

Callas’ ability to sing such a wide range of roles was one of the things that led to her meteoric rise. But criticcallasPiano Conrad Osborne says it also contained the seeds of her vocal decline. Callas’ voice was already starting to fail her by the time she was in her 40s — quite young for an opera singer. A number of factors, including a rapid loss of weight, may explain why. But Osborne, who also teaches voice, says Callas lacked the proper technique to sustain her ambitious repertoire.But for Callas fans like James Jorden, the diva more than made up for her vocal flaws with her talent for bringing the music to life. Her imperfections set her apart, and her ability to find the emotional meaning in a role was unsurpassed.  http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123612228

callasPosingBy the time of her retirement, she had performed more than 40 different roles and had recorded more than 20 complete operas. Callas’s personality and philosophy of performance are powerfully depicted in Terrence McNally’s play Master Class (first performed and published 1995), based on her classes at Juilliard.   http://www.britannica.com/biography/Maria-Callas

Henry Purcell: Born September 10, 1659

Purcell wrote only one full opera, a short work supposedly designed for a girls’ school. The tragic story of Dido and Aeneas, with a libretto by Nahum Tate, has a perfection of its own. Dido’s final lament, before she kills herself, follows the model for such compositions established by Monteverdi eighty years before. Other stage works by Purcell are in the hybrid form now known as semi-opera, combining spoken drama and a musical element that in the concert-hall may be performed apart from its wider dramatic context.
Biography~ http://www.fabermusic.com/composers/henry-purcell/biography

BBC artist page for Henry Purcell~ http://www.bbc.co.uk/music/artists/ddea5540-2c7d-4266-8507-b367c2635d35

Roberta Dodd Crawford: Born August 5, 1897

CrawfordIn the 1920s and 1930s, Bonham mezzo-soprano Roberta Dodd Crawford (1897-1954) shot across the concert world like a rare comet, blazing with talent and demonstrating the power of black performers to seriously engage American and European critics and audiences. In the end, through bad luck and poor circumstance, she flamed out, dying broke and forgotten by the world she had made richer by her incandescent presence.

She came from humble circumstances, spent long years training her remarkable voice, toured extensively in the U.S. and France, socialized and worked with fellow ex-patriots in Paris during the 1920s and early 1930s, married an American World War I hero and, later, an African prince; and suffered physically and mentally while under Nazi detention during World War II.
http://ntxe-news.com/cgi-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=51&num=81273

Texas State Historical Association~ https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fcr69

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Artist Birthday Quiz for 5/7~

What court painter and tapestry designer later focused most of his activities on designing tapestries and stained glass, including windows for the Brussels Cathedral?

What abstract painter was also a singer who auditioned for the New York City Opera and became a success as a dramatic soprano?

Answers here~ https://schristywolfe.com/2015/05/07/may-7/