Giulia Grisi - Encyclopedia




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GIULIA GRISI (1811-1869), Italian opera-singer, daughter of one of Napoleon's Italian officers, was born in Milan. She came of a family of musical gifts, her maternal aunt Josephina Grassini (1773-1850) being a favourite opera-singer both on the continent and in London; her mother had also been a singer, and her elder sister Giudetta and her cousin Carlotta were both exceedingly talented. Giulia was trained to a musical career, and made her stage debut in 1828. Rossini and Bellini both took an interest in her, and at Milan she was the first Adalgisa in Bellini's Norma, in which Pasta took the title-part. Grisi appeared in Paris in 1832, as Semiramide in Rossini's opera, and had a great success; and in 1834 she appeared in London. Her voice was a brilliant dramatic soprano, and her established position as a prima donna continued for thirty years. She was a particularly fine actress, and in London opera her association with such singers as Lablache, Rubini, Tamburini and Mario was long remembered as the palmy days of Italian opera. In 1854 she toured with Mario in America. She had married Count de Melcy in 1836, but this ended in a divorce; and in 1856 she married Mario (q.v.). She died in Berlin on the 29th of November 1869.

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