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LUIGI LABLACHE (1794–1858)

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Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 6 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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LUIGI LABLACHE (1794–1858), Franco-Italian singer, was born at Naples on the 6th of December 1794, the son of a merchant of Marseilles who had married an Irish lady. In 18o6 he entered the Conservatorio della Pieta de Turchini, where he studied music under Gentili and singing under Valesi, besides learning to play the violin and violoncello. As a boy he had a beautiful alto voice, and by the age of twenty he had developed a magnificent bass with a compass of two octaves from Eb below to El) above the bass stave. After making his first appearance at Naples he went to Milan in 1817, and subsequently travelled to Turin, Venice and Vienna. His first appearances in London and Paris in 183o led to annual engagements in both the English and French capitals. His reception at St Petersburg a few years later was no less enthusiastic. In England he took part in many provincial musical festivals, and was engaged by Queen Victoria to teach her singing. On the operatic stage he was equally successful in comic or tragic parts, and with his wonderfully powerful voice he could express either humour or pathos. Among his friends were Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and Mercadante. He was one of the thirty-two torch-bearers chosen to surround the coffin at Beethoven's funeral in 1827. He died at Naples on the 23rd of January 1858 and was buried at Maison Lafitte, Paris. Lablache's Leporello in Don Giovanni was perhaps his most famous impersonation; among his principal other roles were Dandini in Cenerentola (Rossini), Assur in Semiramide (Rossini), Geronimo in La Gazza Ladra (Rossini), Henry VIII. in Anna Bolena (Donizetti), the Doge in Marino Faliero (Donizetti), the title-role in Don Pasquale (Donizetti), Geronimo in Il Matrimonio Segreto (Cimarosa), Gritzenko in L'Etoile du Nord (Meyerbeer), Caliban in The Tempest (Halevy).
End of Article: LUIGI LABLACHE (1794–1858)

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