Online Encyclopedia

GERTRUD ELISABETH MARA (1749-1833)

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Originally appearing in Volume V17, Page 667 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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GERTRUD ELISABETH MARA (1749-1833), German singer, was born at Cassel, the daughter of a poor musician named Schmeling. From him she learnt the violin, and while still a child her playing at the fair at Frankfort was so remarkable that money was collected to provide for her. She was helped by influential friends, and studied under Hillel at Leipzig for five years, proving to be endowed with a wonderful soprano voice. She began to sing in public in 1771, and was soon recognized as the greatest singer that Germany had produced. She was permanently engaged for the Prussian Court, but her marriage to a debauched violinist named Mara created difficulties, and in 1780 she was released. After singing at Vienna, Munich and elsewhere, she appeared in Paris in 1782, where her rivalry with the singer Todi developed into a regular faction. In 1784 she went to London, and continued to appear there with great success, with visits at intervals to Italy and to Paris till 1802, when for some years she retired to Russia. She visited England again in 1819, but then abandoned the stage. She went to Livonia, and died on the loth of January 1833 at Revel.
End of Article: GERTRUD ELISABETH MARA (1749-1833)
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