Five Centuries of Women Singers (Music Reference Collection Series #88)

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Five Centuries of Women Singers explores the careers of twenty singers from the late sixteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. In addition to personal information, the stories of these singers tell a great deal about contemporary musical life, about musical and dramatic ideals of the time, and about performance practice. The experiences of the singers also reveal much about the business of music —how women were dealt with by teachers, impresarios, composers, and audiences—and the perseverance and pluck that were and are crucial ingredients of a successful career. The twenty singers were selected on the basis of their contribution to and influence on the art of singing, their significance in the history of performance, what their careers reveal about the life of a professional female musician, and finally for the originality of their achievements. All of the singers included reached the pinnacle of their art with persistence, ingenuity, and unsurpassed musicianship.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Emerson explores the lives and careers of women singers of classical music from the late sixteenth century to the middle of the twentieth. Presented in rough chronological order, each of 20 chapters opens with a description of an individual singer's sound, followed by a brief biography and a summation of the artist's significance. Coverage includes well-known divas such as Marian Anderson and Jenny Lind as well as more obscure vocalists, such as Lillian Nordica, whose varied repertoire included everything from opera to singing with Gilmore's Brass Band."


Reference & Research Book News

"Emerson writes lucidly and interestingly….Undoubtedly this is an useful book for specialist music collections across library sectors."


Reference Reviews

"Emerson offers a study of 20 classical women singers who have excelled in a specific area and succeeded in achieving specific goals, and whose work is significant for the art of singing and represents a model for later generations….The singers' stories tell much about musical life and ideals of the time, and the book provides commentary on how women fared in the business of music, emphasizing their ingenuity and persistence. Chapters contain time lines of the women's lives along with bibliographies, some quite extensive. The index is mostly limited to names and a few places but is nonetheless quite helpful. This book is a valuable addition to the body of literature in this field. Recommended. All academic libraries; all levels."



"Although opera divas are the primary characters, recital singers also receive some attention in this study of selected careers from the late sixteenth to the middle of the twentieth centuries. . . . Each chapter includes a biographical sketch and career summary, timeline of major events, and bibliography."


The Beethoven Journal

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780313308109
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/30/2005
  • Series: Music Reference Collection Series, #88
  • Pages: 348
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.72 (d)

Meet the Author

ISABELLE EMERSON is Professor of Music, Department of Music, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

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Table of Contents

1 Ladies of Italy 1
Laura Peverara (c. 1545-1601) 3
Vittoria Concarini Archilei (1550-c. 1642) 8
Virginia Andrea Ramponi Andreini (1583-c. 1630) 12
Adriana Basile (c. 1580-c. 1642) 14
2 Francesca Caccini (1587-c. 1645) 23
3 Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677) 31
4 Anna Renzi (c. 1620-1660 or later) 43
5 Marie Le Rochois (c. 1658-1728) 51
6 Francesca Cuzzoni (1696-1778) 59
Faustina Bordoni (1700-1781) 65
7 Gertrud Elisabeth Schmahling Mara (1749-1833) 77
8 Anna Selina (Nancy) Storace (1765-1817) 97
9 Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865) 113
10 Wilhelmine Schroder-Devrient (1804-1860) 137
11 Jenny Lind (1820-1887) 151
12 Pauline Garcia Viardot (1821-1910) 169
13 Lillian Nordica (1857-1914) 187
14 Nellie Melba (1861-1931) 215
15 Jane Bathori (1877-1970) 231
16 Marian Anderson (1897-1993) 245
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