Gabrielli, Catterina


Famous Italian soprano, daughter of the cook of Prince Gabrielli, and protegee of the Prince, whose name she assumed after her public reputation was established. She studied with Garcia and Porpora, making her debut with success at Lucca, in Galuppi's Sofonisba, and received instruction in melody singing from Guadagni. She sang with brilliant success in the chief Italian theatres, appearing at Naples in 1750, where she took some lessons from Metastasio, and going the next year to Vienna, where she remained until 1765. After appearing in Sicily and Parma she went to St. Petersburg in 1768, appeared in London in the season of 1775 to 1776, and sang at Venice in 1777 and in Milan in 1780. From 1781 until her death she lived quietly in Rome with her sister Francesca, also an opera singer. In addition to her fame as a vocalist, various stories are told of her beauty, intelligence, capriciousness and charm, and her many admirers, as well as the lavish generosity with which she spent the wealth earned by her beautiful voice and finished style. It is said that her voice was not powerful, but of fine quality, extremely flexible, and even throughout its entire range of two and a half octaves.