Tofts, Mrs. Catherine


Beautiful and charming soprano; was the first Englishwoman to appear in so-called Italian Opera. Her first appearance occurred at a concert at the theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields. When Italian Opera was introduced into England Mrs. Tofts became a member of the company, singing her part in English, while others sang theirs in Italian. She continued to sing until 1709, when her mind gave way. She afterward recovered and was married to Mr. Joseph Smith, English Consul to Venice. She had a fine soprano voice and was beautiful and imposing, but her disposition was prodigal and capricious. During the time that her mind was affected she held the delusion that she was a queen. She appeared in roles in Camilla, Rosamond, Arsinoe, and in Thomyris and Love's Triumph.