Marchesi, Blanche



Brilliant dramatic soprano; a daughter of Mathilde and Salvatore Marchesi. Was born in Paris. She received her early education in a boarding-school at Frankfort-on-the-Main, and in 1878 was placed in a boarding-school in Paris. When only eleven years old she took violin lessons of Arthur Nikisch, then a student in the Vienna Conservatory, and when she went to Paris in 1878 she continued with Davela at the Paris Conservatory, and later with Colonne. Her beautiful soprano voice was carefully trained by her mother, who has done such wonderful work in forming female voices. She made her first appearance in Paris at a matinee musicale of her mother's school in 1881, but did not make her public debut until 1895, in Berlin. This was followed by severe illness, and it was not until 1896 that Blanche Marchesi appeared in London. She was well received, and soon made engagements to sing in all the important English concerts, appearing before Queen Victoria in 1897 and receiving from her the Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 1898 Marchesi made a notably successful tour in America. In 1899 she sang the Fidelio air at the Halle concert at Manchester, her conductor being Hans Richter. Impressed by the beauty of her voice and by her pronounced ability, Richter persuaded her to appear in opera, and in 1900 she appeared as Brtinnhilde in Die Walküre at the Prague Royal Opera House. After filling an engagement at the Brussels Royal Opera House, she sang two seasons in English Opera at Covent Garden, appearing in the roles of Isolde, Santuzza, Brünnhilde, Elsa, Elizabeth, Gioconda, Leonore, and Carmen. In 1904 she sang at the Sheffield Opera Festival, and at Leeds in 1906 she received command to sing at the Court of Brussels, where she was most graciously received. She then went to Berlin, after an absence of ten years, and scored a great triumph. In spite of much work in opera and concert Madame Blanche Marchesi has formed a large class in London, and has developed some very fine pupils. She is exceedingly versatile, and is said to regret that she was unable to follow a career as a dramatic writer, in which line of work she was encouraged by Dumas, Laube and Bjornson.