Personalities | Isabella Colbran | Early Romantic | Opera

1785–1845, Spanish

Isabella Colbran, the Spanish soprano, married Gioachino Rossini in 1822 after a seven-year relationship, and sang a series of leading roles that he wrote for her. Colbran specialized in dramatic, tragic roles and having her on hand, as it were, enabled Rossini to write roles in this more serious genre. They included Elisabetta in Elisabetta, regina d’Inghilterra, Desdemona, the doomed wife in Otello, and Elena in La donna del lago (‘The Lady of the Lake’, 1819), based on a poem by Sir Walter Scott. Colbran, who was famous throughout Europe, was among the first operatic ‘divas’, with a fiery temperament, an imposing physical presence on stage, impressive acting talent and a big, dramatic voice that had a range of some three octaves. Although her voice was already past its best in 1815, Colbran continued to sing for another nine years before she retired.

Introduction | Early Romantic | Opera
Personalities | Giovanni Davide | Early Romantic | Opera


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