Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Catalani, Angelica, the daughter of a goldsmith at Sinigaglia, was born in 1782, and being sent to the convent of St. Lucia, near Rome, as a pupil, she soon attracted attention by her fine voice. Her father, under pressure of pecuniary embarrassment, allowed her to appear on the operatic stage at Venice when she was but fifteen. She then sang at various cities in Italy with great success, and about 1802 went to Lisbon, where she remained some five years, marrying M. Valabreque, an attache at the French embassy. In December, 1806, she sang for the first time in London in Portogalio's Semiramide, and the effect was marvellous. For seven years she was the idol of the English capital, and earned what was then an unprecedented fortune. In 1815 she was tempted by Louis XVIII. to take the management of the Italian Opera in Paris, but her policy of excluding all talent but her own was fatal to that enterprise, and in 1818 she began a series of European tours. Her magnificent voice, unrivalled for flexibility, compass, and power, had never been properly trained and had been used too early. In 1817 it began to show signs of deterioration, but still preserved its charm till 1824, the last four years being spent in England. She continued to sing on the Continent up to 1830, when she finally retired with her children to Florence, where she founded an academy for the musical education of girls. Madame Catalani's vocal gifts were not a little aided by her personal beauty, and by her sweet and generous disposition. Her liberality to the poor, to public charities, and to less prosperous members of her own profession, was unbounded. She died in Paris in 1849.