Feminine Musique

Isabella Colbran

Isabella Colbran was a Spanish dramatic coloratura soprano, who was known in her native country as Isabel Colbrandt. It was said she was truly a mezzo-soprano with a high extension, her range was a strong G below middle C to a very agile and ringing E above high C. In addition to singing, she also composed four collections of songs throughout her lifetime. Each group of songs was dedicated to either the Empress of Russia; her teacher, Crescenti; the Queen of Spain; and Prince Eugenie de Beauharnais.

Colbran met the composer Gioacchino Rossini, after he was hired by the Impresario of the Opera San Carlo in Naples, Italy to compose several operas for her. Eventually Isabella became increasingly involved with Rossini. The two were married in 1822. Colbran and Rossini ultimately separated in 1837, but Rossini made sure she was properly taken care of up until the time of her death in 1845. To Colbran's credit, Rossini always considered her to be among the greatest interpreters of his music.

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