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The Great Lablache

The Great Lablache [Kindle Edition]

Clarissa Lablache Cheer

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Product Description

Product Description

During the Golden Age of Italian opera, Luigi Lablache triumphed as one of the most admired and accomplished international superstars. Born in Naples in 1795, his unprecedented forty-five year singing career dominated the glorious bel canto period when opera flourished as the principal form of entertainment. Now his direct descendant, Clarissa Lablache Cheer, puts forth this remarkable and long overdue biography of Lablache – the first ever to be written in English. Page by page, Lablache’s extraordinary story unfolds as the author guides the reader through the hectic and glamorous era of Italian opera and European high society. We follow Lablache as he conquers the dazzling nineteenth century opera world, singing Rossini roles from Napoleon’s time, through the Romantic Age, to become the special favorite of the Victorians in hundreds of Donizetti and Bellini’s bel canto productions. A vocal Hercules, everything about him is larger-than-life: his huge size, powerful voice, good looks, dramatic flare, and irresistible humor and charm. The foremost bass of his time, he rules the stage from London to Vienna, from Paris to St. Petersburg. Notably, Britain’s Queen Victoria singles out Lablache to be her beloved singing teacher for 20 years. Garnered from rare unpublished family memorabilia as well as primary source material across Europe and America, this fascinating family saga does not end with Lablache. Herein the author also recounts how Lablache’s well-known descendents of opera singers and actors carve out their brilliant careers on the stages of Europe, New York and Hollywood.

About the Author

The author and artist Cerita Stanley-Little, was born as Cerita Ida Claire Brown in 1906, in Bournemouth, a fashionable seaside resort town in the south of England. There she pursued a fine art education, and traveled widely before her marriage. Settling down in neighboring Southampton, she raised two children. During World War.II, she returned to Bournemouth and lived in Liliput. There in spite of being severely limited by chronic asthma, she continued her artistic life, creating drawings, paintings and writing romantic novels, poems and articles. Her articles were published in various magazines and newspapers. Her delightful children's stories were read on radio BBC. She died in Lymington Hampshire in 1978.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 5927 KB
  • Print Length: 724 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Xlibris (29 July 2009)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
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  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,230,628 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Opera Superstar 2 Dec 2010
By J. Pat Craig - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
While Luigi LaBlanche was not the first operatic superstar, he was certainly the very first BASS superstar and was probably the only really true bass superstar until Pinza arrived on the scene in the early part of the last century. Being a professional soloist bass myself, it would be truly fascinating to have even a scrap of recording of his voice because by all accounts at the time (many of them from very caustic and picky critics) his voice possessed an unusually beautiful quality not normally associated with the bass voice. His voice must have truly been a perfect example of the "basso cantante," as all contemporary accounts emphasize the same evenness and plangent quality from the bottom to the top. LaBlanche must also have possessed a great sense of drama and sang with much refinement. I especially enjoyed the fact filled account of his life and the operas many of which I have never heard. He was much appreciated and respected by the colleagues he appeared. The author, an ancestor of LaBlanche has done an estimable job of presenting not just a singer's biography and litany of "he sang 'this' at Parma, etc.," but of a person that I would have loved to meet and talk with. If you are into opera or operatic history at all, this is an absolute must have.
Dr. J. Pat Craig
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars too many errors...should have been better 30 Nov 2011
By adorian - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I wanted to enjoy this biography of superstar basso Luigi Lablache (written by a descendant), but the horrible writing and sloppy proofreading made that impossible. The author's approach is "and Then He Sang...." followed by long newspaper reviews of how great each performance was. You want letters? There are lots of long letters. It's basically a cut-and-paste job. 534 pages of main text followed by detailed appendices that are more interesting than the error-ridden text.

Errors? Rossini's "Matilda di Shabran" is credited to Donizetti. (p. 246) She thinks Rachel (of "La Juive") is a character in "Le Prophete." (p. 365) She has Pasta creating the role of Ugo (p. 133) No, a tenor created Ugo; Pasta created the role of Bianca. Is there really a character named Martha in "Guillaume Tell"? (p. 261) Giorgio in "Puritani" is frequently called Georgio. Lablache is caption-credited as singing Otello, when he was really Elmiro. The mezzo in "Rigoletto" is not called Magdelina. ( p. 444) Nor is the soprano lead in "Trovatore" called Lenora. (p. 450) Saint-Saens is called San Saens. The singular of "libretto" is not "libretti." Belvedere is called Belverdere (p. 44) "Voce" is printed as "voca" too many times. "Cords" for "chords" (p. 497)

Apparently, no one with a knowledge of opera did any proofreading, so we get a parade of bizarre opera/play titles: Donizetti's "Il Campanelli," (p. 237) "Compte Ory," "La donna del largo," (4 times!) "Ernanni," "La Pietra Paragone," "Mefistofile," "The Prodical Son," and my favorite "Adelaide di Borgogna in Rome."

Arsace is called Arzace. Giuditta Pasta is called Giudetta. Salvatore Cammarano is called Salvadore. Mustafa is called Mustifa. Geronimo in "Matrimonio Segreto" is often called Geronomo. She doesn't know whether the past tense of "sing" is "sung" or "sang," so she alternates. Apparenly, no writing teacher ever explained to her how to avoid dangling modifiers, so we get an interesting assortment of howlers. She has a problem with "premier" versus "premiere" and "principal" versus "principle."

There are also problems with her assertions. "The Barber of Seville" is proclaimed to be "the most popular work in the history of opera" (p. 119), which will be debatable to the fans of "Boheme," "Carmen," "Traviata," or "Aida." We are told Lablache sang (or "sung" as it were) in over 50 Rossini operas (p. 71), which is difficult to do since Rossini composed only 39 operas. She has Tamburini and Lablache singing in the same 6 June 1839 performance of "Lucrezia Borgia," which doesn't seem possible. Did they both share the role of Alfonso? (spelled "Alfonzo on p. 424)

Is English her primary language? Why does she think a couple can "sire" children as opposed to the busband only? ( p. 25) We are told someone kept "a stud of horses" (p. 443)

During the long quoted reviews and letters, there are many typos, and one doesn't know whether to blame them on the original authors or on Miss Lablache. The use of (sic) after a quoted error would have have helped clarify who is at fault.

I will say that there are a lot of great pictures. And the appendices are very informative. It's always interesting to read about performance practices of yesteryear, especially the mandatory encores. I liked reading about the selections of recitals and concerts, pieces we no longer get to hear. But an editor with a knowledge of grammar and opera could have easily cut 200 pages and made this a more readable book.
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