Isabella Angela Colbran

Colbran, Isabella Angela


Born Feb. 2, 1785, in Madrid; died Oct. 7, 1845, in Castenaso, near Bologna. Italian singer (dramatic soprano) of Spanish origin. Daughter of a court musician.

Colbran studied under G. Marinelli and G. Crescentini in Naples. She made her debut in 1801 in Paris. Beginning in 1809 she sang as a soloist in opera houses all over Italy, including the royal court in Naples (1811–22). She was the wife of the composer G. Rossini, in whose operas she performed lead roles written especially for her, including Elizabeth in Elizabeth, Queen of England (1815), Desdemona in Othello (1816), Armida in the opera of the same name (1817), Anna in Mahomet II (1820), and the title role in Semiramide (1823). Colbran also sang in operas by Mozart and other composers. She possessed a strong and beautiful voice and had striking stage presence; her performances were passionate and dramatically expressive, particularly in her portrayals of strong, deeply suffering women. She also wrote songs.