A Century Of Ballads 1810-1910, Their Composers & Singers

With Some Introductory Chapters On Old Ballads And Ballad Makers - online book.

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59
performers objected at first to singing in the open air, but that this objection was soon overcome is apparent from the long list of popular singers who appeared at these concerts year after year.
Of the lady singers of the period must be mentioned first of all Mrs. Bracegirdle, who sang in public from 1680 to 1707. She was a great favourite, and excelled, it is said, in the singing of Purcell's songs. Miss Rafter, an Irish girl, afterwards Mrs. Clive, made her first appearance at Drury Lane in 1728, and continued singing in public till 1769. She was more of an actress than a singer. Speaking of her voice Dr. Burney says: " Her singing, which was intolerable when she meant it to be fine, in ballad-farces and songs of humour was, like her comic acting, everything it should be."
Cecilia Young, who afterwards married Dr. Arne, has already been mentioned. Of her it was said that "her style of singing was in­finitely superior to that of any other English­woman of her time."
Dr. Arne's sister, better known as Mrs. Cibber, was vocalist first and actress afterwards, to be­come, in the latter capacity, the greatest trage­dian of her time. But she continued to follow her career as a vocalist, and made a wonderful success in oratorio, Handel having composed the contralto songs in the Messiah especially for her.
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