B1499. MATHILDE MARCHESI. Ten Singing Lessons. New York, Harper, 1901. 198pp. Preface by Nellie Melba; Intro. by W. J. Henderson; Photo of Marchesi & Melba. Superb copy has very sl.soiled cover.
“Mathilde Marchesi was a German mezzo-soprano, a renowned teacher of singing, and a proponent of the bel canto vocal method. Marchesi went to Paris and studied with Manuel García II, who was to have the foremost influence on her. Her voice, however, was only adequate, so she moved to teaching in 1849. It was in this field that she would become famous. She taught at conservatories in Cologne and Vienna and in 1881 opened her own school in Paris, where she was to remain for most of her life. Ultimately, she was best known as the vocal teacher of a number of great singers. The most famous among them is perhaps Nellie Melba, but she also trained such illustrious singers as Emma Calvé, Frances Alda, Sigrid Arnoldson, Blanche Arral, Ada Crossley, Etelka Gerster Gabrielle Krauss, Miriam Licette, Estelle Liebling, Sybil Sanderson, Frances Saville, Aglaja Orgeni, Blanche Marchesi (her daughter), Ellen Gulbranson, Selma Kurz and Emma Eames. Marchesi is the person who carried the bel canto technique into the 20th century. Her ideas are still studied, primarily by female singers, especially those with voices in the soprano range, in which Marchesi had specialized.
Marchesi was clearly committed to the bel canto style of singing. She was generally an advocate of a naturalistic style of singing. She repeatedly expressed disdain for the teachers of her day who offered methods that they asserted would fully develop the voice in only a year or two. Instead, she felt that vocal training was best approached at a slow and deliberate pace. She argued that rote practice without understanding was ultimately harmful to the artistic use of the voice.“
- Zillah Dorset Akron