Marie Fel


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(b Bordeaux, 24 Oct 1713; d Chaillot, 2 Feb 1794). French singer. One of the most famous singers of the Académie Royale de Musique, Marie Fel had a long and brilliant career on the operatic stage. She learnt the Italian style of singing from Mme Van Loo, a celebrated Italian singer who married the painter Carle Vanloo and came to Paris in 1733. She made her début on 29 October 1734 as Venus in the prologue of Philomèle by Louis Lacoste and at the Concert Spirituel des Tuileries on 1 November in a motet by Joseph de Mondonville. Her appeal increased rapidly. She performed regularly at the Concerts chez la Reine, small court gatherings where operas being given in Paris were previewed or repeated. As she continued to sing major roles, she also frequently performed cantatilles, airs in French or Italian inserted between the acts of an opera. From 1739 she began to assume leading roles and, with the famous haute-contre Pierre de Jélyotte, gave performances which charmed every opera audience. Her flexibility and clear articulation particularly suited the technically demanding ariettes. F. M. Grimm, in a letter to the abbé Raynal (Mercure de France, May 1752, p.187), praised her mastery of the Italian style.


From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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