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Rosalie Levasseur

(1749—1826)


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(b Valenciennes, 8 Oct 1749; d Neuwied am Rhein, 6 May 1826). French soprano. She made her début at the Paris Opéra in 1766 as Zäide in André Campra's L'Europe galante and appeared there regularly until 1785. Known as Mlle Rosalie during her first ten years at the Opéra, she was well received in minor roles or as a substitute for Mme Larrivée until, in 1776, she was entrusted with Eurydice and Iphigenia in revivals of C.W. Gluck's operas. She was then preferred over her rival, sophie Arnould, to create the title role in the French Alceste. The mistress from 1770 of the Austrian ambassador Mercy-Argenteau, by whom she had a son, she became Gluck's close friend and favourite interpreter, creating the title roles in Armide (1777) and Iphigénie en Tauride (1779). She was successful in the title role of F.-A. Philidor's Ernelinde (1777 revival), but less so in Niccolò Piccinni's works, relinquishing his Angélique (Roland) and Sangaride (Atys) to other singers. Her reputation lay not in vocal beauty but in intelligent use of the voice as an adjunct to accomplished acting.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.


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