Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Albertazzi, Emma

ALBERTAZZI, EMMA (1813–1847), vocalist, was the daughter of Francis Howson, a music teacher in London. She was first trained as a pianiste, and, in 1827, placed as an articled pupil in the house of Signor Costa, where she met a fellow pupil, Signor Albertazzi, whom she married in November 1829. She appeared first as a concert singer in England, then went to Italy, and, after a further course of training under Professor Celli, was engaged in 1832 for leading contralto parts at La Scala, in Milan. She sang next at Madrid, Paris, and London, where she made her operatic début in ‘La Cenerentola,' 19 April 1837. In the following year she sang with great success in an English version of ‘La Gazza Ladra,' produced at Drury Lane; but her voice, prematurely developed, soon after began to fail, and she ultimately fell into consumption, of which she died at St. John's Wood, 27 Sept. 1847. She left five children utterly destitute, for whom a subscription was raised. Her personal gifts were marred on the stage by total dramatic inefficiency, and her voice, a contralto of unusual compass, heard to greatest advantage in the florid music of Rossini, was ineffective in oratorio.

[The Musical World, 1837, p. 103; the Annual Register, 1847. The article in Fétis' Dictionary, closely followed in Grove's, differs materially from the authorities quoted as to the facts of her life.]

E. M. C.