Bishop, Ann (DNB00)

BISHOP, ANN (1814–1884), vocalist, was the daughter of a drawing-master named Rivière, and was born in London in 1814. As a child she showed talent for the pianoforte, and studied under Moscheles. On 12 June 1824 she was elected a student at the Royal Academy of Music, where she soon distinguished herself by her singing. On leaving the academy she became (in 1831) the second wife of Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, the composer, and in the same year appeared at the Philharmonic Concerts as a singer. Her reputation quickly increased, and for the next few years she took a prominent place at Vauxhall, the so-called ‘Oratorios,’ and the country festivals. At first Mrs. Bishop devoted herself to classical music, but she was induced to turn her attention to the Italian school by Bochsa, the harp-player, with whom she went on a provincial tour in the spring of 1839. On their return to London she sang at a benefit concert given by Bochsa, at which she achieved great success, although Grisi, Persiani, and Viardot were among the performers. A few days later she left her husband and eloped with Bochsa to the continent. From September 1839 to May 1843 she visited the principal towns of Europe, and sang at no less than 260 concerts. Among other places she visited St. Petersburg, Novgorod, Odessa, and Kasan, in which latter town she is said to have sung in the Tartar language. From 1843 to 1846 she sang in Italy with great success; at the San Carlo at Naples she appeared in twenty operas, her engagement asting for twenty-seven months. In 1846 she returned to England, together with Bochsa, and sang at several concerts. In 1847 Mrs. Bishop went to America, where she sang in the United States, Mexico, and California. In 1855 she went to Australia, where Bochsa died, and Mrs. Bishop returned to England by way of South America and New York, where she married a Mr. Schulz. She sang at the Crystal Palace in 1858, and, after a farewell concert on 17 Aug. In 1859, returned to America, and sang with great success throughout Canada, the United States, Mexico, and at Havana. In 1865 she left New York and went to California, whence she sailed for the Sandwich Islands. In February 1866 the ship in which she was sailing from Honolulu to China was wrecked on a coral reef, and Mrs. Bishop lost all her music, jewels, and wardrobe. After forty days’ privation the shipwrecked crew reached the Ladrone Islands, whence the indefatigable singer went to Manilla, and after singing there and in China arrived in India in 1867. In May 1868 she was once more in Australia, and after visiting London she went to New York, where the remainder of her life was spent. She died of apoplexy in March 1884. Mrs., or Madame Anna Bishop, as she was generally called, possessed a high soprano voice, and was a brilliant but somewhat unsymathetic singer. She was a member of many foreign musical societies, and her popularity in the United States was great.

[Times, 24 March 1884; Moore's Encyclopædia of Music; Cazalet's History of the Royal Academy of Music, p. 138; Men of the Time (10th ed.); Musical World, xii. 11, 179, 235; Add. MS. 29261.]

W. B. S.