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Synopsis

During the Golden Age of Italian opera, Luigi Lablache triumphed as one of the most admired and accomplished international superstars. Born in Naples in 1795, his unprecedented forty-five year singing career dominated the glorious bel canto period when opera flourished as the principal form of entertainment. Now his direct descendant, Clarissa Lablache Cheer, puts forth this remarkable and long overdue biography of Lablache – the first ever to be written in English. Page by page, Lablache’s extraordinary story unfolds as the author guides the reader through the hectic and glamorous era of Italian opera and European high society. We follow Lablache as he conquers the dazzling nineteenth century opera world, singing Rossini roles from Napoleon’s time, through the Romantic Age, to become the special favorite of the Victorians in hundreds of Donizetti and Bellini’s bel canto productions. A vocal Hercules, everything about him is larger-than-life: his huge size, powerful voice, good looks, dramatic flare, and irresistible humor and charm. The foremost bass of his time, he rules the stage from London to Vienna, from Paris to St. Petersburg. Notably, Britain’s Queen Victoria singles out Lablache to be her beloved singing teacher for 20 years. Garnered from rare unpublished family memorabilia as well as primary source material across Europe and America, this fascinating family saga does not end with Lablache. Herein the author also recounts how Lablache’s well-known descendents of opera singers and actors carve out their brilliant careers on the stages of Europe, New York and Hollywood.

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