Opera Scotland

Adelaide Kemble Suggest updates

Born London 1814.

Died Warsash House, Hampshire: 4 August 1879.

English soprano.

Adelaide Kemble enjoyed a brief but starry career as a leading operatic singer.  She came from a famous family of theatrical personalities.  Her father was the actor Charles Kemble (1775-1854).  He was himself the son of a well-known actor-manager, Roger Kemble (1721-1802).  His older siblings included the famous tragic actress Sarah Siddons (1755-1831) and an actor John Philip Kemble ((1757-1823) who also specialised in tragedy.   Adelaide had an elder sister, Fanny Kemble (1809-93) who also became a famous actress, being equally accomplished in comedy and tragedy.   With this family background, some form of theatrical career seems to have been inevitable for Adelaide.

She began to work as a concert singer, and eventually went to train in Italy.  She studied with Giuditta Pasta, who had created the part in Bellini's Norma. and this was the role of Adelaide's operatic debut in Venice (1838).  She then appeared at opera houses throughout Italy, not returning to England until 1841. She sang Norma in English for her debut at Covent Garden in 1841 and that season sang with great success in the opera house's English company, appearing most notably in works by Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro), Rossini  (Semiramide) and Bellini (Sonnambula, Norma).

In 1843 she married Edward John Sartoris and immediately retired from the stage.

Roles in Scotland

Norma High Priestess of the druid temple
Norma 1842

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