Celestine Galli-Marie

Celestine Galli-Marie

French opera singer, mezzo-soprano
Date of Birth: 11.1840Год
Country: France

Biography of Celestine Galli-Marie

Celestine Galli-Marie was a French opera singer, known as the first performer of the role of Carmen. Born as Marie-Célestine Laurence Marié de l'Isle in November 1840 in Paris, France, she came from a highly musical family. Her father, Mécène Marié de l'Isle, was a renowned opera tenor and musician, and her sisters Irma and Paola also achieved great success in the musical world.

Celestine Galli-Marie

At the age of fifteen, Celestine made her debut in Strasbourg and later performed in Lisbon, singing in Italian. She married a sculptor named Galli, which led her to adopt the stage name Galli-Marie after his death in 1861.

Celestine's career took a fortunate turn when Émile Perrin, the director of Opéra-Comique, heard her performance in Michael Balfe's opera "The Bohemian Girl" while he was in Rouen. Impressed by her talent, he brought her to Paris, where she made her debut at Opéra-Comique on November 17, 1866, playing the lead role in Ambroise Thomas' opera "Mignon." She continued to perform at Opéra-Comique until 1885.

However, Celestine's most famous role and the highlight of her career was undoubtedly portraying Carmen in Georges Bizet's opera in 1875. It is said that during the 33rd performance of "Carmen" on June 2, 1875, she had a premonition of Bizet's death during the card scene in the third act and fainted when she left the stage. The composer indeed passed away that night from a heart attack, and the following performance was canceled due to the singer's illness.

Celestine went on to tour extensively, performing Carmen in Naples, Genoa, Barcelona, Lyon, Liege, and Dieppe, before returning to Opéra-Comique for a revival of the opera on October 22, 1883. She also had notable performances in London's Her Majesty's Theatre in 1886 and returned to Opéra-Comique in 1890 for her final performance, which aimed to raise funds for a monument to Georges Bizet.

Aside from Carmen, Celestine was also the first performer of the roles of Lazarille in Jules Massenet's "Don César de Bazan," Vendredi in "Robinson Crusoe," and Fantasio in Jacques Offenbach's opera of the same name.

Celestine had a relationship with composer Émile Paladilhe in the late 1860s or early 1870s but never married. According to contemporaries, she kept monkeys as pets and sometimes brought them to rehearsals. She passed away on September 22, 1905, in Vence, near Nice. No recordings of her voice exist, so her vocal abilities can only be judged based on accounts from her contemporaries. It is believed that she possessed a high mezzo-soprano voice with a good timbre, clear diction, and phrasing, but nothing extraordinary. Today, her roles are typically performed by sopranos. However, music historians agree that Celestine's voice was ideally suited for Carmen, leaving a lasting impression on even the harshest critics. Despite her successful career, Celestine Galli-Marie did not achieve widespread fame outside of France.