Manuel Garcia

Manuel Garcia

Birth
Sevilla, Provincia de Sevilla, Andalucia, Spain
Death 10 Jun 1832 (aged 57)
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Memorial ID 54287234 · View Source
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Opera Singer. A noted tenor, composer, impresario, and teacher of the early 19th century, he is today chiefly remembered as the father of two daughters who became better known than did he. Born Manuel del Populo Vincente Rodriguez Garcia to a poor family, little is known of his early life and musical education. In the early 1790s he sang in Cadiz with the troupe of Juan Morales whose daughter Manuela he was to marry. Garcia made his Madrid debut in 1798 and in 1802 gained note there as Count Almaviva in Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro". His own opera "El poeta calculista" was premiered in 1805, the work's chief interest being the aria "Yo que soy contrabandista" which his daughters Maria and Pauline often included in their concerts and sang in the lesson scene from "The Barber of Seville". In 1807 he left Spain for Paris, never returning as he was abandoning his wife and two small children, though whether he ever obtained a divorce is unclear. Garcia made his Parisian bow on February 11, 1808 in Paer's "Griselda" and was to be renowned there both as a singer and as the composer of "El poeta calculista". He sang in Italy between 1811 and 1816, primarily at the Teatro San Carlo of Naples where he bowed in Portugallo's "Oro non compro amore" on January 6, 1812; between 1816 and 1825 he divided his time between Paris and London where he both sang and taught, then in 1826 he and his entire family, including his new 'wife' "La Briones", undertook a tour of the United States, the first time that high quality operatic productions had crossed the Atlantic. The Garcia family, except for the young Pauline, sang in most of the performances, though while in New York Maria met and soon married Francois Malibran, a banker 28 years her senior; by some accounts Garcia was opposed to the match, with Maria simply trying to get away from his tyranny, while in other versions of the tale Garcia either 'sold' her for a large sum or, alternatively, simply got rid of a girl who was, for all her ability, an unpleasant brat. (Whatever the truth, Malibran soon went broke and Maria had to support him). After their time in America, the family moved-on to Mexico where they again introduced the public to top-drawer opera. Garcia returned to Paris in 1829 where he continued performing and was to die following a short illness. At this distance in time, without the benefit of recordings, Garcia is difficult to evaluate; said to have a strong stage presence and to be the first tenor able to hit high-C from the chest, though he never did so in public, he sang numerous leads including the title 'hero' of Rossini's "Otello" and was entrusted with several world premieres including the role of Norfolk in Rossini's "Elizabeth, Queen of England" at Naples on October 4, 1815 and that of Count Almaviva in the same composer's "The Barber of Seville" in Rome on February 20, 1816. A tenor of the type called in Italian 'baritenore', a tenor with a baritonal timbre, he sometimes took baritone roles such as Figaro in "The Barber of Seville" and the title lead of Mozart's "Don Giovanni". As an impresario, he receives credit for bringing first rate opera to the New World; as a teacher, he was said to be impossibly harsh and demanding, but his daughters Maria Malibran and Pauline Garcia-Viardot remain legendary names in the history of singing while his son Manuel II is considered equally legendary as a teacher of voice. In recent years some of his long-forgotten compositions have even received performances.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bob Hufford
  • Added: 29 Jun 2010
  • Find A Grave Memorial 54287234
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Manuel Garcia (21 Jan 1775–10 Jun 1832), Find A Grave Memorial no. 54287234, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .