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 Caroline Branchu

Caroline Branchu

Birth
Cap-Haitien, Nord, Haiti
Death 14 Oct 1850 (aged 69)
Passy, Departement de Seine-et-Marne, Île-de-France, France
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 23
Memorial ID 7782 · View Source
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Opera Singer. A noted soprano who sang roughly 90 roles at the Paris Opera during the early years of the 19th century, she is possibly better remembered for her brief romantic affair with Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte. Born Caroline Knight Lavit, she showed early vocal prowess, though exactly when she journeyed to Paris is unclear; a student of the Paris Conservatory at its 1895 founding, she received vocal training from Pierre Garat before joining The Opera, making her December 26, 1798 professional bow in Sacchini's "Oedipus". While she earned praise with the works of Gluck, Cherubini and others, she is best known for performing the operas of Gaspare Spontini; Caroline was the young vestal virgin Julia in the December 15, 1807 world premiere of his "La Vestale", a piece that though it has had a few revivals is mainly known due to recordings of the principal arias cut by Rosa Ponselle and Maria Callas. An April 4, 1802 appearance as the lead of Gluck's "Iphigenia in Aulis" attracted the attention of Napoleon, leading to her becoming his Court Singer and, despite her marriage to dancer Isaac Branchu, lover. Caroline also took part in the first productions of Spontini's "Fredinand Cortez" (1809) and 1819 "Olympie", though these are now forgotten. Retiring in the Paris suburb of Passy following a February 27, 1826 performance of "Olympie", little is known of her later years beyond her brief involvement with a younger man and her residing for a time with poetess Marceline Desbordes-Valmore. Some sources list her as Alexandrine-Caroline Branchu.

Bio by: Bob Hufford


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7782
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Caroline Branchu (2 Nov 1780–14 Oct 1850), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7782, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .