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 Célestine Galli-Marié

Célestine Galli-Marié

Birth
Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Death 22 Sep 1905 (aged 64)
Venice, Città Metropolitana di Venezia, Veneto, Italy
Burial Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France
Plot Division 57, row 2.
Memorial ID 7851 · View Source
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Opera Singer. Legendary as the first to sing the title role of Georges Bizet's "Carmen" (1875). Born Celestine Marie de L'Isle in Paris, she made her performing debut at 19 in Strasbourg. She adopted her stage name after the death of her first husband, a sculptor named Galli, in 1861. Joining the Opera-Comique in Paris, she shot to stardom in the lead of Ambroise Thomas's "Mignon" (1866). Her other notable roles included the Gypsy Queen in Balfe's "The Bohemian Girl" and in Pergolesi's "La serva padrona". Critics claimed Galli-Marie's high mezzo-soprano voice lacked subtlety but she was well regarded as an actress, more than capable of realizing the fiery sexuality of Bizet's femme fatale. She was quite a handful during rehearsals for the "Carmen" premiere, having the lyrics of the "Habanera" rewritten 13 times before they met her approval, and threatening to quit if the theatre's directors censored the work's more naturalistic elements (such as Carmen smoking onstage). Bizet allegedly became infatuated with her. Cuts were indeed made in the opera after the composer's death, and Galli-Marie refused to sing the role again until the original version was restored in Paris in 1884. She retired two years later. Her last performance was at an 1890 benefit concert to erect a monument at Bizet's grave in Pere Lachaise. Although Galli-Marie lived to the dawn of the recording age, she sadly left no record of her singing.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 19 Dec 1999
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7851
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Célestine Galli-Marié (Nov 1840–22 Sep 1905), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7851, citing Cimetière du Père Lachaise, Paris, City of Paris, Île-de-France, France ; Maintained by Find A Grave .