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Garcia, Manoel

GARCIA, MANOEL (1775-1832), (GARCIA DEL POPOLO VICENTO) Spanish singer and composer, was born in Seville on the 22nd of January 1775. He became a chorister at the cathedral of Seville, and studied music under the best masters of that city. At seventeen he made his début on the stage at Cadiz, in an operetta, in which were included songs of his own composition. Soon afterwards he appeared at Madrid in the twofold capacity of singer and composer. His reputation being established, he proceeded to Paris, where he appeared for the first time, in 1808, in Paer's opera Griselda. Here also he was received with great applause, his style of singing being especially appreciated. This he further improved by careful study of the Italian method in Italy itself, where he continued his successes. His opera Il Califo di Bagdad was favourably received at Naples in 1812, but his chief successes were again due to his perfection as a vocalist. His opera La Morte di Tasso was produced in 1821 in Paris, where it was followed in 1823 by his Il Fazzoletto. In 1824 he went to London, and thence proceeded to America (1825) with a company of artistes, amongst whom were his son Manoel and his daughter Maria, better known under her subsequent name of Malibran. In New York was produced his opera La Figlia dell' aria in 1827. He extended his artistic tour as far as Mexico, and was on the point of returning to Europe in order to retire from public life when he was robbed of his well-earned wealth by brigands on his way to Vera Cruz. Settled again in Paris in 1829, he soon retired from the stage, and devoted himself exclusively to teaching. He died in Paris on the 2nd of June 1832. His method of teaching was famous, and some of the most celebrated singers of the early part of the century were amongst his pupils. He also wrote an excellent book on the art of singing called Metodo di canto, of which the essence was subsequently incorporated by his son Manoel in his admirable Traité complet de l'art du chant (1847). His operas have not survived their day. He wrote nearly forty in all, but with the exception of those quoted, and El Poeta calculista, produced when he was thirty, none are remarkable. Besides the children already mentioned, his daughter Paulina, Madame Viardot (1821-1910), worthily continued the tradition for the best singing with which his name had become associated.

His son, Manoel Garcia (1805-1906), who celebrated his hundredth birthday in London on the 17th of March 1905, was born at Madrid, and after his father's death devoted himself to teaching. He was a professor at the Paris Conservatoire from 1830 to 1848, from that time to 1895 was a professor at the Royal Academy of Music in London. He became famous for his invention of the laryngoscope about 1850, apart from his position as the greatest representative of the old "bel canto" style of singing.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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