Albani, Dame Emma

Dame Emma Albani, stage name of Marie-Louise-Cécile-Emma Lajeunesse, soprano (b at Chambly, Canada E 1 Nov 1847; d at London, Eng 3 Apr 1930). Her parents were her teachers in Chambly, Plattsburgh and Montréal, where she gave her first concert in 1856. She was to become the first Canadian-born artist to distinguish herself in the international world of opera, oratorio and concert singing.

After studies in Paris and Milan, she made her opera debut at Messina, Italy, as Oscar in Un Ballo in maschera (1869), but her first real triumph came soon after, as Amina in La Sonnambula. This was to be her debut role in London (1872), Paris (1872) and New York (1874). Though attached to Covent Garden, London, she steadily pursued her international career in many countries. In 1891-1892 she sang at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

By the time she retired from the opera stage in 1896, she had sung 43 leading roles. She made about a dozen enthusiastically received Canadian tours, 1883-1906. Her remarkable voice has been preserved on a Rococo 5255 record, on which she sings 8 titles, including turn-of-the-century songs and 3 Handel arias.