1808 - 1836
Maria Felicia Malibran learned to read music before she read words and made her acting debut at the age of five. By this time she could already speak four languages and had begun to study solfge and piano. In 1825, she joined her family on a trip to the United States. After her return to Paris, Malibran received an offer from Rossini to perform with the Paris OpŽra. Merely 20 years old, Malibran suddenly had the opera world of Paris at her feet, clamoring for her audacious acting and supple voice. Wherever she appeared, Malibran performed her own songs, accompanying herself on the piano, harp or guitar. Her own compositions were often published wherever she performed. Most of Malibran's compositions are songs or romances, a genre popular and common in early nineteenth century France. She was the sister of Pauline Viardot-Garcia and the aunt of Louise Heritte-Viardot. For further information, see "Women Composers: Music Through the Ages," volume VII and HPC 02034.