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André Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri 
Barbara and Carlotta Marchisio in Semiramis 
1860 
  
Carte de visite 
Paul Frecker 
 
LL/13457 
  
Barbara Marchisio (1833-1919), Italian contralto
Carlotta Marchisio (1835-1872), Italian soprano
 
Sisters Carlotta and Barbara Marchisio often appeared together throughout their careers. According to one contemporary source, Rossini's Sémiramis, first performed by the sisters at the Opéra on 10 July 1860, was their Paris début.
 
Carlotta is seen here dressed as the villainous Queen of Babylon, who at the start of the opera has already murdered her husband. Barbara is dressed as her son, Arsace, the commander of the Assyrian army. (Paul Frecker)
 
Additional biographical material
 
Barbara Marchisio (1833-1919), Italian contralto
 
Along with her younger sister, Carlotta, they were considered the favorite singers of the composer, Rossini. Born 6 December 1833, probably in Turin, Italy, Barbara Marchisio made her debut as Adalgisa in Bellini's opera, "Norma" (1856 in Madrid?). She came from a musical family having a brother Antonio Marchisio who was singer, and her sister Carlotta with whom she often appeared on the stage. Her vocal teacher was Gioacchino Rossini. She is known to have appeared at major opera houses in Italy, Spain, Russia, Britain and France with her sister Carlotta. Barbara taught voice and among her students were Toti Dal Monte and Rosa Raisa, who became the primary singer for the Chicago Opera for twenty years beginning in 1913.
 
The Paris Opéra revived Rossini's "Semiramide" in 1860 for a performance in French by the Marchisio sisters, and Rossini composed his 1863 Mass, "Petite Messe solennelle" for the sisters. The Mass debuted in Paris in 1864. Barbara Marchisio died 19 April 1919.
 
Carlotta Marchisio (1835-1872), Italian soprano
 
Italian soprano, Carlotta Marchisio, was born in Turin, Italy 6 December 1835 into a musical family. She was a student of Luigi Fabbrica in Turin and is thought to have made her debut as Norma. There is debate about in which city she made her debut, some argue it was Venice while others say it was Madrid in 1856. She often appeared with her older sister, Barbara, and they made "international career" on stages throughout Europe and in St. Petersburg, Russia. There is a story that she once sang her sisters part from back stage when Barbara voice was frail from illness without the audience being aware that it happened. Carlotta Marchisio died 28 June 1872.
 
(Kindly controbuted by T. Max Hochstetler, June 2007) 
 

 
  
 
  
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