Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1742-1804 - Woods Rents (Chelsea)

Mezzo-soprano Caterina Galli was born in the early 1720s, probably in Cremona, Lombardy. She made her first appearance at Bergamo in spring 1742. She was then invited to sing with the Italian opera company at the King’s Theatre in the 1742/3 season. Handel engaged her for the première of his oratorio Judas Maccabaeus on 1 April 1747. She performed in his Lent oratorio seasons until 1754 and in his Messiah performances at the Foundling Hospital.

Galli also sang with the opera company at the King’s Theatre in 1747/8. She returned to the Continent in 1754 where she sang as prima donna in various leading opera houses. She did not reappear in London until 1773, when she sang in Messiah in February and in Samuel Arnold’s oratorio The Prodigal Son in March. For the two seasons 1773/5 she took male roles in Italian operas at the King’s Theatre. Galli continued as a concert singer at least until May 1777. By 1792 she had declined into poverty and was granted annual relief payments the Royal Society of Musicians. She died at her lodgings in Woods Rents, Chelsea, in December 1804.

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