Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1770-1838 - Broadway (Westminster)

Mezzo-soprano Maria Theresa Bland was born in 1769 of Italian-Jewish parents named Romanzini, who settled in London soon after her birth. As a child actress, she went to Drury Lane in 1782 to take small parts known as singing chambermaids’. Her first operatic appearance at Drury Lane was on 24 October 1786, when she played the boy Antonio in an English version of André Grétry’s Richard Coeur-de-Lion. In October 1790 Romanzini married George Bland, a minor actor. The marriage did not last as Bland disappeared to America. She remained with the Drury Lane Company for nearly forty years. A deteriorating mental condition led to a breakdown after her last stage appearance in June 1822. A benefit at Drury Lane and a public subscription raised about £800. She died at no. 11 Broadway, Westminster, in January 1838. Her sons James, bass, and Charles, tenor, were both successful singers.

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