Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1822-1838 - Haymarket (Westminster)

Operatic bass singer Giuseppe de Begnis was born in 1793 in Lugo de Romagna, the same place where Rossini lived between 1802 and 1804. Having studied with the composer Giovanni Morandi (a good friend of Rossini), he established himself as a singer having made his debut in 1813 at Modena’s Carnival season. In 1816 he married the soprano Giuseppina Ronzi in Bologna and they worked together until their separation in 1825. Rossini created the role of Dandini for him in La cenerentola. This opera premiered in Rome on 25 January 1817 and ran for twenty consecutive performances; it was to remain in his repertory for the rest of his life. He acquired the reputation of an ideal’performer of Rossini’s comic operas. In April 1822 the couple arrived in Britain where their debut took place in Rossini’s Il Turco in Italia. That same season, he sang in the London premiere of the composer’s Matilde di Shabran. While Giuseppina returned to Italy, he stayed on in London as Primo Buffo of the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, and was director of the company which toured various cities including Bath, Dublin, and Edinburgh. In 1828 he was appointed to teach at the Royal Academy of Music. In 1838 Giuseppe de Begnis travelled to New York where he was to remain for the rest of his life. De Begnis died in New York in August 1849 after contracting cholera.

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