Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1855-1875 - Marlborough Place (St John’s Wood)

Tags: Music, Italy, place: Trecate

Tenor Alessandro Bettini was born on 20 July 1821 in Trecate in the province of Novara, Piedmont. A celebrated singer, he had an international career spanning some fifty years. He sang at the Théâtre-Italien in Paris and at the home of Gioacchino Rossini. He performed in Madrid for the Royal court. He was especially popular in London, where he sang for twenty seasons at the Royal Opera House in a range of operatic roles, making his debut in 1855. One of his iconic roles was that of Count Almaviva in The Barber of Sevilla which, apparently, he performed over 1,800 times. In 1863, he married to mezzo-soprano Zélia Trebelli, one of the great prima donnas of the British capital at the time, who had made her debut in London at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1862. They lived at no. 9 Marlborough Place, St John’s Wood, but the relationship did not last. Their daughter also was a singer, performing under the name Antonia Dolores. After a court case on breach of contract with Frederick Guy, manager of the Royal Italian Opera Covent Garden, Bettini returned to Italy. He died in Rome in November 1898.

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