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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Barbier, Jane (fl. 1711–1740), singer, was said by John Hawkins to be 'a native of England' (Hawkins, 5.156). A contralto, she made her first stage appearance with the opera company at the Queen's Theatre in the Italian pasticcio Almahide in November 1711, singing a role previously taken by the castrato ...

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George Biddlecombe

Braham, John (1777?–1856), singer, was probably born on 20 March 1777 in London. The year of his birth has often been given as 1774, but two accounts published during his lifetime—in The Harmonicon (10, 1832, 1), and in the Illustrated London News...

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John Braham (1777?–1856) by unknown artist, c. 1834 © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Campion, Mary Anne (c. 1687–1706), singer and dancer, was born of lowly parents, her father having possibly been a servant of William Cavendish, first duke of Devonshire. She displayed a precocious talent on the stage; aged eleven, she was a member of Christopher Rich's...

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Damascene, Alexander (d. 1719), singer and composer, was born in France. He was a protestant, and presumably it was for this reason that he went to England, where he obtained letters of denization on 22 July 1682. On 22 July 1680 he married ...

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Fields, Dame Gracie [real name Grace Stansfield] (1898–1979), music-hall entertainer and film actress, was born at 9 Molesworth Street, Rochdale, Lancashire, on 9 January 1898, the eldest of the four children (three daughters and one son) of Fred Stansfield (1874–1956), engineer, and his wife, ...

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Murray, Ruby Florence Campbell (1935–1996), singer, was born on 29 March 1935 at 84 Moltke Street, Donegal Road, Belfast, the youngest of four children of Daniel Murray (d. 1969?), a labourer, originally from Scotland, and Wilhelmina (Winifred) Murray, née Connolly (d...

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Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson

Norsa, Hannah (d. 1784), singer and actress, was the daughter of Issachar Norsa (d. 1748?), a Jewish tavern keeper. She made her stage début as Polly in John Gay's The Beggar's Opera on 16 December 1732 in the newly opened Covent Garden Theatre...

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Ray, Martha (1742?–1779), singer and murder victim, was born near Covent Garden, London, probably in 1742, though some sources suggest 1745. When she was about fourteen her father, a stay maker, apprenticed her for five years to Mrs Sarah Silver, a maker of mantuas (cloaks) in ...

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Martha Ray (1742?–1779) by Nathaniel Dance, 1777 Christie's Images Ltd. (2004)

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Giusto Ferdinando Tenducci (c. 1735–1790) by Thomas Gainsborough, c. 1773–5 The Barber Institute of Fine Arts, the University of Birmingham

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Tenducci, Giusto Ferdinando (c. 1735–1790), singer and composer, was born in Siena; his principal singing teacher was the castrato Caffarelli (Gaetano Majorano) and he received his musical education at the Naples conservatory (c.1744–1750). He made his début as a soprano castrato at ...