Nancy Storace

Anna (or Ann) Selina Storace, known as Nancy Storace (Italian: [stoˈratʃe];[1] 27 October 1765  24 August 1817),[2] was an English operatic soprano. The role of Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro was written for and first performed by her.

Portrait of Nancy Storace, circa 1788 by Pietro Bettelini. Retouched version; click for original.

Born in London, her singing career as a child prodigy began in England by the age of 12. This led to further study in Italy and to a successful singing career there during the late 1770s. While in Monza (or shortly before in Milan) in 1782,[3] she was recruited to form part of Emperor Joseph II's new Italian opera company in Vienna, where the assembled singers who joined her "created in the two years leading up to the premiere of The Marriage of Figaro, were welded into the finest buffa ensemble anywhere."[4]

In Vienna, she befriended both Mozart and Joseph Haydn. A sudden failure of her voice in 1785 caused her to withdraw from the stage for five months; though her career continued to be successful, she never fully recovered her former vocal prowess. After marrying in 1784, she left Vienna in 1787 and returned to London, where she continued her career, notably singing in her brother Stephen Storace's operas. She remained in London, but by 1808 had retired from the stage. She died in 1817.

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