Isabella Colbran (1784-1845)
Italian Arias for Voice and Harp
Isabella Colbran was born in Madrid, received her initial musical education from her father, Juan Colbran, violinist in the Capilla Real, and studied singing under the guidance of the celebrated Italian opera singers and castratos Carlo Martinelli and Girolamo Crescentini. She dedicated to the latter one of her song collections, and sang many of his compositions. The four books of Canzoncine ou Petits Airs Italiens by Isabella Colbran (1784-1845) were composed between 1805 and 1809, during her youth, before her marriage to Gioacchino Rossini (1822) and the beginning of her career as “prima donna” of Italian opera. Isabella Colbran’s compositions are typical of the chamber-music repertoire for amateurs: they consist of short, melodious, through-composed arias with two texts: one in Italian, drawn from Metastasio’s poems, the other a free translation into French.