Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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ALBA, Fernando d'. See IXTLILXOCHITL. ALBANI, Marie Emma Lajeunesse, singer, born at Chambly, near Montreal, in 1851. Her parents were French-Canadians. She was educated with her sisters in the convent of the Sacred Heart in Montreal, and was left motherless at an early age. Her first musical training came from her father, a skilful musician. In 1864 he removed to Albany, New York, where her singing in the cathedral attracted much attention. A concert was given for her benefit, and with the proceeds she was sent to Europe to complete her musical education. After studying two years in Paris, where she found a patroness in Baroness Lafitte, under the tuition of Duprez, and then in Milan under Lamperti, she made her debut as an opera singer in Messina in 1870. The name Albani was adopted out of compliment to the city where her musical promise was recognized and generously encouraged. She sang at Malta, and then, during the winter of 1871-'72, in the theatre of La Pergola at Florence. Ambroise Thomas's "Mignon," which had been damned in four Italian theatres, became a success with her, as were all the parts with which she identified herself. When her fame was established in Italy she appeared in the royal Italian opera in London. She sang in St. Petersburg with great success, and became a favorite in Paris and in the United States, as well as in London. She married Ernest Gye, the manager, in 1878. In 1883 she made a tour of the United States, and in May 1886, sang the ode written by Tennyson for the opening of the colonial exhibition London.
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