German Opera Singer
1806 – 1854
Henriette Sontag, Countess Rossi, a German opera singer, born at Coblwenz. She was the daughter of actors, and made an early public appearance, when her precocity, appearance, and vocal gifts at once created a great impression. After singling in Berlin in 1825, her career was one unbroken triumph.
She made her début in Paris, became a favorite, and returned to Germany with heightened prestige. Everywhere her beauty, charming voice, and exquisite vocalization combined to excite an admiration amounting to frenzy. At Göttingen her post-chaise was thrown into the river by the ardent crowd, no mortal being counted worthy to make use of it after her.
When she married Count Rossi in 1829 she definitely bade farewell to artistic life, and for twenty years remained lost to the musical public, though occasionally she would sing for public charities. Her married life was very happy but the disorders of 1847-1848 compelled her to return to the stage, and in 1849 she appeared as Linda at Her Majesty’s Theatre, London. though she was now forty-three her voice and charms were unimpaired, and she united to youth and freshness the qualities of a finished artist.
During the next five years she sang with brilliant success in Europe and the United States. Her last appearance was made in Lucrezia Borgia in Mexico, in 1854. She was attacked by cholera, and a brief illness cut short a life of unchequered prosperity.
Henriette Sontag, as a singer, had the qualities of unsurpassed sweetness, fabulous agility, and perfect intonation. Limited in dramatic power, she appeared to the highest advantage in works of a light and placid style. She won the special favor of eminent musicians and connoisseurs in every country, and it fell to her lot to achieve an international popularity never before accorded to a German singer.
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.