Lucia Elizabeth Vestris (January 1797 – August 8, 1856) was an English actress and a contralto opera singer, appearing in Mozart and Rossini works. While popular in her time, she was more notable as a theatre producer and manager. After accumulating a fortune from her performances, she leased the Olympic Theatre in London and produced a series of burlesques and extravaganzas for which the house became famous, especially popular works by James Planché. She also produced his work at other theatres she managed.
Vestris was born in London as Elizabetta Lucia Bartolozzi. Her family moved to Europe in 1798, spending time in Paris, Vienna, Venice, before returning to London. Vestris studied music and was noted for her voice and dancing ability. She was married at age 16 to the French dancer, Auguste Armand Vestris, , but he deserted her four years later. Nevertheless, since she had started singing and acting professionally as "Madame Vestris," she retained such a stage name throughout her career. Her contralto voice and attractive appearance gained Madame Vestris her first leading role at age 18 in Italian opera in the title-role of Peter Winter's II ratto di Proserpina at the King's Theatre in 1815. She had immediate success in both London and Paris.
She got married in 1838 for the second time, to the British actor Charles James Mathews and accompanied him on tour to America. She aided him in his subsequent managerial ventures, including the management of the Lyceum Theatre and the theatre in Covent Garden.
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Acquisition Note: Source: Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Harold C. Ackert.
Originally laid in Memoirs of the Life, Public and Private Adventures of Mademe Vestris by Charles Molloy. PN2598.V5 M4 1839a
Accession number 1531
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