Madam Blanche Marchesi at Home

With a very strong individuality and intense emotional artistic temperament, Madame Marchesi enters absolutely into the supreme characteristic mood of every song, and the gods have gifted her so that she is able to transfer it to her audience with simple directness and power. She has been described as the Sarah Bernhardt of singing, and perhaps this is true, because she is always a fine actress. And here one must leave a woman who boasts, indeed, many parts, so many that one ventured to ask her what she considered the greatest qualification needful to the career of a successful singer. Madame Marchesi makes many demands upon Mother Nature when she declares herself in favour of thirteen stringent rules. 

“First,” she says, “not an extraordinary voice, but the possibility of a good voice, and that is: the right muscles, the proper shape of the mouth, and so on. Secondly, a teacher who not only knows her work, but has interest in her pupil. After that, place health, untiring perseverance, thoroughness, presence, which means more personality, I think, than beauty, magnetism (and this is a great essential in taking an audience with you), a graceful charm of manner on the platform and away from it, good fortune, individuality of character, again individuality—individuality—doesn't that make the number?” the singer finished, with a smile. 

—Emmie and Blossom Keddell, "Madam Blanche Marchesi at Home," Cassell's Magazine, Illustrated, 1909: 440-446.

Find the complete article here. It's a fascinating read. Click on the label below for more information on Blanche Marchesi and her teaching. Then go listen to her recordings at Youtube.  It's great stuff!