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Everyday Lives of Extraordinary Divas
MRIC 2015/16

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Everyday Lives of Extraordinary Divas

Carol Padgham Albrecht
Lionel Hampton School of Music

Presented with support of the Provost’s Office and University Honors Program


What happens behind the scenes in an opera star's life? This presentation will demonstrate how genealogical and court documents from Viennese church and state archives provide a realistic view of how two prominent court opera singers, Irene Tomeoni (ca. 1763-1830) and Theresia Saal (1782-1855), negotiated their professional and personal lives. The results are not quite what one would expect — equal pay for equal work, paid maternity leave, retirement planning through real estate investment — leading us to challenge assumptions that women had no financial or legal power in patriarchal 19th-century Vienna.


Carol Padgham Albrecht is an associate professor of music history and oboe in the Lionel Hampton School of Music. In addition to the oboe studio, she teaches courses in music history from A.D. 900 to 1900, with a particular emphasis on the music and culture of Viennese classicism. A UI faculty member since 1989, Albrecht has conducted archival work in Vienna every summer since 1998, and has written numerous papers and articles about the imperial court opera establishment there.

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