1821–1885

Introduction

Born: May 17, 1821, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Died: Feb­ru­a­ry 18, 1885, Lon­don, Eng­land.

Buried: High­gate Ce­me­tery (West), Lon­don, Eng­land.

portrait

Biography

Charlotte was the daugh­ter of Sam­u­el Dolby and Char­lotte Ni­ven, and wife of vi­o­lin­ist Pros­per Sain­ton (mar­ried 1860).

A con­tral­to, she stu­died at the Roy­al Acad­e­my of Mu­sic (RAM) (1832–37), where Do­me­ni­co Cri­vel­li was her prin­ci­pal sing­ing-mas­ter.

In 1837, she was elect­ed to a King’s schol­ar­ship, and first ap­peared at a Roy­al Phil­har­mo­nic So­ci­e­ty con­cert in 1841.

In Oc­to­ber 1845, she sang at the Ge­wand­haus in Leip­zig, Ger­ma­ny, through the in­flu­ence of Fe­lix Men­dels­sohn, who had been de­light­ed by her sing­ing in St. Paul. The con­tral­to mu­sic in his Eli­jah was writ­ten for her voice, but she did not ap­pear in that work un­til the per­form­ance at Ex­e­ter Hall in Ap­ril 1847.

She was a prin­ci­pal so­lo­ist in the first Eng­lish per­form­ance of Bach’s St. Mat­thew Pas­sion, di­rect­ed by Will­iam Stern­dale Ben­nett at the Ha­no­ver Square Rooms, Lon­don, in Ap­ril 1854.

Charlotte re­tired from pub­lic sing­ing in 1870. Two years lat­er, she start­ed a vo­cal acad­e­my in Lon­don.

She made var­i­ous at­tempts as a com­pos­er, with her can­ta­tas The Le­gend of St. Dor­o­thea (1876), The Sto­ry of the Faith­ful Soul (1879), and Flo­ri­mel (1885) en­joy­ing con­sid­er­a­ble suc­cess.

Her last pub­lic ap­pear­ance was at her hus­band’s fare­well con­cert in June 1883. A schol­ar­ship in her me­mo­ry was found­ed at the RAM.

Her voice was of mo­der­ate power and of fine qua­li­ty, but it was her dig­ni­fied and ar­tis­tic style that gave her the high place she held for so ma­ny years both in or­a­tor­ios and bal­lads.

Sources

Music