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Billington, Elizabeth; Stephens, Catherine

Cowgill, Rachel (2004) Billington, Elizabeth; Stephens, Catherine. In: Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. ISBN 9780198614111

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Billington [née Weichsel], Elizabeth (1765–1818), singer, was born in Litchfield Street, Soho, London, on 27 December 1765, the first of the three children of Carl Friedrich Weichsel (1728–1811) and his wife, Fredericka Weirman (d. 1786). Weichsel, a native of Freiburg, Saxony, was principal oboist at the King's Theatre and Vauxhall Gardens; Fredericka sang at Vauxhall for twenty-two seasons and also at the Lenten oratorios. Elizabeth's eldest brother, Charles (1767–1850), became an accomplished violinist, and led the King's Theatre band and Philharmonic Society during the early nineteenth century.
Stephens, Catherine [Kitty; married name Catherine Capel-Coningsby, countess of Essex] (1794–1882), singer and actress, was born at 85 Park Street, Grosvenor Square, London, on 18 September 1794, the daughter of Edward Stephens (c.1768–1827), a carver and gilder. Her choice of career was probably influenced by her elder sister Elizabeth (later Mrs J. Smith), who performed in Liverpool and then at Drury Lane from 1798 until around 1806. According to Oxberry, the two Misses Stephens ‘mutually assisted each other’ (Oxberry, 123), but Catherine was soon to supersede her sister, to become one of the most popular English singers of her generation.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > M Music
Schools: School of Music, Humanities and Media
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Depositing User: Rachel Cowgill
Date Deposited: 11 Sep 2014 14:55
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2021 11:41


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