Marie Carandini

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Marie Carandini
Marie Carandini.jpg
Drawing of Marie Carandini on the cover of Lewis Henry Lavenu's I Cannot Sing Tonight
Maria Burgess

(1826-02-01)1 February 1826
Brixton, Surrey, England
Died13 April 1894(1894-04-13) (aged 68)
Richmond Hill, Somerset, England
OccupationOpera singer
Years active1845–1894
Spouse(s)Jerome Carandini, Marquis of Sarzano (1843–1870; his death)
RelativesRosina Palmer (daughter)
Christopher Lee (great-grandson)
Harriet Walter (great-great-granddaughter)

Marie Carandini (née Burgess; 1 February 1826 – 13 April 1894) was an English-Australian opera singer.

Early life[edit]

Carandini was born in Brixton, Surrey, the daughter of James and Martha Burgess (née Medwin) and was brought by her parents to Van Diemen's Land (now Tasmania) in 1833.[1] At the age of 17, she married an Italian nobleman, Jerome Carandini, the Marquis of Sarzano (1803–1870), who was a political refugee.[1]


The Carandinis came to Sydney around 1845 and studied under Isaac Nathan, Sara Flower[2] and Lewis Henry Lavenu.[1]

Marie soon established a reputation as a concert singer and operatic prima donna, both in Sydney and Melbourne, and was a popular favourite in many other centres in Australia. She has the distinction of having been Australia's first Adalgisa in Bellini's opera Norma (1852, Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney) beside the Norma of Sara Flower. Her husband, having received a pardon from the Italian government, went to Italy in 1870, but died at Modena of gastric fever and inflammation of the lungs soon after his arrival. Madame Carandini continued to sing in concerts for some years in Australia and New Zealand, with visits to the United States and India. In November 1858 Carandini sang Leonora in Verdi's Il trovatore in a twenty-seven performance season at the Princess Theatre, Melbourne.[1]

Late life and legacy[edit]

Marie and her daughters

Carandini's last Australian appearance was in farewell concert on 3 February 1892 at the Melbourne Town Hall; she sang "Jessie the flower of Dumblane" with a strong voice for her age.[1] Soon afterwards she left for England. In her late life, Carandini lived at Richmond Hill, near Bath, with her daughter; she died there on 13 April 1894, aged 68.[1]


Carandini had eight children, of whom five daughters were musical and took part in her tours. Her eldest daughter Rosina Palmer was a notable soprano in Australia.

Her great-grandson (by her son Major Frank James Carandini, Marquis of Sarzano) was actor Sir Christopher Lee and her great-great-granddaughter is Dame Harriet Walter.


A street in the Canberra suburb of Melba is named in her honour.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Ann K. Wentzel,Carandini, Marie (1826-1894). Australian Dictionary of Biography, Vol. 3, MUP, 1969, pp. 351-352; retrieved 25 April 2010
  2. ^ W. Arundel Orchard 1952, Music in Australia. More than 150 years of Development (Melbourne), p. 26

External links[edit]

  • Marie Carandini at Project Gutenberg Australia
  • "Carandini pedigree". Retrieved 17 August 2017.[dead link]