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Portrait of Nancy Storace circa 1788 by Pietro Bettelini

Nancy Storace (27 October 1766 in London – 24 August 1817 in London), (born Anna Selina Storace) (surname pronounced Sto-rá-chay), was an English operatic soprano. She created the role of Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro.



Nancy Storace was born in London, the daughter of an Italian double-bass player Stefano Storace who had emigrated in the 1740s and Elizabeth Trusler, the daughter of the proprietor of Marylebone Gardens[1]. She studied at Venice under Antonio Maria Gaspare Sacchini. She became a member of the Court opera in Vienna where she notably sang in two world premieres in 1786, Susanna in Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro and Angelica in Vicente Martín y Soler's Il burbero di buon cuore. Soon afterward she returned to England and first appeared at the King's Theatre in London in 1787. She contributed greatly to the success of her brother Stephen Storace's operas, including The Haunted Tower, and she also appeared at the Handel Commemoration in Westminster Abbey in 1791. She retired from the stage in 1808, and died on 24 August 1817.

Friendships and love life

While in Italy Storace met the Irish singer Michael Kelly, who mentions her frequently in his Reminiscences. During her stay in Vienna she married John Abraham Fisher, an English violinist and composer many years her senior; however his violent behaviour towards her meant that they soon separated.

Her relationship with Mozart has been speculated to be more than professional. When she left Vienna Mozart wrote the concert aria "Ch'io mi scordi di te" for her. The work, which is headed "per la partenza di Sigra. Storace", is a duet for soprano and piano with orchestra, and Mozart himself played the piano part at her farewell concert. Some have seen the text of the aria's final section - "Do not weep, wherever you may go my heart is always yours" - as having an extra-musical significance, but there is no hard evidence for this.

Earlier Mozart had collaborated with Salieri (in whose operas Storace also performed) and an unknown "Cornetti" on a short cantata "Per la ricuperata di Ophelia", celebrating her return to the stage after hospitalisation, although this cantata is now lost.

Storace was also a friend of Joseph Haydn. She sang in his oratorio Il ritorno di Tobia in March 1784, and he later wrote a cantata "for the voice of my dear Storace", thought to be Miseri noi, H. XXIVa:.[2]

In around 1794 Storace began a long liaison with the tenor John Braham, though they never married. Their breakup in 1815 was acrimonious and their son, Spencer, repudiated Braham. Spencer eventually took the surname Meadowes and ended as a canon at Canterbury Cathedral[3]. The breakup may have contributed to Storace's death the following year. In her will — bequeathing property to the amount of £50,000 — she styled herself a "spinster."


  1. ^ Donald Burrows and Rosemarie Dunhill, Music and Theatre in Handel's World: The Family Papers of James Harris 1732-1780, Oxford University Press, USA (March 29, 2002), pg.742
  2. ^ Webster 2002, 22, 66).
  3. ^ David Conway, John Braham, from Meshorrer to Tenor, Jewish Historical Studies 41 (London, 2007), p. 60


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