Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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GARCIA, Manuel de Populo Vicente, vocalist, born in Seville, Spain. 22 January 1775; died in Paris, 2 June, 1832. He began his musical course at the age of six as a chorister in the cathedral of his native City. Before attaining manhood he had become known throughout Spain as a tenor and a composer of Church music and comic operas. In 1808 he appeared in Paris for the first time in Italian opera, and for many years continued a favorite in most European capitals. Garcia's career is memorable for his experimental introduction of the earliest Italian opera-company in the United States. It was in 1825, when they sang in the New York Park theatre. This served to present before the American public his daughter, Maria Felicia, afterward Madame Malibran. Garcia's troupe continued in this country nearly two years, singing occasionally in concert and oratorio. The company then departed for Mexico, where they remained about a year, and on their way homeward, between the capital and Vera Cruz, were robbed by a party of brigands of all their money and valuables. Garcia soon again found himself in the Italian opera-company in Paris. The quality of his voice was not remarkable, and, as it had become worn and newer favorites attracted the public, he determined to establish a school for instruction in vocal music. In this he was pre-eminently successful. Garcia wrote, in all, forty-three operas, furnishing the words to most of them. His daughters, Maria and Paulina, became celebrated singers.
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