STORACE, Anna Selina 1766-1817. Opera singer. Born in London of an Italian father. After making her singing debut at the Haymarket in 1774, Signora Storace (or Storache, as it was pronounced and sometimes misspelled) studied in Italy, where she contracted a disastrous marriage to a wife-beater, then moved to Vienna, where in 1784 she created the role of Susanna in Mozart’s ‘Marriage of Figaro’. Returning to England, she appeared frequently at Drury Lane from 1789. ‘In her later years the signora increased in bulk, and her features, always strong, became coarse. She persisted to the last in playing parts to which she was unsuited, and her final retirement was accepted with something more than resignation.’ It was finally all over when the fat lady sang in May 1808, after which she moved to Herne Hill Cottage in Dulwich, where she died in 1817. Her portrait, by Sharpe, is in the Mathews Collection at the Garrick Club. 

Patrick Darby