Catherine Hayes

Hayes, Catherine, a celebrated singer, was born about 1820 in Limerick, where her family were in humble circumstances. Her vocal talents attracted the notice of Dr. Knox, Bishop of Limerick, and through his exertions funds were procured to enable her to study in Dublin with Signor Sapio in 1839. Her success was so marked at concerts given in different parts of Ireland, that she was enabled to continue her studies at Paris, and afterwards at Milan, where she created a great sensation at La Scala in Linda di Chamounix. Thenceforth her success was assured, and she became for a time almost the leading cantatrice of the day — at least in the United Kingdom.

On account of her nationality she was especially popular in Ireland. "Her voice is a clear and beautiful soprano of the sweetest quality in all its ranges; ascending with perfect ease to D in alt., and in its freshness, mellowness, and purity, giving no token of having at all suffered by the excessive severity of her Italian discipline."[116] She made a successful operatic tour round the world, being warmly received in Australia, California, and the Atlantic States of the American Union. In 1857 she married a Mr. Bushnell. Her life thenceforward is believed not to have been a happy one; ill-health supervened, and she died at Sydenham, near London, 11th August 1861, aged 41. She was described by those who knew her as a woman of great sweetness and purity of character.


35. Biographical Dictionary: John Cassell. London, N.D.

86. Contemporains, Dictionnaire Universel des: G. Vapereau. Paris, 1870.

116. Dublin University Magazine (36). Dublin, 1833-'77.

233. Manuscript and Special Information, and Current Periodicals.