|OPERA SINGER (IRELAND)|
BORN 25 Oct 1818, Limerick: 4 St. Patrick Street - DIED 11 Aug 1861, Sydenham, Kent|
REAL NAME Hayes, Catherine
GRAVE LOCATION London: Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, Kensal Green (101/PS (16723) facing the Anglican chapel)
Catherine Hayes came from a poor family. Her father left her mother and she worked as a charwoman at Lord Limerick. She sang during her work and this was heard by Dr. Edmond Knox (1772-1849), the Bishop of Limerick. With his help she was able to study under Antonio Sapio in Dublin. In Dublin she debuted in 1839 and she was so successful that she could continued her studies in Paris under Manuel Garcia and in Milan under Felici Ronconi.
On 10 May 1845 she first appeared at the Scala and she received an immediate ovation. She toured Italy and afterwards she was engaged at Covent Garden, where she debuted on 10 Apr 1849. In 1849 she sang for queen Victoria and 500 guests and in 1851 she toured the USA. In New York she met William Avery Bushnell, the former manager of Jenny Lind, who now became her manager. Her tour was very successful and she continued to tour Australia. After she returned to England in 1856 she married Bushnell on 8 Oct 1857. But his health was poor and he died on 2 Jul 1858 at Biarritz.
After his death she restricted her performances to London, where her ballads were very much wanted. Her own health had suffered from her tours and from a riding accident in the USA and in 1861 she died aged only 42 at the house of a friend, Henry Lee. She left an estate of over £16,000 and was survived by a sister and by her mother, who had travelled with her during all her tours.
Paths of Glory, The Friends of Kensal Green Cemetery, London, 1997