1st Edition

London Opera Observed 1711–1844

Edited By Michael Burden
    1856 Pages
    by Routledge

    The thrust of these five volumes is contained in their title, London Opera Observ’d. It takes its cue from the numerous texts and volumes which — during the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries — used the concept of ‘spying’ or ‘observing’ by a narrator, or rambler, as a means of establishing a discourse on aspects of London life. The material in this five-volume reset edition examines opera not simply as a genre of performance, but as a wider topic of comment and debate. The stories that surrounded the Italian opera singers illuminate contemporary British attitudes towards performance, sexuality and national identity.

    The collection includes only complete, published material organised chronologically so as to accurately retain the contexts in which the original readers encountered them — placing an emphasis on rare texts that have not been reproduced in modern editions. The aim of this collection is not to provide a history of opera in England but to facilitate the writing of them or to assist those wishing to study topics within the field. Headnotes and footnotes establish the publication information and provide an introduction to the piece, its author, and the events surrounding it or which caused its publication. The notes concentrate on attempting to identify those figures mentioned within the texts. The approach is one of presentation, not interpretation, ensuring that the collection occupies a position that is neutral rather than polemical.

    VOLUME I, 1711-1763


    General Introduction

    Select Bibliography

    Notes on the Text

    Aaron Hill, Preface to Giacomo Rossini, Rinaldo, an Opera (1711)

    Daniel Purcell, Preface to Six Cantatas for a Voice (1713)

    [Anon.], A Full and True Account of a Dreadful Fire that Lately Broke Out in the Pope’s Breeches (1713)

    Peter Anthony Motteaux, ‘To the Nobility and the Gentry,’ from Thomryis, Queen of Scythia, 4th edn (1719)

    Mr P. Aubert, Preface to Harlequin Hydaspes; or, the Greshamite (1719)

    John Terrasson, A Discourse Concerning the Opera (1720)

    [Anon.], A Letter from Signor Benedetto Baldassari (1720)

    [Anon.], Preface to Camilla, an Opera (1726)

    John Rich, Dedication to Lewis Theobold, The Rape of Proserpine (1727)

    The Devil to Pay at St. James’s, 1727

    [Anon.], The Devil to Pay at St. James’s (1727)

    [Anon.], A Little More of That Same (1727)

    Thomas Lediard, Prefatory Argument of a Description of the Transparent Theatre, from Britannia, an English Opera (1732)

    James Sterling, Prologue and Epilogue to John Dryden, King Arthur; or, Merlin, the British Inchanter (1736)

    John Dorman, ‘Some Memoirs of F_____i [Farinelli]’, from The Curiosity (1738)

    The Trouble with Orpheus, 1740

    John Hill, Orpheus: An English Opera (1740)

    John Rich, Mr Rich’s Answer to the Many Falsities and Calumnies Advanced by Mr. John Hill (1739)

    John Hill, An Answer to the Many Plain and Notorious Lyes Advanc’d by Mr. John Rich (1740)

    John Lockman, ‘An Enquiry into the Rise and Progress of Operas’, from Rosalinda, a Musical Drama (1740)

    John Dorman, Prologue and Epilogue to the Comedy of Pamela, with the Preface to Pamela; or, Virtue Rewarded, an Opera (1742)

    John Lockman, ‘A Discourse on the Operas’, from Francesco Vanneschi, Fentonte; drama per il Teatro di S.M.B. (1747)

    Battling it Out Over the Italian Opera, 1753

    Giuseppi Baretti, A Scheme for Having an Italian Opera in London (1753)

    [Anon.], The Voice of Discord; or, the Battle of the Fiddles (1753)

    Edward Moore, The World, by Adam Fitz-Adam, no. 171 (1756)

    [Anon.], A Fair Enquiry into the State of Operas in England (1759)

    Goldoni, ‘Advertisement to the Reader’, from Carlo Goldini, Bertoldo, Bertoldino, e Cacasenno (1762)

    [Anon.], ‘On that Part of Dramatical Entertainments Called Singing’ (1763)

    Rioting at Artaxerxes, 1763

    John Beard, The Case Concerning the Late Disturbance at Convent-Garden Theatre (1763)

    A Lady, Theatrical Disquisitions; or, A Review of the Late Riot at Drury Lane Theatre (1763)

    [Anon.], Fitzgiggo, a New English Uproar (1763)

    [Anon.], The Second and Last Act of Fitzgiggo (1763)

    Murdoch O’Blaney (pseud.), Fitzgig’s Triumph (1763)

    [Anon.], ‘Fitzgig’s Triumph; or, the Power of Riot’ (1763)

    Editorial Notes

    VOLUME II, 1763-1782

    The Operas of Orione and Zanaida

    Philetymus (pseud.), Critical Observations on the Tragic Opera of Orion (1763)

    Arcangelo Bimolle, ‘Translation of a Letter from Signor Bimolle’ (1763)

    Arcangelo Bimolle, ‘Translation of a Second Letter from Signor Bimolle’ (1763)

    The Guardian Outwitted

    Thomas Arne, Preface to The Guardian Out-Witted (1764)

    Thomas Arne, An Elegy on the Death of The Guardian Outwitted (1765)

    Giovanni Gualberto Bottarelli, To the Reader, from Carattaco, drama (1767)

    Dora Tenducci, A True and Genuine Narrative of Mr. and Mrs. Tenducci (1768)

    [Anon.], The Lyric Muse Revived in Europe (1768)

    Joseph Reed, Preface to Tom Jones, a Comic Opera (1769)

    Carlo Francesco Badini, Preface to Il disertore; A New Comic Opera (1770)

    Giovanni Andrea Gallini, A Treatise on the Art of Dancing (1772)

    The Queen of Quavers

    [Anon.], ‘The Humble Address of the Subjects of the Queen of Quavers’ (1776)

    [Anon.], The Remarkable Trial of the Queen of Quavers, and Her Associates (1777)

    [Anon.], An Heroic Epistle, from Monsieur Vestris (1781)

    Jean-Georges Noverre, Historical Account of Adela of Ponthieu (1782)

    Editorial Notes

    VOLUME III, 1783-1792

    A Lady of Fashion, A Descriptive Plan of the New Opera House ([1783])

    The Opera House Disputes I

    [Anon.], The Opera Rumpus; or, Ladies in the Wrong Box! (1783)

    [Anon.], The Case of the Opera-House Disputes, Fairly Stated (1784)

    [Anon.], The Testament, or Will, of Mr. William Taylor (1785)

    Giusto Fernandino Tenducci, ‘To the Public’, from Ranieri de Calzabigi, Orpheus and Eurydice, a Musical Drama (1785)

    Robert Nares, Remarks on the Favourite Ballet of Cupid and Psyche (1788)

    John Brown, Letters upon the Poetry and Music of the Italian Opera (1789)

    Anthony A. Le Texier, Ideas on the Opera (1790)

    The Opera House Disputes II

    Robert Bray O’Reilly, An Authentic Narrative of the Principle Circumstances Relating to the Opera-House in the Hay-Market (1791)

    William Taylor, A Concise Statement of the Transactions and Circumstances Respecting the King’s Theatre (1791)

    Henry Tresham, Description of the Allegory, Painted for the Curtain of the King’s Theatre Pantheon (1791)

    The ‘Life’ of Mrs Billington

    [Anon.], Memoirs of Mrs Billington (1792)

    [Anon.], An Answer to the Memoirs of Mrs. Billington (1792)

    Four Singers’ Biographies, Joseph Haslewood, The Secret History of the Green Room (1793)

    Editorial Notes

    VOLUME IV, 1799-1821

    [William Taylor], Memorandum, August, 1799 King’s Theatre (1799)

    John Thomas Mathias, Pandolpho Attonito!; or, Lord Galloway’s Political Lamentation (1800)

    Robert Houlton, A Review of the Musical Drama (1801)

    Philofiddle (pseud.), A Letter from Philofiddle to the Public (1805)

    Edmund Waters at the Opera House I

    Edmund Waters, King’s Theatre, Haymarket, January 11, 1808. To the Nobility and the Gentry (1808)

    Edmund Waters, The Opera Glass (1808)

    Madame Catalani (and Others) Causes a Stir at Covent Garden

    Theatricus (pseud.), Theatrical Taxation (1808)

    [Anon.], A Few Strictures on the Engagement of Mad. Catalani (1809)

    A Renter, A Short Address to the Public, Respecting Raising the Prices at Covent-Garden Theatre, and Engaging Madame Catalani (1809)

    Arthur Simpson, Some Memoirs of Madame Catalani (1811)

    C.O., A Letter on Cosi fan tutte (1811)

    The Opera House in 1811

    Henry Francis Greville, A Letter to the Subscribers to the Opera (1811)

    [Anon.], ‘Mr. William Taylor of the Opera House’, (1811)

    Beazley, A Description of the English Opera-House (1816)

    Edmund Waters at the Opera House II

    Edmund Waters, ‘Statement to the Nobility and the Gentry’ (1816)

    Edmund Waters, Regulations to be Henceforth Observed at the King’s Theatre (1816)

    Richard Mackenzie Bacon, ‘The Operas of H.R. Bishop’ (1818)

    Edmund Waters at the Opera House III

    Edmund Waters, A Statement of Matters, relative to the King’s Theatre (1818)

    Veritas (pseud.), Opera House, a Review of this Theatre (1818)

    Richard Mackenzie Bacon, An Analysis of ‘A Statement of Matters’ (1818)

    [Anon.], Particulars relative to the King’s Theatre, or Opera House (1820)

    J.W.S., Dedication and Apology to The Innocent Usurper (1821)

    Editorial Notes

    VOLUME V, 1821-1844

    Richard Mackenzie Bacon, Opera in England as Seen in the Quarterly Musical Magazine (1821-8)

    The Weber Phenomenon

    ‘Prefatory Remarks’ to Der Freyschütz (1824)

    [Anon.], Review of Der Freischütz (1824)

    [Anon.], Review of Oberon (1826)

    [Anon.], Vocal and Dramatic Institution, a Prospectus (1829)

    [Anon.], An Explanation of the Differences Between the Manager of the Italian Opera and the Non-Conforming Members of the Late Orchestra (1829)

    Thomas Monck Mason at the King’s Theatre

    Thomas Monck Mason, Prospectus of the Plan Intended to be Pursued in the Direction of the Italian Opera House (1831)

    Thomas Monck Mason, Programming the Arrangements at the King’s Theatre for the Season (1832)

    Herbert Rodwell’s National Opera

    G. Herbert Rodwell, A Letter to the Musicians of Great Britain (1833)

    G. Herbert Rodwell, Printed cover letter, National Opera Prospectus, and the handbill for the Musical Festival (1837)

    The Malibran Phenomenon

    W.H.O., Memoirs, Critical and Historical, of Madame Malibran de Beriot (1836)

    The Star of La Scala (1837)

    Her Majesties’ Theatre 1837-9, by an Amateur

    Her Majesties’ Theatre (1837)

    Hints on the Italian Opera in Italy, France, Germany and England (1839)

    George Egestorff, A Lecture on Music (1840)

    William Michael Balfe, English Opera House (1841)

    Henry Forthergill Chorley, ‘Music and the Drama’, a Review of Balfe’s The Daughter of St Mark (1844)

    [Anon.], ‘A Brief History of the Theatrical Question’, (1843)

    Editorial Notes