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Opera in the Jazz AgeCultural Politics in 1920s Britain$
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Alexandra Wilson

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780190912666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190912666.001.0001

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(p.50) Chapter 2 Audiences
Opera in the Jazz Age

Alexandra Wilson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 examines the sorts of people who attended the opera in 1920s Britain. It explains that the audience for opera in this period was far from homogeneous, and analyses the ways in which interest in opera cut strikingly across conventional class lines. The chapter examines the partial decline of aristocratic patronage of opera at Covent Garden and the reasons for it, also discussing the diverse social groups who also frequented the theatre. It analyses the audience for opera beyond the West End, whether at the Old Vic or at a variety of theatres both in London and the provinces where touring opera companies performed. The chapter also examines operatic performance in some unconventional spaces, such as at a Lyon’s Corner House in central London. It concludes by discussing the size of the 1920s audience for opera, and the extent to which opera-going was accepted as a British pursuit.

Keywords:   opera, Britain, 1920s, class, London, audience, theatre, national identity

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