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Opera for the PeopleEnglish-Language Opera and Women Managers in Late 19th-Century America$
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Katherine Preston

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780199371655

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780199371655.001.0001

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Effie Ober and the Boston Ideal Opera Company, 1879–1885

Effie Ober and the Boston Ideal Opera Company, 1879–1885

(p.239) 4 Effie Ober and the Boston Ideal Opera Company, 1879–1885
Opera for the People

Katherine K. Preston

Oxford University Press

This chapter focuses on the Boston Ideal Opera Company, a comic opera troupe. Its founder, Effie Hinckley Ober, was not a performer, but a businesswoman who owned one of the first musical management firms in the country. Her success in a male-dominated business provides valuable insight into how an ambitious and enterprising woman could navigate a distinctly competitive, virile world in the post-Civil War American social landscape. This chapter covers the Boston Ideals only during the Ober period (1879–1885) and illustrates techniques of management, a hitherto unknown relationship between opera production and the emergence of lyceum bureaus, and performance practice. The company mounted both operettas (Gilbert and Sullivan) and some of the standard works that had been performed by English-language troupes for decades; after Ober’s retirement it continued until 1904 under a new name (the Bostonians) and new management.

Keywords:   Effie Ober, Boston Ideal Opera Company, Bostonians, lyceum bureau, musical management, businesswomen/businesswoman, comic opera, management, Gilbert and Sullivan, operetta

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