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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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English-Language Opera at the End of the Century

English-Language Opera at the End of the Century

(p.495) 7 English-Language Opera at the End of the Century
Opera for the People

Katherine K. Preston

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses operatic activity in the 1890s—in particular, an insatiable public appetite for comic opera and operetta that eventually eclipsed interest in the translated continental repertory. After close inspection of representative English grand opera and light opera companies, the author concludes with a discussion of two ensembles that enjoyed extraordinary success in the late 1890s: the Bostonians (formerly the Boston Ideals) and the Castle Square Opera Company. In the face of changing American tastes at the turn of the century, the old-fashioned Bostonians eventually failed while the more up-to-date Castle Square troupe succeeded. The latter company’s director Henry Savage had a foot firmly planted in each century. His willingness to adopt modern techniques and respond to contemporary audience demands illustrates the continued appeal of both English-language opera (in the late-nineteenth century) and the more flexible, colloquial, and indelibly American style of musical comedy that emerged (in the early twentieth).

Keywords:   Bostonians, Castle Square Opera Company, operetta, grand opera, Henry Savage, musical comedy, light opera

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