Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, of the King's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane: Including a Period of Nearly Half a Century

Overview

Michael Kelly (1762–1826) was an Irish singer and composer who studied music in a Naples conservatory before touring Europe and performing for royalty. His voyage to Italy began with a brush with pirates, one of whom was a childhood acquaintance. Kelly also found himself stranded penniless in Venice, spent a night in prison after a fist fight at the theatre, and had a narrow escape from revolutionary France. He is probably best remembered for creating the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in the first ...

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Overview

Michael Kelly (1762–1826) was an Irish singer and composer who studied music in a Naples conservatory before touring Europe and performing for royalty. His voyage to Italy began with a brush with pirates, one of whom was a childhood acquaintance. Kelly also found himself stranded penniless in Venice, spent a night in prison after a fist fight at the theatre, and had a narrow escape from revolutionary France. He is probably best remembered for creating the roles of Don Basilio and Don Curzio in the first performance, in 1786, of Le Nozze di Figaro, of which he describes the rehearsal period and reception. He later joined London's Theatre Royal as both a performer and composer and opened a music shop, which went bankrupt. These memoirs, published in 1826, provide rich first-hand insights into a key period in theatre history. Volume 2 covers Kelly's later musical and theatrical career.

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Table of Contents

1. First performance of the Siege of Belgrade; 2. The author's mistake in taking Sir Charles Turner for Hobler, the chorus-singer; 3. The author at Paris; 4. Paesiello's comic opera, the 'Zingari in Fiera', at the King's Theatre; 5. The Beggar's Opera prohibited in Dublin; 6. Edinburgh; 7. First performance of the Wheel of Fortune; 8. The author apprehended as a French spy at Dover; 9. Fracas at Plymouth Dock; 10. Anecdotes of Monk Lewis; 11. Mazzanti, the Italian soprano, at the performance of the Beggar's Opera Travestied; 12. Mrs. Billington's dismay at the unexpected appearance of Monsieur de Felican, her husband; 13. Difficulty of eating on the stage; 14. The King's Theatre opened by Mr. Francis Goold; 15. Tobin's Honey Moon; 16. Miss De Camp in the 'Forty Thieves'; 17. Madame Catalani dancing in a kitchen at Bangor, to the music of an old blind harper; 18. Covent Garden Theatre burnt to the ground; 19. The author's last appearance on the stage; 20. Kean's first appearance as a tragedian in 'Shylock'; 21. Arrival at Paris; 22. Death of Sheridan; 23. List of sixty-two dramatic pieces, for which Kelly composed the music; Appendix.

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