The librettist and theatre manager Alfred Bunn (1796-1860) published these memoirs of his career, giving a view 'both before and behind the curtain', in 1840. He professes not to be fond of autobiographies, is clearly irritated at the not always flattering walk-on role he is given in the memoirs of some of the greatest contemporary performers, and regards this three-volume work as a way of settling a number of scores. His account cannot therefore be said to be unprejudiced, but it is written with a verve which makes it very readable, and - allowing for bias and exaggeration - provides a fascinating account of the period when Bunn was running both the Theatre Royal at Drury Lane and the Opera House at Covent Garden, providing libretti for some of the best known British composers of the period, and quarrelling with almost everyone he worked with in the course of his career.
|Publisher:||Cambridge University Press|
|Series:||Cambridge Library Collection - Literary Studies Series|
|Product dimensions:||5.51(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.71(d)|
Table of Contents
Volume 1: Preface; 1. Inutility of biography; 2. Indifference of the public; 3. Performers and their salaries, past and present; 4. A London manager as he is, and as he ought to be; 5. The value of experience exemplified; 6. A good address very desirable; 7. Mems. of a manager during a continental trip; 8. Ambassadors; 9. Jephtha's vow; 10. A visit to Germany, and its theatres; 11. Dissolution; 12. 'Repeal of the union' carried. Volume 2: 1. Reduction of prices; 2. Overclouding of the horizon; 3. Illness and recovery; 4. The manager's last sight of the actress; 5. Disadvantages of a clean over a dirty house; 6. The examiner of plays unfit for his situation; 7. Seven shillings and four shillings versus cleanliness and dirt; 8. Patent delights!; 9. New reading of a passage in Macbeth; 10. Doubts respecting Killigrew's patent solved. Volume 3: 1. Mr C. Kean's appearance in London; 2. A splendid dinner, and a better dessert; 3. The end of a season; 4. 'War, war, no peace'; 5. Posthumous opera by Sheridan; 6. Various opinions of various people; 7. The steward's reckoning; 8. Pains and penalties give way to rhyme and reason.