Autobiography · Music · Opera

Dragonetti & His Dolls: The Musician Who Married a Mannequin

Autobiographies of nineteenth-century performers are a lot of fun to work with. They are, without exception, filled will all manner of bizarre and surprising anecdotes. In a previous post I discussed the opera singer Henry Phillips (1801-1876), who wrote about the way in which he was influenced by American Indian dance.  Today I am returning… Continue reading Dragonetti & His Dolls: The Musician Who Married a Mannequin

Exhibition · Pre-Raphaelite · Review

Review | Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion

I’ve recently been spending a lot of time in Liverpool, as the exhibition I curated was on display at the city’s Central Library last month. On my last trip I found some time to head next door to the Walker Art Gallery to see the exhibition Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion. I was very glad I… Continue reading Review | Pre-Raphaelites: Beauty and Rebellion

Autobiography · Music · Opera

An American Indian War Dance on the Operatic Stage in 1824

One of the best things about working with the autobiographies of opera singers is the curious and unexpected anecdotes that you frequently come across. Today I’ve been re-reading the memoirs of Henry Phillips, a popular bass singer of the early nineteenth century. His autobiography, Musical and Personal Recollections During Half a Century, was published in… Continue reading An American Indian War Dance on the Operatic Stage in 1824

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From Braham to Bowie: Singers as Symbols of the Past

Yesterday morning the world awoke to the sad news that David Bowie is dead. The passing of such a prolific and influential artist has, unsurprisingly, prompted a deluge of tributes from friends and fans alike. Within these tributes I’ve noticed a recurring theme which interests me, as it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot… Continue reading From Braham to Bowie: Singers as Symbols of the Past