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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BBC’s Queens of Heartache: A Response

I’m not a fan of music documentaries, but BBC’s Queens of Heartache caught my attention as its subjects are five of my very favourite artists; Edith Piaf, Billie Holiday, Judy Garland, Maria Callas and Janis Joplin. What really piqued my curiosity, however, was what a random grouping of women this is. Wildly different genres, different… Continue reading BBC’s Queens of Heartache: A Response

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Vivien Leigh & John Braham’s Lost Theatre

This year the 5th of November marks not only Guy Fawkes Night, but the one hundredth birthday of my favourite actor – Vivien Leigh. Vivien Leigh as Scarlett O’Hara, Gone With The Wind, 1939 I find that research is often a serendipitous experience. On so many occasions I have been researching someone or something, when another… Continue reading Vivien Leigh & John Braham’s Lost Theatre