Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports compiled by Rictor Norton

Music and Opera

10-12 July 1701
At Hampstead Wells on Monday next, being the 14th of this instant July, will be performed an extraordinary consort of vocal and instrumental musick (with some particular performances) by several masters, to begin at ten in the morning; tickets are delivered out at the Wells at twelve pence a piece: The same ti[c]kets serve also for the dancing in the afternoon. [Post Boy]

4 December 1725   Gloucester, Nov. 27. Monday last being the anniversary of St. Cecilia, the same was usher’d in with ringing of bells; and at the Cathedral, in the morning, was perform’d Dr. Croft’s Te Deum, &c. from whence the members of the Musick-Club proceeded to the Swan Inn, to celebrate their annual feast, which was very great and splendid: And in the afternoon was a fine voluntary and anthem at the Cathedral, and a consort of musick in the evening at their club-room, which was honour’d with a great number of and Ladies. We are inform’d the same was handsom[e]ly observed by the Gentlemen at Hereford and Worcester. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

28 May 1726
This day in publish’d,
FAUSTINA, or the Roman Songstress, a satire on the luxury and effeminacy of the age.
      Can then our British syrens charm no more,
      That we import these foreign strumpets o’er,
      At such expence from the Italian shore?
Printed for J. Roberts near the Oxford-Arms in Warwick-Lane. Price 3d. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

28 May 1726
Good Sir,
I AM young, and a very fashionable Lady, therefore think my self in the unfortunatest circumstances imaginable, and don’t believe I shall be able, with a good air, to appear either in an Assembly, Drawing-Room, Park, Kensington Gardens again this Season. The case is thus; you know what impatience the town has been in for the arrival of the celebrated Faustina, that is, the well-dress’d, well-bred part of it; for as for the readers, writers, prudes, demures or stupids, we can tell nothing about them, since, poor creatures, they seldom fall into our company; but, as I was saying, Mr. Mist, charming Faustina sang last Thursday, and I would not have fail’d the Opera for my next Birth-Day gown, when, as if fortune had a mind utterly to disgrace me, (will you believe me?) I could not get in, though I had my ticket in my hand; the fellow who opens the door, had the impudence to tell me, there was no room, which I found true, to my great disappointment, but went away in hopes to repair the loss on Saturday, and, comforted my self pretty tolerably till then; but, dear Sir, I met with no better success, and was again dismiss’d with half a thousand more: I am quite out of Countenance about it; and tho’ I am resolved to pin both my tickets to my breast, to convince the world of my taste and good intentions, I don’t think I shall be able to venture in publick this month: I need not tell you, that the opera is become the very touchstone of sense and breeding, and no one can pretend to either who don’t frequent it, without making themselves ridiculous; for my part, I have taken my bed upon it, and hear most of the others are in as bad a way: Some of the men, I am told, had courage enough to go to Rosamond’s Pond on purpose to get rid of themselves, not being able to support such a misfortune, but fate has design’d ’em for greater uses; perhaps to make a considerable figure in case of a war, or to shine at the opera house for years to come.
   I beg you will, in the name of us all, make our Excuses to Madam Faustina, and tell her how mortified we are that we had’nt the happiness to hear her; and if you can prevail with Mr. Hed—r to let us in at his convenient back door, we should be infinitely obliged, since it will enable us to hear Faustina, which certainly must be the wisest thing on earth, for very good reasons. If I don’t die with vexation before I hear of you, believe me to be, with all fashionable reality,
           Your most humble
               Most faithful servant,
                  MARIA IMPATIENCE.
P.S. I desire you’d mention that there was abundance of Ladies who go in gratis, that is, by the interest they have with fine gentlemen. These figure it at every expensive place at the same rate. I only tell you this, that Faustina may know she’s more obliged to us since the tribute we pay her fine voice comes out of our own pockets; and let such Ladies, who have neither spouses nor fortunes able to support them thro’ their expences, when they are censuring or ridiculing others, remember that they are obliged to the very husbands, and brothers, of the others, for half a guinea.
   I won’t enter into the returns those Ladies must make upon being frequently presented, &c. [Mist’s Weekly Journal]

15 October 1730   We hear Mr. Heydegger, Master of the Opera House in the Hay-market, having contracted with some extraordinary voices lately arrived from Italy, to perform in the Italian Operas, designs to open the same with a fine new opera Sat. the 24th instant. There are grand preparations making at the Opera-house, &c. and Senesino [the famous castrato] being arrived, they will begin to perform as soon as the Court comes to S. James’s. — As this revival of Italian Operas is grateful to some of our members [i.e. fellow writers], who hope to have the translating of them: so it is is disagreeable to those greater genius’s who write English Operas themselves. [Grub-street Journal]

(Texts have been modernized with regard to capitalization, italicization, and punctuation, but original spelling has been retained. This edition copyright Rictor Norton. All rights reserved. Reproduction for sale or profit prohibited. These extracts may not be archived, republished or redistributed without the permission of the compiler.)

CITATION: Rictor Norton, Early Eighteenth-Century Newspaper Reports: A Sourcebook, "Music and Opera", 19 March 2002 <http://grubstreet.rictornorton.co.uk/music.htm>

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