Book Description
A contemporary collection of English music drama scores, chiefly on a Gothic theme. Although no marks of ownership are present it is clear that whoever had the works bound together was keen on both the melodramatic and romantic at the end of eighteenth century. The first work bound into the volume is Stephen Storace’s The Pirate of 1792 with a plot that is laid in and around Naples and partly autobiographical, Cobb, the librettist of The Pirates, had not been to Italy, and it is clear that Storace had a considerable hand in devising the libretto, and probably also the stage sets. The pictorial title-page of the vocal score may both represent one of the sets and be derived from one of Storace’s own sketches … the libretto was never published, a manuscript copy of it survives in the British Museum (Add. 25913), a small part of it in Cobb’s hand. Stage effects include a fairground scene with national dances; a storm on the sea coast with the hero dragged away by the bad men, tied up, and removed by boat; and finally a dramatic use of the newly discovered Magic Lantern to effect the denouement in the villain’s castle … The Pirates was deservedly a success. Cobb’s libretto, though it contains a great deal of the ‘unhand-me-cowards’ type of dialogue, is nevertheless the best Storace ever set in England. It was never published because Sheridan, the Drury Lane manager, put a great deal of money into the production and did not want Covent Garden to get hold of the work. He had taken similar precautions with his own The School for some years earlier. The scenery was new; most operas in those days made do with whatever was lying around. The scenery was also very elaborate and needed a huge stage, so that provincial performances were almost out of the question. Thus there may well have been only one set of orchestral parts in existence, and this set would have been burnt in 1809 when Drury Lane became cinders and rubble.’ [Fiske] Blue Beard or Female Curiosity was set to music by Michael Kelly, a fine tenor who created the role of Don Basilio in Mozart’s Le nozze di Figaro. By 1798 had returned to England and took a share in the management of London’s Drury Lane from where he put on a succession of music drama’s. Truthfully the music was chiefly ‘borrowed’ and then stitched together with a new orchestration. Unfortunately the full score is now lost, probably when the theatre went up in flames in 1811, so the piano reduction printed under Kelly’s supervision is all we have left. ‘Colman’s version of Blue Beard has many elements of the Perrault original, and many of the standard plot characteristics of the typical early melodrama. Fatima, an innocent maiden, is betrothed to the three-tailed bashaw, Abomelique (Blue Beard), through the greed of her father, Ibrahim. Her true love, Selim, vows to rescue her from the clutches of the villain. Comic relief is provided by the father, Ibrahim, who has ambitions of becoming Blue Beard’s major domo, and by the slaves, Shacabac and Beda, whose main function seems to be to sing. Fatima and her sister Irene are taken to Abomelique’s castle, and the bride is tested by being given the keys, with a dire warning about the key to the Blue Chamber, which must not be used. Hearing groans from behind the forbidden door, Fatima opens it from purely humanitarian motives (although the subtitle of the piece is “Female Curiosity”). She enters a chamber of horrors, furnished with skeletons, spectres, and buckets of blood. Blue Beard discovers his wife’s disobedience, and prepares to behead her with his scimitar. Tension builds as Fatima and Irene watch for signs of Selim and the Spahis riding across the plain to the rescue. The piece ends with the fight between the Spahis and Blue Beard’s minions, the death of Blue Beard in the enchanted chamber, and the rescue of Fatima by her sweetheart. The work, considered family fare, was popular for many years thereafter as a Christmas pantomime.’ [Porter]. The illustrated title is based on the scenery used at Drury Lane and although the Kelly and Coleman confection has faded somewhat, it was proved very popular for a few years both in Britain and the United States. The third opera The Moutaineers is adapted from the Lewis Theobald’s 1727 play Double Falshood is based on the ‘Cardenio’ episode in Don Quixote, however in it’s rehabilitated form by Coleman where he drops the rape scene. Samuel Arnold and Coleman’s three-act musical drama involves three unmarried women escaping to the mountains with their lovers, Zorayda runs off with her lover and his best friend; Floranthe cross-dresses when escaping with Roque, a servant, and a third unmarried couple enters the mountains seeking to protect Zorayda. All fairly safe for the late eighteenth century stage but yet not quite a conventional the music-drama that became moderately successful. The Captive of Spilburg is an opera in two acts, the music composed by Dussek but adapted from Dalayrac’s Camille first performed in Paris in 1791. The pedigree of the text began with Mme. de Genlis’s Adele el Theodore. this was subsequently adapted by Marsollier and then translated by Prince Hoare for Michael Kelly’s production at Drury Lane in 1798. After Eugenia marries Korowitz secretly, his nephew Canzcmar rescues her from bandits. Not knowing of the marriage, the nephew tries, but fails, to seduce her and releases her only when she promises not to tell of his actions. The husband, not receiving an explanation of where his wife has been and therefore suspecting her of infidelity, throws her into a dungeon, but the situation is resolved happily at the end. The collection concludes with two incomplete works, ‘Monk’ Lewis’s The Castle Spectre, and a collection of Scots reels and strathspeys from a work collected by Alexander McGlashan. See Roger Fiske The Operas of Stephen Storace, Proceedings of the Royal Musical Association (1959 - 1960); Susan L. Porter American Music, Vol. 8, No. 1, Music of the Nineteenth Century (Spring, 1990), pp. 54-70.
Dealer Notes
[COBB, James] and STORICE, Stephen. THE PIRATES, An Opera in Three Acts. As Performed at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the music Composed by Stephen Storace. London; Printed and Sold by J Dale, 1792. Oblong folio, pp, [2], 93, [1] blank.

[bound with]: COLMAN, George, the Younger & KELLY, Michael. THE GRAND DRAMATIC ROMANCE OF BLUE BEARD OR FEMALE CURIOSITY. The Words by George Colman the Younger Esq. The Music Composed and Selected by Michael Kelly. London; Corri, Dussek & Co, 1798. Oblong folio, pp, [2], 74.

[bound with]: COLMAN, George, the Younger & ARNOLD, Samuel.THE MOUNTAINEER, as Performed With the Utmost Applause at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Written by George Colman Esqr. Junr. The music Selected and Composed by Dr. Arnold Organist & Composer To His Majesty. London; Preston and Son, at Their Wholesale Warehouses, 1794. Oblong folio, pp, [2], 74.

[bound with]: HOARE, Prince, DUSSEK, Johann Ladislaus & KELLY, Michael. [The favorite romance of the captive of Spilberg : as now performing… at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane. The words by Prince Hoare… ; the music entirely new by J.L. Dussek. London; Edinburgh: printed for M. Kelly, to be had of Corri, Dussek, & Co… London : and at Edinburgh, 1798] Oblong folio, pp, lacking title leaf, [1] blank, 2-67, [1] blank .
Binding contemporary half calf over marbled boards, some cracking to joints and wear to extremities but still sound; a few leaves slightly loose.
Condition Oblong folio [35 x 25 cm.];

Price: £750.00

Offered by Pickering & Chatto

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