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2002 articles 1980 articles

Vignettes in early nineteenth-century London editions of Mozart's operas

Alec Hyatt King

Abstract

ON 21 June 1737 the royal assent was given to a measure entitled: An Act to explain and amend so much of an Act, made in the Twelfth Year of the Reign of Queen Anne, intituled, An Act for reducing the Laws relating to Rogues, Vagabonds, sturdy Beggars, and Vagrants, into one Act of Parliament: for the more effectual punishing such Rogues, Vagabonds, sturdy Beggars, and Vagrants, and sending them whither they ought to be sent, as relates to common Players of Interludes.' Such an Act may seem rather remote from the subject of this article. But it was a long-lived measure, and some seventy years later had two important indirect results in connection with Mozart's operas. For the Act ensured that, when these operas began to receive their earliest professional performances in England, they were originally staged in the finest opera house in London, and consequently were accompanied by an edition of the music which matched the social milieu and is of considerable historical, bibliographical, and iconographical mtcrest.

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