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L'héritage du XVIIIe siècle

Le roman anglais du XVIIIe siècle à l’opéra : la sentimentalité, Pamela et The Maid of the Mill

The 18th-century Novel as Opera: Sentimentality, Pamela and The Maid of the Mill
Michael Burden
p. 78-100

Résumés

Cet article revient sur la notion de sentimentalité et particulièrement sur l’opéra sentimental qui dérive du roman anglais de même nature. L’idée du triomphe ultime du bien, de la possibilité pour une jeune fille pauvre mais honnête de réussir dans la vie et de la bonté comme lien inaltérable unissant les hommes acquit une telle force à la fin du XVIIIe siècle qu’elle a été utilisée pour la définir. Une des œuvres les plus significatives du style sentimental, Pamela, le roman de Richardson, retint l’attention du librettiste Isaac Bickerstaffe (1733-1808), qui le transforma en « opéra anglais » faisant remarquer que son œuvre, « une bagatelle à bien des points de vue, constituait la première pièce sentimentale qui paraisse sur la scène anglaise depuis 40 ans ». Mis en musique par Samuel Arnold (1740-1802) l’opéra présente un genre nouveau, « l’opéra pastiche », qui incorpore la musique de plusieurs compositeurs. Musicalement, l’opéra n’a rien de très original et selon nos critères actuels, l’absence d’un seul compositeur nettement identifiable ou d’une esthétique de composition particulière en fait un objet d’art difficile à jauger. Mais la simplicité de  la musique elle-même constitue un attribut essentiel qui permet à la sentimentalité de l’histoire de s’exprimer et annonce véritablement la naissance d’un nouveau genre d’opéra anglais, le pastiche. De même, les caractéristiques très particulières des représentations théâtrales en Angleterre ont joué un rôle déterminant dans le développement de l’opéra sentimental à Londres.

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1There is no shortage of commentary on Samuel Richardson’s novel, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded. Indeed, it might be remarked that the modesty of the character herself is entirely at odds with the extent to which every aspect of her private life has been investigated and dissected, and the results circulated. The novel – a well-known epistolary moral tale of virtue and its rewards – was published in London in 1740, and within six months, it was in as many editions. It began a number of lively literary and ethical debates in England which were taken up by commentators on the Continent, and which spawned inter alia a number of satires; these mostly suggested that Pamela was either motivated by money in preserving her “virtue”—as proposed by Lettre sur Pamela, published in Paris 1741—or was not in fact virtuous at all, but a brazen hussy in disguise—as detailed by Henry Fielding’s An Apology for the Life of Mrs Shamela Andrews.

  • 1  The copious literature on this subject need not be re-listed here; the seminal article in the fiel (...)

2The values Richardson’s novel espouses, values which came to be associated with “sentimental” culture, are unmistakable.1 To express these, Richardson set up a number of binary oppositions, mostly between the heroine of the title and her employer “Mr B”. These oppositions are now familiar: Pamela’s restraint opposed to Mr B’s impetuousness; Pamela’s country background against Mr B’s citified image; Pamela’s poverty against Mr B’s wealth; and Pamela’s lower social class against Mr B’s more gentrified station. And the novel’s second title “Virtue Rewarded” clearly suggests at the outset that there is a successful resolution of these matters in Pamela’s favour. In contradistinction to the 19th-century music-hall song, “she was poor but she was honest”, honesty wins out in the end.

  • 2  For a discussion of the importance of tears in the context of sentimentality, see among many discu (...)

3The epistolary structure of the novel itself appeals directly to the reader. Indeed, it draws one in; the style Richardson has given Pamela (however artfully deployed by the novelist) is itself entirely lacking in archness and artifice. Her language is simple, and her sentiments direct. He manipulates the language of the conversations quoted in Pamela’s letters to differentiate his characters, adopting both “high” and “low” dialogue as appropriate. The fact that he does so only serves to emphasise Pamela’s simple, direct mode of communication. There are also two particular features of the novel that play to the reader’s “sentimentality”, in the sense of an “exaggerated insistence upon the claims of sentiment”. The first is the number of times Pamela’s tears are mentioned, from the very first letter of the novel, where she sobs and cries at the pillow of her dying mistress; her tears continue to fall for one reason or another throughout the book.2 The second is that we are frequently invited to enjoy Pamela’s predicament, an enjoyment that goes beyond the merely sympathetic and becomes pleasingly painful.

  • 3  See Tom Keymer & Peter Sabor, Pamela in the Marketplace: Literary Controversy and Print Culture in (...)

4Nor is there any mistaking the novel’s popularity or influence. After its first appearance as a tale in two volumes in 1740, it was quickly revised with some added verses on the novel together with a group of letters from readers apparently satisfied with Richardson’s text. The letters appear to be by Aaron Hill and were no more than publisher’s puffery but given the sales, they were hardly necessary; this edition appeared in 1741 and by the end of the year, there had been three more revised editions. Richardson finished a two-volume sequel by the end of the same year, and during the next, all four volumes were republished in a single octavo deluxe edition. Revisions of the first volumes came out in 1746 and 1754, followed by another edition of all four volumes in 1761. And this account does not include all the re-printings. Other authors responded with plays and burlesques of all sorts, and as we shall see, operas. Further, there were surprising spin-offs, including what we might today call “marketing tie-ins”; paintings, engravings, and wax-work shows, while items such as fans and mugs were produced, decorated with images and themes from the story. Most famous, though, were the set of engravings by Hubert Gravelot which first appeared in the 6th edition and the series of pictures painted by Joseph Highmore in 1744. The extent to which the work’s popularity was the result of an extremely smooth marketing machine run by Richardson has been a matter for debate, but as far as it concerns us here, the success of such a machine is all we need note.3

Sentimental opera

  • 4  Robert H. B. Hoskins, The Theater Music of Samuel Arnold: A Thematic Index, Warren, Mich.: Harmoni (...)

5So by 1765, Pamela was not just an English product, as playwright Isaac Bickerstaffe acknowledged, when he came to write his libretto The Maid of the Millusing Richardson’s novel as one of his sources.4 The work had been appropriated by numerous writers and artists on the Continent, who had re-worked the tale for their own ends:

  • 5  Isaac Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, London: J. Newbery, R. Baldwin, T. Caslon, W. Griffin, W (...)

There is scarce a language in Europe, in which there is not a play taken from our romance of Pamela; in Italian and French, particularly, several writers of the first eminence, have chosen it for the subject of different dramas.5

  • 6  See Stefano Castelvecchi, “Sentimental and Anti-sentimental in  Le nozze di Figaro”, Journal of th (...)

6The success of the resulting opera has usually been attributed to the popularity of the novel and remarks such as Bickerstaffe’s have been used to support this wide-spread notion. Not only that, but this appropriation had also resulted in the emergence of a new genre of drama, one that was thought to sit between tragedy and comedy, and which came to be labelled “sentimental”.6 The origin of the notion of this “third way” of drama is recounted in the memoirs of the playwright Carlo Goldoni, in relation to his reworking of Richardson’s Pamela into his 1750 play, Pamela nubile. Written in the 1780s, Goldoni’s memoir clearly identifies a new theatrical genre:

  • 7  Carlo Goldoni, Mémoires, II.iii, trans. Stefano Castelvecchi, Sentimental Opera: The Emergence of (...)

When I talk about virtue, I do not mean virtue of the heroic kind, which touches through its disasters and moves to tears by its diction… it is a theatrical genre between comedy and tragedy. It is, moreover, an entertainment fit for sensitive hearts; the misfortunes of tragic heroes interest us from afar, but those of our equals must touch us more. Comedy… does not reject virtuous and pathetic feelings, as long as it is not deprived of those humorous… features constituting the fundamental basis for its existence.7

  • 8 Ibid., 5-7.

In operatic terms, this “third way” of writing came later in the century to be called “opera semi-seria”, although (as Stefano Castelvecchi argues), it is less easily defined than opera seria and opera buffa. In fact, in considering Goldoni’s third way, Castelvecchi argues against the notion that the genre definition should consist of a group of traits against which a work should be measured, and then excluded if all those traits are not present. Instead, he supports the identification of a loose group of attributes that may or may not be present; his aim is to avoid flattening out the “diversity in the historical panorama”. Indeed, Castelvecchi ultimately rejects the term semi-seria, on the grounds that the use of the term “semi” appears to suggest that the Italians experimented with a “mixed” or “half-way” genre, a notion that was not an element in the creation of this “third way”.8

  • 9  William C. Holmes, “Pamela Transformed”, Musical Quarterly, 38/4 1952, 581-594 traces the history (...)

7Goldoni did not bring his engagement with Pamela to an end with his play. He subsequently adapted the novel as a libretto under the title of La Cecchina, a libretto set by the Barian composer, Niccolo Piccini. This was premiered in Rome on 6 February 1760. To say it was popular is an understatement; it survives in no less than 19 different scores, and appeared throughout Europe under the titles of La buona figliuola (the best known), Cecchina zitella o La buona figliuola, La buona zitella, La buona figliuola puta, La baronessa riconosciuta, Cecchina nobile oLa buona figliuola, Das gute Mädchen, The Accomplish’d Maid, Der fromme Pige, and La bonne fille. Its success inspired Goldoni and Piccini to write a sequel, La buona figliuola maritata, a work also known as La baronessa riconoscuita e maritata, La buona figliuola puta, and La buona moglie. Initially as successful as La buona figliuola, performances of the sequel ceased after about 20 years, and one of its main points of interest lies in the fact that it also appears to draw separately on Richardson’s Pamela.9

  • 10  For a recent discussion of this situation, see Michael Burden, “Opera in the London Theatres”, in (...)

8As it happened, the situation of opera at London’s playhouses of the 1760s was ripe for the arrival, if not of sentimental opera necessarily, then at least of something new. The repertory of England’s capital had as it central motivating force a dichotomy that pitted Italian opera against English operatic forms, most obviously expressed in the division of the repertory between the English playhouses (the Theatres Royal of Covent Garden and Drury Lane) on one hand, and the Italian opera house (the King’s Theatre) on the other. The playhouses put on spoken plays with lots of songs and incidental music added, other related entertainments, and a genre called “English opera” which had spoken dialogue between the musical numbers. (The British were not partial to recitative sung in English.) In contrast to this programming, the King’s Theatre put on all-sung foreign opera spiced up with ballet. The King’s seasons were much shorter—November to May—and only included two or three performances a week, which contrasted with those of the playhouses, which mounted performances every evening except Sunday and whose seasons ran from September to July.10 The division of the London theatre world, was, then, into a “local” home-grown product one hand, and a “foreign”, rarefied product on the other. The playhouse audiences were interested in opera in a language they could understand with a subject to which they could relate, and sung, as we shall see, by singers whose style they could interpret. And in seeking to satisfy this desire, Bickerstaffe found in Pamela the ideal source, a novel whose themes were reflected in (and were partly responsible for) the zeitgeist of 1760s London.

Novel to opera–Pamela

  • 11  Roger Fiske, English Theatre Music in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd(...)

9When Bickerstaffe turned to Pamela and to the writing of The Maid of the Mill, he was, then, effectively creating an English version of a new operatic genre that was not only already popular on the Continent, but had its origins in England. But The Maid of the Mill was representative not just of “sentimental opera”, for it was also only the second example of a new English musical genre given the modern title “pastiche opera”; as we shall see, Bickerstaffe continued to keep an eye both on Richardson’s original novel and on the whole Goldoni tradition. The label “pastiche opera” was coined by Roger Fiske, who uses it to refer not to the pasticcio but to a genre in which there was a greater and more elaborate re-working of the original material than one would expect to find in a London Italian opera pasticcio, where the structure really relied on the wholesale movement of arias between operas.11 Six works can be counted in this new flurry of “pastiche” activity: Love in a Village (1762) and The Maid of the Mill (1765), plus The Summer’s Tale (also 1765), Love in the City (1767), Lionel and Clarissa (1768), and Tom Jones (1769). Of these, four had libretti by Bickerstaffe, one by Richard Cumberland, and one by Joseph Reed. Of the compilers of the scores, four were by Samuel Arnold and two by Dibdin. It is important to emphasise that there was only a small group of people involved in producing this list of works, and that either Bickerstaffe or Arnold was involved in each opera. The works can therefore be viewed as a consistent and inter-related group.

  • 12 London Evening Post, 7 December 1762.
  • 13  See Fiske, op. cit., 605-606, for a listing of the numbers in Love in a Village.
  • 14 London Evening Post, 11 December 1762.

10The origin of the genre appears to have been an attempt to revive or rework earlier ballad opera, of which The Beggar’s Opera was the most famous. While the golden age of ballad opera was well over, this work was still in the repertory, and, probably trying to cash in on this success, the first of the pastiche operas, Love in a Village, was, in essence, a straight reworking of the ballad opera form, and a strategy acknowledged publicly as such: “Mr Bickerstaffe… has prefixed an advertisement to [the new libretto] to inform his readers, and to prevent his being deemed a plagiarist, that some scenes in it bear a resemblance to an old piece of this kind written in the year 1729, by C. Taylor.”12 In reality, so little remained of the original, it is hard to see why Bickerstaffe bothered with this disclaimer, but it does point to origins of the new genre. In any case, the manner in which pastiche operas were constructed was essentially different from ballad operas. Ballad opera employed ballads and other short popular and familiar tunes with simple accompaniments, essentially and point-makingly different from the more formal Italian opera that the genre partly satirized. Pastiche opera, however, used largely song tunes, with much more elaborate orchestrations, and while in Love in a Village Arnold retained a few ballads, the sources for most of the borrowed numbers were much more serious and upmarket.13 However, it comes as a surprise to find that very few of those tunes came from operas, and very few from recent publications. The scoring for most of the opera was for full string orchestra, with a wind section of oboes, bassoons, and horns. The character of the score, then, had nothing in common with the earlier ballad opera. The opera, though successful, was not enjoyed by all. One critic, giving a substantial account over two issues of the London Evening Post, declared that “some alteration might be made in the eleventh and twelfth scene in the second act, for as they now stand, they are not fit to be presented to a polite company”.14 He also commented that the author “would do well, in the next piece he intends [to present to] the public, not to write so many scenes for the joy of the Genii of the upper region”, a complaint which emphasises the difference between pastiche and ballad opera; the tunes could not just be the simple ones that pleased those in the cheap seats.

  • 15 Lloyd’s Evening Post, 30 January 1765.
  • 16  Hoskins, op. cit., 62-64.
  • 17  See Fiske, op. cit., 607-608, for a listing of the numbers in The Maid of the Mill.
  • 18  See Saskia Willaert, “Italian Comic Opera at the King’s Theatre in the 1760s: the Role of the Buff (...)
  • 19  Frederick C. Petty, Italian Opera in London, Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, 1980, 88-112.

11Despite the success of Love in a Village, the next pastiche opera was some time in coming; it was not until 1765 that Bickerstaffe’s Pamela opera, The Maid of the Mill premiered on 31 January. The piece was steadily rather than overwhelmingly popular, and Lloyd’s Evening Post seemed to sum up much of the reaction when commenting that “the sentiments are nowhere new, though they are generally just”.15 Musically, The Maid of the Mill followed a similar design to that of Love in a Village. Of the 42 numbers it contained, 4 were written by Frenchmen (Philidor, Monsigny); 1 jointly by a Frenchman and an Italian (Philidor, Laschi); 5 by composers of German origin (J. C. Bach, Hasse, Elector of Saxony); 1 by an Irishman (the Earl of Kelly); and 3 by the opera’s complier Arnold.16 All the rest of the numbers were of Italian authorship, and of those that can be identified, all have operatic origins.17 And in this, it is totally dissimilar to Love in a Village where of the 50 songs required, only 7 were by 3 Italian composers—Galuppi, Giardini, and Geminiani—all of whom had strong London connections. The most frequent characteristic of the remainder of the music is that the numbers are drawn from published collections of English songs. It is possible that the reason for this startling difference was the introduction of opera buffa into the roster of operas of the King’s Theatre; in the 1759-60 season, no comic operas were performed there, but in the 1760-61 season, there were 4—Il mondo della luna, Il filosofo di companga, I tre gobbi rivali, and La Pescatrici (the first two and the fourth with texts by Goldoni); in the 1761-62 season there were 5—Il filosofo di compagna, Il mercato di Malmantile, Bertoldo, Le nozze di Dorina, and La familia in scompiglio (the first four with texts by Goldoni); and in the 1762-3 season there were 5—Il tutore la pupilla, La cascina, La calamità di cuori, La serva padrona, and La finta sposa (the second and third with texts by Goldoni).18 There were then three seasons that included only serious operas.19 And it is in this interlude—with the playing of 13 comic operas, of which 8 had texts by Goldoni—that pastiche opera appears at the London playhouses. Whether direct influence can be measured in any meaningful way is doubtful, but it does seem likely that the popular presence of such pieces—those with Goldoni’s texts in particular—in the bills influenced Bickerstaffe’s choice of sources for the music, and possibly his choice of Pamela as source for The Maid of the Mill.

  • 20  See Michael Burden & Christopher Chowrimootoo, “‘A Movable Feast’: the Aria in the Italian Librett (...)

12The compositional approach that removed a composer from overall responsibility for the writing of the music—one long the preserve of the administrators of the Italian opera, particularly in London20—did not always meet with approval, and indeed, the new pastiche opera genre came in for some criticism, criticism not dissimilar to that levelled at the London version of the Italian pasticcio. Richard Jenner aimed his lines directly at both the original Love in a Village, and the sentimental Maid of the Mill:

  • 21  Charles Jenner, Poems, Cambridge: J. Bentham for T. & J. Merrill, 1766, 81-82.

How must it make a true musician smile,
To hear the Op’ras of the British Isle?
Those fav’rite Op’ras which the Town approves,
Our singing Maids in Mills, over Village loves.
….
For diff’rent is the Op’ra maker’s view.
He spoils the old, and gives us nothing new;
….
Ye Britons rouze; pay some heed to fame.
Think not that by begging, borrowing, or stealing,
You can e’re show your knowledge or your feeling.21

  • 22  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill,note after the Preface.

What is clear is that regardless of the fact that the opera was closely connected to Pamela and that the music of the airs was purloined from other composers, Bickerstaffe was keen from the outset to protect his intellectual property; the libretto carried the note: “This Opera is entered at STATIONERS HALL, and whoever presumes to Print the Songs, or any Part of them, in any Manner whatever, will be prosecuted by the PROPRIETORS.”22

  • 23 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 13 April 1765.

13Such a note highlights the fact that Bickerstaffe saw his main contribution as being in the song texts and that in general, the authors expected the popularity of their efforts to lie in the circulation of the published songs, not in the work as a whole. But such efforts on Bickerstaffe’s part were met with objections; “Rectus” wrote to the printer of the Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser that, while copyright law existed to protect authors, its purpose was not to protect works consisting of “pirated property”; given that most of the tunes were either French or Italian, and that they were mostly already published by their respective composers, how could the author sustain his claim?23 “I.B.” replied that “only eleven songs have ever been published in England, and to those no man can pretend a better property than the author of the Maid of the Mill. Further:

  • 24 Ibid., 16 April 1765.

In order to adapt them also to English words such changes were necessary, that he was obliged to employ a very ingenious musician, whom he paid for making the alterations, so that these eleven songs are “as they stand in the Maid of the Mill are very definitely his property”. [Of] the remaining twenty-five songs nine (among which were the most taking airs of the piece) were never before printed, were purchased by the author of the Maid of the Mill; and most of the bases and symphonies of the rest (besides the airs have undergone great alterations) are “entirely new” and done at his expense in order to adapt them his Opera… In a word, the music of the Maid of the Mill has cost the author near fifty guineas…24

14The Gazetteer refused to print Rectus’ s reply—we can assume that it was bile-filled and unproductive—but the exchange does emphasise that copyright was established through a process of purchase of rights and the commissioning of arrangements, and that both processes were clearly considered legitimate ways to construct a work for the London stage.

  • 25  John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage 1660 to 1830, Bath: for the Author, 1832, vol. 10, (...)

15No such argument ensued over the plot, for which Bickerstaffe claimed that not just the general subject, but almost every circumstance was drawn from Richardson’s original novel:25

  • 26  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, Preface.

The reader will immediately recollect the courtship of Parson Williams, the Squire’s jealousy and behaviour in consequence of it, and the difficulty he had to prevail with himself to marry the girl, notwithstanding his passion for her. The miller is a close copy of Goodman Andrews, Ralph is imagined (for the wild son which he is mentioned to have had), Theodosia, for the young lady of quality (with him Mr. B. through his sister’s persuasion, is said to have been in treaty with Pamela), even the gipsies, are borrowed from a trifling incident in the latter part of the work.26

Bickerstaffe seems to have kept less close to the original than he claimed, which suggests that his nod to Pamela was an effort to promote his own work by association with the popular novel rather than an acknowledgement of a literary model. The two central parallels with Richardson’s novel are “Patty” with Pamela and “Lord Aimworth” with Mr B. The mill of the title is Patty’s home, still occupied by her parents: a move up from the simple poverty of Mr and Mrs Andrews in the novel. The amorous Parson Williams becomes a somewhat heavy-handed farmer called Giles. The greatest and least felicitous alteration to the novel is the abandonment of the attempts on Pamela’s virtue by Mr B, for on no occasion does Lord Aimworth attempt to seduce Patty. The action of the opera is resolved by a rather tedious love triangle in which Lord Aimworth is motivated by his unfounded jealously of Giles, and Patty is driven by her equally unfounded jealousy of Theodosia, the character whose affections are fixed on Mr B.

  • 27 St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post, 31 January 31, 1765.

16It may seem amazing to us that Pamela’s most notorious feature—a girl’s virtue besieged but triumphant—should be so blithely jettisoned, but there was one important aspect of the novel that remained unchanged. When the novel was first published, one of the main areas of controversy was that Pamela was of low birth, that her class did not match that of Mr B’s. The novel was seen by some to be promoting marriage between classes, a practice felt to be intrinsically bad; it “… seems to be an Encouragement to disproportionate Marriages; such as that mentioned by Sir Henry Sycamore of a Gentleman to his Cookmaid, or a Dutchess to her Footman”.27 This was also a problem for the Italians; when Goldoni had earlier adapted the novel for Pamela nubile, he gave Pamela a noble father, and in doing so, provided a quite different moment of revelation at the end of the play. Commenting on his reason for changing the story, Goldoni was quoted as remarking:

  • 28 Ibid.

The Reward of Virtue… was the object of the English Author, a Design I was much pleased with; but I would not have the Honour of a Family sacrificed for to the Merit of Honour. Pamela, although mean and low, deserves to be the wife of a Nobleman; but a Nobleman grants too much to the Merit of Pamela, if not withstanding the Meanness of her Birth, he takes her to Wife. It is true that in London some make no Difficulty of such Marriages, neither is there any Law there which forbids them; but it is no less true that no one will like therefore that his Son, Brother, or near Relation should marry a low Woman, rather than one of his own Rank, although she first may be handsomer and more virtuous than the last.28

The critic claimed dramatic force for Goldoni’s solution:

  • 29 Ibid.

There is at least so much force in Goldoni’s Observation, as to make it worth an Author’s while to plan his Fable to the general Approbation; by changing the Condition of Pamela; and such a Discovery of her Birth would certainly render the Catastrophe more interesting.29

But whatever the view of resultant opera, there is no doubt that the ending as Richardson left it suited Bickerstaffe’s intention:

  • 30  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, Preface.

In prosecuting this plan, which he has varied from the original, as far as he thought convenient, the author has made simplicity his principal aim. His scenes, on account of the music, which could not be perfect without such a mixture, necessarily consist of serious and buffoon. He knows grossness and insipidity lay in his way; whether he has had art enough to avoid stumbling upon them, the candid Public is left to determine.30

As the Appendix suggests, what the “candid public” did determine was that they loved it. The opera had a successful premiere on 31 January 1765 at the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, and was staged for much of the rest of the 18th century. By April of its premiere year, it could be seen in Dublin; it went on to be staged in a large number of centres, being performed in New York in 1769, St Petersburg by 1772, in Jamaica by 1779, and in Montreal in the 1820s. One of the Philadelphia performances was seen by George Washington, who was reputed to have “manifested his approbation… by the tribute of a tear”.

  • 31  Seignior Squallini, The Man of the Mill, London: J. Cooke, 1765.
  • 32 Ibid., 6.
  • 33 Lloyd’s Evening Post, 30 January 1765.

17So popular was it, that like Pamela the novel, Pamela the opera was the subject of a burlesque. In this case, it was The Man of the Mill by “Seignior Squallini”, a three-act piece that seems never to have been performed, but run up and published the same year as the opera.31 The cast of characters—Sukey (for Patty), Miller Foulfield, the Landlord (for Mr B), Farmer Gibbons, and so on—are easily identified, and the essence of the parody is that Pamela, an outwardly virtuous figure, has been attracted for many years to the Landlord to the extent that “it was rife in the whole neighbourhood that they were to go to bed together”.32 There are a number of themes burlesqued along the way. Agnes and Sprigg, for example, catch sight of one another, only for “a drove of cows passing by the house prevent their embracing”; this is one of several points where the simplicity of bucolic life is turned to (apparently humorous) absurdity. And most importantly, as a counter to the Italian tunes found in The Maid of the Mill, there is the pseudonymous author “Seignior Squallini”, who makes reference both “foreign” opera and the amalgam of different opera tunes in the score; as one organ had already remarked, the music of The Maid of the Mill “had too much of the Italian thrill and warble” in its tunes.33

18And as it happens, London’s next brush with a Pamela opera, would be in its Italian form, for London staged both La buona figliuola and its sequel La buona figliuola maritata shortly afterwards, in the 1767-8 season at the King’s Theatre. La buona figliuola played for 28 performances, more than three times that of any other opera that season. La buona figliuola maritata played for 9 performances, equalling the next highest total, that for another opera buffa, Gli extravaganti.The  opera-goer Horace Walpole commented:

  • 34  HW to Richard Mann, 13 February 1767; Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. W. S. Lewis, Warren Hun (...)

Nothing is so much in fashion as the Buona Figliuola. The second part [La buona figliuola maritata] was tried, but did not succeed half so well, and they have resumed the first part, which is crowded even behind the scenes.34

  • 35 Ibid.
  • 36  Petty, op. cit., 113.

That the crowds were willing to go behind the scenes attests to the opera’s popularity; such a practice was technically prohibited. La buona figliuola also overshadowed all the opera seria in the repertory; until this season, the genre had been the predominant force in Italian opera in London for over 60 years. On its performance, Walpole commented: “The serious operas are [now] seldom played, for though Guardacci is so excellent, the rest of the performers are abominable, and he cannot draw a quarter of an audience alone.35 Walpole was right; there were only 20 performances of serious operas that season, as against 53 performances of comic operas; this total includes the 28 of La buona figliuola, and the 9 of La buona figliuola maritata.36   La buona figliuola went on to be included in every London season apart from 1784-5, between its premiere and the end of the century. Nevertheless, it did not outstrip The Maid of the Mill in popularity:

  • 37  Tuesday 24 February 1767; Sylas Neville, Diary 1767-1789, ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy, London: Oxford U (...)

Half past 5 went to the 5/- Gallery at the Opera House to see the comic opera La Buona Figliuola, altered by Goldoni; the music by Sign. Nic. Piccini, a Neapolitan Composer… I can’t say I was greatly entertained, tho’ the music is very pleasing. There is something very absurd and truly characteristic of the present age in supporting a set of people at immense expence to perform plays in a language which very few understand.37

The English language of The Maid of the Mill trumped even the popular music by Piccini.

Sentimental opera: performance and image

19Both the particular success of Bickerstaffe’s opera and the more general rise of the cult of the sentimental on the London stage clearly relied in part on the popularity of Richardson’s novel. But there must also have been an appropriate performing style to present the work so convincingly to the public, who returned to it night after night. As it happens, performing styles on the London opera stage were as polarised as the division of repertory between the theatres, a polarity which dated from the arrival of Italian opera:

  • 38  James Beattie, An Essay on Poetry and Music, as they Affect the Mind, in Essays: On Poetry and Mus (...)

I deny not, that the preternatural screams of an Italian singer may occasion surprise, and momentary amusement; but those screams are not music; they are admired, not for their propriety or pathos, but, like rope-dancing, and the eating of fire, merely because they are uncommon or difficult. Besides, the end of all genuine music is, to introduce into the human mind certain affections, or susceptibilities.38

The point is not, of course, that the Italian singers literally “screamed”, but that this mode of discourse was made possible by the contrasts between two styles of performance. The different experience of the “affections” and “susceptibilities” as conveyed by English singers was acknowledged by the critics and the public alike, and the performing style associated with conveying them was frequently described as “natural”. It is, of course, possible that a perceived lack of “naturalness” on the part of the Italians was caused by the obfuscation of the meaning of a foreign language text, an obfuscation that cannot be resolved by following a libretto, even assuming the patron had one. The converse is also true; it may be that the supposed “naturalness” of the English singers was perceived because the language made the inter-relationship between text, gesture and meaning understandable. It is impossible at this distance to determine exactly what was meant by the use of this word, but it was used from the late 17th to the early 19th centuries when discussing the stage manner of many English actors and singers, and while the term cannot have meant precisely the same thing every time or period in which it was used, its employment is extraordinarily consistent.

20Typical of its application—and a range of other associated terms such as “simplicity”, “originality” and “agreeableness”—were those comments on the performances of Mrs Bland, who was thought to have:

  • 39 The Secret History of the Green Room, London: J. Owen, 1795, II, 102-103.

a fine voice, which is never, by aukward straining after bravura, thrown out of tune; her taste in music is pure and natural. Her manner is original; she does not conceive so boldly as others, but she finishes her work with greater neatness.39

Her “natural” taste allowed her voice to shine through without “straining after bravura”, a charge often levelled at Italian singers. In the case of the singer Rose Mountain, it was reported that:

  • 40 Ibid., 335-6.

The Musical, the serious, and the comic lines, she tried, but with little success; and towards the conclusion of the season she dropped into her proper sphere, that of a second Singer... In Operas her manner is simple and agreeable, and for the department she filled we know none better calculated.40

Her “simple” and “agreeable” acting style was not suited either to serious or to comic opera, but she was appreciated as someone who could convey the text without apparent artifice. The lack of such artifice was a condition to which actors aspired:

  • 41  Donald Burrows & Rosemary Dunhill, Music and Theatre in Handel’s World, Oxford: Oxford University (...)

There is a girl who performs, without any exaggeration, infinitely superior to any thing ever seen on our stage. The action of our best players is only imitation; she alone is quite natural, without the least appearance of art, and various [sic] infinitely as the subject requires.41

This remark suggests the importance of appearances; the commentator does not claim naiveté or lack of training, but the importance of the “imitation” being practised to such a degree that there is “no appearance of art”. The theatre historian Luigi Riccoboni claimed this approach for English performers:

  • 42  Luigi Riccoboni, An Historical and Critical Account of the Theatres in Europe, London: T. Waller a (...)

As to actors, if after forty-five years Experience, I may be intitled [sic] to give my opinion, I dare advance that the best actors in Italy and France come far short of those in England. The Italian and French Players, far from endeavouring at that happy Imitation of nature and justness which forms the beauty of action, affect a forced stiff manner of acting, which never fails to mislead the Audience. To form the better judgement of both, let us compare them impartially. The English Authors copy truth... [if] the action should be [if] the action should be heightened a little, and without straying too far from Nature, some Art [is] added in the Speaking.42

The English, by not drawing attention to their art, were able to present characters more effectively; they appeared “natural”. That Riccoboni was in a position to make such generalisations highlights the extent to which such “naturalness” or appearance of a lack of artifice was a generally achieved performing style.

  • 43  These issues have been dealt with recently by a number of scholars, including Suzanne Aspden in “‘ (...)

21But perhaps only a foreigner such as Riccoboni could subvert so much English 18th-century commentary on national types as seen through the stage; the naturalness of the English performers that Riccoboni so much admires could only be achieved with hard work, and the product is calculated to deceive. Yet it is the Englishman that is always presented as straightforward, honest, upright, and most importantly, virtuous, while the foreigners (whether Italian or anybody else) were usually characterised as superficial and deceitful.43

  • 44  See Kalman A. Burnim, & Philip H. Highfill, Jr.,  John Bell,  Patron of  British TheatricalPortrai (...)
  • 45  Aileen Ribeiro, The Dress Worn at Masquerades in England, 1730 to 1790, and its Relation to Fancy (...)
  • 46  See Michael Burden, “Imaging Mandane: Character, Costume, Monument”, Music in Art, forthcoming.

22It is, of course, impossible to recapture or even to really assess what a “natural” or “simple” acting style was actually like. It can, however, be spotted in the way in which singers in the roles of Rosetta and Patty were pictured “in character”. These prints—a concept thought to have been introduced from Paris—were one of the most important elements in a singer’s management of his/her own image and, in the commercially orientated London theatre world, amounted to advertising. The greatest sweep of these images was that commissioned from 1776 onwards by the great 18th-century publisher, John Bell, for his Bell’s British Theatre in its different forms and collections, and together they offer the greatest opportunity for comparison.44 Typical of the majority of the images drawn and engraved for Bell (and others) are those of Elizabeth Younge as Artemisia in The Ambitious Stepmother (Illustration 1) and Maria Prudom in the English opera, Artaxerxes (Illustration 2). In the case of Younge, the headdress, the sweeping, almost panniered, skirts, and the feathers are typical of nearly all costume associated with serious drama and opera, and therefore in its representation in portraits, usually shown, as here, with the singer in a heroic pose. As far as the portrait of Prudom is concerned, it illustrates two different strands of theatrical costuming in the 18th century. On one hand, she is decked out in the latest fashion, the mode à la Turque, illustrating the cross currents of influence between stage and fashion.45 On the other, it indicates that the theatre (with no reference to correctness) felt this type of fashion was an appropriate one in which to dress the opera.46

  • 47  See reviews in The Theatrical Review; or the Weekly Rosciad, Saturday 3 October 1801 and The Londo (...)

23The contrast between these two images and those of Elizabeth Billington as Rosetta in Love in a Village (Illustration 3) and Elizabeth Harpur as Patty in The Maid of the Mill (Illustration 4) could not be greater. Gone are the frills, feathers and so on, and in their place Patty is given a plain and simple cap, loose drawn sleeves, and a petticoat hanging below the hem of the overskirt. The importance of this changing image is seen very clearly in the circumstances of the picture of Billington as Rosetta; she was a very grand singer, and a very capable soprano; and the subsequent images of her show her stately, with at times (perhaps) too much emphasis on her embonpoint.47 Yet here, she is pictured as Rosetta, the maid in disguise in the informal setting of the garden. It is an awkward image, but it emphasises that even Billington, when performing the role, needed to respond to the trend of simplicity in costume; the fact she was willing to be pictured in this manner suggests that, commercially, she felt it was no bad thing.

Conclusion

24These images bring us back to the notion of “simplicity” and of sentimental opera. The last thing roles such as Patty from The Maid of the Mill required in performance was the stiff and elaborate costumes and gestures associated with London opera seria, whether in Italian or in any other language, or even with Arne’s ever-popular English opera set in ancient Persia, Artaxerxes. But the images of Patty and Rosetta are some of the few in Bell’s long series that are dressed in this manner, and their wide circulation would only have served to remind theatre-goers of the performance style associated with sentimental opera.

25In fact, what this discussion has suggested is that The Maid of the Mill was the product of a sophisticated interplay between performance, opera plot, opera repertory and social attitudes. There seems little doubt that the popularity of Richardson’s Pamela was only a small factor in its use as a source for The Maid of the Mill, and that Bickerstaffe’s choice of it was not the result of the obvious literary and social influences. The need of a London audience, on one hand, to have an opera to which they could relate (one with a text in English and with spoken dialogue rather than recitative), and on the other, for the managers of the playhouses to have a genre which could compete with the new (to London) opera buffa being performed at the King’s Theatre played a crucial role. Above all, it is clear that without the distinctive performing style of English singers, sentimental opera might have developed quite differently in London or not have developed at all.

Appendix

Table 1: Performances of The Maid of The Mill,  1765-1800

  • 48 Possibly the Miss Mitchell, who is otherwise thought to have made her debut at Covent Garden on 26 (...)
  • 49 The confused history of the Storer family (three of whom, including Maria, became or were known as (...)

Performances

Performances

1765

CG Jan 31, Feb 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16: Charlotte Brent (later Mrs Thomas Pinto). Feb 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, Mar 2, 4, 5, 7: Isabella Hallam (later Mrs George Mattocks). Mar 11: Brent. Mar 16: Hallam. Mar 28, Apr 13, May 4, 21: Brent. Oct 12 Mrs George Mattocks (née Hallam); Oct 25, Nov 21, 29: Brent. Dec 20: Mattocks.

1780

HAY Aug 30: Harper. DL Oct 7, 18, Dec 23 (1st Performance): Mrs R Cargill (Ann, née Brown).

1766

CG Jan 7: Mattocks. Feb 8, 18, 25, Mar 11, Apr 10: Brent. May 8, Oct 10,15, Nov 6: Mattocks. Dec 1: Mrs Thomas Pinto (née Brent). Dec 31: Mattocks.

1781

CG Jan 13 (1st performance), Feb 17, Mar 6: Elizabeth Satchell (later Mrs Stephen George Kemble). DL May 26: Satchell. CG Sep 21, Oct 20: Harper. DL Nov 20: Cargill.

1767

CG Jan 24: Mattocks. Feb 17, Mar 7, Apr 30, May 15: Pinto. Oct 8: Mattocks. Oct 20, Nov 19, Dec 4: Pinto.

1782

CG Feb 6: Harper. DL May 16: Harper. CG Sep 25, Oct 2, 26: Harper. DL Oct 31 Harper.

1768

CG Jan 4: Pinto. Jan 23, Apr 8, 27: Mattocks. May 13, 24: Pinto. Sep 19: Mattocks.  Oct 18, Dec 7: Pinto.

1783

DL Jan 18, Feb 27, Mar 31, Apr 22, May 31 Harper, Sep 18: Ann Field (1st performance).  CG Oct 24: Mrs John Bannister (née Harper).

1769

CG Jan 26: Mattocks. Mar 7: Pinto. DLMar 31, Apr 5, 12, 15, 27: Mrs Robert Baddeley (Sophia, née Snow). CG Sep 29: Pinto. Nov 30: Mattocks. Nov 28: Pinto.

1784

DL Feb 5: Anna Maria Phillips (later Mrs Rawlings Edward Crouch). HAY Aug 17: Bannister.

1770

CG Jan 13: Pinto. Feb 9, Apr 3, 16, May 2: Mattocks. DL Sep 25: Baddeley. CG Sep 28 Mattocks. DL Sep 29, Oct 30: Baddeley. CG Dec 27: Mattocks.

1785

DL Apr 8, May 27, Oct 11, Nov 14: Phillips. HAY Jul 27: Bannister. HAMM Jul 6, 22: {Miss} Cranford.

1771

CG Jan 21, Feb 18 Apr 10: Mattocks. DL Apr 19: Baddeley. CG May 10: Mattocks. DL Oct 22 (1st performance): Mrs William Hunt (Henrietta, née Dunstall). CG Nov 8: Mattocks.

1786

HAY Apr 9, 10: Bannister. HAMM Jul 7 (1st performance): {Miss} Phillips.

1772

CG Feb 28, May 23 Mattocks. DL Nov 6, 13, Dec 1: Mrs Theodore Smith (Maria, née Harris).

1787

DL Jan 26, Feb 10, May 17: Mrs Rawlings Edward Crouch (Anna Maria, née Phillips).

1773

DL Feb 22: Smith. CG Apr 13: Mattocks. May 12 (1st performance): Sarah Wewitzer. HAY Sep 20: Hunt. DL Sep 28, Nov 27: Smith.

1788

DL Jan 26: Crouch.

1774

CG Feb 7 (1st performance): Mary Jameson. Apr 26, May 14: Mattocks. DL: Smith. CG Sep 23, Dec 7: Mattocks.

1789

DL Feb 18: Crouch. CG Dec 12 (1st Performance), 19: Elizabeth Billington.

1775

CG Jan 6, May 12, Jun 27, Sep 27: Mattocks

1790

CG Jan 5, Mar 2, Apr 17: Billington.

1776

CG Dec 4: Mattocks.

1795

CG Jan 2,14, Jun 13, Oct 20, 23, 26: Mrs John Mountain (Rosemond, née Wilkinson).

1777

CG May 22: Mattocks.

1797

CG May 4, 11: Mountain. Sep 27: Crouch. Sep 28: {Miss} Mitchell.48

1778

CG Feb 26, May 12: Mattocks. HAY Jul 9, 28, Aug 6 (1st performance): Elizabeth Harper. CG Oct 27: Mattocks.

1798

CG Nov 6 (1st appearance): {Miss} Stephens (later Mrs George Smith). Oct 4: Mrs William Atkins (Eliza, née Warrell).

1779

CG Feb 29: Mattocks. CG Oct 16 (1st performance): A young lady (Maria Storer?, later the third Mrs John Henry).49    DL Nov 27, Dec 16: Baddeley.

1799

CG June 4: Atkins.

Abbreviations:

  • CG: Theatre Royal Covent Garden

  • DL: Theatre Royal Drury Lane

  • HAMM: Windsor Castle Inn, King Street, Hammersmith

  • HAY: The Little Theatre, Haymarket

Notes on the table:

  • ‘1st performances’ in the role are noted only when advertised.

  • When the title Miss or Mrs is enclosed in {}, this indicates that although the marital status of the singer is known, her Christian name is not.

Illustration 1: Elizabeth Younge as Artemisia in The Ambitious Stepmother by Nicholas Rowe; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 17 October 1777. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 1: Elizabeth Younge as Artemisia in The Ambitious Stepmother by Nicholas Rowe; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 17 October 1777. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 2: Maria Prudom in the English opera, Artaxerxes; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 21 April 1782. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 2: Maria Prudom in the English opera, Artaxerxes; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 21 April 1782. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 3: Elizabeth Billington as Rosetta in Love in a Village; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 3: Elizabeth Billington as Rosetta in Love in a Village; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 4: Elizabeth Harpur as Patty in The Maid of the Mill; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313

Illustration 4: Elizabeth Harpur as Patty in The Maid of the Mill; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313
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Notes

1  The copious literature on this subject need not be re-listed here; the seminal article in the field is that by Northrop Frye, “Towards Defining an Age of Sensibility”, English LiteraryHistory, 23, 1956, 144-52.

2  For a discussion of the importance of tears in the context of sentimentality, see among many discussions, Ann Louise Kibbe, “Sentimental Properties: Pamela and Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure”, English Literary History, 58/3, 1991, 567-570.

3  See Tom Keymer & Peter Sabor, Pamela in the Marketplace: Literary Controversy and Print Culture in Eighteenth-century Britain and Ireland, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

4  Robert H. B. Hoskins, The Theater Music of Samuel Arnold: A Thematic Index, Warren, Mich.: Harmonie Park Press, 1998, 62.

5  Isaac Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, London: J. Newbery, R. Baldwin, T. Caslon, W. Griffin, W. Nicoll, T. Lownds, and T. Becket, 1765, Preface.

6  See Stefano Castelvecchi, “Sentimental and Anti-sentimental in  Le nozze di Figaro”, Journal of the American Musicological Society, 53/1, 2000, 2-5 for some account of the cross currents of this situation.

7  Carlo Goldoni, Mémoires, II.iii, trans. Stefano Castelvecchi, Sentimental Opera: The Emergence of a Genre, 1760-1790, Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, c1996, 17-18.

8 Ibid., 5-7.

9  William C. Holmes, “Pamela Transformed”, Musical Quarterly, 38/4 1952, 581-594 traces the history of these settings; Ted A. Emery, “Goldoni’s Pamelafrom Play to Libretto”, Italica, 64/4, 1987, 572-582 makes a case for the opera demonstrating that passion, when rendered delicate, need not be at odds with order or virtue, while Pierre Degott, « Procurerò di ritornar inglese; périple transgénérique et intercultruel d’une œuvre maîtresse de la littérature anglaise », in Musicorum : le livret en question, Presses Universitaires François-Rabelais, 2006-2007, 205-220, discusses the English translations of Goldoni’s opera, in particular, The Accomplish’d Maid.

10  For a recent discussion of this situation, see Michael Burden, “Opera in the London Theatres”, in The Cambridge Companion to British Theatre, 1730-1830, ed. Jane Moody & Daniel O’Quinn, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007, 205-207.

11  Roger Fiske, English Theatre Music in the Eighteenth Century, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2nd edition, 1986, 327-342.

12 London Evening Post, 7 December 1762.

13  See Fiske, op. cit., 605-606, for a listing of the numbers in Love in a Village.

14 London Evening Post, 11 December 1762.

15 Lloyd’s Evening Post, 30 January 1765.

16  Hoskins, op. cit., 62-64.

17  See Fiske, op. cit., 607-608, for a listing of the numbers in The Maid of the Mill.

18  See Saskia Willaert, “Italian Comic Opera at the King’s Theatre in the 1760s: the Role of the Buffi”, in Music in Eighteenth-century Britain, ed. David Wyn Jones, Aldershot: Ashgate, 2000, 17-71 for an overall view of these seasons.

19  Frederick C. Petty, Italian Opera in London, Ann Arbor: UMI Dissertation Services, 1980, 88-112.

20  See Michael Burden & Christopher Chowrimootoo, “‘A Movable Feast’: the Aria in the Italian Libretto in London before 1800”, Eighteenth-Century Music, 4/2, 2007, 285–289, and their forthcoming two-volume catalogue detailing the use of Italian arias in the London opera libretto.

21  Charles Jenner, Poems, Cambridge: J. Bentham for T. & J. Merrill, 1766, 81-82.

22  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill,note after the Preface.

23 Gazetteer and New Daily Advertiser, 13 April 1765.

24 Ibid., 16 April 1765.

25  John Genest, Some Account of the English Stage 1660 to 1830, Bath: for the Author, 1832, vol. 10, 74, believed that John Fletcher and William Rowley’s The Maid of the Mill of 1623 was another source for the opera. Bickerstaffe, in writing the parts of Fairfield, Patty, and particularly Ralph, seems to have had his eye on the characters of Franio, Florimel, and Bustopha.

26  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, Preface.

27 St. James’s Chronicle or The British Evening Post, 31 January 31, 1765.

28 Ibid.

29 Ibid.

30  Bickerstaffe, The Maid of the Mill, Preface.

31  Seignior Squallini, The Man of the Mill, London: J. Cooke, 1765.

32 Ibid., 6.

33 Lloyd’s Evening Post, 30 January 1765.

34  HW to Richard Mann, 13 February 1767; Horace Walpole’s Correspondence, ed. W. S. Lewis, Warren Hunting Smith, and George L. Lam, vol. 6, London: Yale University Press, 1960, 484.

35 Ibid.

36  Petty, op. cit., 113.

37  Tuesday 24 February 1767; Sylas Neville, Diary 1767-1789, ed. Basil Cozens-Hardy, London: Oxford University Press, 1950, 4-5.

38  James Beattie, An Essay on Poetry and Music, as they Affect the Mind, in Essays: On Poetry and Music, ... On Laughter, ... On the Utility of Classical Learning, Edinburgh and London: William Creech and E. & C. Dilly, 1776, 132.

39 The Secret History of the Green Room, London: J. Owen, 1795, II, 102-103.

40 Ibid., 335-6.

41  Donald Burrows & Rosemary Dunhill, Music and Theatre in Handel’s World, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002, 297.

42  Luigi Riccoboni, An Historical and Critical Account of the Theatres in Europe, London: T. Waller and R. Dodsley, 1741, 176-181.

43  These issues have been dealt with recently by a number of scholars, including Suzanne Aspden in “‘An infinity of Factions’; Opera in Eighteenth-century Britain and the Undoing of Society”, Cambridge Opera Journal, 9/1, 1997, 1-19.

44  See Kalman A. Burnim, & Philip H. Highfill, Jr.,  John Bell,  Patron of  British TheatricalPortraiture, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1998, for a full listing of the portraits commissioned by John Bell.

45  Aileen Ribeiro, The Dress Worn at Masquerades in England, 1730 to 1790, and its Relation to Fancy Dress in Portraiture, New York: Garland, 1984, 217-248, and Aileen Ribeiro, Dress in 18th-century Europe 1715-1789, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2003, 268.

46  See Michael Burden, “Imaging Mandane: Character, Costume, Monument”, Music in Art, forthcoming.

47  See reviews in The Theatrical Review; or the Weekly Rosciad, Saturday 3 October 1801 and The London Chronicle, October 1801; for a discussion of this subject see Michael Burden, “Mrs Billington’s Embonpoint”, paper given at the British Society for Eighteenth-century Studies annual meeting 2008, now housed in the Oxford Research Archive at <http://ora.ouls.ox.ac.uk:8081/10030/1660>.

48 Possibly the Miss Mitchell, who is otherwise thought to have made her debut at Covent Garden on 26 September 1798, and died in 1799; see Philip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, & Edward A. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800, vol. 10. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1984, 269.

49 The confused history of the Storer family (three of whom, including Maria, became or were known as Mrs John Henry) is recounted in Philip H. Highfill, Kalman A. Burnim, & Edward A. Langhans, A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, op. cit., vol. 7, Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 1982, 266-74; this identification comes from the Kingston, Jamaica Mercury, 22-29 January 1780, which gives an account of her debut.

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Table des illustrations

Titre Illustration 1: Elizabeth Younge as Artemisia in The Ambitious Stepmother by Nicholas Rowe; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 17 October 1777. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/4539/img-1.png
Fichier image/png, 118k
Titre Illustration 2: Maria Prudom in the English opera, Artaxerxes; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 21 April 1782. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/4539/img-2.png
Fichier image/png, 78k
Titre Illustration 3: Elizabeth Billington as Rosetta in Love in a Village; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/4539/img-3.png
Fichier image/png, 276k
Titre Illustration 4: Elizabeth Harpur as Patty in The Maid of the Mill; painted by J. Roberts, engraved by John Thornthwaite, published 29 March 1781. Oxford, Bodleian Library, Mal.I.313
URL http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/docannexe/image/4539/img-4.png
Fichier image/png, 50k
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Pour citer cet article

Référence papier

Michael Burden, « Le roman anglais du XVIIIe siècle à l’opéra : la sentimentalité, Pamela et The Maid of the Mill », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal, Vol. IX - n°2 | -1, 78-100.

Référence électronique

Michael Burden, « Le roman anglais du XVIIIe siècle à l’opéra : la sentimentalité, Pamela et The Maid of the Mill », Revue LISA/LISA e-journal [En ligne], Vol. IX - n°2 | 2011, mis en ligne le 11 décembre 2011, consulté le 23 mai 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/lisa/4539 ; DOI : 10.4000/lisa.4539

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Auteur

Michael Burden

Michael Burden is Professor in Opera Studies at Oxford University, and is Fellow in Music at New College, Oxford, where he is also Dean. His published research is on the stage music of Henry Purcell, and aspects of dance and theatre in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries; it includes an analytical catalogue of Metastasio’s operas as performed in London. He is currently completing books on the staging of opera in London 1660 to 1860, and on the London years of the soprano Regina Mingotti. He is President of the British Society for 18th-century Studies, and a Visitor to the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford.

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