Opera and British Print Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

BookOpera and British Print Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

Opera and British Print Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century

Clemson University Press: Studies in British Musical Cultures


January 1st, 2023





Recently, studies of opera, of print culture, and of music in Britain in the long nineteenth century have proliferated. This essay collection explores the multiple point of interaction among these fields. Past scholarship often used print as a simple conduit for information about opera in Britain, but these essays demonstrate that print and opera existed in a more complex symbiosis.

This collection embeds opera within the culture of Britain in the long nineteenth century, a culture inundated by print. The essays explore: how print culture both disseminated and shaped operatic culture; how the businesses of opera production and publishing intertwined; how performers and impresarios used print culture to cultivate their public persona; how issues of nationalism, class, and gender impacted reception in the periodical press; and how opera intertwined with literature, not only drawing source material from novels and plays, but also as a plot element in literary works or as a point of friction in literary circles.

As the growth of digital humanities increases access to print sources, and as opera scholars move away from a focus on operas as isolated works, this study points the way forward to a richer understanding of the intersections between opera and print culture.


Author Information

Christina Fuhrmann is Professor of Music at Baldwin Wallace University Conservatory of Music and edits BACH: Journal of the Riemenschneider Bach Institute. Her research has been published in venues such as The Oxford Handbook of the British Musical, Nineteenth-Century Music Review, and The Encyclopedia of Romantic Literature. Her book, Foreign Opera at the London Playhouses, from Mozart to Bellini (Cambridge University Press, 2015) received the Diana McVeagh Prize for Best Book on British Music, awarded biennially by the North American British Music Studies Association. Alison Mero holds a PhD from Indiana University. Her research focuses on the discourse surrounding English-language opera in the nineteenth century. She has published in Notes and has an essay in Musicians of Bath and Beyond edited by Nicholas Temperley (Boydell, 2016). Currently she is executive managing editor at Clemson University Press where she acquires titles in music and manages production for all of Clemson’s academic books.

Table of Contents

Section TitlePage
Christina Fuhrmann and Alison
The Interdependence of Print and Opera
1.    Peter Horton, “‘Mr Hawes is Mr
Hawes’: Opera and Music Publishing in early Nineteenth-Century London”
2.    Christina Fuhrmann, “Giovanni
in Print”
Shaping a Public Persona
3.    Jennifer Hall-Witt, “Authoring
the Managerial Memoir: Print Culture and John Ebers’s Seven Years of the King’s Theatre (1828)”
4.    Matildie Wium, “‘Domestic
Affliction’ and a ‘Relaxed Throat’: Reporting on the Tribulations of Mary Shaw”
Shaping National Identity
5.    Jennifer Oates, “The ‘Failure’
of Provincial Opera: Nineteenth-Century Opera and Print Culture in Edinburgh”
6.    Timothy Love, “Opera Stage as
Cultural Battlefield: Opera in Nineteenth-Century Ireland”
7.    Maria McHale, “Opera in Dublin
in the Long Nineteenth Century: Identity, Nationalism, and Internationalism”
Shaping Taste
8.    Michelle Meinhart, “A ‘Cosy Corner Chat’
about Opera: Fashioning New Femininities in The
Gentlewoman and The Lady,
9.    Charles McGuire, “Wagner, the
British Press, and Taste Education at the British Musical Festival, 1883–1914”
Operatic Literature, Literary Opera
10.  Julia Grella O’Connell, “Decadence, Literary
Wagnerism, and Victorian Religious Conversion in Popular Print Culture: Two
Novels by George Moore”
11.  James Grande, “Music and
Magazines: Dissenting from Opera in the Print Public Sphere”
12.  Phyllis Weliver, “Wanting
More: Oliver Twist as
Beggar’s Opera”
Leanne Langley