Cover image for Opera on the road : traveling opera troupes in the United States, 1825-60
Opera on the road : traveling opera troupes in the United States, 1825-60
Preston, Katherine K.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Urbana : University of Illinois Press, [1993]

Physical Description:
xvii, 479 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML1711.4 .P73 1993 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Katherine K. Preston leads the reader on an operatic tour of pre -- Civil War America in this cultural study of what was, surprisingly, an almost ubiquitous art form. Her richly detailed examination of itinerant troupes covers orchestral and choral musicians as well as stars, impresarios, business methods, repertories, advertising techniques, itineraries, sizes of companies, and methods of travel.

Reviews 2

Library Journal Review

Opera in the United States during the antebellum period was widely accepted. The working and middle classes as well as the wealthy thirsted for theater entertainment, particularly opera--an appreciation that has possibly not been equaled since. Audiences were knowledgeable and sophisticated. European performers were highly regarded, and the performers soon considered America a gold mine of opportunity. As there were no established opera companies at that time, traveling opera troupes were the mainstay. Preston explores the American love of opera as she covers various components of the troupes, such as singers, instrumentalists, stage managers, prompters, programs, impresarios, and schedules. Intending her work to be a basis for research by other scholars, she offers a superb example of tenacious attention to detail. Recommended for serious music collections.-- Kathleen Sparkman, Baylor Univ., Waco, Tex. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Beginning in 1825 with the first appearance of Manuel Garcia's Italian Opera Company, imported troupes of singers offered Americans their first experiences with opera theater. This study examines opera companies and performing stars in the cities of antebellum America; it offers information on the performance repertoires, itineraries, methods of travel, and the personalities involved in production and management. Numerous tables document these activities. The history of American opera theater is fully considered. Appendixes include lists of personnel of opera troupes, accounts of itineraries of the various companies, 52 pages of copious notes, and a 22-page bibliography. A volume in the series "Music in American Life," this book is for the specialist. It is appropriate to graduate music school libraries. R. Miller; Oberlin College