>> Sue Vita: I’d like to welcome you to tonight’s presentation, American’s Forgotten Love Affair with Opera The next installment in the lecture series at the music division happily co-sponsors with the American Musicological Society We began the series over 10 years ago with the intention of highlighting meaningful scholarship that the American Musicological Society members have produced in researching the music division’s unique collections Over the past decade, we’ve been fortunate to learn about a variety of topics from Schoenberg to Showboat Tonight, we turn to Opera in 19th Century America As always, we are recording tonight’s lecture, so it will be available to watch online in the coming months on the Library’s website and YouTube channel Past lectures are already available online For those of you here in the Montpelier Room tonight, I’d like to point out that we have a collection display of Libretti Score’s programs and scrap books relevant to tonight’s lecture If you haven’t had a chance to look at that yet, I hope you will after the lecture concludes And now, I’d like to introduce Dr. Suzanne Cusick, Professor of Music at New York University, and President of the American Musicological Society, who will introduce tonight’s speaker Suzanne? [ Applause ] >> Suzanne Cusick: Thank you, Susan, and thank you all for coming to this lecture this evening which, as Susan has just pointed out, is a partnership between the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society, one of three partnerships, three lecture series that, from the American Musicological Society’s point of view that are part of a broader initiative to make the work that we do as music scholars more available, and obviously pertinent to the musical lives of regular people The other two lecture series are at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and at NYU, actually where the AMS offices currently are I’m particularly happy to be able to introduce Katie Preston to you That is, Katherine Kay Preston, the David N and Margaret C. Bottoms Professor of Music Emerita at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia She has long been interested in all aspects of 19th Century American musical culture, and has published extensively on that topic In fact, the book from which the research that she’s presenting to you tonight, comes, is, her sixth monograph, I believe And she is already mostly done with the next one She’s an amazingly prolific and energetic scholar and thinker and worker in the fields of both the nitty gritty work of the American Musicological Society with members, as a member of untold committees, but also as a past President of the Society for American Music, and a very important force in developing that society as a force in American musical life I took the opportunity to read Opera for the People, English Language Opera, and Women Managers in Late 19th Century America, which was published two years ago by Oxford University Press, in preparation for this introduction And I’m here to tell you as someone who teaches two courses every year on opera, both of them intensive seminars, that the book is situated exactly in the hottest new field in opera studies, namely histories of opera as an industry and as an economic engine It’s just so striking what Kitty has done for the history of opera in the United States, something that people are doing for the history of opera in France, the history of opera in various places in Italy Understanding opera as both an aesthetic product and a way that really thousands and thousands of people still earn their livings, earn very good livings, with highly, highly intelligent craftsman like work Opera for the People sits at the intersection of the history

of class, particularly the competing interests of a wealth-based and a cultural elite in late 19th Century America, and the relationship of that competition to middle class desires for entertainment But it’s not only that intersection or the history of class, but that intersection intersects with the history of women Women singers who became entrepreneurs, with the history of the industry of theater and the industry of opera in the United States, with the history of taste in the United States With the history of European longings, and the nostalgia and desires of European descended peoples in the United States And she puts all of these things together with an amazing level of archival edition, to tell a new and compelling story about the history of this country’s turbulent, but passionate, relationship with opera and musical theater Having said that, I want to repeat that it is my great pleasure to introduce my friend, Kitty Preston, to you all [ Applause ] >> Katherine Preston: Thank you I am absolutely thrilled to be here this evening Thank you for a very kind introduction, Suzanne, and Susan as well This– I want to thank the Library of Congress and the American Musicological Society for sponsoring this talk Thanks are also due to the College of William and Mary, where I talked for 30 years The Fulbright Senior Scholar Program, the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, for support over the years, for the research that I’m going to share with you this evening I’m both absolutely delighted and deeply honored to be presenting a talk here at the Library of Congress of all places This is an institution that was my local library When I was a graduate student living in the Washington area, during the late 70s, and throughout the 1980s In fact, I cut my eyeteeth as a scholar in the Music Division of this institution, first in its old digs, very cramped digs, across the street, in the original Library of Congress building, now known as the Thomas Jefferson Building, and later, in this the newer facility, a modern facility, this is a Performing Arts Reading Room here in the Madison Building, I think this building opened in 1980 The Library of Congress is a national treasure And over the course of my career, I’ve used many of these wonderful collections in addition to the music division, materials in the manuscript division, the Maps Division, the Princeton Photographs Divisions, and newspapers and periodicals, among others Now, I no longer live in the immediate Washington area, but I continue to use the Library of Congress now through its digital collections which are free of charge to anyone with an internet connection The focus of my talk this evening, as you can see from the pictures, is the popularity of opera among middle class Americans during the 19th Century I’ll focus primarily on the second half of the century, but I’ll summarize, beforehand, Americans’ fascination with opera in the antebellum period, in order to provide a context for later developments And I’ll start with a few words and images about the general perception of opera in the United States today So today most Americans think about opera as capital C, Culture It’s uplifting, it’s educational, it’s edifying It is most definitely not popular entertainment Many would say it’s boring On the other hand, most Americans don’t know a lot about opera, except perhaps this stereotype of a Nordic-looking fat lady [laughter], with a horn, helmet and spear, and she has to finish something, before something finishes anyway, this is rather bizarre Or perhaps, this cartoon of what’s opera doc? [ Music ] >> Wabbit twacks [ Music ] >> [Singing] Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit! [ Music ] >> Kill the wabbit? >> [Singing] Yo-ho-to, yo-ho-to >> Now, most of the students that I’ve taught music history to at the College of William and Mary don’t really know much about Ricard Wagner, and they certainly don’t know anything about the Ride of the Valkyrie, but they know [singing] “Kill the wabbit, kill the wabbit,” so [laughter], it seems to suggest that to most modern Americans, opera is either a cartoon or a stereotype of something vague that hasn’t happened yet In fact, one can also find evidence in the 19th Century that opera was the subject of satire in Burlesque In 1852, for example, one John Schwabe of Philadelphia wrote the serious-looking Physiology

of the Opera, which looks like a thoughtful examination of it Until you look at the pseudonym of this particular author It’s in fact a satire, which is clearly indicated by that pseudonym, which is “screechy,” [laughter] Thirty years later, Mark Twain poked fun at opera in A Tramp Abroad, writing that the banging and slamming and booming and crashing were something beyond belief The racking and pitiless pain of it remains stored up in my memory, alongside the memory of the time I had my teeth fixed [laughter] And then there were the popular black-faced minstrel companies, which satirize anything and everything, and which had a field day with opera Here is some samples from popular newspapers of the time Bellini’s Norma became Mrs. Normer, Linda DeShamanay [phonetic spelling] was transformed into Lend her the sham money The Bohemian girl became the Virginian girl, Der Freischutes [phonetic spelling] was “he fries and shoots,” and [inaudible] became “the roof scrambler, which is actually not that far off In fact, the titles of operas, the individual numbers, even the names of singers were all satirized, which is pretty interesting All of which suggests that Americans have always considered opera to be pretentious, somewhat a feat-style of musical theater, an affectation or a hot house flower, as scholars of opera in England used to write But once you start looking beneath the surface, it becomes quite clear that this stereotype is not accurate as all Even Mark Twain, Samuel Clemens, freely admitted that “I’m enchanted with the errors of Trovatore, and other old operas, which hand organ and music box have made entirely familiar to my ear,” which suggests that operatic tunes were so familiar and run of the mill to 19th Century Americans that you could hear them played on the street by organ grinders, and in fact, that was the case It’s also almost a truism that in order for Burlesque to work, the thing being satirized has to be familiar to the audience In fact, 19th Century entries in diaries or comments in letters suggest that sometimes people attended operatic performances one night, and the next night laughed uproariously at the parody being provided by the minstrels Now, I’m not suggesting that our forefathers and our foremothers were somehow more cultured than we are today But I am suggesting that our perception of opera has changed To us, it is uplifting, educational, edifying, cultured To them, it was spectacle and entertainment Now, it might be helpful if I start this, whoops, sorry– by explaining how I stumble onto this research topic For my experience suggests on one hand how knowledge of 19th Century American history, music history, has changed over the last 30 years, and on the other hand, it gives us information about how I got started In the early 1980s, I had just finished a book about the work of journeymen musicians in Washington, D.C. These are musicians who made a living by playing gigs, and so forth This is the last quote of the 19th Century The book was also about the ubiquity of music in the lives of some Americans during this period I conducted most of that research, or not– well, probably most of it here at the Library of Congress Did lots of other research at other places in Washington as well Now, while writing this book, I noticed something very interesting The programs from musical performances in Washington, and by extrapolation, in the United States, almost always included a significant number of pieces from the musical stage In the 1870s and 80s, the sources were operas In the 1890s, they were also operettas, and the newer forms of American musical comedy The programs I examined were from a wide variety of sources, and a wide variety of events, for example the theater There were frequently lists of musical selections performed by the orchestra included on theatrical programs, and I apologize for the caliber of this image It is from a photocopy that is 30 years old, but you can see, we have an example of Verdi, well, two examples from Verdi, amongst the other pieces in this Other events would be concerts, program concerts So there’s Verity, there’s Garneau There is Pagani on this example, and then dances And here we have examples from operettas, from the later part of the 19th Century In fact, operatic music in the 1870s, 80s, and 90s, was performed at all sorts of events, in parades, at mountain resorts, on Potomac River steamers for picnics, at college commencements, at bicycle races, for heaven’s sakes In other words, I discovered not only that live professional musicians, musical performances permeated American society in the late 19th Century, but that Americans readily consumed a steady diet of music from operas and operettas Now, I was still a graduate student So, I dutifully checked my American music texts to learn about the companies that were performing all of these operas

I looked earlier in the century, that would make sense for, you know, antecedents to this, all this stuff going on in the late century, but I found pretty much nothing There was one chapter in Charles Hamm’s Yesterdays About Opera, but almost nothing else This is very puzzling In fact, one major scholar had described the situation pretty definitively He wrote, “Of all the kinds of art music of the American cultivated tradition between 1820 and the Civil War, the least significant, and probably the least widely heard, was opera Hm, I thought, if this was the case, how did I explain all of this operatic music that Americans dance to, listen to, and perform in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, wherever did it come from So I set out to answer that question and in the process wrote my PhD dissertation I discovered that during the antebellum period, starting as early as the 20s, but peaking in the 1940s and 1850s, itinerant opera companies regularly performed all over the country in regular theaters for socially and economically heterogeneous audiences Troops crisscrossed the eastern half of the United States on the ever-expanding Railroad Network, but remember, the Transcontinental Railroad didn’t go through until 1869, so we’re talking mostly the eastern half of the country But some of them traveled to California by water They were both foreign and English language companies The foreign companies mostly sang in Italian, performing the Bell County Repertory, early works by Verdi, and also some translations of French and German operas There were also a handful of French language troops and a smaller handful of German language companies But there were many, many English language companies that mounted English operas by composers like Michael Balfe, William Wallace, and William Rook In addition to translations of that popular continental repertory And they functioned as an important component of the American popular stage This project resulted in my book, Opera on the Road, but there were several other scholars who were also working around the same time in this general field, including Karen Alquist, and George Martin, and the three of us, two graduate students, and an established scholar discovered the same thing Together we essentially rewrote that chapter of American music history and changed what we knew about opera in America Now, I had decided to limit my research on that project to the antebellum period It was a PhD dissertation, after all But by the time I was finished, it was clear that the operatic situation in America in the 1850s had begun to change with a growing distinction between Italian and English opera, and I’m using scare quotes because both of these types of companies, those who sang in Italian, those who sang in English, performed continental operas The Italian companies were increasingly supported by the wealthy, who wanted to make opera into an exclusive style of entertainment, although they were not yet large enough demographic to do this But because they were supporting the Italian companies, those troops became larger and more extravagant, and increasingly included major European stars, like Henrietta Sontag, Marietta Alboni [assumed spelling], Giovanni Mario, Judy Agrece [assumed spelling], Ana de la Grange, Ignacio Marini, and Teresa Parody [assumed spelling], as well as many, many others, all of whom performed in this country in the 1850s The secondary singers and chorus members of these companies tended to be immigrants, already living in the United States Even more important than the performers is the fact that the image of Italian opera began to change in the 1850s Now, for example, there was proper attire that should be worn to attend operatic performances, like opera cloaks, or opera gloves And the starting times for performances were sometimes too late for regular theater goers Critics jumped on the bandwagon and began to preach that Italian opera was superior to translated English opera frequently overlooking the fact that a lot of the Italian opera was also translated This proselytizing about the correct style of opera was communicated to the rest of the country through the musical press, and people began gradually to buy into this idea Now, the increased prestige and fashionable reputation of Italian opera worked against the English troupes, which were still numerous, but were smaller, because they were not as well supported financially and less reliant on big name celebrities In essence, the English opera companies were being outclassed by the Italian troupes In fact, in the late 1850s, many wealthy opera goers and critics began to dismiss English language opera as old fashioned, and utterly de classe [phonetic spelling] English troupes increasingly avoided the east coast cities for that reason But they started performing more and more in the middle west, where they continued to attract large audiences Opera in general remained an extraordinarily popular style of entertainment for Americans of all social classes,

and there’s plenty of evidence that many working class people in addition to folks of the middle and upper classes readily and happily consumed these performances They also played operatic potpourri and fantasias on their pianos and their instruments, danced to operatic quadrilles and lancers, collected operatic arias, translated or not, and listened to operatic music in all sorts of other guises And we have, over here, some examples of the music, the images of which I’m showing you In fact, civil war bans even play operatic selections Sometimes when they were entertaining the troops, like this Costa Diva, which is an arrangement of an aria, or this quick step, [inaudible] quick step, which could be used for marching In music, the music from operas, in short, permeated the American soundscape Opera also continued to be very important on the stage, despite efforts by the wealthy to make it exclusive and elite By now, I had another question Having helped to establish the importance of opera and operatic music in antebellum America, and remembering also the wealth of operatic music that Americans consumed in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, I looked around in the late 20th Century and pondered the reality that offered today is exclusive and expensive, and for want of a better term, a niche market So my main question at the end of the opera on the road research was simple How did we get from there to where we are today? So, I decided to write a book A follow-up book, to answer that question And since there were already books on foreign language opera troupes in the founding of the metropolitan opera, I decided to focus on the prominent and influential English language companies, because they were so important, and I fell into another scholarly hole There was almost nothing in American music histography about English opera activity in the late 19th Century, despite the fact that these troupes had been so prominent in the antebellum period It was as if they simply fell off the face of the earth So my first question, how do we get from there to here was amended with the second one Why did the English opera companies suddenly disappear after the Civil War? I started that research here at the Library of Congress I was on my first sabbatical, and spent seven months in Washington, living down on Capital Hill, or over on Capital Hill, walking down to the library every day I read through the American music periodicals in the music division’s extensive collection I perused every music and theater periodical published in the U.S. between 1860 and 1900, and kind of a run of at least five years Looking for evidence about English language opera What I found was a treasure trove of information which became the database that formed the foundation for my book, and people have mentioned my book, here it is Big, thick book anyway [laughs], it took a long time to write And there are some for sale if you want to buy them afterwards Anyway, what– to this information that I found here at the library, I added additional information gathered from all over the country, major research libraries, literally all over the country And although the discovery, excavation interpretation of this evidence took quite a bit of time, I don’t want to say how long– it’s all there All you have to do is look for it So, the short answer to the question Why did the English opera companies disappear after the civil war was quite simple, they didn’t After the 1860s, they flourished And multiplied And eventually replaced foreign language performance as the preferred operatic style for post-war middle class Americans, which gets us finally to the post-antebellum period After the Civil War, pretty much everything in the country changed The American population in general grew exponentially because of the high birth rate, and huge masses of both European and Asian immigrants New cities sprang up, sometimes almost overnight, Denver, Omaha, Kansas City, St Paul, and all cities in America experienced phenomenal growth The transportation and communication systems, especially the telegraph, also expanded, and the wealthy, especially in the urban east, also grew in size, power and wealth, during and after the war The expansion of the railroads helped, so did all the money that the government poured into reconstruction In New York, the nouveau riche became a much larger demographic, and they have a very important part of my story In fact, the years 1865 to 73 saw a period of prosperity and economic expansion in this country that was unprecedented And this helped to create an insatiable demand for entertainment of all kinds, including opera The situation in New York City, for example, illustrates the general American thirst for opera immediately after the war As John Graciano has pointed out, between 1862 and 1869,

seven years, over 1,000 performances of opera, of more than 100 different operas, took place in the city making New York, he contends, the operatic performance equivalent of London, or important continental cities But many of these companies that mounted these works in New York also toured elsewhere in the country, so the rest of the United States likewise shared in this rich performance culture, and the audiences in New York and elsewhere remained stubbornly heterogeneous For example, in 1865, Charles Bailey Seymour, critic for the New York Times, commented on the audience for Max Maretzek’s opera company writing, “In New York, Opera has become a necessity for every class When Mr. Maretzek commences a season, he scarcely considers the subscription list of the wealthy except for the convenience of the habituates He looks to the amphitheater, the family circle, the lobbies were standing room only as the modest requirement,” and there he reads the verdict of the town The audience for the performance of Faust on 25 September 1865, which he was reviewing, he wrote, “was mainly provincial, and further illustrates our position that opera is general in its interest and confined to no class.” This is 1865 But the companies that were attracting these audiences were almost exclusively foreign language troops For the trend that had started in the 50s continued This is Italian opera Es Supreme This period, in fact, the period right af– excuse me, right after the war, marked the Nadir of English opera performance in America As critic, Henry Watson, observed in 1867, “English opera appears to be doomed in this country because of the swelling tide of public favor which awaits grand Italian opera.” Watson’s opinion was shared by many English critics, but then something very interesting happened An American singing actress, Caroline Richings, decided that the critics were wrong There was still a viable and untapped market for opera in English, she said It wasn’t dead It wasn’t passé The critics were wrong They were misreading the tastes of the American middle class So she formed an English opera movement, of which she was the directress in our now English opera company, to mount the same repertory that pre-war Americans had loved Her own translations of works like The Daughter of the Regiment, as well as works, other works, translated works, like Daughter of the Regiment, Come On Up, [foreign word spoken], Don Pasquale, [foreign word spoken], Linda Ashamonee [phonetic spelling], Martha, and the Crown Diamonds As well as operas written in English, Bauss, the Bohemian Girl, The Rose of Castile, and The Enchantress, William Wallace’s Mary Tanna, Julius Eichberg’s The Doctor of Alcon Tara, and Benedict’s Lily of Killarney And she was right Richings and her company was toured all over the eastern half of the United States, attracted huge audiences for three years She enjoyed unprecedented success and quickly won over the critics In fact, Caroline Richings single-handedly rekindled an interest in opera performed in the vernacular, and was quickly followed by several other singers who capitalized on her success The most important of these, and her immediate successor, was a Scottish soprano, Euphrosyne Parepa, later Parepa-Rosa, who established her own company, and toured America in 1869-70 and 1871-72, with again, unprecedented success America swooned over her voice and her performances During this same period, the two most important foreign language opera impresarios, Max Strakosch and Max Maretzek, who were also doing a land-office business The wealthy were still enamored of Italian opera, and big-named European stars, and although they still had to rely on what they call the hoi polloi, to help fill New York’s Academy of Music, capacity was 4,200 And theaters in other cities, their ranks had been growing steadily as I mentioned during the post-war economic boom And with more money to burn, they demanded bigger and bigger celebrities who were more and more expensive This meant the ticket prices for Italian opera increased steadily, which was beginning to irritate some of the middle class opera goers But times were good, and Americans’ appetite for entertainment was insatiable, so all types of opera companies drew huge audiences during the late 60s and early 70s Now, in preparation for the banner– was supposed to be the banner year, the operating season of 1873-74, both Strakosch and Maretzek crammed their two companies with expensive and well-known European celebrities The sopranos alone, included Pauline Luca, and Alma DiMerska [assumed spelling], in Maretzek’s company, Strakosch signed the diva,

Christine Nielsen And on the English opera front, another American soprano, Clara Louise Kellogg had decided to launch her own English language company, capitalizing on Americans interested in all sorts of operas Then catastrophe hit In September 1873, the Panic of ’73 happened It was the worst economic crisis that had ever hit the United States, banks failed, businesses went bankrupt, and within months, 20% of the American work force was unemployed Recovery began in 1878, five years later But in some places, the long recession that followed the panic lasted until the late 1880s, 15 years after the beginning of the recession This disaster had a direct impact on American support for opera, for it created an attitude shift among working and middle class Americans toward E– excuse me, Easterners, and the wealthy Many Americans blamed the owners of banks, factories and large corporations, especially the Railroads, for the depression And this created a deep suspicion of an animosity toward wealthy easterners, especially among farmers and people who lived in small towns in the middle and far west The financial crisis had also created increased animosity toward Europeans, because in fact, it had started in Europe All of this contributed to growing Xenophobia in the United States in the late– throughout the 1870s, which was exacerbated, as you can imagine, by the fact that millions of immigrants showed up right as the jobs were all disappearing Now, despite the economic calamity, Americans still needed diversion and entertainment As one critic pointed out, amusement in all its healthier forms is more needful now than ever But potential audience members did begin to weigh much more carefully how to spend their scarce entertainment dollars, and immediately sought out cheaper options Variety. Vaudeville Low-end drama Burlesque And operetta Oprah Booth Comic Opera and Continental Opera translated into English And they turned their backs on expensive styles of entertainment Now, the aristocrats campaigned to make Italian opera into their own exclusive style of entertainment, had a really unintended impact American– middle class Americans reacted against the now-hated East Coast wealthy, and began to view their expensive style of entertainment as “un-American.” But the coup de gras was a journalistic revelation by a critic for the Spirit of the Times, which is a weekly newspaper, who interviewed both Maretzek and Strakosch to find out why, in the face of empty seats, they refused to reduce their ticket prices? Both explained that they were legally bound, but to honor the contracts they had signed with their expensive European singers, most of whom refused to reduce their rates The journalists decided to make this into a [foreign word spoken] The first column, titled Operatic Despotism, was a bombshell The second had a similar impact The critic was blunt He called the situation a public scandal, and referred to the artists contemptuously as a “band of singers and tuneful pets,” but the most shocking revelation was how much the singers were paid As he pointed out, Nielsen, Luca, DiMerska and the others demanded for themselves the monstrous rate of $600 a night, or $3,000 a week In contemporary terms, $600 is roughly $12,500, and $3,000 per week is approximately $63,500 for each singer And this wasn’t the worst of it, for he found that Strakosch paid Nielsen a thousand dollars a night, which is equivalent of $19,000 per performance, and he also paid for all her travel expenses Shocked, the journalist asked Strakosch how much Adalina Patty, who was the reigning diva at that time, might demand for an American tour, and was astounded to learn that her price for a tour of 100 performances was $200,000 Almost a cool $4.3 million dollars today, to be paid in gold [laughter] To put it mildly, this information did not go over well in a country in the middle of a huge economic crisis Both of the articles went viral in a 19th Century manner, and were quickly reprinted in newspapers all over the country For example, the Milwaukee Daily Sentinel described prima donnas as an “over-pampered class of public pets,” greedy canaries, and blackmailers Contrary to what P.T Barnum reportedly said, there is such a thing as bad publicity and this is a great example

All of the foreign language companies active in the United States during the long recession that followed the panic went bankrupt But one company didn’t fail That of Clara Louise Kellogg For four important years, 1873 to 77, the heart of the panic, the Kellogg Grand English Opera Company had the effect of stimulating the popular desire for opera, it frequently attracted both immense houses, and audiences that were astonishingly large The company performed the repertory very similar to that of Richings, but somewhat expanded, with the addition of Bauss, The Talisman, as well as Verdi’s Three War Horses, Trovatore, La Traviata, and Rigoletto, Gounod’s Faust, [foreign word spoken] by Toma, and [inaudible] Star of the North, and The Hugonot The latter all adapted to the English stage by Kellogg herself One American critic summarized Kellogg’s fate in 1875 writing, “The English opera with Kellogg as prima donna has done a splendid business throughout the country This,” he continued, “is extraordinary because it is an acknowledged fact that all other musical enterprises this season have encountered disastrous failures All the other enterprises, of course, were the foreign language troops Kellogg’s triumph was particularly important for her company’s success, suggests a real turning point in the history of American reception of opera A change that became permanent The American middle class abandoned expensive foreign language opera but not opera itself They realized that they could still consume their favorite operas, but now in a language they could understand, at cheap prices, and with no aristocratic trappings And by the time the economy finally turned around sufficiently to allow foreign language companies to make a profit, there were scores of vernacular language troops that were happy to provide non-elite opera to middle class American theater-goers Furthermore, the wealthy by that time, was now large enough that they could support foreign language on their own, and so they didn’t need the hoi polloi anymore, and they turned their backs on the middle classes The activities of Richings, Parepa-Rosa and Kellogg, and the situation created by the Panic of ’73, then, set the stage for the American English opera movement of the 1880s, the high watermark for Vernacular Opera in the United States Now, these scores of English language companies that can be divided rather roughly into two categories Grand opera These companies performed a combination of translated continental operas, the same repertory performed by the foreign language troops in the 1880s, and works written in the vernacular The second type is comet or light opera companies, which mounted operetta, [foreign words spoken], and the lighter works of the Continental Repertory, such as the ones you see on the screen [foreign words spoken] and so on and so forth Both types of English language opera companies were a normal part of the American musical stage, and attracted heterogeneous audiences comprised of upper, middle and lower class, or working class theater-goers in contrast with foreign language opera, which in the 80s was increasingly for the wealthy Now, to provide a snapshot of these two different styles of company, of popular opera, I’ll discuss briefly one excellent example of each First is Grand English Opera Hands down, the best known and most successful Grand English Opera company in America was somebody you’ve never heard of, a company you’ve never heard of, and that is the Emma Abbott Grand English Opera Troupe Abbott, a soprano, grew up in Peoria, Illinois Her family was not wealthy, but she was fiercely determined to succeed, and she wanted nothing more as a young girl as to be a prima donna Some of her supporters raised money to send her to Milan, and to Paris, for training in the Italian school But when she returned to America in 1876, not a really good year, the country was still in the midst of the Panic Foreign language companies were failing right and left She saw the handwriting on the wall, and explained to a reporter, “I was educated to Italian opera, and I love it dearly and hated to give it up But English opera is what the people want She and her husband, the manager, Eugene Wetherell, launched the Emma Abbot Opera Company in 1879, and she never looked back Now, these two, Abbott and Wetherell, were a great team, and knew instinctively how to create a prima donna, and a company that would appeal to middle class American theater-goers Their troupe was definitely not elite or exclusive Ticket prices were kept low, as demonstrated by this playbill The tenor, Tom Carl, in fact, once explained in a letter that Abbott was successful because of the popular prices the management charge, and the fact that they draw not the fashion but the populace, so to speak

The company performed almost exclusively in regular theaters, like the Coates Opera House in Kansas City, Albaugh’s here in Washington, the Debar Opera House, St. Louis, Crosby’s in Chicago, the Chestnut Street Theater Opera House in Philadelphia, the Tabor Opera House in Denver, and I should point out that although they were called Opera Houses, they were regular theaters, and had performances of Shakespeare, and melodrama, and minstrel, and opera, and all of it, one week after the other There was no expectation for special opera cloaks or evening attire, and curtain times were deliberately set at a normal time, since the company knew that many members of their audience had to get up and go to work the next morning Not something that the wealthy worried about Most important, Abbott and Wetherell promoted their productions as entertainment, not as uplift, and middle class Americans responded with enthusiasm The soprano also created a public persona that resonated strongly with Americans She was a native-born singer, from the American west, which was, Peoria was considered west at that time, with roots in Yankee New England She refused to change her name to something more European sounding She cultivated the image of a friendly and approachable girl next door, by freely and regularly giving interviews to local journalists She rarely canceled performances because of illness, which is in stark contrast with the snobbish and condescending image of European operatic celebrities She was also a moral and upright church-going Christian with a long and happy marriage She actually went to church every Sunday Wherever her company was, she would walk out of the hotel Sunday morning, because they didn’t perform on Sundays, turn either right or left, and go to– she would go to which ever church she came to the first church she came to She cultivated American– oh, I forgot, she defended women on the stage, which is quite important She also cultivated American personality characteristic, determination and pluck And financial success that was the result of diligence and fortitude, not inheritance She was also charismatic, and she was a scrappy underdog Americans love underdogs She was not afraid to fight for her rights She was as American as apple pie, and somehow may translated European opera into an American popular theatrical entertainment Her many supporters called her “The People’s Prima Donna.” The Abbott Company Repertory was a combination of English opera standards, like you’ve seen these before, Bohemian Girl, Chimes of Normandy, Maritana and Martha– a handful of operas, mostly Gilbert and Sullivan, but mostly translations of continental favorites like Faust, Romeo and Juliet, Mignon, La Sonambala, Julie Lucia, Trovatore, and a couple of lesser-known works, including Victory Mossay’s Paul in Virginia Because her repertory duplicated most of the operas being performed by the foreign language companies in the 1880s, she gave her audiences an opportunity to hear grand operas at the highest standard at popular prices She also pleased her audiences with specially commissioned beautiful costumes, and sometimes her company’s scenery was pretty spectacular For example, what you’re seeing here are drawings of the staging and scenery in the troupe’s prompt book for Paul in Virginia It was set on the tropical island of Mauritius The penultimate scene in the opera is the ship leaving the port, going to Paris, it gets caught in a hurricane, and I would dearly love to know how they did the hurricane, and in any case, these are from the Variety Theater in New Orleans Abbott also gave her audiences what they wanted in terms of performance She gilded the lily by adding extra fioritura, which suited her high and flexible voice She also added extra songs to her performances, an old practice that was now considered quite unacceptable, especially by the critics, but she pointed out that these interpolations were usually in response to the special requests of managers, gentlemen of the press, singing societies, and the general public She continued, “as I always try to please my audience, is it to be wondered at that I should have complied with these requests?” Pleasing her audience was Abbott’s mantra The company performed all over the country, including cities on the pacific coast, and never had a losing season As one critic put it, season after season, Abbott’s company has traveled over the country from Canada to California, from Maine to Mexico, and while rivals have weakened, falling by the wayside, or retired from the field, this troupe has remained the most successful English opera company in America All of the success came to an abrupt end in January 1891, when Abbott came down with a cold while performing on tour in Utah She ignored the advice of her doctors and continued to sing, and did not want to disappoint her audiences The cold became pneumonia, and in an era before antibiotics,

she was dead within days She had just turned 41 years old The company, without its charismatic and personable soprano, disbanded Abbott’s company was hardly the only Grand English Opera troupe active in America during this period, but it was the most successful It was also an excellent counterpart to the most successful comic opera troupe, the Boston Ideal Opera Company, which was known as the Bostonians after 1886 We have, there’s a playbill over there, from The Bostonians, and The Boston Ideals These two companies overlapped, Abbott and the Bostonians or the Boston Ideals during the 1880s, but the Repertories were sufficiently different that they complemented, rather than competed with, each other The company was organized not by a prima donna, but by miss Effie Ober, the owner of one of the first American concert agencies, which is another book I’ll write it [laughs], I hope In Spring 1879, the management of the Boston Theater had asked her to organize some of her singers into an opera company They wanted to finish out their season with a bang, with a production of that year’s blockbuster, H.M.S. Pinafore This is kind of like the Star Wars of the 1870s The company was called The Ideals, because they promised to mount a performance that was as close to the original as possible without any kind of extra stuff, Americanizations, or added jokes or whatever The run was an unmitigated success It was supposed to be two weeks, it went into seven One local critic wrote that by the time Pinafore closed, nearly 100,000 persons would have enjoyed the ideal presentation of the favorite opera Now, Ober knew a good thing when she saw it and she decided to keep her company together and take it on the road So its first tour was in 1879, the same year as Abbott’s first tour The Ideals Repertory was at first mostly operettas, such as Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance, Pinafore, Ilanthy, The Sorcerer, as well as operettas by continental composers like Don Supe’s [foreign words spoken], Czar in Carpenter by Loertzing [assumed spelling], Odran’s The Mascot, and Olivette, Louis Varney’s The Three Muskateers, Bar Blue by Othenbach [assumed spelling], [foreign words spoken] Now, unlike most comic opera companies they also amounted a good number of operas that were now considered the standard English language works You’ll see, you’ll be familiar with these guys: [inaudible] The Regiment, The Bohemian Girl, Martha, Fradiovolo [phonetic spelling], even a less standard work, Marriage of Figaro One critic pointed out that The Ideals perform works that everyday home people wish to see and hear For the first two years, Effie Ober managed the troupe from her office in Boston She communicated with the singers by means of mail and telegram, and in fact, there are 350 letters from the singers to Effie Ober in the Harvard Theater Collection, which is a treasure trove of information After 1882, she decided to start traveling with the troupe Her management style was much more democratic, collegial and cooperative than that of the usual male impresarios, and actually, that aside in just a second, this created a sense of camaraderie, although The Ideals included some of the best English-speaking singers active in the United States, including the tenor Tom Carl, and the bass Myron Whitney, there was very, very little back-biting and competition among this company This contrasted with the contentious and competitive foreign language troops Ober used this as a marketing tool with overtones of patriotism She boasted, “My singers are all ladies and gentlemen, and they are all Americans Our home people are not as cross-grained as the Italians and Germans, who have been taught to hate and wrangle with each other,” and I should point out that the contentiousness of the opera companies, the foreign language opera companies was just fodder for the newspapers They loved to talk about this The company consistently gave excellent performances to immense audiences, turning away hundreds unable to gain admittance to the performances of their popular comic operas After six years, Ober decided to retire She had made a mint Core members, still together, form their own troupe with three of the principles as co-directors, and renamed it the Bostonians The reconstituted ideals continued to expand repertory by adding such words as don Pascuale, Carmen, and El Trovatore But in the late 1880s, the management of the company decided to focus more on operettas, which are the most important, most fascinating, popular kinds of operas in the U.S. in the late 80s In fact, they began to solicit new operettas written by American composers, eventually commissioning about a dozen such works The most important were Reginald de Cova’s Robin Hood, and Victor Herbert’s The Serenade And there is, The Serenade is over there, as well as a scrapbook with a playbill from The Serenade

These became two of the most popular American operettas of the century Both the company and the composers made a mint The Bostonians, like the Abbott Company, also toured widely They made several trips to the Pacific coast, for example They also had a strong ensemble, of some 75-musicians, 18 principals, a chorus of 30, 28-member orchestra, and they gradually added new soloists, like the mezzo-soprano, Jessie Bartley Davis, and the bass, Eugene Cowles And a bit later, the soprano, Alice Nielsen, who was actually a song and dance kind of person, and much smaller than the Big Ideals, Bostonian singers Nielsen in fact later described the veteran singers of her company, especially in comparison with her own petite self as “large people, deep of chest, wide of hip, inclined to develop chin upon chin, but sing mother of heaven, how they could sing!” The Bostonians, which still included some of its original core principal members disbanded in 1904, having dominated the comic opera market for a quarter of a century The success and popularity of these two companies, and the fact that there were scores of other similar troupes, should clearly illustrate the widespread appeal of performed opera, both grand and light, to middle class Americans during the second half of the 19th Century The popularity of operatic music in other guises, which I’d mentioned several times, also continued to be quite prevalent during the last third of the century, and since, as I mentioned, it was my discovery of this type of evidence from the 70s, 80s, and 90s, that originally piqued my interest in this topic, I’ll share a few final images that illustrate the continued popularity of operatic and operetta music, played for all sorts of social and cultural gatherings in America in the late 19th century By the final decades of the century, sheet music was big business It was frequently collected into binders, volumes which were bound volumes of music that most middle class American women collected throughout the century These volumes provide ample evidence of musical taste Put into modern terms, sheet music functioned as the music downloads of the 19th Century The binders volumes were basically the women’s iPods Most of the music was for voice and piano, or for piano, which was the most popular instrument of the century Most binders were a hodgepodge of musical styles, kind of like many people’s iPods, but it was a rare volume indeed that did not include either some arias, or some instrumental gems from the opera, or from operettas The arias were sometimes translated, sometimes not This collection features Louise Kellogg Here’s a close-up of the various pieces in the series, selections from Verdi, Donizetti, Mozart, Flauto, Bauff, Wallace, Bellini, etc Here are a few other examples, all from the last third of the century The gems are arrangements of an opera’s most popular melodies, usually for piano, like the duets on the right, or the reminiscences of Faust on the left But they were also made for other instruments Here’s one for violin and flute, with piano accompaniment, and examples for cabinet organ, and guitar and piano There are lots of other versions as well There were also numerous arrangements for dances, such as waltzes Here’s Kellogg again Polka’s, or country dances, like quadrille and lancers, and into the 1880s, and later, the music is increasingly adapted from operettas, like this quadrille from Gilbert and Sullivan’s Patience Polkas from Offenbach and Odran comic operas, and a song from Harbert’s Wizard of the Nile Dance, of course, was the most popular social activity of the century, and Americans regularly danced to operatic tunes Here’s an example of selections available for a large dance orchestra or band Americans also attended casual and popular concerts performed by local bands and town band shells Here’s a band performing in a band shell, here’s another one, ready to play at a resort on the Potomac River And here’s the type of music they might have performed A concert program from a Moonlight Excursion on the Potomac in 1880 We have here popular music interspersed with selections from operas including La Grande-Duchesse by Offenbach Moses in Egypt, by Rossini Sonnambula by Bellini, here misattributed to Donizetti, Le Clair by Olayvie [phonetic spelling] and Robert Planquette, The Chimes of Normandy Bands even continued to play operatic selections as marches Here is Souza’s transcription The March from the Macado I’m going to end with a few final observations and a couple of questions While conducting research for this most recent book, I uncovered information on over 100 English language opera companies that were active during the last four decades of the century Admittedly, many of them were ephemeral and enjoyed success for a season or two, but others, like the Abbott Troupe and the Boston Ideals or the Bostonians, had extraordinary artistic and professional popular success

that lasted for years Sometimes for decades Furthermore, music from English and foreign language operas and operettas permeated the American soundscape throughout the entire century to a remarkable degree So what does all this mean? Is it all just fascinating detail about a time long past? As you might suspect, I would suggest not Rather, it adds a great deal to our knowledge of American popular culture during this period It furthermore helps us to understand more clearly the development of American musical culture during the 19th Century And it provides important insight into the evolution of American musical theater, for by the 1890s, new forms were evolving that eventually would result in the 20th Century in the emergence of American musical comedy, a truly indigenous American art form I would argue that the activities and widespread appeal of English language opera of all sorts contributed significantly to that evolution for when early musical comedy was beginning to emerge In the late 19th Century, there was already in place an American audience for sung musical drama in English primed and ready for the new forms But the very fact that we, as scholars, have completely somehow completely missed this rather pronounced element of American history is pretty interesting in itself How is it that such an important component of American popular culture has essentially disappeared from our knowledge of American cultural history? How could this rich performance history be completely absent from most of our texts on American music? Now, the creation of new knowledge, of course, is what scholarship is all about But we established scholars should always be cognizant of apparent blind spots, and should continue to wonder what else are we missing? All of which of course should be encouraging to younger scholars, for there’s always something new, or maybe something old, that can be excavated, examined, and reinterpreted Thank you [ Applause ] >> Katherine Preston: Thank you And I didn’t cough I’ve been fighting bronchitis for two– for three weeks now Questions, I hope I hope lots of questions >> Announcer: You have a microphone >> Katherine Preston: Oh! Microphone Question? Yes, please? >> Audience Member: So, why did the knowledge of all this English opera go missing? >> Katherine Preston: [Sighs] There’s a very long answer to that question A couple of the reasons, well, I’ll talk about one of the reasons in particular We, as scholars, tend to rather uncritically accept what critics were saying at the time All right, and the critics had bought into this idea of opera as high art, and in fact, by the 1880s, they’d all become Wagnerians That’s a part I didn’t even talk about They didn’t pay any attention Those critics did not pay attention to the English language opera, and so we are missing a lot of information because we haven’t looked further Now, I found plenty of information from critics about English language opera, but there were a lot of people who just were willing to stop with what the major critics for the times or whatever were saying So that’s one of the reasons Another reason is that the first music histories, the first histories written of American music were by some of these critics Okay? So again, we have to look more carefully We have to always ask, “Is this all there is?” So good question Other questions? Yes? >> Audience Member: Well, you already touched on it, but I was wondering what the relationship is of the sort of Beethoven-esque, Wagnerian idea of the composer as this capital A artist, in relation to the formation of attendance as a display of social status, and not just financial, but also cultural status >> Katherine Preston: All right, there’s a lot of things in that question The idea of the artist as an intermediary between us humans and the Gods is a romantic period idea Okay? So it’s evolving during this period, but what you’re dealing with, what we are dealing with today, what students are dealing with today, is the repercussions of that, or the fact that we’ve already gone through that, and we’ve kind of accepted it in the 20th Century This was not an issue in the 19th Century I mean, it was developing in the 19th Century, but it was not as overwhelming as it is today Furthermore, musical theater tends to be kind

of different, you know? If you think about, in fact, I like to point out that many of these performers were mucking around with theater, they were changing things, and they make it very clear that they’re changing things And so they were treating opera the way we think of musical theater today Now, if you have a high school group, you have– they rent parts for Oklahoma or something, and there’s all these disclaimers, you can’t change anything but they do, right? I mean, people change things in musical theater, and I think that more casual approach to music is typical of the theater Okay, does that help a little bit? Okay. Yes, please? >> Audience Member: In some cities, you see opera houses, [overlapping speakers], is that where the operas were performed? >> Katherine Preston: Those were all theaters And there was a certain sense of we’ve made it, as a city, that we have a theater we can call an opera house But in reality, until you– I mean, 1883 is the first real opera house in this country, this metropolitan– in which only opera companies are performing Before that, and most– the rest of the country while the metropolitan was, you know, there, and in fact, the companies that performed at the metropolitan performed elsewhere in the country, but in regular theaters, sometimes called opera houses, sometimes called regular theaters So, for example, I showed a picture of the Philadelphia, you know, the Chestnut Street Opera House in Philadelphia Well for most of it, it’s career, the Chestnut Street Opera House was called the Chestnut Street Theater And in fact Crosby’s Opera House, which was burned in a fire, the major fire in Chicago, was built to be an opera house, but they couldn’t make it And within a year, they had all the other companies that were– they were all traveling around, on the theatrical circuit, and they would stop in each opera house, or each theater So if you’re looking at it from the point of view of you’re a resident, and you’re checking out, well what’s at the theater this week? It changes every week It’s kind of like movies today, they change every week Or sometimes they change every week, but the variety is there And that’s the same thing, the way it was with theaters It’s very different than what we have today Today we have local theaters, I mean, there are some touring companies, but the majority of the touring companies are in the 19th Century And these theaters that are called opera houses were theaters, okay? Does that make sense? >> Audience Member: Yeah, but why did they call them opera houses? >> Katherine Preston: Because, as I said, as I started out, it’s a sign of, I mean, the wealthy are using opera as the– for the ostentatious display of wealth, okay? So there is a certain kind of sense of cosmopolitanism to it, and for example, in Denver, the Tabor Opera House was built in, I think it was opened in 1881 And it was the– that’s the City of Denver was rallying around the creation of that opera house, because now we were– we could compete with other cities That we’re not just out in the frontier, we’re not in the middle of nowhere, it’s now, we now have, we have arrived as a cultural center So there is a certain element of prestige involved in this Yes? >> Audience Member: Thank you so much, I’ve heard you speak about these topics for many years, and I always learn something new and I’m comforted by what I remember from previous times And you know, people are still building opera houses now I do research in the gulf, and even though opera is not– >> Katherine Preston: Gulf? Explain what you mean by gulf? >> Audience Member: The Arabian Gulf, you know, like in Oman, and United Arab Emirates Building an opera house is a big deal, and it seems so affronistic My question is about minstrelsy, vaudeville, variety shows? >> Katherine Preston: Yeah >> Audience Member: Where audience is also seeing that more, I mean, were they concurrent? Were they seeing low-cal entertainments, and would they have occurred in the same building? >> Katherine Preston: It gets really complicated Because of the rise of, I mean, I’m summarizing broadly here, but there are some theater historians who suggest that variety and vaudeville really got a jump start in the– after The Panic During the recession that followed The Panic Because people were turning to cheaper forms of entertainment The cities are growing I mentioned that When you have a larger mass of people, you can start to have different theaters So it’s not just one or two theaters, and you start– the theater market starts to break down So here in Washington and in the 1870s, 80s, 90s, there were maybe five or six theaters There was the National Ford’s Opera House All Boughs Opera House, but there were also current variety theater, which were more for lower-brow styled entertainment There is evidence that working class people attended opera There is a wonderful anecdote that I’ve come

across for a performance at, I mean an audience at– I think it was Ford’s Theater, after it reopened for Parepa-Rosa, and this guy, he was a little– tiny little anecdote was in a journal, a music journal, and this guy who is from, I don’t know, Denver or somewhere He’s from somewhere outside, he’s visiting the City of Washington, and he wanted to hear Parepa-Rosa sing, and he got there late, and he clamored up into what he called– what was called The Color Gallery, because the theater was segregated And he sat down in the Color Gallery, and he was told by the Usher, “You can’t sit here.” And he said “Oh, I can, I don’t mind.” And the Usher said, “You can’t sit here.” And so the last sentence of this little anecdote is that he then picked up his hat, and he clamored over to the other part of the gallery where the white trash sat Well, that’s really interesting, because if you read reviews of these operas, they’re all saying about how the house was fashionably filled, but in reality, if you think about this, I don’t know if you’re aware, but most theaters in the 19th Century were divided, as they are today, into different parts There’s the gallery, where it was the cheapest part There was the boxes, there was what they called the par chair, it was the orchestra part Different prices It’s the same thing as we have today What is different is that then there were separate entrances to each of these sections, and different– different economic, socioeconomic groups went to those different sections, and I mean, if you go to a theater like Jury Lane, or Coven Garden in London, today, you still can’t get up into the Gallery, pay a cheap price and look down and go oh, third down from the back, five over, there’s an empty seat, at Intermission I’ll go down there and I’ll sit there, as many of us have done You can’t do that, because you go outside the theater, you can’t get back in with your ticket because it’s– it’s for the Gallery That’s the way theaters were organized in the 19th Century, so you had an audience that was comprised of– a heterogeneous audience, right? So wealthy, middle class, working class, apprentices and so forth In the south, antebellum, you had slaves up in the Gallery They were all watching the same thing, consuming the same performance, but they weren’t rubbing shoulders with each other So you had separate entrances, separate sections of the theater Does that– am I answering the question? I am, I hope I am So yeah, yeah, other questions, yes please? >> Audience Member: I know from the period you cover, it was probably too early, but are there any sound recordings of [inaudible]? >> Katherine Preston: There are sound recordings of some of The Bostonians from the 1890s, and very early I didn’t introduce this in my lectures, just because that’s all there is, and I spent so much time on Abbot, but there’s nothing from Abbot She died in ’91, and that’s before– it’s not before the invention of sound recordings, but it’s before any sound recordings were being used for things besides– they were used for office equipment, for dictation and so forth, before they figured out, oh! We can make some money on this, and record voice and so forth But none of these people had it, except some of the Bostonian singers So yes, please? >> Audience Member: Something I found really interesting was like these women who were the head of these opera companies, was that something indicative of the time period? Or was it opera as an industry [inaudible]– >> Katherine Preston: That’s another complicated question I’ll try to answer it quickly There were– surprisingly, there were lots of women in the theater There were lots of women theater managers in America and in England during this time And I think that, that some of the women in the– especially certainly Caroline Richings, because she came from the theatrical world, could see that that was happening Okay? So they were encouraged by that But more important is the fact that the American audience in this time was really enamored of celebrity Foreign celebrity Things don’t change, to a certain extent And I think the best example I can give is Clara Louise Kellogg When she started her English opera company in 1873 very fortuitously, because the previous year she had been in her Italian opera company and she had been a co-star with a European diva, and the European diva’s manager was also the manager of the company, and he puffed her to the press Meaning, he really pushed her to the press, and so she got all the publicity, Clara Kellogg did not Furthermore, Kellogg by that time had been around for a while This new American– this new European diva was new– so all the American audiences went to her performances and not to Kellogg’s because they figured we, you know, we’ve seen Kellogg, so we’ll go to this–

you know, I can’t remember who it was And so Kellogg learned a very important lesson that she couldn’t make– she couldn’t compete the the European celebrities, but she could– she could create a niche And I think the American prima donnas who created these opera companies saw a niche, as Richings did, and they went for it And said if we can’t get the foreign impresarios to hire us, if we can’t get Maretzek or Strakosch to hire us, we’ll just make our own, because they’re ignoring the middle class audience So it was marketing So– >> Audience Member: You mentioned Denver a few times, and I’m from Denver, and of course [inaudible]– >> Katherine Preston: Yeah, yeah! >> Audience Member: celebrity in that area But also, one of the most famous historic opera houses is– >> Katherine Preston: Is Central City Yes. Also Tabor >> Audience Member: And yeah, and also Tabor So what I was wondering, did he have a motive to make opera available to the middle person, the miners, whatever? Was that the reason for playing in so many opera houses? >> Katherine Preston: That’s another complicated question I just served on a dissertation committee for a young man at University of Michigan, who wrote a dissertation on that very topic, like Opera in Denver His basic take is that Tabor was a politician, and he felt that putting his name on this opera company, opera house, would help– help with his political aspirations It didn’t work He ran for Governor, and never got it So there, I mean, he was a business man, and in fact, the opera houses, like the Albaugh’s Opera House, here in Washington, Tabor Opera House, Crosby’s Opera House– they were businesses They were not just theaters They had offices in them The upper floors, they rented out those spaces for barber shops and millinery shops and so on and so forth So they were a business concern And you know, one of the things, you know, I don’t know– it’s not really why I got into this, but I continue to be fascinated as a scholar, at many scholars, music scholars, they are– their reluctance to talk about music as a business I mean, it is a business, and if you don’t make money, you’re going to go out– you’re going to stop doing it And so, I mean, so it’s a complicated question He did– I think the Central City one came first, before the Denver one But– but part of the idea of having several opera houses is that in order to get Opera companies to come from wherever they were coming from, Chicago, perhaps, or maybe KC, Kansas City, to make that trek to Denver, it’s a long way So Denver wasn’t on the Railroad, I mean, they missed the boat there, sorry, mixing my metaphors [laughter] They needed, they needed to attract companies that could go to various places, and they created what was called The Silver Circuit, so that you could have the– you could have them in Denver, and then they would go out and also perform in a variety of other places before they went on to California So it makes sense It’s a business decision >> Susan: So, I think we have time for just maybe one more question Then I want you guys to have a quick look at our exhibit >> Audience Member: You mentioned Albaugh’s, where is that located? >> Katherine Preston: Oh, I knew you were going to ask, and I don’t know, because I forgot Uh– and it’s, I mean, the Theater District, if you can imagine where Ford’s Opera House is, and The National Theater, that was the Theater District in Washington in the 19th Century, and they were like, at one time I counted something like 11 theaters But the theaters changed names, and they went out of business, and so forth, but between 6 and 8, maybe 11 theaters, all in that same general area And you have to remember that theaters were basically the movie houses Actually they’re the Netflix of today, because I mean, we just turn on our– you know, we turn on the computer, or we turn on the TV, or whatever, and log on, and download whatever, they would– people in Washington, which was a much smaller city than it is today, like other cities, they would walk to the theater, and they would do it very casually They’d say all right, we just had dinner, what should we do? Oh, let’s go to the theater So the theaters were all in the same general area So I mean, if you really want to know, there’s– I wrote this book on, it’s called Music for Hire, and there’s a copy here, and the library is probably in, you know, Maryland has a copy, I don’t know where else does, but there’s a map there of the theater district in downtown Washington, Albaugh’s, I’m sorry– I really had my phone out, I was going to look it up to see what the address was, and I just got distracted, so I can’t remember So, I think we’re out of time >> Susan: It was wonderful, thank you so much >> Katherine Preston: Thank you all for coming [ Applause ]

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