A Pictorial Treasury of Opera in America

A Pictorial Treasury of Opera in America

A Pictorial Treasury of Opera in America

A Pictorial Treasury of Opera in America

Excerpt

The political and religious refugees who colonized North America in the seventeenth century limited their artistic expression to religious songs and services, and it was not until the growth of the cities of the eastern seaboard that the first theatres made their appearance. Grand opera, reflecting the splendor and divinity of absolute monarchy and the ritual and sumptuousness of the Catholic Church, had no place in the hard world of the new continent. It is understandable that early attempts at opera were patterned after The Beggar's Opera and other such ballad pieces. Charleston, South Carolina, witnessed the first recorded performance of opera in America, a production of Flora, or Hob in the Well, given on the 18th of February, 1735. The opera was an import from England and became an American favorite for many years. During the next fifty years this and other early ballad operas were performed frequently in the new cities of Baltimore, Williamsburg, . . .

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