Academic journal article Theatre Notebook

Bouffonnerie Musicale: The Story of H. B. Farnie, Author, Journalist, Golfer, Librettist, Adapter, and Song Writer (1836-1889)

Academic journal article Theatre Notebook

Bouffonnerie Musicale: The Story of H. B. Farnie, Author, Journalist, Golfer, Librettist, Adapter, and Song Writer (1836-1889)

Article excerpt

Bouffonnerie Musicale: The Story of H. B. Farnie, Author, Journalist, Golfer, Librettist, Adapter, and Song Writer (1836-1889) Keith Drummond Sharp The Queme Press in conjunction with The Fife Family History Society. 10 [pounds sterling] (pb), iv + 220 ISBN 9780956709004

According to Bernard Shaw "The late H. B. Farnie was for an age, but not for all time". Nevertheless Farnie certainly deserves better than the oblivion in which he has languished for so long, but from which Keith Drummond Sharp has now rescued him. As the title of the book indicates Farnie was a man of many parts, indeed more than are listed here if the recently-published sobriquet, "Henry Broughton Farnie, the Cupar adulterer", is to be believed as evidently it should.

As Sharp's title indicates, Farnie's particular forte was opera bouffe of which Jacques Offenbach was the principal exponent in France with Farnie as his imitator and sometimes collaborator in England. Opera bouffe with its visual delights, racy dialogue and romantic music was thought to be somewhat risque, but that did not inhibit Victorian audiences who flocked to Farnie's work in particular as an alternative to the more decorous delights of Gilbert and Sullivan. Lewis Carroll was amongst those attending such Farnie successes as Les Cloche de Corneville (705 performances), Madame Favart (502) and Olivette (466). …

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