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    For Voice, Harpsichord and Violin

    [Thomas] Arne. Artaxerxes, a Serious Opera as performed at the Theatres Royal Covent Garden and Drury Lane. Composed by Dr Arne, for the Voice Harpsichord and Violin. London: Printed for S. A. & P. Thompson, No. 75, St. Paul's Church Yard. where may be had The Complete Score of the above Opera 15s., [n.d., 1782 or 1783].
    Oblong folio (9.25 x 12.875 inches; 235 x 328 mm.). [2, title], [2, "A Table of the Songs in the Opera of Artaxerxes"], [1, blank], 2-67, [1, blank] pages. Engraved throughout. "Price 10/6."
    Later stiff tan wrappers. Vertical crease to front wrapper, strengthened on the inside, and diagonal crease across lower corner, also strengthened on the inside. Slight browning; dark stain in the lower corner throughout. A few leaves with tiny holes or tears in the margins; short split at the plate mark in the lower gutter margin of pages 41/42; short split at the plate mark in the outer margin of pages 51/51. A very good copy. Small bookplate on the inside front wrapper: "Frank Mummery / Books and Music / Bournemouth, England." From the library of John Carroll Collins, with his booklabel on title-page.
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    More Information:

    Artaxerxes was composed when the castrato singers were at their height. The title role (Artaxerxes) and that of Arbaces were written for the Italian castrati, Nicolò Peretti and Giusto Fernando Tenducci respectively. With the waning of the castrati, the title role was sung by women en travesti in the 19th century. In the 1827 and 1828 performances in London, Artaxerxes was sung by the contraltos Eliza Paton and Elizabeth Vestris. In modern performances the role is often taken by a counter-tenor. The more virtuosic role of Arbaces went through a considerable amount of casting instability in the 19th century. It was sometimes sung by sopranos, and at other times transposed for tenors such as John Braham who sang the role 1827.


    According to Green Room Gossip (London, 1808), its beauty caused considerable friction between Arne and Charlotte Brent, the first Mandane: When Dr Arne first brought the Opera of Artaxerxes to a rehearsal, Tenducci sung the Air "Water parted from the Sea" with such effect that Miss Brent for whom the part of Mandane was composed, flew to Dr Arne with some violence, and told him "he might get whom he pleas'd to take Mandane; because he had given the best air in the piece to Tenducci." In vain the poor Doctor strove to sooth her-she was ungovernable. He retired from the theatre-sat down, and having written the first words of "Let not rage thy bosom firing" composed an air to them in the same character as "Water parted," though it is inferior in other respects: This he presented to Miss Brent, who being struck with the application of the first line to her own violence of temper, told the Doctor "that she was appeased, and would sing to the utmost of her ability to serve him."

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2015
    28th Thursday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 130

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