Curiosities of Music - online book

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358                  CURI0SITIE8 OF MUSIC.
Marthe Le Rochois, another of the tioupe, on being accused of too much intimacy with the bassoon of the orchestra, exhibited a promise of marriage from the fond performer, written on the back of an ace of spades.
Mile, de Maupin was the wildest scapegrace the stage ever saw: her adventures read like the most improbable sensational novel, and would take as much space to reproduce.
England's first opera was performed in 1656. It was entitled the " Siege of Rhodes," and was composed by five persons in collaboration. Musi­cians and players were at this time held in low esteem, and were liable to arrest as vagabonds at almost any moment.
England possessed in Henry Purcell (1658-1695) a musician of whom any country might be proud. This composer soon turned his pen to the writing of operas; the music to "The Tempest" was excellent, while his " King Arthur" contains music which is still loved by Englishmen every­where.
Now that opera was established firmly, the rivalries of the singers at once began.
In 1726 a bitter rivalry sprang up in London between Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni, in which the whole town took part. It lasted over two years, and was throughout causeless, as the styles of the two were entirely dissimilar, Bordoni being unapproachable in the lightness and rapidity of her runs and embellishments, and Cuzzoni excel-






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