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From Republic to RestorationLegacies and Departures$
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Janet Clare

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780719089688

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719089688.001.0001

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Restoration opera and the failure of patronage

Restoration opera and the failure of patronage

(p.289) Chapter 14 Restoration opera and the failure of patronage
From Republic to Restoration

Bryan White

Manchester University Press

Despite experiments in the 1650s, through-sung opera failed to gain a firm foothold in Restoration England. Explanations for this circumstance have focussed on English taste, the finances of London’s theatre companies, and the popularity of native ‘dramatick opera’. While these were obstacles to the progress of through-sung opera in England, they do not explain why Thomas Betterton and the United Company ventured a rumoured £4000 on the production of Dryden’s and Grabu’s Albion and Albanius (1685).The lack of royal patronage has been overlooked as a barrier to the development of opera in England. Charles II displayed an ambivalent attitude to through-sung opera (English or otherwise) throughout his reign. His reticence to provide direct financial support was the most significant factor in the failure of the art form to find an important place in English culture of the Restoration period.

Keywords:   Albion and Albanius, Restoration opera, Betterton, Grabu, patronage

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