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Books that include discussions of Victorian English opera 

Books about those involved in Victorian English opera


Books that include discussions on Victorian English opera
in Britain and Ireland

Biddlecombe, George. English opera from 1834 to 1864 with particular reference to the works of Michael Balfe. (New York: Garland Publishing, 1994).

Caldwell, John. The Oxford History of English Music. Volume II. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999).

Cecil, George. The History of Opera in England. (Taunton: Barnicott & Pearce, 1930).

Davey, Henry. History of English Music. (London: J. Curwen & Sons, 1895).

Day, James. Englishness in Music. (London: Thames Publishing, 1999).

Dlderiksen,  Gabriella. Repertory and Rivalry: Opera at the Second Covent Garden Theatre, 1830 to 1856. (King's College, London: PhD thesis, June 1997). Available at
266161.pdf [accessed November 1, 2013]

Eden, David. Sullivan's Ivanhoe. (Saffron Walden, UK: Sir Arthur Sullivan Society, 2007).

Forsyth, Cecil. Music and Nationalism. (London: Macmillan & Company Ltd., 1911).

Fuller Maitland, J.A. English Music in the XIX Century. (London: Grant Richards, 1902).

Goddard, Joseph. The rise and development of opera. (London: W. Reeves, 1911).

Griffel, Margaret Ross. Operas in English: A dictionary. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1999).

Hoppen, K.Theodore. The Mid-Victorian Generation, 1846-1886. The New Oxford History of England. (Oxford: Clarendon Press,1998).

Hueffer, Francis. Half a Century of Music in England. (London: Chapman and Hall, 1889).

Klein, Herman. The Golden Age of Opera. (New York: De Capo, 1979).

Parry, C. Hubert H. Style in Musical Art. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1900).

Rice, C. London Theatre in the 1830's. (London: Society For Theatre Research, 1950).

Rodmell, Paul. Opera in the British Isles, 1875-1918. (Farnham, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 2013)

Sadie, Stanley, ed. The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians. 2nd ed., (London: Macmillan Publishers Ltd., 2001). It is also available online at

Samson, Jim, ed. The Cambridge History of Nineteenth Century Music, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002).

Sawyer, F.J.. "English Opera after Purcell" in English Music. ed. Frederick J. Crowest, pp. 264-292. (London: The Walter Scott Publishing Co. Ltd., 1906).

Smith, Arnold Ian. The Essence of Victorian Opera: The Unheroic and the Heroic Middle-Class Tastes and Mores (Edwin Mellen Press, 2014). Smith puts forward the thesis that the lack of impact and persistence of English opera in the Victorian era was essentially due to the influence of middle class morality that shunned the heroic and overtly emotional.

Stradling, Robert and Hughes, Meirion. The English Musical Renaissance, 1860-1940. (London: Routledge, 1993).

Taruskin, Richard. Music in the Nineteenth Century. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010). Part of the Oxford History of Western Music.

Temperley, Nicholas, ed.. The Romantic Age, 1800-1914. (London: The Athlone Press, 1981), reissued as The Blackwell History of Music in Britain, Vol. 5, (Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1988).

Temperley, Nicholas, ed. The Lost Chord. (Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1989.

The British Music Society. British Opera in Retrospect. (Upminster, Essex, UK: The British Music Society, 1985).

Walker, Ernest. History of Music in England. (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1907).

White, Eric.W. The History of English Opera. (London: Faber & Faber, 1983).


Books by or about those involved in Victorian English opera
in Britain and Ireland

Banister, Henry C. George Alexander Macfarren: his life, works and influence.(London: George Bell and Sons, 1891).

Barnett, John F. Musical Reminiscences and Impressions, (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1906).

Barrett, William M. Balfe, his life and work.(London: William Reeves Bookseller Ltd., 1883).

Bledsoe, Robert Terrell. Henry Fothergill Chorley.  (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing Ltd., 1998)

Bunn, Alfred. The Stage: both before and behind the curtain. (London: Richard Bentley, 1840).

Clinton, Larry Stephen. The Terrible Fitzball: The Melodrammatist of the Macabre. (Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993).

Cox, John E. Musical Recollections of the past half century. Volumes 1 & 2. (London:Tinsley Brothers, 1872).

Davison, Henry, ed. From Mendelssohn to Wagner: Memoirs of J.W. Davison. (London: W.M.Reeves, 1912).

Disher, Maurice Willson. Victorian Song. (London, Phoenix House Ltd., 1955) - includes a chapter on Bunn and Fitzball.

Fitzball, Edward. Thirty Five Years of a Dramatic Author's Life. (London: T.C. Newby, 1859). 

Gänzl, Kurt. Victorian Vocalists,  (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017).  A collection of lively biographies of 100 Victorian singers from different countries and backgrounds but all of whom have some connection through singing Italian or English opera in London. The singers covered are listed here.

Gratton Flood, W.H. William Vincent Wallace. (Waterford: The Waterford News, 1912).

Goulden, John, Michael Costa: England's First Conductor (London : Routledge, 2015)

Jacobs, Arthur. Arthur Sullivan: A Victorian Musician (Portland: Amadeus Press, 1992).

Kenney, Charles L. A Memoir of Michael William Balfe. (New York: Da Capo Press, 1978).

Lamb, Andrew. William Vincent Wallace. (Croydon, UK: Fullers Wood Press, 2012).

Pearce, Charles E. Sims Reeves : fifty years of music in England (London: Stanley Paul & Co., 1924).

Phelan, Robert. William Vincent Wallace. (Waterford: Celtic Publications, 1994).

Reeves, Sims. My Jubilee. (London: The London Music Publishing Co. and Simpkin Marshall & Co., 1888).

Reeves, Sims. Sims Reeves, His Life and Recollections. (London: Simpkin Marshall & Co. and The London Music Publishing Co., 1888).

Reid, Charles. The Music Monster. (London: Quartet Books Ltd., 1984). Book on the life and influence of J.W. Davison, music critic of The Times and editor of The Musical World.

Rogers, Clara Kathleen. Memories of a Musical Career. (Norwood, Massachusetts: Plimpton Press, 1932).

Rogers, Clara Kathleen. The Story of Two Lives. (Norwood, Massachusetts: Plimpton Press, 1932).

Rosenthal, Harold, ed.. The Mapleson Memoirs. (London: Putnam, 1966). 

Santley, Charles. Student and Singer. (London: Edward Arnold, 1893).

Spark, William. Musical reminiscences : past and present. (London: Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co., 1892).

Spark, William. Musical memories. (London: W.Reeves, 19__).

St. Leger, Heywood J.   Reminiscences of Balfe. (London: Andrew Nimmo, 1871 )

Sullivan, Herbert and Newman Flower. Sir Arthur Sullivan. (London: Cassell and Company Ltd.,1927).

Taylor, Benedict. Arthur Sullivan: A Musical Reappraisal.  (Abingdon, UK: Routledge, 2017)

cover  The Boydell Press has published Musicians of Bath and Beyond: Edward Loder (1809-1865) and his Family, edited by Nicholas Temperley. It includes considerable material on Loder's operas and opera life in general at this time. See here.

A CD of Loder's piano music played by Ian Hobson is available on Toccato Classics (TOCC0322). The booklet with an excellent introductory article by Nicholas Temperley is available here.


Timms, Susie. Mapleson. (London: Bezazzy Publishing, 2007).

Tyldesley, William. Michael William Balfe: his life and English operas. (Aldershot, UK: Ashgate Publishing, 2003).

Walsh, Basil. Michael W. Balfe. (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008).

Willis, Nathaniel P. Memoranda of the life of Jenny Lind. (Philadelphia: Robert E. Peterson, 1851). Includes a short chapter on Julius Benedict.

Young, Percy M. Sir Arthur Sullivan. (London: J.M.Dent & Sons Ltd., 1971)

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