Kelly: Reminiscences

Pdf Kelly, Michael, Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, of the King's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, including a period of nearly half a century; with original anecdotes of many distinguished persons, political, literary, and musical, Second Edition In Two Volumes, Vol I, London: Henry Colburn, Nevi Burlington Street, 1826.
Size:61.9MbytesModified:27 April 2011, 09:50
Pdf Kelly, Michael, Reminiscences of Michael Kelly, of the King's Theatre, and Theatre Royal Drury Lane, including a period of nearly half a century; with original anecdotes of many distinguished persons, political, literary, and musical, Second Edition In Two Volumes, Vol II. London: Henry Colburn, Nevi Burlington Street, 1826.
Size:62.5MbytesModified:27 April 2011, 09:52

Reminiscences by Michael Kelly is a two volume autobiographical work. It describes his distinguished career, remarkable adventures and events in his life. Kelly was an Irish tenor, theatre director, composer and actor of the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Michael Kelly (1762-1826) was born at Mary Street , Dublin , the son of the master of ceremonies at the Vice-Regal Court . Dublin was a fashionable city with international performers visiting the Rotunda, Crow Street and Smock Alley theatres. Kelly was a talented child, received training in singing, performed in theatres and was recommended to train in Naples , Italy. He sailed for Naples in 1779 and met Sir William Hamilton. His wife, Lady Hamilton had an affair with Lord Horatio Nelson, who won a famous victory against the French navy at Trafalgar in 1805.

He began his studies at the Conservatoire and sang for rich and powerful Neapolitans including the King and Queen, a first for an Irishman. He also sang at Palermo, Sicily and in the Italian city of Livorno. He befriended the Storances, a brother and sister, a composer/soprano duo.

Later he was a comic tenor at the Lucca Opera before moving to Florence, Tuscany. There were many expatriates at his performances including Bonnie Prince Charlie, a pretender to the English throne. He later performed in the cities of Gratz, Austria and in the Italian cities of Verona, Modena and Parma. In Venice he was told the Emperor of Austria wanted to assemble an opera company. Kelly accepted and in Vienna he met the composer Antonio Saleri and his rival the legendary Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart who he befriended. He also performed in operas by the composer Christoph Willibald Gluck and sang with his old friend, opera singer, Nancy Storance.

The Emperor of Austria chose Mozart’s opera Le Nozze di Figaro for a commission. Kelly sang in the first performance in 1786 at the Burgtheater with the Emperor in attendance conducted by Mozart himself. Michael Kelly performed under the Italian name Basilio Michael Ochelley. The experience was the highlight of his life and career.

Kelly gained a notorious reputation due to his romantic liaison with Anna Maria Crouch, a London theatre actress and one of the mistresses of the Prince of Wales. Crouch died in mysterious circumstances in Brighton in 1805 and Kelly erected a monument in her memory.

Michael Kelly was also famous in Great Britain and Ireland, often singing again with Nancy Storance and other famous sopranos while continuing to appear in Mozart's operas. Years later he was a theatre manager at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. He made his final performance in Dublin in 1811. He died in Margate in 1826 and is buried at St. Paul ’s Church, Covent Garden in London.


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