Henry Fothergill Chorley
Thirty Years Musical Recollections, first published in 1862, is a year-by-year commentary in two volumes on the European operas, ballets, singers and dancers popular in London from 1830 to 1859. Its author was music critic of The Athaneum for over thirty years and also wrote book reviews, novels, plays and poems. Volume 2 covers the period 1847–1859 and serves as a valuable reference work to the musical life of London during these years. It begins with an account of the deterioration of Her Majestys Theatre and the opening of the Royal Italian Opera. Chorley intersperses discerning observations about the changing trends in public taste with descriptions of famous opera singers – including Mademoiselle Alboni, Signor Ronconi, the Countess Rossi, Madame Ristori and Madame Pauline Viardot – and highlights their more noteworthy performances. The book is an entertaining eyewitness account of the lively musical scene in mid-nineteenth-century London.