Friday, May 18, 2007

Storace: The King of Drury Lane

Stephen Storace (1762-1796)

In terms of commercial success, Storace, whose works were produced at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane, was the Andrew Lloyd Webber of his day, meeting popular tastes largely with ballad operas that featured visual spectacle, bold vocal turns and trendy, exotic themes. Most of his works survive only as reductions for voice and piano. Many were never printed in full score, largely from the fear of piracy, there being no copyright laws to protect artists' rights. Dido Queen of Carthage, a serious opera, was the rare Storace work rejected by the public. According to some sources, lack of demand rendered it unworthy of printing.

Despite "Dido," Storace was hugely popular well into the 19th century. "Of plighted faith," an air from his opera The Siege of Belgrade, may be heard on the recording Jane Austen's Songbook.

Selections from The Haunted Tower, which was modified after the original French text by the Marquis de Sade, may be heard at Romantic Era Songs, a Website by Paul Douglass of San Jose State University in California. The URL is

The Haunted Tower

No Song, No Supper (One-act)

The Siege of Belgrade

The Music of the Pirates

The Cherokee


The Three and the Deuce
Dido, Queen of Carthage

The Iron Chest
Mahmoud, Prince of Persia

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