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MS Thr 1047

Opera Company Limited, recipient. Letters sent to Martin Cawood and the Opera Company Limited, 1854-1865: Guide.

Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University


Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138 USA

© President and Fellows of Harvard College

Descriptive Summary

Location: Harvard Depository
Call No.: MS Thr 1047
Repository: Houghton Library, Harvard Library, Harvard University
Creator: Opera Company Limited, recipient.
Title: Letters sent to Martin Cawood and the Opera Company Limited,
Date(s): 1854-1865.
Quantity: 1 collection (.5 linear feet (1 box)
Language of materials: Collection materials are in English.
Abstract: Letters concerning English opera performance at the Royal Opera House at Convent Garden, London, England, sent to Martin Cawood and other managers of the Opera Company Limited.

Immediate Source of Acquisition:

2014MT-16. Purchase with the Joan and Roderick Nordell Fund; received: 2014 September 17.
Lengthy dealer description moved to Curatorial file. This includes more detail about contents of letters.

Processing Information:

Processed by: Bonnie B. Salt

Conditions Governing Access:

There are no restrictions on physical access to this material. Collection is open for research.
This collection is not housed at the Houghton Library but is shelved offsite at the Harvard Depository. Retrieval requires advance notice. Readers should check with Houghton Public Services staff to determine what material is offsite and retrieval policies and times.

Preferred Citation for Publication:

Letters Sent to Martin Cawood and the Opera Company Limited, 1854-1865 (MS Thr 1047). Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.

Biographical / Historical

The Royal Opera House is a major performing arts venue in Covent Garden, London, England. The large building is often referred to as simply "Covent Garden", after a previous use of the site of the theater's original construction in 1732. There have been three different buildings on this site and multiple theater and opera companies have performed there. Martin Cawood was the secretary of the Opera Company Limited, management team of Covent Garden in mid-nineteenth century.


Arranged into the following series:

Scope and Contents

Autograph manuscript letters (signed) addressed to Martin Cawood, secretary of the Opera Company Limited, and other members of the Covent Garden management, 1858-1865, including both personal and official letters from many correspondents. The majority of the letters are mounted on original album paper and many have Martin Cawood's manuscript annotations, identifying writers and often establishing the years of otherwise undated items. The letters discuss topics concerning the setting-up and business transactions of the new company, including offers of patronage, committee meetings, etc. A large number of letters are from composers and singers, offering their works or their services, arranging appointments, and negotiating terms and conditions, and some contain information on the earnings of the singers. The remaining letters are mostly of a more domestic nature, involving requests and thanks for tickets or other favors, invitations, etc. There is also a manuscript document for a voting proxy concerning the Opera Company Limited.

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