Opera exhibit in tune at Central Library

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Documents of The Carl Rosa Opera Company © Paige Freshwater

Documents of The Carl Rosa Opera Company. Pic by Paige Freshwater © JMU Journalism

The world’s longest touring opera had a musical opening at Liverpool’s Central Library in ‘The Carl Rosa Opera Company’ exhibition this weekend.

Founded in the 19th Century, The Carl Rosa Opera Company selected Liverpool to host the exhibit as at one time one of their conductors lived in the city.

More than 100 operas, manuscripts, photographs, business archives and historic editions of Mozart’s works will be on display at Hornby Library, running from November 19th until November 23rd.

John Keane, Divisional Manager of Liverpool Libraries, told JMU Journalism: “I’m delighted that we are hosting the Carl Rosa exhibition here at Liverpool Central Library.

“The links to Liverpool are quite strong and we have held the Carl Rosa Music Collection within our archives here for about 50 years.”

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With their last performance taking place in 1960, the company staged many operatic firsts, including the English language premieres of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Carmen and Aida, and premieres of La Boheme and Hansel and Gretel.

Deputy Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The Carl Rosa Opera Company is regarded as the most influential opera company ever to have existed in the UK, and so it’s a huge coup for the city that Central Library is playing host to these incredible pieces of music history.”

Trustee of The Carl Rosa Trust © Paige Freshwater

Trustee of The Carl Rosa Trust. Pic by Paige Freshwater © JMU Journalism

Music graduates and students from Liverpool Hope University performed recitals on the opening day of the exhibition.

Professor Stephen Pratt, Head of Music at Liverpool Hope University, told JMU Journalism: “It is certainly good news for the city’s reputation in the arts that this important archive is here, and good that the trust has chosen to highlight this in this way.

“I received an enquiry from the Carl Rosa Trust in the summer to see if we [the Music Department at Liverpool Hope University] would be interested in collaborating for this event.

“We identified singers, both current and former students, who would be appropriate and two piano students also performed a duet with music from the archive.”

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