Three Great Impresarios: Emperors of Song by British author Freddie Stockdale, the founder of a small opera touring company as well as a pseudonymous crime novelist, is his historical musical arts figure biography cum business history, free for a limited time courtesy of publisher Endeavour Press.
This was originally published in 1998 by John Murray.
This book presents a joint biography of three colourful musical history figures, Colonel James Mapleson, Oscar Hammerstein I, and John Christie, who were impresarios—private businessmen who established opera companies and employed the great stars of the day—during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as they experienced both spectacular success and spectacular disaster with their assorted ambitious ventures.
Offered worldwide, available at Amazon.
Free for a limited time, available worldwide @ Amazon
Great impresarios are an extinct breed.
Grand Opera today is presented either by the state or by major corporate trusts. Yet, in the Golden Age of Verdi and Puccini, Wagner and Richard Strauss, opera in Britain and the United States was almost exclusively the preserve of individual private businessmen — the impresarios — who made (and lost) fortunes by personallv employing the great stars of the day.
The king of bombast was Colonel James Mapleson, child-star, wiliest of agents, then grandest and finally most unlucky of showmen.
Obsession ruined Oscar Hammerstein I. not once, not twice but three times bankrupted by his determination to conquer Broadway.
Great wealth protected John Christie, soldier, schoolmaster and heir to Glyndebourne Manor and estates, when his love for his wife led to his building up the largest private opera festival since Bayreuth.
Patti and Melba, Caruso and Tetrazzini — those legendary super-egos, with their jewels, parrots, castles and private investment accounts at Rothschilds — were the raw material these enterprising men tried to turn to gold.
This book, concentrating on the period 1860-1939, rediscovers their spectacular successes, and their even more spectacular disasters.