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Henri Drayton, English Opera and Anglo-American Relations, 1850–72

  • Brian C. Thompson


This article explores aspects of transatlantic culture through the career and works of the baritone, librettist and impresario Henri Drayton (1822–72). Using the published operas as well as reviews from period newspapers, the author retraces the events of the Philadelphia-born Drayton's professional life. Concentrating on the creative works, the author shows how Drayton went from playing stock roles at London's Drury Lane Theatre to collaborating with composers such as Joseph Duggan and Edward James Loder. With his wife, the soprano Susanna Lowe, Drayton performed in what he termed ‘drawing-room’ operas. Their popularity attracted the attention of visiting US impresario P. T. Barnum, who brought Drayton to New York in 1859. When his success in the USA was cut short by the outbreak of the Civil War, Drayton returned to London and created a one-man ‘entertainment’, Federals and Confederates. Spending what would be his final years as a member of the Richings English Opera Company, Drayton returned to New York in 1869.



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1 Portions of this article were presented in the summer of 2008 at the International Conference on Nineteenth-Century Music, held at University College, Dublin, and at the Third Biennial Conference of the North American British Music Studies Association, held at York University, Toronto. I wish to express my thanks to Professor Nicholas Temperley for his comments at the conference in Toronto and to the anonymous reviewers of the Journal of the Royal Musical Association.1 George Putnam Upton, Musical Memories: My Recollections of Celebrities of the Half Century, 1850–1900 (Chicago, IL, 1908), 140.

2 During his first few years in Britain, Drayton drew attention to his time in France, billing himself, for instance, as ‘M. Henri Drayton of the Conservatoire, Paris’ (‘Benefit Concert at the Royal Surrey Theatre’, The Era, 6 April 1851). Drayton's adoption of the French version of his name drew the attention of several critics, including one who wrote: ‘Here in New York the managers call [Adelina Patti] in the cards “Miss Patti”, because she is an American prima donna, you know. By the reverse operation of the same law, probably, that capital singer, Mr. Drayton, is Henri’ (‘The New Prima Donna’, Harper's Weekly, 3 March 1861, 131). For clarity, I have given the place of publication only for newspapers and periodicals that were not published in London.

3 Vera Brodsky Lawrence discusses Drayton in the third volume of her history of music in New York City, based on the diaries of George Templeton Strong, who probably attended Drayton's performances. See her Strong on Music: The New York Music Scene in the Days of George Templeton Strong, 1836–1875, 3 vols. (Chicago, IL, 1988–99), iii: Repercussions, 1857–1862, 257, 313–15 and 418. In Opera on the Road (Urbana and Chicago, IL, 1993), Katherine Preston mentions Drayton as the arranger of Halévy's La Juive (p. 284). In her article ‘To the Opera House? The Trials and Tribulations of Operatic Production in Nineteenth-Century America’, Preston lists Drayton among the cast members of Caroline Richings's company in 1870 (Opera Quarterly, 23 (2007), 39–65 (p. 56)). He is not mentioned at all in other recent publications, such as John Dizikes's Opera in America (New Haven, CT, 1993), Karen Ahlquist's Democracy at the Opera (Urbana, IL, 1997), or European Music and Musicians in New York City, 1840–1900, ed. John Graziano (Rochester, NY, 2006). More curious is his absence from British publications and the numerous histories of English opera. Oxford Music Online (<>) offers no article on Drayton.

4 Lawrence, Strong on Music, iii, 314.

5 After studies at the Royal Academy, Seguin pursued his career first at Drury Lane Theatre. He was an early interpreter of the role of Count Rodolfo in La sonnambula. He died in December 1852, at the age of 43. An obituary states that at the time of his death he was in semi-retirement, but he had appeared that autumn in a new comic opera entitled Mephistopheles, Or, An Ambassador from Below at Wallack's Lyceum in New York. See ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 1 October 1852; and ‘Death of Edward Seguin’, ibid., 14 December 1852, 5. For more on Seguin, see Preston, Opera on the Road, 216–30.

6 Lawrence, Strong on Music, iii, 314–15 (p. 314).

7 Drayton's success was noted in ‘Chronique départementale: Nantes’, La revue et gazette musicale de Paris, 15e année, no. 52 (24 December 1848), 401. American readers learnt of it in ‘American Talent Abroad’, The Message Bird (New York), 1/1 (1 August 1849), 16. In its 21 August 1869 cover story on Drayton, the New York Clipper reported that while still a student Drayton had appeared before Louis-Philippe I in Robert le diable, and subsequently fulfilled ‘engagements at Nantes, Bordeaux, Toulouse, etc.’ before being appointed primo basso at the Royal Opera in Brussels, and from there making his way to Britain.

8 ‘Philharmonic’, Mercury (Liverpool), 15 February 1850. Drayton's arrival in the port of London was recorded on 13 November 1849 (Certificate of Arrival no. 2543, <>, accessed 18 September 2010).

9 The reviewer of the Morning Chronicle wrote favourably about the music and the ‘pleasing libretto’ by Monsieur de St Georges, but was merciless in his criticism of Drayton, drawing attention to Drayton's name changes and to what he perceived as the baritone's ostentatious billing since he had first appeared in London. He describes Drayton as ‘tall and sombre, with a baritone voice of some compass, but poor quality. He enjoys the advantage of not being in the least degree embarrassed, singing in and out of tune with the same self possession. He exhibited the amount of histrionic power requisite to play a lugubrious part lugubriously’ (‘St. James's Theatre’, Morning Chronicle, 9 March 1850). This is the only negative review I have discovered of Drayton's abilities as a performer.

10 In 1850, Drayton was 28 years old; Lowe was in her late teens. New York arrival records indicate that between 1859 and 1869 Lowe aged only four years. In 1859, she is listed as being 26 years old and in 1869 is listed as being 30. Henri Drayton also seems to have been reluctant to admit his age. In 1859, he is listed as being 34, and a decade later the 47-year-old singer is listed as 40.

11 ‘Adelphi Theatre’, Observer, 10 July 1859, 6.

12 See ‘Advertisements and Notices’, The Era, 6 April 1851. In a biographical article published in 1897, Duggan is said to have worked as an opera accompanist and conductor in New York in the early part of his career. He then settled in Philadelphia, where he published an English translation of Johann Georg Albrechtsberger's Gründliche Anweisung zur Composition [] zum Selbstunterricht (Leipzig, 1790), and served as principal of the Philadelphia Musical Institute in 1841. Later that decade he lived in Paris. See James D. Brown and Stephen S. Stratton, British Musical Biography: A Dictionary of Musical Artists, Authors and Composers Born in Britain and its Colonies (Birmingham, 1897), 130. Duggan's translation was published as Albrechtsberger's Elementary Work on the Science of Music, including Thorough Bass, Harmony, and Composition (Philadelphia, PA, 1842).

13 See ‘Brief Chronicle of the Last Month’, Musical Times, 5 (1853), 283–5 (p. 284).

14 ‘St. James's Theatre’, Observer, 7 November 1853, 5.

15 ‘St. James's Operatic Company’, The Era, 13 November 1853.

16 As the libretto states that the première was given on 8 March 1854, it seems that it was delayed. See ‘Drury-Lane Theatre’, Morning Chronicle, 15 March 1854.

17 Henri Drayton, Léonie: Opera comique, in Two Acts, Preceded by a ‘Prologue’ (libretto, London, n.d). The tenor, Elliot Galer, played the sympathetic monk, Dominique, and Jacques's student François de Belleville. The alto, Miss Featherstone, played the male role of Pester, the landlord. ‘Featherstone’ was the stage name for Isabelle Hill (later known as Mrs Howard Paul, 1833–79), who had made her stage début only a year earlier in Charles Dibdin's ballad opera The Waterman. An obituary reported that early in her career ‘she liked to play captain Macheath, in Gay's “Beggar's Opera”, and, as her voice was adapted to music in the tenor register, and her acting was at once droll and vivacious, she made the character highly entertaining’. ‘Obituary: Mrs. Howard Paul’, New York Times, 10 June 1879. See also ‘The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company’, <> (accessed 19 May 2009).

18 ‘Drury-Lane Theatre’, Morning Chronicle, 15 March 1854.

19 The Jewess, a Grand Opera in Four Acts (London, n.d.). In French, La Juive had first been staged in London at Covent Garden in 1850.

20 An obituary noted that Meyer Lutz was born at Münnerstadt, Germany, in ‘1822 (or 1830)’ and had settled in England in 1848. He would later establish himself at the Gaiety Theatre, where he would become ‘widely known as the inventor of many sparkling melodies and as a chef d'orchestre of remarkable ability’. ‘Meyer Lutz’, Musical Times, 44 (1903), 177.

21 The soprano Emma Romer served for several years as director of the Surrey Theatre, where she had sung in English opera with considerable success 20 years earlier. The theatre, located on Blackfriar's Road, was destroyed by fire in 1865. See ‘Obituaries’, Gentleman's Magazine and Historical Review, 5 (1868), 691–2; and ‘The Theatres’, Spectator, 14 (1841), 638, cited in Donald Roy and Victor Emeljanow, Romantic and Revolutionary Theatre, 1789–1860 (Cambridge, 2003), 153.

22 ‘Surrey’, Musical World, 33 (1855), 342.

23 ‘Local and Provincial’, Guardian (Manchester), 21 July 1855, 8.

24 For the most complete biography of Loder, see Nicholas Temperley, ‘Edward James Loder’, Oxford Music Online (<>, accessed 8 May 2009).

25 The opera was Nourjahad, a dismal failure. Charles K. Salaman, ‘English Opera’, Musical Times, 18 (1877), 107–10, 164–7, 211–14, 268–71 (p. 212).

26 Nicholas Temperley, ‘Raymond and Agnes’, Musical Times, 107 (1966), 307–10 (p. 307).

27 ‘Manchester’, Musical World, 33 (1855), 538–9 (p. 539).

28 ‘Theatre Royal – English Opera’, Musical World, 33 (1855), 550–1.

29 A different cast revived Raymond and Agnes at London's St James's Theatre, beginning on 7 June 1859, and again only seven performances were given. Nicholas Temperley staged a production at the Arts Theatre, Cambridge, in May 1966. See Temperley, ‘Raymond and Agnes’.

30 Pergolesi's La serva padrona was performed for the first time at London's Marylebone Gardens in 1758. See Joseph Donohue, ‘Burletta and the Early Nineteenth-Century English Theatre’, Nineteenth-Century Theatre Research, 1 (1973), 29–51.

31 ‘Mr. and Mrs. H. Drayton’, Frank Leslie's Monthly (New York), 9 (January 1861), 66.

32 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Drawing-Room Operas’, Morning Chronicle, 20 January 1857.

33 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Drawing-Room Operas', Morning Chronicle, 20 January 1857.

34 ‘Adelphi Theatre’, The Times, 8 July 1859, 5. The writer is referring to the Contes moraux of the French writer Jean-François Marmontel (1723–99), written in the mid-eighteenth century and published in Le mercure. They were still popular a century later and may well have provided inspiration for the Francophile Drayton.

35 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Drawing-Room Operas’.

36 In Gaslight and Daylight, with Some London Scenes They Shine Upon (London, 1859), George Augustus Sala wrote: ‘Music, above all, hath charms in Regent Street; and its paving-stones unceasingly echo beneath the feet of the denizens of the musical world. Music-masters and mistresses hurry to and fro from their lessons; singers to concerts or into Messrs. Octave and Piccolo's music-warehouse; and a considerable number of stars of the musical hemisphere, walk in this harmonious boulevard, merely to see and be seen’ (p. 284).

37 ‘Regent Gallery’, Cruchley's Picture of London, or Visitor's Assistant (1858), 193.

38 A single ticket to the 4 May concert by the Philharmonic Society, conducted by Sterndale Bennett, cost 15 shillings. The cheapest seats at Her Majesty's Theatre for performances of Mapleson's Italian Opera were 5 and 7 shillings (gallery stalls) or 3 shillings and 6 pence (gallery).

39 Charles Ayre Pascoe, London of To-day: An Illustrated Handbook for the Season 1890 (London, 1890), 142.

40 Like Henri Drayton, Thomas German Reed (1817–88) was a manager, actor, playwright and composer. His wife, Priscilla Horton (1818–95), was a highly regarded actress, best known simply as Mrs German Reed. Together, they enjoyed several decades of successful productions in London and on tour through Britain. In the late 1860s, the company began collaborating with W. S. Gilbert. When Thomas retired in 1871, the couple's son, Alfred German Reed (1846–95), continued the family business and later moved the company to St George's Hall, at Langham Place. See Fredric Woodbridge Wilson, ‘Thomas German Reed’, Oxford Music Online (<>, accessed 19 May 2009); and Jane W. Stedman, Gilbert Before Sullivan (Chicago, IL, 1967), 1–52 and 227–49.

41 As Stedman (ibid., 3) writes, ‘respectability was the keynote of the German Reed Entertainments’.

42 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Illustrated Proverbs’, Morning Chronicle, 1 May 1857.

43 William George Frederick Beale's name appears often in British musical press of the 1850s, usually as an accompanist at concerts.

44 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Illustrated Proverbs’, Illustrated London News, 2 May 1857, 411.

45 Information comes from the manuscript of the libretto in the British Library (Add. MS 52984), dated 26 July 1859, with the dialogue written by hand and the song texts typed on alternate pages.

46 The lyrics do not contain the proverb itself. They end with a variation of another proverb: ‘Where there's a will there's a way.’ In 1802, London's Haymarket Theatre produced an opera with the title Love Laughs at Locksmiths by Michael Kelly, on a libretto by George Coleman (1762–1836) that was based on the French story Une folie by J. N. Bouilly. Kelly published the score (London, c.1803). The libretto went through a number of publications, including several in the USA, soon after the London production.

47 ‘Free-Trade Hall Assembly Room’, Guardian, 25 March 1858, 1.

48 Missing from the libretto, which was published as Love's Labor Lost (New York, 1860), are songs by J. L. Hatton, Balfe and Dibdin.

49 Cruchley's Picture of London (1858) describes this new theatre as ‘open for the performance of burlettas, ballets, and burlesques’ with a ‘handsomely decorated’ interior (p. 156). For a detailed listing of performances at the theatre, see The Adelphi Theatre 1806–1900 (<>, accessed 12 May 2009).

50 ‘Adelphi Theatre’, Observer, 10 July 1859, 6.

51 ‘Adelphi Theatre’, The Times, 8 July 1859, 5. Offenbach had brought his Bouffes Parisiens to London's St James's Theatre in May 1857, at the same time that the Draytons were appearing at the Regent Gallery.

52 Henri Drayton, Songs, Recitatives, Airs, Ballads, Duets, &c.: Diamond Cut Diamond, Or, Two Heads are Better than One (New York, 1859).

53 ‘When a Little Farm We Keep’ had been performed in 1836 by John Parry (1810–79) and the famous soprano Maria Malibran (1808–36). ‘Simon the Cellarer’ was first published in London in the 1840s by the firm of Addison & Hodson. At that time, Hatton sold his rights to Thomas Oliphant, whose permission is acknowledged in the libretto of Diamond Cut Diamond. The Musical Times marked the centenary of Hatton's birth with a lengthy article discussing his life and music. ‘John Liptrot Hatton’, Musical Times, 50 (1909), 641–6.

54 See ‘News of the Day’, New York Times, 27 August 1859; and ‘Arrived on the City of Washington’, New York Clipper, 3 September 1859. Tom Thumb had returned to the USA on the same vessel in mid-July. See ‘Passengers Arrived’, New York Times, 19 July 1859. In describing the 1858–9 tour, Barnum writes that in Europe ‘I furtively pulled the wires of several exhibitions, among which that of Tom Thumb may be mentioned, for example. I managed a variety of musical and commercial speculations in Great Britain, Germany and Holland. These enterprises, together with the net profits of my public lectures, enabled me to remit large sums to confidential agents for the purchase of my obligations.’ Phineas T. Barnum, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper (New York), 7 April 1860, 292.

55 Previously called Buckley's Theater, the venue would later be known as Hooley's Minstrel Hall and as the San Francisco Minstrels’ Hall. It should not be confused with the venue that opened on 14th Street in the mid-1860s, and was also known as the French Theater.

56 The libretto of Diamond Cut Diamond was published in New York that year by G. A. Whitehorne.

57 ‘A new idea, skilfully elaborated, and pleasantly presented, is sure to be a success in a city fearfully night-mared as this is, by all that is old and wearisome’, Seymour wrote. Charles B. Seymour, ‘Musical: Drayton's Parlor Operas’, New York Times, 13 October 1859.

58 ‘A new idea, skilfully elaborated, and pleasantly presented, is sure to be a success in a city fearfully night-mared as this is, by all that is old and wearisome’, Seymour wrote. Charles B. Seymour, ‘Musical: Drayton's Parlor Operas’, New York Times, 13 October 1859 Although the reference seems to suggest a comparison with Offenbach, the French composer's works would not be widely known in New York until the late 1860s. The London-born Seymour (1829–69) had been living in New York for about a decade by 1859. See John Rothman, The Origin and Development of Dramatic Criticism in the New York Times, 1851–1880 (New York, 1970), 1–13; ‘Death of Mr. C. B. Seymour’, New York Times, 3 May 1869; ‘Charles B. Seymour’, ibid., 4 May 1869; and ‘Funeral of Charles C. B. Seymour’, ibid., 6 May 1869.

59 ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 4 November 1859.

60 On the Academy of Music, see Irving Kolodin et al., ‘New York’, Oxford Music Online (<>, accessed 21 May 2008).

61 ‘Musical’, New York Times, 7 November 1859.

62 ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 10 November 1859.

63 ‘The Drayton Parlor Opera’, New York Herald, 9 November 1859, 4.

64 The libretto was published in New York by G. A. Whitehorne in 1859 and also in Providence, Rhode Island, by the Evening Press, under the title Songs, Recitatives, Airs, Ballads, Duets, &c. The score appears not to have been published.

65 The song was also known to American audiences, having been published in Boston in the 1840s by Oliver Ditson.

66 Although Offenbach's music was little known in New York at this time, in the early and mid-1850s several travelling French companies appeared at Niblo's Garden and at the French Theater. See, for example, ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 1 October 1852. The works of Flotow, Auber, Boieldieu and other French opera composers would most often be heard in Italian translations.

67 ‘Musical Gossip’, New York Musical Review and Gazette, 10/24 (26 November 1859), 370.

68 ‘Our Portrait Gallery: Henri Drayton’, New York Clipper, 21 August 1869, 153. Published accounts of the meeting do not confirm Drayton's participation. See Great Union Meeting: Philadelphia, December 7, 1859 (Philadelphia, PA, 1860).

69 Lawrence, Strong on Music, iii, 315. Musical World (21 December 1859), 2.

70 ‘Musical’, New York Times, 21 November 1859, 4.

71 ‘Musical’, New York Times, 21 November 1859, 4.

72 ‘Parlor Opera’, New York Times, 6 December 1859.

73 ‘Draytons English Opera Buffo, Comedy and Lyric Drama’, New York Herald, 10 December 1859.

74 The critic had written: ‘Let us hope that a respectable orchestra will be assembled for the occasion. Most unfortunate were they in having a band so positively bad as that which they have just had the happiness to leave at the French Theatre.’ ‘Musical’, New York Times, 7 November 1859.

75 ‘Musical – Parlor Opera’, New York Times, 13 December 1859. In the weeks that followed, Oliveira focused on opera fantasies, Paganini's Variations on The Carnival of Venice, and other popular solo repertoire of the day.

76 ‘Musical – Parlor Opera’, New York Times, 13 December 1859. In the weeks that followed, Oliveira focused on opera fantasies, Paganini's Variations on The Carnival of Venice, and other popular solo repertoire of the day.

77 The Milwaukee Sentinel of 3 February 1860 reported: ‘Barnum is making money with the Draytons and their parlor operas in New York. The parties have just divided $28,400 profits for the season.’

78 As the Draytons passed through Massachusetts, the Springfield Republican reported that ‘the Springfield people are indebted to the original P. T. Barnum for the parlor operas which were given in this city last week by Mr. and Mrs. Drayton. He hired them in England and brought them over here, and ever since they have been in this country they have been in his employ, though he has been behind the scene. To Barnum's shrewdness may be attributed in part their success, and to that, in part, his own recovery from his late financial protestation.’ On 21 April 1860, the story appeared in the New York Illustrated News, a newspaper then owned by Barnum.

79 ‘Drayton's Parlor Operas’, Dwight's Journal of Music (Boston, MA), 7 April 1860, 14. A close survey of Dwight's Journal through the 1850s shows just how rare it was for French operas or French performers to be heard in Boston.

80 After the initial run (from 2 April to 12 May 1860), the Draytons returned to Boston, but were prevented from performing by restrictions placed on what could be presented at the Melodeon after it had been sold by the owners of the Boston Theater. Lawyers for the Boston Theater had successfully argued that the Draytons gave theatrical rather than operatic performances. See Justin Winsor, The Memorial History of Boston (Boston, MA, 1881), 371.

81 South Carolina seceded from the Union on 20 December 1860, Mississippi on 10 January, Florida on 11 January, Alabama on 12 January, Georgia on 19 January, Louisiana on 26 January, and Texas on 1 February.

82 See John Kendall, History of New Orleans (Chicago, IL, and New York, 1922), 240–1.

83 Nemo, ‘Theatricals in New Orleans, La’, Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times (New York), 22 December 1860, 256.

84 Nemo, ‘Theatricals in New Orleans, La’, Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times (New York), 22 December 1860, 256.

85 Jack Belsom examines Patti's season in New Orleans in ‘En Route to Stardom: Adelina Patti at the French Opera House, New Orleans, 1860–1861’, Opera Quarterly, 10 (1994), 113–30.

86 Times-Picayune (New Orleans), 21 November 1860, 5.

87 ‘Drayton's Parlor Opera’, Times-Picayune, 24 November 1859, 1.

88 Sugar Planter (West Baton Rouge), 15 December 1861.

89 ‘Music and the Drama’, Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times, 2 February 1861, 352.

90 A brief item in Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper on 9 February noted that the operatic talent then present in New York afforded the opportunity of ‘forming the best English Operatic Company that we have had since the time of Sheriff and Seguin's’, which ended nearly a decade earlier. See Preston, Opera on the Road, 44–98.

91 ‘Mr. and Mrs. H. Drayton’, Frank Leslie's Monthly, 9 (1861), 66.

92 The ‘Ode to Washington’ was reissued in New York in 1868 in The Radical Drum Call: A Choice Collection of Patriotic Songs, as part of General Ulysses S. Grant's campaign for the presidency.

93 ‘Dramatic and Musical’, New York Illustrated News, 4 May 1861, 410.

94 ‘Music and the Drama’, Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times, 25 May 1861, 192. Also on board the City of Baltimore were the wife and children of the Irish composer William Vincent Wallace (1812–65). ‘Departure of Artists for Europe’, The Era, 16 June 1861.

95 The Musical Times reported Henri Drayton's participation in the première in Jersey of a Mass by E. M. Lott, organist at St Clement Danes Church, on the Strand, in London. ‘Brief Chronicle of the Month’, Musical Times, 10 (1861), 91.

96 ‘The London Grand English Opera Company’, The Era, 19 January 1862.

97 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton’, The Era, 30 March 1862.

98 The New Royalty Theatre was completed in 1840 as part of an acting school built by the famous melodrama actress Miss Fanny Kelly. For information on this venue, see Walter Thornbury, Old and New London, 6 vols. (London, 1878), iii, 184–96; and ‘The Pitt Estate in Dean Street: The Royalty Theatre’, Survey of London, ed. Francis Henry Wollaston Sheppard, xxxiii–xxxiv (London, 1966), 215–21 (<>, accessed 5 June 2008).

99 ‘New Royalty Theatre’, Musical World, 40 (1862), 379.

100 Drayton's biggest debt, £285, was to Edward Clayton, a printer. He also owed money to a tailor, a wigmaker, a dentist, a liveryman, and various other tradesmen. Drayton claimed that Barnum owed him £433 in salary. See ‘Law Intelligence’, Daily News, 20 June 1862; ‘Court of Bankruptcy’, The Times, 20 June 1862; and ‘Miscellaneous’, Birmingham Daily Post, 21 June 1862.

101 Drayton may have borrowed his title from Federals and Confederates: For What Do They Fight? The True Issue of the American Civil War Stated (London, 1862), an anti-slavery pamphlet by an author identified only by the initials ‘D. B.’ Drayton's position on the causes of the war will be discussed below.

102 Polygraphic Hall was known by several other names, among them Toole's Theatre and the Folly. It was demolished in the 1890s to make way for an expansion of Charing Cross Hospital. See W. E. Harland-Oxley, ‘Polygraphic Hall’, Notes and Queries, 20 September 1902, 223–4.

103 The title is given in the libretto as ‘Southerns, Hear’, the first words of the lyrics; ‘Dixie's Land’ appears in place of a composer's name.

104 Henri Drayton's Pictorial and Musical Entertainment Entitled Federals and Confederates, Or, Every-Day Life in America, Illustrated by Anecdotes of Southern, Yankee, and Negro Character, in Their Various Phases, and New and Original Songs, Composed Expressly for This Entertainment by Henry Russell, Esq. (London, 1863).

105 Although it was a popular form of entertainment in the nineteenth century, few of these panoramas survive, partly because it was common for the massive canvases to be simply painted over after they had been displayed for a few years. See Bernard Comment, The Painted Panorama (New York, 1999), 23–5. The New York Clipper reported that in the autumn of 1863 the American actor Shirley France and a Mr Maeder were touring the British Isles with a panorama of the US Civil War. They were to open at Polytechnic Hall in London on 20 November, after which Mr France would return to the USA for a new panorama of the conflict. ‘Foreign Dramatic and Show News’, New York Clipper, 26 October 1863, 222.

106 ‘Polygraphic Hall’, The Times, 25 March 1863, 12. The name of the artist responsible for the panorama is not mentioned in the libretto or performance reviews. Drayton may have acquired his drawing skills from his father, who was an engraver. See Thompson Westcott, History of Philadelphia, 1609–1884 (Philadelphia, PA, 1884), 1059.

107 Charles Hamm has described Russell as ‘easily the most popular and influential [British] songwriter in America’ in the first half of the nineteenth century (Yesterdays: Popular Song in America (New York, 1983), 176). Another pioneer of the ‘one-man’ show was Samuel Lover. For a discussion of his ‘Irish Evenings’, see William H. A. Williams, The Image of Ireland and the Irish in Popular Song Lyrics, 1800–1920 (Urbana and Chicago, IL, 1996), 29–31.

108 See for example ‘Some Love to Roam O'er the Dark Sea Foam’ (New York, n.d.), ‘The Ship on Fire: A Descriptive Scena’ (New York, n.d.), ‘A Life on the Ocean Wave’ (New York, 1838), ‘Land, Ho!’ (Boston, MA, 1843) and ‘The Mother Who Hath a Child at Sea: A Ballad’ (New York, 1844). Russell also produced the music and often the words and music for through-composed ballads, such as ‘Washington's Tomb’ (1837) and ‘The Gambler's Wife’ (1841).

109 A publisher's advertisement at the end of the libretto lists ‘The Sea is Before Us’ and ‘Farewell to Freedom’ as ‘two new songs composed by Henry Russell expressly for Mr. Drayton's “Federals & Confederates”’. A footnote in the libretto indicates that ‘Sunny Days Will Come Again!’ was published in London by Ransford & Son. In a review of one of Ransford's concerts in the spring of 1866, the Musical World described his audiences at St James's Hall as ‘homely rather than aristocratic, but they are real amateurs and know how to applaud’ (‘Mr. Ransford's Concert’, Musical World, 44 (19 May 1866), 321).

110 In ‘The Maniac’ (1840) and his other descriptive songs, Russell combined Italian opera and the oratory of Henry Clay (1777–1852).

111 ‘Polygraphic Hall’, The Times, 25 March 1863.

112 ‘Mr. Henri Drayton's Entertainment’, Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 5 April 1863.

113 ‘Public Amusements: “Federals & Confederates”’, Observer, 15 March 1863, 11.

114 ‘Mr. Henry Drayton's New Entertainment’, Musical World, 41 (1863), 167.

115 The literature on minstrelsy and blackface in British theatre is voluminous. See for example Harry Reynolds, Minstrel Memories: The Story of Burnt Cork Minstrelsy in Great Britain from 1836 to 1927 (London, 1928); Michael Pickering, ‘Mock Blacks and Racial Mockery: The “Nigger” Minstrel and British Imperialism’, Acts of Supremacy: The British Empire and the Stage, 1790–1930, ed. J. S. Bratton et al. (Manchester, 1991), 179–236; Sarah Meer, ‘Tom Mania in Britain: The Stafford House Address and “Real Uncle Toms”’, Uncle Tom Mania: Slavery, Minstrelsy, and Transatlantic Culture in the 1850s (Athens, GA, 2005), 161–93; Bob Carlin, ‘Ethiopian Serenaders: British Minstrelsy after Sweeney’, The Birth of the Banjo: Joel Walker Sweeney and Early Minstrelsy (Jefferson, NC, 2007), 76–83; Michael Pickering, Blackface Minstrelsy in Britain (Burlington, VT, 2008); and Robert Nowatzki, ‘Abolitionism, Nationalism, Blackface Minstrelsy, and Racial Attitudes in Victorian Britain’, Representing African Americans in Transatlantic Abolitionism and Blackface Minstrelsy (Baton Rouge, LA, 2010), 42–79.

116 The history of theatrical representations of Uncle Tom's Cabin, both in Britain and the USA, is perhaps best explored by Sarah Meer in Uncle Tom Mania.

117 Matinees were given on Wednesdays and Saturdays, leaving Drayton free to perform elsewhere on those evenings.

118 ‘Federals and Confederates’, Observer, 13 April 1863, 6.

119 Saturday Review of Politics, Literature, Science, and Art, 9 May 1863, 599.

120 ‘Traitors Abroad’, Wilkes’ Spirit of the Times, 13 June 1863, 229.

121 The initial justification for the war, preserving the Union, appeared to become secondary to ending slavery when on 1 January 1863 Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation. Abolitionism had long existed in the North but it was not a cause that many members of the working class and new immigrants were prepared to die for. They were especially enraged by a provision in the conscription act that allowed draftees to buy their way out of the war for $300, an amount well beyond their means. See Iver Bernstein, The New York City Draft Riots: Their Significance for American Society and Politics in the Age of the Civil War (Oxford and New York, 1991).

122 See ‘Vagaries of American Politics’, Lloyd's Weekly Newspaper, 14 July 1861.

123 Drayton may also have had family connections in the South. In addition to a 1864 reference to Drayton as being from New Orleans, in 1860 a Louisiana newspaper referred to the singer as ‘an old Baton Rougean, and doubtless will be remembered by many of the older citizens’. Sugar Planter (West Baton Rouge), 8 December 1860, 2.

124 Louis Moreau Gottschalk, who toured with Carlo Patti, discusses the violinist's political sympathies in his memoirs, Notes of a Pianist (Philadelphia, PA, 1881). Gottschalk himself, although originally from New Orleans, sided with the Union.

125 Henry Russell, Cheer! Boys, Cheer! (London, 1895).

126 ‘Provincial Theatricals’, The Era, 6 September 1863. The same review reported the show to be ‘well patronised on each occasion’.

127 Drayton was said to have ‘infused into’ his interpretation of ‘Dixie’ ‘such fire and spirit as to invest the melody with new meaning, and completely to take the audience by storm’. ‘Mr. Henri Drayton at the Lecture Hall', Mercury (Derby), 30 September 1863.

128 Mary Ellison, Support for Secession: Lancashire and the American Civil War (Chicago, IL, 1972), 10.

129 Mary Ellison, Support for Secession: Lancashire and the American Civil War (Chicago, IL, 1972), 10. In his historiography of Anglo-American relations during the Civil War, English Public Opinion and the American Civil War (Woodbridge, 2003), Duncan Andrew Campbell explores many aspects of Ellison's work. See especially pp. 5–8, 182–4 and 203–4.

130 Charles Adams, When in the Course of Human Events: Arguing the Cause of Southern Secession (Lanham, MD, 2000), 71–83. Adams writes: ‘It seems clear that British war correspondents and writers saw the war between the states as caused by the forces that have caused wars throughout history – economic and imperialistic forces behind a rather flimsy façade of freeing the slaves’ (p. 82). Other insightful studies of attitudes towards the war expressed in the British press are Sheldon Vanauken's The Glittering Illusion: English Sympathy for the Southern Confederacy (Washington DC 1989) and R. J. M. Blackett's Divided Hearts: Britain and the American Civil War (Baton Rouge, LA, 2001).

131 Art, Science and Literature’, Frank Leslie's Illustrated Newspaper, 1 August 1863, 295. The engraver and publisher Frank Leslie also owned the London Illustrated News.

132 ‘Our Welsh Watering Places’, London Society: An Illustrated Magazine of Light and Amusing Literature, 5 (1864), 373.

133 The bazaar was reported to have raised more than £20,000, but it remains uncertain what became of the money. See John Bennett, ‘The Confederate Bazaar at Liverpool’, Crossfire: The Magazine of the American Civil War Round Table (UK), 61 (December 1999).

134 ‘The Southern Bazaar for Wounded Prisoners’, Mercury (Liverpool), 18 October 1864.

135 Observer, 31 December 1865, 1.

136 In the early 1860s, ‘Professor’ John Henry Pepper (1821–1900) created a machine that used mirrors and lenses to create what appeared to be ghost-like images. His spectacles at the Royal Polytechnic Institute, presented as part science and part magic, were popular throughout the decade. The literature on Pepper is voluminous; see for example Jeremy Brooker, ‘The Polytechnic Ghost: Pepper's Ghost, Metempsychosis and the Magic Lantern at the Royal Polytechnic Institution’, Early Popular Visual Culture, 5 (2007), 189–206; and Verity Hunt, ‘Raising a Modern Ghost: The Magic Lantern and the Persistence of Wonder in the Victorian Education of the Senses’, Romanticism and Victorianism on the Net, 52 (November 2008), <> (accessed 10 May 2009).

137 Performances in English of Offenbach's La Grande-Duchesse (featuring Mrs Howard Paul, with whom he had performed in the mid-1850s) coincided with a French-language production at the St James's Theatre with the soprano Hortense Schneider. Advertisements for both appeared in the Observer from 18 June until the early days of July. Between December 1867 and March 1869, Drayton appeared in performances of Judas Maccabaeus in Yeovil and Sherborne (both in Dorset) and at St George's Hall, Liverpool. All were noted in the Musical Times.

138 After the opening performance on 15 November at the Grand Opera House, in which he played Don José in Maritana, Drayton was welcomed back as a ‘newcomer – for a ten-year absence makes an artist a stranger’. ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 16 November 1869.

139 ‘Amusements’, New York Times, 10 November 1870.

140 Reprinted in ‘Amusements: The Illness of Mr. Henri Drayton’, New York Times, 17 May 1871.

141 Large advertisements for the two plays appeared in the Washington Star between 26 November and 1 December 1871. They featured Drayton's name in bold but failed to mention the name of the author of Niagara! Henri Drayton had played the role of the Hunchback during an engagement in Manchester in 1868 (‘Theatre Royal, Manchester’, Guardian, 10 November 1868).

142 ‘Obituary: Henri Drayton’, New York Times, 1 August 1872. A week later the same newspaper reported that Mr George W. Childs, of Philadelphia, would donate $100 to the fund. See ‘New York’, New York Times, 9 August 1872. Drayton maintained his involvement with the Freemasons throughout his adult life. Among his other colleagues, Meyer Lutz was also a Freemason, and served as their organist in London.

143 In 1870, the Richings English Opera Company merged with the Parepa Rosa English Opera. The combined troupe was co-directed by Caroline Richings and C. D. Hess. Zelda Seguin (née Zelda Harrison) was born in New York, where she studied with Anne Seguin and married Edward Seguin, Jr (the son of Henri Drayton's teacher), who was also a basso and a member of the company. In 1880, after his death the previous year, she remarried and thereafter went by the name Zelda Seguin Wallace.

144 See Harlan Jennings, ‘Grand Opera Comes to Denver’, Opera Quarterly, 13 (1997), 57–84 (p. 81); and idem, ‘The Early Days of Grand Opera in Kansas City, Missouri, 1860–1879’, ibid., 15 (1999), 677–96 (pp. 689 and 695). Caroline Richings retired from the stage in about 1880 and settled in Richmond, Virginia.

145 Upton, Musical Memories, 140. Among Drayton's other roles in these years were Il conte di Luna in Il trovatore, Count Arnheim in The Bohemian Girl, Don José in Maritana, Giorgio Germont in La traviata, Rhineberg in Lurline, Plumkett in Martha, Rocco in Fidelio and Il conte d'Almaviva in The Marriage of Figaro. See Opera in Philadelphia, <> (accessed 2 June 2008).

146 C. D. Hess, ‘Early Opera in America’, The Cosmopolitan: An Illustrated Monthly Magazine (December 1901), 151.

147 ‘Drury-Lane Theatre’, Morning Chronicle, 15 March 1854.

148 ‘Mr. and Mrs. Henri Drayton's Illustrated Proverbs’, ibid., 1 May 1857.

149 Catherine Mary Reignolds Winslow, Yesterdays with Actors (2nd edn, Boston, MA, 1887), 193.

150 Competing with P. T. Barnum and Tom Thumb, Ellinger and Newcomb's company featured the dwarf entertainers billed as Commodore Foote, Miss Eliza Nestel and Colonel Small. Advertisements did not indicate what operas either this company or the Holmans were performing.

151 ‘Our Picayunes’, Daily Picayune (New Orleans), 18 November 1900, 4.

152 Dave Russell, Popular Music in England 1840–1914: A Social History (2nd edn, Manchester, 1997), 10.

153 Preston, ‘To the Opera House?’, 39.

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Henri Drayton, English Opera and Anglo-American Relations, 1850–72

  • Brian C. Thompson


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