London, South Kensington
22 November 2002
OPERA -- CLAYTON, Thomas (b.?1660-70, d.1720-30). Music manuscript, 'Arsinoe, Queen of Cyprus An opera', an elegant contemporary copy in short score, mainly for voice and basso continuo; symphony, choruses and some airs have violin and trumpet parts; 207 pages, folio; contemporary gilt-tooled sheep, spine gilt in seven compartments (some soiling).
The first full length opera in the Italian style to be performed in England. Thomas Clayton was appointed to the King's Musick in July 1689; he spent some period of time in Italy at the turn of the century, and on his return produced Arsinoe, with a libretto translated (probably by Motteux) from an Italian text by Stanzani. 'A contemporary critic condemned the music, but it enjoyed considerable success and paved the way for the introduction of Italian opera' (New Grove Dictionary, 1980).
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