t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e

Julius Benedict

Julius Benedict

Julius Benedict, the musically gifted son of a banker, was born in Stuttgart on 27 November 1804. He studied with Hummel from about 1819 and two years later was with Weber in Dresden. He also met Beethoven around this time. He later filled conducting posts, first in Vienna and then from 1825, Naples, where he composed two operas. He moved to Paris in 1834, and the following year to London, where he spent the rest of his life teaching, conducting and composing. He enriched Britain’s musical life and received a knighthood in 1871. One of his London operas, The Lily of Killarney, based on Dion Boucicault’s play The Colleen Bawn, became very popular. It was written for the Pyne and Harrison Royal English Opera Company in 1862 and was eventually included in the Carl Rosa repertoire.

Benedict was active on the London musical scene long before Parepa and Carl but he would have known them professionally and socially from the 1860s. His opera was first performed by the Rosa on 12 September 1874 conducted by Sydney Naylor at the Royal Amphitheatre in Liverpool. The company gave 116 performances of the opera during Rosa’s lifetime with six of them, two in Manchester and four in London, conducted by Benedict himself. The last of them, at Manchester Theatre Royal on 12 March 1885, was probably the last time he conducted opera. He died three months later at his home at 2 Manchester Square London on 5 June 1885 and was buried at Kensal Green.

Benedict’s opera remained in the company repertoire after Rosa’s death in 1889. His only direct link is that he was a Rosa conductor for a few performances  but he was a Rosa conductor who had known both Weber and Beethoven!

© 2017 John Ward

If you use the information on this page, please acknowledge the Carl Rosa Trust: www.carlrosatrust.org.uk