t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e

Sidney Naylor

Sidney Naylor

Sidney Naylor, born at Kensington on 24 July 1841, became a chorister at the Temple Church in his eighth year, and under the tuition of Dr. E.J.Hopkins became a celebrated organist associated with a number of London churches. He also acquired a reputation as an accompanist, serving for many years at the Boosey Ballad Concerts and with touring concert parties, where he frequently assisted Sims Reeves. He married the soprano Blanche Cole (see separate Troupe note) in 1868. They shared an English operatic pedigree and this probably led Carl to engage Cole for his first British season and both for the brief second season after the death of Parepa.

Naylor shared the rostrum with Carl Rosa during the company’s second season although he is sometimes additionally described as a partner involved in the revival of the company. This could have been due to confusion with their previous operatic activities but the Naylors could have assisted in the company renewal and perhaps even provided some financial input. This is speculative but Naylor does appear to have been more than deputy conductor. However, although the conductor is not always named, he conducted about thirty performances, some starring his wife, between September and December 1874. He opened the season at Liverpool with a Maritana on 7 September and probably conducted his last Rosa opera near the end of the season with a Sonnambula at Newcastle on Tyne on 7 December. Three company premieres took place under his baton, Crown Diamonds and Lily of Killarney at Liverpool in September followed by Dinorah at Manchester in November. His time with the Rosa was brief but significant.

Naylor, unlike Cole, was never professionally associated with the Rosa company again. He continued as accompanist and conducted other opera companies sometimes featuring his wife. She died in 1888 and he died suddenly at his home in Shepherd’s Bush on 4 March 1893.

© 2017 John Ward

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