Mrs Billington’s embonpoint;Report as inadecuate

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Mrs Billington’s embonpoint; Subtitle: Scandal, hysteria, and Mozart

Abstract: Mrs Billington’s embonpointMichael BurdenNew College, OxfordTo opera officiandos, it is no surprise that our Mrs Billington is the great Elizabeth Billington, née Weichsell. Not only was she one of greatest sopranos of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but she had discerning musical taste; her ornaments were famous, and she became the first promoter of Mozart opera in London, when she chose La clemenza di Tito for her benefit in 1806. After the scandal that followed the publication of the Memoirs of Mrs Billington in 1792, she left London to work on the Continent. On her return, she re-established herself easily with great success, one of her early reviews commenting ‘what we have said will suffice to show that Mrs Billington has greatly advantaged herself of her residence in Italy… she is rather more embonpoint than when she left England, but her features possess infinite symmetry and beauty, and her whole figure is grand and captivating.’ This paper examines the role that such personal commentary made in the creation of her image as a performer, which in turn influenced the many images that were used to bolster her public persona.

Publication status:Not PublishedPeer Review status:Not peer reviewedVersion:Author's Original

Bibliographic Details

Copyright Date: 2008 Identifiers

Urn: uuid:db1f0ebf-6791-4949-a127-a210909d21a0 Item Description

Type: Article, pre-print;

Language: en

Version: Author's OriginalSubjects: Music Performance Opera 18th Century music 19th Century music Tiny URL: ora:1660


Author: Michael Burden - institutionUniversity of Oxford facultyHumanities Division - Music Faculty oxfordCollegeNew College - - - - Bibl



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