Unique opera exhibition hits the right note at Central Library

An exhibition dedicated to the history of the world’s longest running touring opera company opens at Liverpool’s Central Library on Saturday (19 November).

The Carl Rosa Opera Company was founded in the nineteenth century and specialised in bringing opera in English to all classes and corners of Britain. The Company staged many operatic firsts, including the English language premieres of The Merry Wives of Windsor, Carmen and Aida, and premieres of La Boheme and Hansel and Gretel. Their last performance took place in 1960.

Rare documents of international importance will occupy more than 70 metres of shelf space in the Hornby Library, including orchestral sets for more than 100 operas, manuscripts, photographs, business archives and historic editions of Mozart operas which date back to the 1820s.

Liverpool has been selected as the location to host the showcase as at one time one of the conductors of the company – Eugené Goosens – lived in Liverpool during the 1870s. It is also on record that the company had an extremely successful five week season in the city performing at The Royal Court Theatre with each night “crowded in every corner”.

The exhibition will be opened on Saturday at 2.15pm and throughout the afternoon there will be recitals by students from Liverpool Hope University. The showcase will be on display until Friday 23 December.

Assistant Mayor and Cabinet Member responsible for libraries, Councillor Wendy Simon, said: “The Carl Rosa Opera Company is regarded as the most influential opera company ever to have existed in the UK, and so it’s a huge coup for the city that Central Library is playing host to these incredible pieces of music history.

“Set in the stunning surroundings of the Hornby Library, this will be must-visit exhibition for music buffs.”

All the exhibits are on loan from The Carl Rosa Trust.



Liverpool Waterfront