Day: August 10, 2019

Extracts of the Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry

Source: Lady Theresa Lewis (ed.), Extracts of the Journals and Correspondence of Miss Berry, from the year 1783 to 1852 (London: Longmans, Green, 1865), p. 51

Text: The serious opera is performed in a small theatre. In the new theatre we saw the tragedy of Tamerlane, but as the piece was not printed, I could not tell whether it had any resemblance to ours of the same name; what most delighted the people was a battle upon the stage, which lasted nearly a quarter of an hour with unremitted ardour, and concluded with the slaughter of eight or ten men left dead upon the stage. All Italian actors, I am told, are very bad, because dramatic performances are not the taste of the upper ranks, who relish and encourage nothing but the opera. These were called superlatively bad; they had much less action than I expected.

Comments: Mary Berry (1763-1852) was a British editor, letter writer and diarist, known for her close association with Horace Walpole. Her published journals and correspondence include many theatregoing references. This production of an unidentified Tamerlane play took place in Bologna on 11 November 1783.

Links: Copy at Hathi Trust