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Leonard Burkat

revised by Pamela Fox

Puritan traditions slowed the development of theatre in Boston, but an anti-theatre law of 1750 did not prevent ‘readings’ of English ballad and comic operas. Over 150 ballad operas had been performed in Boston before 1800. In the late 1820s the resident opera company of New Orleans performed its French repertory in Boston, but Italian opera was not patronized by the upper classes in Boston to the extent that it was in New York. Therefore no serious attempts to promote Italian opera in Boston occurred before 1847, when an Italian company based in Havana played the first of two seasons in the Howard Anthenaeum. Travelling companies continued to visit during the next two decades, and opera in English opened at the new Boston Theatre in 1860. The Strakosch and Mapleson touring companies and others played in Boston, and a week-long Wagner festival in 1877 presented three early works and Die Walküre...