Boston Ideal Opera Company [Bostonians; Ideals]
- Gerald Bordman
- , revised by Stephanie Jensen-Moulton
American opera company. In 1878 a Boston newspaper, critical of the performances of Gilbert and Sullivan’s H.M.S. Pinafore that had been staged in the city, called for an “ideal” production. The singers’ agent Effie H. Ober responded by forming the “Ideals,” and staging a highly successful version of Pinafore on 14 April 1879. In the next years the troupe built a sizable repertory of contemporary comic operas and such works as Gaetano Donizetti’s L’elisir d’amore and D.-F.-E. Auber’s Fra Diavolo. It made annual countrywide tours and earned a reputation as the finest American ensemble of its kind. Aside from the troupe’s chorus of 40 to 60 members, early featured singers included George Fessenden, Myron Whitney, Tom Karl, Adelaide Philips, and Mary Beebe. Trouble began for the Ideals in 1883, with the firing of a manager who was convicted as “insane from drink.” In 1885 Ober stepped down as the troupe’s manager. In ...