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date: 11 December 2019

Agreeable Surprise, The [The Agreeable Surprise, or The Secret Enlarged]locked

  • Robert Hoskins

Extract

[The Agreeable Surprise, or The Secret Enlarged]

Comic afterpiece, op.16, in two acts by Samuel Arnold to a libretto by John O’Keeffe; London, Little Theatre in the Haymarket, 4 September 1781.

This opera, which played for 200 performances over the rest of the century, chiefly owed its popularity to the novelty of the acting, especially that of John Edwin as Lingo (baritone), the schoolmaster-turned-butler who is continually misquoting Latin tags. The plot is a parable of rustic virtue and innocence set against the deceptions of the town; tuneful strophic airs are appropriate in the representation of comic country characters and Arnold’s score has some good examples. Lingo’s ‘Amo, amas, I love a lass’ became famous as a student song....

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