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date: 31 March 2020

Congreve, Williamlocked

  • Curtis Price
  • , revised by Margaret Laurie

Extract

(b Bardsley, Yorks., Jan 24, 1670; d London, Jan 19, 1729). English dramatist and librettist. His stage career began with two comedies for the United Company at the Theatre Royal, The Old Batchelour (1693) and The Double-Dealer (1694), both with music by Henry Purcell. He left the company with the senior actors in 1695, and their makeshift theatre in Lincoln's Inn Fields opened with his Love for Love, one of the biggest successes of the period. He became close friends with the house composer, John Eccles, and his protégée, the actress-singer Anne Bracegirdle. Two further plays followed, The Mourning Bride (1697) and The Way of the World (1700), but after the latter's disappointing reception he wrote no more straight plays.

In 1700 a group of noblemen organized a contest to encourage English opera composers and commissioned Congreve to write a libretto, ...

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