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date: 23 February 2020

Rich, John [Lun]locked

  • Olive Baldwin
  •  and Thelma Wilson



(b London, bap. May 19, 1692; d London, Nov 26, 1761). English theatre manager and dancer. He was the son of Christopher Rich (d 1714), the manager of the company that staged Purcell's later dramatic operas and the early English-Italian operas. In 1714 John opened the new theatre at Lincoln's Inn Fields, which his father had built. He kept a full repertory of plays, but his real preferences were music, dance and spectacle. These elements were combined in his famous pantomime afterpieces, most of which had music by Galliard. Under the name of Lun, Rich danced Harlequin in them for many years, and he was highly praised for his artistry in mime and movement. Pepusch wrote music for him at Lincoln's Inn Fields, and it was here that The Beggar's Opera (1728) made ‘Gay rich, and Rich gay’. He built the first Covent Garden theatre and continued to produce ballad operas, pantomimes and burlesques there from ...

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Music & Letters
The London Stage, 1660-1800 (Carbondale, IL, 1960-68)
The New Grove Dictionary of Opera
A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers & Other Stage Personnel in London, 1660-1800 (Carbondale, IL, 1973-93)
Musical Times
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Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford, 1885-1901, suppls., 1901-96)