Arne, Thomas Augustine (opera)
- John A. Parkinson
(b London, March 12, 1710; d London, March 5, 1778). English composer and violinist , the leading figure in English theatrical music in the mid-18th century. He was born and spent most of his life in Covent Garden. His father was a successful upholsterer and undertaker who sent his son to Eton intending him for the legal profession, though he allowed him to study the violin with the composer Michael Festing. A chance encounter in a friend’s house when he found his son leading the orchestra caused Thomas Arne senior to consent to the choice of a musical career.
In 1732 Arne joined Henry Carey and J. F. Lampe to form a company with the aim of performing English operas ‘after the Italian manner’. First they gave Lampe’s Amelia, in which Arne’s sister Susanna, a naturally gifted singer, made her first appearance. Their success encouraged them to mount Handel’s ...