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date: 28 January 2020

Stoppelaer, Charlesfree

  • Olive Baldwin
  •  and Thelma Wilson

(b Dublin, 1705–6; bur. Manchester; d April 27, 1772). Tenor singer and portrait painter. His first recorded appearance in London was in September 1729, when he sang at Reynolds’s Booth in Southwark Fair. After appearances in the Little Theatre in the Haymarket and then at Goodman’s Fields Theatre he joined the Drury Lane company in July 1731, remaining there until summer 1737, apart from two seasons (1734–6) at Covent Garden. He was a successful Macheath in The Beggar’s Opera and Sir John in The Devil to Pay, and created roles in musical afterpieces, such as Lovemore in The Lottery, Beau Mordecai in The Harlot’s Progress, and Valentine in The Intriguing Chambermaid. During Handel’s 1734–5 opera season at Covent Garden Stoppelaer took the role of Odoardo in Ariodante and sang in the chorus of Alcina. It is likely that he was the ‘Ropilier’ named in a wordbook annotation for the role of the Amalekite in Saul in 1739. After summer 1737 he earned his living mainly as a portrait painter, his first two known sitters being James Allen of Dulwich College in 1737 and the actor Joe Miller in 1738. Stoppelaer returned briefly to the stage in spring 1740, taking some of his old roles at Drury Lane on nights when John Beard was not available and singing that year in the summer season at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. After this he seems to have been solely a portrait painter, exhibiting at the Society of Artists between 1761 and 1771 and working in London and provincial centres including Norwich and Oxford. He died in Manchester in April 1772. The London Evening Post of 5–7 May described him as ‘an eminent limner, and brother to Mr. Michael Stoppelaer, of Covent-garden theatre’. Michael Stoppelaer (d 1777, will proved July 4) came to London in 1732 ‘from the Theatre in Ireland’ (Daily Post, Oct 27, 1732) and after three seasons at Goodman’s Fields had a long career as a minor comic actor at Covent Garden, singing an occasional song.


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This article supersedes an older article.