Retrospect Opera Recording of David Garrick’s Jubilee (1769)

Recording of David Garrick’s “The Jubilee”

Theatrical works in the eighteenth-century did not play for continuous “runs” in the manner of modern popular theatre. The key figure is the number of performances a work was given in a particular season, making the most successful theatrical work of the British eighteenth-century David Garrick’s The Jubilee, with music by Charles Dibdin, which played for 91 performances in the 1769-70 season. To mark the 250th anniversary of this important musical play, Retrospect Opera has released a recording which includes all the sung music and a good deal of the spoken dialogue, click here for details.

The Jubilee is a comic representation of Garrick’s Shakespeare “Jubilee” of 1769, a 3-day festival in Stratford-upon-Avon that famously ended up getting washed out, but which achieved unprecedented publicity and represents a milestone in the history of Shakespeare’s reception. It deifies Shakespeare, but at the same time gently pokes fun at the fashion for literary tourism that the festival did so much to promote. Dibdin’s songs are richly melodic and extremely memorable, and several of them, celebrating Shakespeare as a sort of folk hero (“The lad of all lads was a Warwickshire lad”!), enjoyed a long cultural afterlife.

The Jubilee should be essential listening for anyone interested in the “god of our idolatry” idea of Shakespeare that Garrick bequeathed to the Romantics. It also teaches very well, and the 36-page booklet accompanying the recording includes suggestions for how the work, certainly within the possibilities of student performance, could be presented today.

As Retrospect Opera is constituted as a charity, all profits from the sale of The Jubilee go directly towards making more such recordings possible. Please support us, and please recommend this to your libraries.

David Chandler
Retrospect Opera

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