Joseph Conrad et al. in Covent Garden - between at the end of 1893 and at the end of 1893

from 'Reminiscences of Conrad' a memoir by John Galsworthy , pages 81-82:

I first re-encountered Conrad some months after that voyage [on the fast passenger clipper 'Torrens' from Port Adelaide to London in 1893, on which Conrad served as first mate], when we paid a visit together to 'Carmen' at Covent Garden Opera. 'Carmen' was a vice with us both. It was already his fourteenth time of seeing that really dramatic opera. The blare of Wagner left him as cold as it leaves me; but he shared with my own father a curious fancy for Meyerbeer.
cite as

John Galsworthy, 'Reminiscences of Conrad' a memoir by John Galsworthy . In Castles in Spain and Other Screeds (London, 1927), p. 81-82. accessed: 24 April, 2024

location of experience: Covent Garden


Joseph Conrad
Master mariner and writer
John Galsworthy
barrister (at this stage still practicing law), Novelist, Playwright

Listening to

hide composers
written by Georges Bizet
performed by Royal Opera Covent Garden

Experience Information

Date/Time between at the end of 1893 and at the end of 1893
Medium live
Listening Environment in the company of others, indoors, in public


The likely period during which of this listening experience took place (between 1 October 1893 and 26 November 1893 is known from biographical information; the 'Torrens' arrived in London on 26 July 1893, without Galsworthy, who had left the ship for at Cape Town and returned a few weeks later, but then left again for Russia. He and Conrad presumably went to an autumn performance, since Conrad was visiting his uncle in the Ukraine until late September, and by 27 November he had signed on to another ship, his last. Conrad almost certainly first saw 'Carmen' in April 1878 in Marseilles, just before he left that city to join the British Merchant Service; some of the early performances of 'Carmen' outside Paris took place in Marseilles, after its initial mixed reception in the capital in 1875. The title role in Marseilles was again sung by Célestine Galli-Marié who created it in Paris. Conrad while in Marseilles (1874-1878) lodged at 18 rue Sainte, an address very close to the back entrance of the opera house, then known as the Grand -Théâtre, and when on shore leave there, as a very young man, often went to the opera. During his leaves in London, between 1878 and 1893, he would have had the opportunity to attend further performances of 'Carmen', perhaps every year, and possibly also in Australia, so foutreen performances by 1894 is indeed credible.

Originally submitted by Helen Chambers on Wed, 26 Feb 2014 10:51:55 +0000