excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 163-164 (224 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 163-164 (224 words)

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Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

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I was exceedingly amused with what I saw in Padua; and amongst the sights which possessed the never-failing charm of novelty, were races on the Corso by running footmen, whose speed, I think, would astonish the English patrons of pedestrianism. I found, besides, the attraction of a charming opera : and above all, I there first heard the afterwards celebrated singer, Crescentini. I was delighted. David, the popular tenor of his day, I remember, performed the character of larba, the Moorish king, in the opera of " La Didone abbandonata" and the prima donna, although she sang and acted extremely well, was, since the truth must be told, extremely ugly. At the general rehearsal of the opera, where there were numbers of people assembled, David said, what shewed his want of good nature and gallantry. When larba is introduced to Dido, seated on her throne to receive him, his confidant asks him, " Qual ti sembra, O Signor ?" " What do you think of her?" larba answers, " Superba e bella." " Proud and beautiful." Instead of saying this, David substituted the following agreeable exclamation, " Superba e brutta !" " Proud and ugly". As Matthew says, " it made a great laugh at the time ;" but David was much blamed for his attempt at wit, which was reckoned extremely gross, particularly as the lady's homeliness was not to be made a joke of.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 163-164 (224 words)


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