excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 238-239 (319 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 238-239 (319 words)

part of

Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

238-239

type

text excerpt

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[A]fter the musical feast was over, we sat down to an excellent supper, and became joyous and lively in the extreme. After several songs had been sung, Storace, who was present, asked me to give them the Canzonetta. Now thereby hung a tale, new to the company ! The truth was this: There was an old miser of the name of Varesi, living at Vienna, who absolutely denied himself the common necessaries of life, and who made up his meals by pilfering fruits and sweetmeats from the parties to which he was invited ; the canzonetta for which Storace asked, he was particularly fond of singing with a tremulous voice, accompanied by extraordinary gestures, and a shake of the head ; it was, in fact, this imitation which I was called upon to exhibit, and I did so. During my performance, I perceived Casti particularly attentive, and when I had finished, he turned to Paesiello, and said, " This is the very fellow to act the character of Gafferio, in our opera ; this boy shall be our old man ! and if he keep old Varesi in his eye when he acts it, I will answer for his success." The opera was brought out, the drama was excellent, and the music was acknowledged the chef-d'oeuvre of Paesiello. Overflowing houses, for three successive seasons, bore testimony to its merits. I played the old man ; and although really little more than a boy, never lost sight of the character I was personating for a moment. After the first night's performance, His Majesty, the Emperor, was pleased to have it signified to me, through Prince Rosenberg, that he was so much surprised and pleased with my performance, that he had ordered an addition to my salary of one hundred zecchinos per annum, (about fifty pounds British,) which I ever after enjoyed, during my stay at Vienna : in short, wherever I went I was nicknamed Old Gafferio.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 238-239 (319 words)

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