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The capricious lovers

first performed on 28 November 1764
author of text

The capricious lovers was premièred at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane on 28 November 1764. The music was composed by George Rush to a libretto that had been written by a Robert Lloyd from the Fleet Prison (where he had been incarcerated for debts). Less than a month after the opera opened, but seemingly unrelatedly, Lloyd committed suicide in prison.

Rush was active in London during the 1760s and 1770s, having previously travelled and studied in Italy, and he had enjoyed great success earlier in 1764 with The Royal Shepherd, based on a libretto adapted from Metastasio’s Il re pastore (the following year Mozart may well have heard Felice de Giardini’s setting of Il re pastore at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket, but the score of this opera has not survived).

The plot of The capricious lovers is based on one of the most popular French opera libretti of the time, Favart’s Ninette à la Cour: a disguised prince attempts to prise an innocent country girl, Phoebe, from her country lover, and carries her off to court; he hopes to make a fine lady of her, but fails. Rush’s music is unostentatious but accomplished, and it captures effectively the playful and light-heartedly sentimental spirit of the English drama of the period.

The three-movement overture is the only part of The capricious lovers to have survived with complete orchestral parts. It is a brief but charming piece, its effervescent outer movements framing a beguilingly melancholy allegretto in D minor. It was popular as an isolated concert piece, and serves as a reminder that the symphony as a form evolved directly from the three-movement Italianate opera overture of the mid-eighteenth century.

from notes by Ian Page © 2018


Mozart in London
Studio Master: SIGCD534Download onlyStudio Master FLAC & ALAC downloads available


Act 1 Scene 8. Air: Thus laugh'd at, jilted and betray'd (Colin)
Track 10 on SIGCD534 CD2 [2'37] Download only
Overture Movement 1: Allegro
Track 7 on SIGCD534 CD2 [2'16] Download only
Overture Movement 2: Allegretto
Track 8 on SIGCD534 CD2 [0'56] Download only
Overture Movement 3: Allegro
Track 9 on SIGCD534 CD2 [2'06] Download only

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