Society, Culture and Opera in Florence, 1814-1830: Dilettantes in an 'earthly Paradise'
Following the defeat of Napoleon in 1814, an event that signalled an end to nearly 14 years of French domination, Florence seemed to enter a new cultural 'golden age' and by 1824 was described as 'an Earthly Paradise' by the political and liberal writer, Pietro Giordano. Politically, economically and culturally, the city prospered in this new era. After 1814 it seemed as if the Enlightenment had found a new beginning in Florence. Aubrey Garlington, a scholar of long standing in the music of early nineteenth-century Florence, considers the roles played by John Fane, Lord Burghersh, an English aristocrat, diplomat and dilettante composer together with his wife, Priscilla, in the development of the richly homogeneous culture that blossomed in Florence at this time. Burghersh, known today for being instrumental in the founding of the English Royal Academy of Music, composed six operas that were performed privately on numerous occasions at the English Embassy.
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