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In the early years of the eighteenth century four female star singers made their debuts on the London stage: the Baroness, Margherita de L'Epine, Maria Gallia and Catherine Tofts. They performed in concerts and sang between the acts of plays at London's two theatres, Drury Lane and Lincoln's Inn Fields, and later vied for parts in the early all-sung operas in the Italian style. While much has been written about L'Epine and Tofts and the supposed rivalry between them, the Baroness has almost been ignored, although she was probably the first of these singers to appear in London. (1) She had a longer English career than either Gallia or Tofts, and apart from a brief return to the continent she lived in London until her death in 1724.

Her first public appearance in England was on 3 November 1702 at York Buildings, London's principal concert venue. The performers were given as "an Italian Gentlewoman that was never heard in this Kingdom before, and Signior Casparini, the famous Musician that plays on the violin, newly come from Rome" (London Gazette, 29 Oct.-2 Nov. 1702). "Casparini" was the violinist Gasparo Visconti, generally known in England as Gasperini. The "Italian Gentlewoman" cannot have been Maria Gallia, who did not make her London debut until 1 June 1703 (Daily Courant, 31 May 1703), and the singer has generally been assumed to be Margherita de L'Epine, who was appearing at Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre in the winter of 1702-03. However, "an Italian Gentlewoman" seems an inadequate description of L'Epine, who came to England as an established star after singing in Venice, and besides, in her London appearances at this time L'Epine was accompanied by the composer and harpsichordist Jakob Greber and sang his music. Indeed she may well have been married to him, for in October 1704, their daughter, Marie Anne Greber, was baptised at the French Catholic Chapel in Amsterdam. (2) It is therefore significant that Greber was not involved in the York Buildings concert, where the leading instrumentalist was Gasperini, and so the singer there must have been the Baroness, not L'Epine.

There was a similar York Buildings concert a month later, with "New Songs by the Gentlewoman, and Symphonies by Signior Gasparine" (Daily Courant, 3 Dec. 1702), and the singer appeared again with Gasperini on 23 January 1703 in a concert at Drury Lane Theatre, when Gasperini acted as accompanist for Italian and French songs composed by Saggione, the name by which Giuseppe Fedeli was usually known. Here the singer was named as "the Famous Signiora Joanna Maria Lindehleim" (Daily Courant, 20 Jan. 1703) but merely as "the famous Signiora Joanna Maria" in the newspaper advertisement on the following day. From the wordbook and published songs of the opera Camilla, in which she sang in 1706, it is clear that Signiora Joanna Maria was the singer who by then was calling herself the Baroness. It can therefore be assumed with some confidence that the Baroness made her London debut on 3 November 1702.

The name "Lindehleim", which appeared in the first newspaper advertisement for the January 1703 concert and nowhere else, seemed so unlikely that Alfred Loewenberg, in the fifth edition of Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians (1954), speculated that the name was "Lindelheim", and that has been widely accepted as fact. To complicate matters further, unknown to Loewenberg, the singer was buried as "The Right Hon.ble Mary Baroness of Linchenham" (perhaps from a misreading of "d" as "ch"). However, a series of entries in the baptismal and burial registers of St Margaret's Westminster shed new light on this mysterious singer, and indicate that the name was Lendenheim. These are the relevant entries:

12 June 1702, Baptism: Andrew Lenduss to Andew by Mary

29 June 1702, Burial: Andrew Lendenheim

26 March 1704, Baptism: Andrew Lenduss to Andew ["(a Swedish Baron)" inserted above] by [no name entered]

27 March 1704, Burial: Andrew Lendenheim C[hild]: Swedish Baron

4 February 1705/06, Baptism: Andrew Lenduss to the Rt. Hon Andrew a Swedish Lord by Mary

3 March 1707/08, Burial: Andrew Lendenheim S[on] to a Swedish Baron

4 April 1708, Baptism: Marget: Lendenheim d[aughter] to Andrew a Swedish Lord by Mary

Burial payment records survive for the first two babies, for "Andrew Lindenson", listed under 30 June 1702, and for "Andrew Lindust" under 28 March 1704. (The parish clerk or the servant who made the burial payment seems to have been as confused about the name as music historians have been since.) The cost on each occasion was 4s 3d, including 2s 10d for a knell, the tolling of the funeral bell.

In view of these entries, which can be seen to tie in with her professional life, it seems virtually certain that the singer known as the Baroness who was buried on 24 December 1724 at St Anne's Soho as the Right Honourable Mary Baroness of Linchenham had been the wife of this Swedish lord, whose full name was probably Andrew Lenduss of Lendenheim. There must have been a valid and known justification for the title used by the singer, or she would have been mocked by rivals and satirists for assuming one. The baron himself remains a mystery, for there seems to be no other record of him in London. The Swedish National Archives can find nothing about Lenduss or Lendenheim in the Swedish nobility calendars, yet from March 1704 the St Margaret's registers repeatedly claim that he was a Swedish baron or lord and once "the Rt. Hon Andrew a Swedish Lord". (3) We do not know if the Baroness had sung on the continent before she and her husband came to England, and it is even possible that she was taught to sing as part of a gentlewoman's education rather than being trained to be a professional singer, and began to sing in public in London out of financial necessity. By 1705 the composer and instrumentalist Nicola Francesco Haym was acting as her singing teacher and agent and he was still receiving an agreed part of her fees in January 1708 (Milhous and Hume, Coke Papers 56-57). Some details of the singer's career in London are embedded in Lowell Lindgren's detailed and authoritative study, which can now be augmented both by the evidence of the church registers and by the newspaper notices that are more readily available than they were to him in the mid-1980s. (4)

It has been assumed that, like L'Epine and Gallia, the Baroness came to England as a travelling diva to sing in concerts and on the London stage, but the St Margaret's registers show that she had been resident in Westminster for some time before the concert at York Buildings on 3 November 1702, five months after the birth and death of the first son. It is significant that in the advertisement for this concert it was only the violinist, and not the singer, who was described as "newly come from Rome". Gasperini had clearly heard the singer in private before this, for she must have been the "signora Italiano che canta di buon gusto" (Italian lady who sings with good taste) he mentioned in a letter just over two weeks before the first concert (Lindgren 256).

The Drury Lane evening in January 1703, when the name "Lindehleim" appeared, was clearly a success, for a similar concert with Gasperini and Signiora Joanna Maria took place at the theatre nine days later. On both occasions there was also dancing starring the newly arrived Charles Du Ruel, for music and dancing formed the major attraction of the evening rather than acting merely as entr'acte entertainments. (The only spoken element in the first evening was The Country-House, a short farce by John Vanbrugh, while on the second there were "the best Scenes" of John Dryden's comedy Marriage a la Mode.) The pit and boxes were combined to give a maximum of 400 places, and tickets, all at five shillings, could be collected in advance at White's chocolate house or at Will's or Tom's coffee houses, fashionable establishments around St James's and Covent Garden, where concert tickets were often available. These theatre concerts appear to be forerunners of the subscription series of ten concerts of music and dancing organised by the nobility in the 1703-04 season, which marked the emergence of the soprano Catherine Tofts (Baldwin and Wilson, "Subscription Musick"). In 1702-03, however, there were only three concerts, the last being at Drury Lane on 11 February, when Gasperini and Du Ruel were involved but not Joanna Maria. She does not figure in any theatre or concert advertisements for the rest of the season, and it could well be that there would have been more concert evenings at Drury Lane had she been available to sing.

The reason for her absence from the third concert, and from the Westminster registers in 1703, is to be found in John Evelyn's diary, for on 28 February 1703 he wrote:

A famous young woman, an Italian, was hired by our Commedians to sing on the stage, during so many plays, for which they gave her 500 pounds: which part (which was her voice alone at the end of 3 Scenes) she performed with such modesty, & grace above all by her skill, as there was never any (of many Eunichs & others) did with their Voice, ever anything comparable to her, she was to go hence to the Court of the K: of Prussia, & I believe carryed with her out of this vaine nation above 1000 pounds, every body coveting to heare her at their privat houses, especially the noble men. (Evelyn 531)

Evelyn's young singer cannot have been Margherita de L'Epine, for we know she was still performing in London in May 1703, or Maria Gallia, who first sang in England in June 1703. Joanna Maria's absence from the third Drury Lane concert would also seem to confirm that she was the subject of Evelyn's diary entry. His account tells us that she had also been singing in entr'actes at the theatre and was already in great demand for private events at the houses of the nobility.

The Westminster church registers show that the Lendenheim family had returned to England by March 1704, when their second son was born and died almost immediately. These church records, unlike those of 1702, refer to the child's father as a baron, so it could be that the title was acquired during the family's absence from England. The singer's new status may have led to a temporary retirement, for no record seems to survive of public appearances by her in 1704, but she could of course have been singing in private concerts. We know that in June 1705 she appeared at a concert at Gasperini's house, for a letter exists from Haym saying that he would be there with "Madame La Baronesse" (Lindgren 256).

It seems that by this time the Baroness felt the need for help from a vocal coach, an accompanist and an agent, and that Haym fulfilled these roles. The theatrical scene was changing. January 1705 saw the first performance on the London stage of an all-sung opera in the Italian style, Thomas Clayton's Arsinoe, performed at Drury Lane in English by an English cast led by Tofts. By the end of March it had received eight performances in the theatre and one at court during the queen's birthday celebrations. The opera formed part of the theatrical repertoire of the Drury Lane company under the management of Christopher Rich, and the singers also performed in entr'actes there and sang incidental music in plays.

Three months after the premiere of Arsinoe, Vanbrugh opened his new theatre in the Haymarket, the Queen's Theatre, with Li amori di Ergasto, a new Italian pastoral opera by Greber, after which the Lincoln's Inn Fields theatre company moved there. (5) Haym had arranged a verbal contract for his scholar the Baroness to be paid 100 guineas for singing "ten times either in the Pastoral with which the house was to be open'd or in other playes between the Acts" (Lindgren 258-59). Vanbrugh must have hoped that Ergasto, which was sung in Italian, would have an equal or greater success as that of Arsinoe, but he was disappointed. The prompter, John Downes, recalled the fiasco: "Captain Vantbrugg open'd his new Theatre in the Hay-Market, with a Foreign Opera, Perform'd by a new set of Singers, Arriv'd from Italy; (the worst that e're came from thence) for it lasted but 5 Days, and they being lik'd but indifferently by the Gentry; they in a little time marcht back to their own Country" (Downes 99).

As the Baroness was engaged for Ergasto, it has been suggested that L'Epine and/or Gallia could also have sung in the opera, despite Downes's recollection of a new set of singers who then went back to Italy. However, L'Epine had been singing very successfully on the London stage and Downes would hardly have missed her presence in Ergasto or dismissed her performance as bad. Besides, she had parted company from the composer Greber by this time. (6) It could even be that one of the imported company's female singers was so weak that the Baroness was brought in to learn her role. The company was not large, for Ergasto required only two male and two female singers, plus a boy or young female soprano to sing Cupid in the prologue. Colley Cibber remembered the opera as being performed "but three Days, and those not crowded" (Cibber 185), which ties in with the Baroness's experience, for Haym wrote a letter to Thomas Coke, the Vice Chamberlain, complaining that the Baroness had only been employed at the Queen's on five occasions, two of them as an entr'acte singer, and so had not received the money promised to her (Lindgren 258-59). She sang in Italian and English between the acts of Thomas Southerne's The Fatal Marriage on 17 November 1705 and Thomas Betterton's The Amorous Widow on 20 November, advertised as "la Signiora Maria, as of late taught by Signior Nicolini Haym" (Daily Courant, 17 and 19 Nov. 1705).

In this letter, which Coke received on 1 March 1706, Haym repeatedly referred to the Baroness as his "Scholler", so it is clear that he was coaching her as well as acting as her agent. As Lindgren discovered that the Baroness was living with Haym in the last years of her life he very reasonably assumed that she had been doing so since around the time Haym first acted as her agent. This, of course, cannot have been the case, for her daughter by "Andrew a Swedish Lord" was baptised in April 1708. Unless further information about the Swedish baron comes to light, it is impossible to tell when the relationship between Haym and the Baroness developed beyond that of teacher-agent and pupil-soloist.

The personal life of the Baroness prevented a prestigious appearance in 1706, for the birth of her third son to be called Andrew accounts for her absence from the list of leading singers who performed at court on 5 February 1706 in the celebrations for Queen Anne's birthday. (7) Downes listed the female soloists in the new musical entertainment that formed part of the celebrations as Margherita de L'Epine and Maria Gallia, together with the leading English theatre singers Mary Lindsey from Drury Lane and Mary Hodgson from the Queen's (Downes 98). The Baroness's son was baptised on 4 February, so she would still have been lying-in and unavailable to appear at court. She did, however, take part in two performances before the queen at St James's Palace in 1707, in the royal birthday performance of the very successful opera Camilla and in a concert on 6 March to celebrate the day on which Queen Anne gave her assent to the bill uniting England and Scotland.

Haym's responsibility for the adaptation of an English version of Giovanni Bononcini's opera Camilla ensured that the Baroness had a role in that piece. In his detailed contract with Christopher Rich, the Drury Lane manager, Haym undertook to "advise Mr. Rich in casting the parts to ye Singers and to teach up the same parts and Musick and to give his best dilligence and assistance therein as a Master Composer in the practices of the Vocall and Instrumentall musick" (Bononcini Appendix 2). (8) The leading role was taken by Tofts, following her huge success in the title role of Arsinoe, and Haym gave the other serious female role of Lavinia to the Baroness, composing a new air for her and transposing six others.

The premiere of Camilla took place at Drury Lane on 30 March 1706. The Baroness had performed songs in English in entr'actes a few months earlier, and she was clearly now capable of sustaining a complete role in that language. In the wordbook of Camilla, the singer of Lavinia is listed as "Mrs. Joanna Maria, &c.", there being with no space left for her title, but in the published songs her airs are given as sung by "the Baroness" (see Hunter numbers 13-23 for the contents of the various editions of the songs in Camilla). Camilla continued to be performed as part of the theatrical repertoire at Drury Lane, but there was an important development in March 1707 when the castrato Valentini (that is, Valentino Urbani) replaced Francis Hughes in the role of Turnus and sang his part in Italian. In the original production at Naples in 1696, Turnus was the only role taken by a castrato (Bononcini xviii). For the first performance of Camilla in the following season, on 6 December 1707, there was a rare advertisement that listed the opera cast: "Prenesto by Signiora Margarita [de L'Epine], part in Italian; Turnus by Signior Valentino, in Italian ... Lavinia by the Baroness, most in Italian" (Daily Courant, 6 Dec. 1707). (9) Thus, the effect was not of questions and answers in different languages, but of L'Epine and the Baroness singing in Italian with Valentini and in English with the other characters. The success of Valentini and later of the great castrato Nicolini (that is, Nicola Grimaldi) gradually led to the operas being performed wholly in Italian twice a week by a separate company at the Queen's Theatre. (10)

The Baroness is not listed in The London Stage among the personnel of the Drury Lane company for the 1706-07 season, presumably because she did not sing in either of the two new operas, Clayton's Rosamond and Thomyris, Queen of Scythia, a pasticcio with music by several Italian composers adapted by Johann Christoph Pepusch. (11) It is suggested by The Biographical Dictionary of Actors (Highfill, Burnim and Langhans 300) that she was absent from both the Drury Lane and the Queen's Theatre companies because she returned to the continent at that time. However, these essential reference works ignore the fact that the Baroness must have sung in the 23 performances of Camilla that season. Opera advertisements in the early eighteenth century named a singer in a revived opera only if the performer was new to the role, and as no new singer was named for the role of Lavinia it is clear that she retained it.

At this time there were four leading female singers available when the operas had only two serious female roles, and in the 1706-07 season it was the Baroness who lost out. When a list was drawn up for the personnel of an opera company to be established under Vanbrugh at the Queen's Theatre, the four leading instrumentalists, the "Chief Bases" who formed the continuo group for the operas, were to be Haym, Charles Dieupart, Pepusch and Saggione. They were to receive 280 [pounds sterling] for the year, evenly divided between them and there was to be 750 [pounds sterling] for all the other instrumentalists, while Tofts and L'Epine were to receive 400 [pounds sterling] each and the Baroness and Gallia 200 [pounds sterling] each (Milhous and Hume, Coke Papers 77). The four leading musicians were also composers and/or arrangers of the operas, and each acted as agent for one of the leading female opera singers. Dieupart was the accompanist and reputed lover of Tofts, and it was due to his efforts that Arsinoe had been staged with Tofts in the title role; her star quality was such that she then became the unquestioned choice for a leading role in the English-Italian operas that followed. (12) Pepusch was later to marry L'Epine and she took the title role of the Scythian queen in his arrangement of the music for Thomyris. Saggione had composed the leading role in his pastoral opera The Temple of Love (Queen's Theatre, 7 Mar. 1706) for Maria Gallia, and they were married by March 1708. (13) The casting of Gallia for the title role of the beautiful Rosamond in Clayton's opera could imply that Saggione's influence in the production of that opera was greater than Haym's, or perhaps Gallia presented a more glamorous figure for a role in which appearance was important. The Baroness's looks may well have been affected by the births of three children and the deaths of two of them.

However, Haym remained active in promoting the Baroness when the opportunity arose. In January 1708, when the new Queen's Theatre opera company was being established, he wrote to Thomas Coke setting out the terms he had previously agreed with Rich for adapting Alessandro Scarlatti's opera Pyrrhus and Demetrius and for making revisions to Thomyris. Haym claimed that Rich had agreed to pay the Baroness 300 [pounds sterling] for singing thirty times, and he was now anxious that she should be paid at the same rate in the new opera company. He requested that she should retain her part in Camilla and sing in his new opera of Pyrrhus, stated that she had learned the role of Eurilla in the forthcoming pastoral Love's Triumph (14) and claimed that she was willing to learn the title role in his revised version of Thomyris. He added:

I humbly desire of ye Honourable persons, (or Lords and Gentlemen) concern'd, that I be not considered Less, or made Second to any other person of ye Musick, neither as to ye profit; nor any other matter, beliving my self perhaps, not of inferior merit to any of my Profession now in England particularly of ye foreigners. And as I have a part of Profit out of ye Baroness's pay (according to agreement between her & me) it would not be perhaps well, that she be Less considerd, then any of ye other Women Singers. (Milhous and Hume, Coke Papers 57)

Haym's preparation of the Baroness for her for a role in Love's Triumph paid off and at the premiere she sang the "constant tho' neglected" shepherdess Eurilla. Tofts sang the female lead and Dieupart adapted the music to fit Peter Motteux's translation of the Italian libretto. However, Haym did not obtain the same very high terms for the Baroness as those achieved by Tofts and L'Epine: instead of contracting for an annual salary, she was to be paid after each performance. In fact this proved to be advantageous. Vanbrugh was quickly in serious financial difficulties because of the inflated salaries promised to the singers, and he abandoned the enterprise when the season ended in early May. Valentini, L'Epine and Gallia were left waiting for money promised to them, whereas the Baroness had been "paid for every time the Opera has been perform'd" (Milhous and Hume, Coke Papers 109).

Soon after the premier of Love's Triumph on 26 February 1708, the Baroness's personal life affected the opera company's performances. Operas were usually performed on Tuesdays and Saturdays, but there was no opera on Tuesday 16 March, and on the Saturday of that week and the following Tuesday and Saturday Gallia (now Signora Saggione), was advertised for the Baroness's role of Eurilla. The first performance of Haym's revised version of Thomyris, in which the Baroness assumed the title role and L'Epine took over the male role of Tigranes, was advertised for 6 April but delayed until 10 April. These rearrangements in the second half of March and early April were caused by the birth of the Baroness's daughter, who was baptised on 4 April. The four weeks from 13 March to 10 April may seem a short break for the birth of a child, but was by no means unique. Margherita Durastanti, when she was singing in the Royal Academy Opera in the 1720-21 season, had a similarly brief maternity absence. In 1713 the phenomenally successful run of Joseph Addison's Cato was cut short because Anne Oldfield, ironically playing Cato's virgin daughter, was in an advanced state of pregnancy. As George Berkeley wrote to Sir John Percival: "Mr Addison's play has taken wonderfully, they have acted it now almost a month, and would I believe act it a month longer, were it not that Mrs Oldfield cannot hold out any longer, having had for several nights past, as I am informed, a midwife behind the scenes" (Rand 115).

The great success of the 1708-09 season, with 27 performances, was Pyrrhus and Demetrius, adapted by Haym as a vehicle for Nicolini, who was making his first appearance in London. Tofts sang the heroine, the Baroness took the other female role of Deidamia, and Valentini sang Demetrius. As in Camilla, the Baroness sang in Italian in scenes with the castrati and in English elsewhere. The huge success of Pyrrhus and Demetrius meant that the revised version of Thomyris was not heard again until the 1709-10 season, when it received eight performances. The Baroness retained her role of Lavinia in Camilla until December 1709, when Tofts left the company and that opera disappeared from the repertoire. (15)

It is easy to underestimate the number of appearances made by the Baroness with the opera company in the seasons of 1708-11. By this time the daily advertisements for plays named the actors for most of the roles, but this was not the case in the opera advertisements, where the small number of singers and the very limited repertoire made it unnecessary. (16) Thus, while it is possible to trace almost all the appearances of an actor from advertisements, the same is not true of the opera singers, where their roles in new operas are known from wordbooks but their participation in revivals is easily overlooked. The editors of both The Biographical Dictionary of Actors and The London Stage seem puzzled that the Baroness was listed as a member of the Queen's theatre company in December 1709 although she was not advertised during the season. However, apart from beneficiaries on benefit nights, the only singer in the operas who was advertised in 1709-10 was Nicolini. In the following season even he was mentioned only in the advertisement for his benefit in April and the names that appear earlier in the season are those of singers who took over roles in Pyrrhus and Demetrius and Francesco Mancini's Hydaspes (L'Idaspe fedele). The absence of a replacement singer for the Baroness's roles in Camilla, Pyrrhus and Demetrius and Thomyris indicates that she retained them. Thus in the 1708-09 season the Baroness appeared in 40 out of the 47 opera nights, singing 13 times in

Camilla and 27 times in Pyrrhus and Demetrius. In that season's new opera, Clotilda, a pasticcio with music by several Italian composers, adapted by John Jacob Heidegger, the two serious female roles were taken by Tofts and L'Epine. The Baroness sang in 23 out of the 49 performances in 1709-10, appearing in Camilla, Pyrrhus and Demetrius and the revised Thomyris. However, she was not in either of the new operas, Almahide, with music by Bononcini and Attilio Ariosti adapted by Heidegger, or Hydaspes, where the serious female roles were taken by L'Epine and the newly arrived Isabella Girardeau. In 1710-11 there were 54 opera nights, but the Baroness appeared only in the nine performances of Pyrrhus and Demetrius. Her last stage appearance was at her benefit performance of that opera on 12 May 1711.

The operatic career of the Baroness came to an end as Haym's influence in the company declined. The opera company was strongly under the influence of Nicolini, who by his contract was to be paid 150 [pounds sterling] each season for "a fair Score with the words & parts of an Opera to be by him fitted for the English stage every Season" (Milhous and Hume, Coke Papers 120). These operas would be based on works that Nicolini brought from Italy, with miscellaneous airs favoured by the Italian singers incorporated into them. Opera audiences, too, were beginning to demand new imported stars. Whereas theatre audiences were happy to see their favourite actors in their accustomed parts season after season, the opera audience demanded novelty and, as Cibber wrote, "that Novelty could never be supported but by an annual Change of the best Voices, which like the finest Flowers, bloom but for a Season, and when that is over, are only dead Nose-gays" (Cibber 242-43). By the beginning of the 1711-12 season the musicians who had been most responsible for the introduction of all-sung opera to London had been edged out of the company. (17) In December 1711 the Spectator printed a letter from Clayton, Haym and Dieupart registering their case against the current opera management: "It is not proper to trouble you with Particulars of the just Complaints we all of us have to make; but so it is, that without Regard to our obliging Pains, we are all equally set aside in the present Opera" (Spectator, 26 Dec. 1711, 41). In a follow-up letter three weeks later the trio attacked the pasticcios favoured by the castrati as "the Songs of different Authors injudiciously put together ... insomuch that the Ears of the People cannot now be entertained with any Thing but what has an impertinent Gayety, without any just Spirit; or a Languishment of Notes, without any Passion or common Sense" (Spectator, 18 Jan. 1712, 154). They proceeded to put on a subscription series of concerts at Clayton's house in York Buildings, and Clayton's settings of The Passion of Sappho, with words by William Harrison, and of Dryden's Alexander's Feast were performed there. The singers were not advertised or given in the wordbook but the Baroness presumably took part.

She had, of course, been making concert appearances during the years when she was singing in the operas, including one high-status event at Hickford's Dancing Room in James Street on 2 April 1707, when Francesco Conti organised a repeat of the music performed at court in celebration of the Union with Scotland:

... the Consort of Musick compos'd by him for her Majesty, and which he had the Honour to have perform'd at Court the Day the Act for the Union pass'd. Signiora Margarita, the Baroness, and Signior Valentino will sing in it, accompanied with several Instruments, and the said Signior Conti will play upon his great Theorbo, and on the Mandoline an Instrument not known yet ... Tickets to be had only at White's Chocolate-House, and at the Smyrna Coffee-House, at a Guinea a Ticket. (Daily Courant, 2 Apr. 1707)

This was a very expensive affair, for concert tickets usually cost five shillings or at most half a guinea (10s 6d) and no other concert in London at this time charged as much as a guinea (Milhous and Hume, London Stage 354).

The Baroness's appearances at private concerts continued, and it is easy to forget how lucrative these events were to singers and instrumentalists in the eighteenth century, for details rarely survive. In July 1709, three months after her last new operatic role, the Baroness was seen by the Female Tatler as the singer of choice for a private performance. The periodical's editor "Phoebe Crackenthorpe" (the playwright Thomas Baker) was satirising the luxurious life style of the Drury Lane performers. Robert Wilks and Cibber were "so far intoxicated with the Applause given 'em, as that they'll do their utmost off the Stage to appear the Persons they represent on it, and sometimes out-do 'em in Dress and Extravagant Living", while the actress Jane Rogers saw herself as a great lady, demanding a luxurious after-performance supper consisting of "a Dish of Ortelans,--a Bottle of Toccai, and the Baroness to sing to her" (Female Tatler, 18-20 Jul. 1709). (18)

A few records survive of public concerts at which the Baroness sang after she left the opera company. In spring 1713 she appeared in a series of four subscription concerts at weekly intervals put on by Haym at Hickford's Great Dancing Room (on 17 and 24 April and 1 and 8 May 1713, advertised in the Guardian on those dates). Three weeks later there was a concert at the same venue "for the Benefit of the Baroness and Mrs. Paulina", who was probably the pupil of Haym who sang in his subscription series (Daily Courant, 27 May 1713). By this time the Baroness was herself teaching singing. According to John Hawkins she was called in to attempt to rectify some faults in the voice of Anastasia Robinson, whose operatic career began in 1714:

To remedy some defects in her [Robinson's] singing, to mend if possible her shake, which was not altogether correct, and, above all, to make the Italian modulation familiar to her, the assistance of Sandoni, a celebrated teacher, was called in; but all that could be done by him, and the lady called the Baroness, a singer in the opera, then greatly caressed, in these respects was but little; she had a fine voice, and an extensive compass, but she wanted a nice and discriminating ear to make her a perfect singer. (Hawkins 302-03)

From 1714 to 1717 an annual benefit concert for the Baroness was held at Hickford's Room, her only advertised appearances after 1713 (Daily Courant, 15 Mar. 1714 (for 17 Mar.); 6 Apr. 1715; 20 Mar. 1716 (for 21 Mar.); 12 Apr. 1717). Teachers of singing tended to arrange annual benefits, for such concerts gave them a chance to display their skills and those of their pupils. The public appreciated variety in such concerts and each of the Baroness's benefit evenings featured an Italian virtuoso violinist, Francesco Maria Veracini in 1714, Alessandro Bitti "newly arriv'd from Italy" in 1715, Pietro Castrucci in 1716, and Bitti again in 1717. The Baroness performed songs from Pyrrhus and Demetrius in Italian and English in 1716, when that opera had just been revived completely in Italian at the King's Theatre with Anastasia Robinson in the Tofts role of Climene and Elena Croce Viviani in the Baroness's old role of Deidamia (Daily Courant, 10 Mar. 1716).

It seems that by this time the Baroness's husband had died or disappeared and that she and Haym were living together, or at least lodging in close proximity. For her benefit concert in 1714 tickets could be obtained from "the Baroness's House betwixt the Fleece Tavern and the Play-House [Drury Lane] in Bridges-street, Covent Garden" (Daily Courant, 15 Mar. 1714) and in April 1716 Haym collected subscriptions for his book The British Treasury at his lodgings "at Mr. Hudson's in Bridges-street, next to the Play-HouseGate". (19) Surprisingly, perhaps, there seems to have been no malicious gossip or scurrilous satire about the Baroness's relationship with Haym, although both Tofts and L'Epine suffered attacks on their reputations. The worst that seems to have been written about the Baroness was Evelyn's accusation (quoted above) that she took a large sum of money out of England, and even that came after his praise of her modesty, grace and skill.

The aristocrats who supported the Baroness's operatic career and employed her in private concerts seem not to have commented on her singing or gossiped about her personal life in their letters or diaries. In his extensive researches into eighteenth-century audiences for music, David Hunter has looked at numerous family papers and has told us that he has found only two references to the Baroness. In May 1711 Lord Ashburnham paid her two guineas for opera tickets, presumably for her last theatre benefit, and on 15 May 1713 Thomas Pitt, later to be Baron Londonderry, gave her half a guinea for a ticket for a concert, probably her joint benefit with Mrs Paulina on 27 May. Both seem to have paid generously above the ticket price, for the concert tickets were advertised at five shillings, and Lord Ashburnham had paid only five shillings for an opera ticket in the previous December. (20)

In his General History of Music Charles Burney wrote that "there is something so mysterious in the title and history of the singer called the BARONESS, that I am by no means qualified to be her biographer", and merely commented that her airs in Pyrrhus and Demetrius included "three or four songs which required abilities" (Burney 220). We now know her title and more about her personal circumstances and career, but key aspects of her life, including her date and place of birth and her early training, remain as mysterious as they were to Burney.


(1) Apart from her entries in ODNB and Oxford Music Online, there appears to be no material directly relevant to the Baroness's career published since Lindgren's 1987 article. New work relevant to the early all-sung operas can be found in Holman, who has much of interest about the musical direction of the early English/Italian operas, and McGeary ("Vice Chamberlain Coke"), whose material supplements Milhous and Hume's Coke Papers.

(2) Rebekah Ahrend discovered the baptismal record in the Stadsarchief Amsterdam (DeSimone 77). The register states that the parents were lawfully married.

(3) We are grateful to Ake Norstrom of the Swedish National Archives for investigating this for us.

(4) Lindgren noted that the derivation of her title was unknown, unless she was a member of the Locker von Lindenheim family or related to Isabella Lendehichem who married at the Portuguese Embassy Chapel in 1717 (Lindgren 257). Michael Talbot very kindly followed up for us a reference to a Slovenian family apparently called Lendenheim. However, the family, whose name proved to be Lehenheimb, seem not to be relevant.

(5) We are grateful to Thomas McGeary for alerting us to the copy of Li amori di Ergasto at Princeton University Library (Rare Books 3761.45.359) which, unlike the British Library copy, has facing Italian and English title pages. This title page indicates that the correct Italian title is Li amori ... not Gli amori.

(6) L'Epine appears not to have sung Greber's music after she returned from her visit to the continent in summer 1704 (Aspden).

(7) The musical and theatrical elements of the 1706 celebrations for the queen's birthday are described in detail in Baldwin and Wilson "England's Glory". That year, Ash Wednesday fell on 6 February, the Queen's birthday, so the celebrations were held on 5 February.

(8) A facsimile of the contract between Haym and Christopher Rich for the adaptation of Bononcini's opera (PRO LC7/3 ff. 86-87) forms the appendix to the Music for London Entertainment edition of Camilla.

(9) The 1709 edition of the wordbook for Camilla shows which airs and recitatives were sung in Italian.

(10) The various problems and false starts in setting up a separate opera company at the Queen's Theatre are fully covered in the introductions to the seasons 1707-10 in Milhous and Hume London Stage.

(11) The Baroness is not listed for the 1706-07 season in either Part 2 of Avery or Milhous and Hume London Stage.

(12) For Dieupart's role in promoting the production of Arsinoe, see McGeary "Thomas Clayton".

(13) In March 1708 Maria Gallia was advertised as "Signiora Sagoni" and then as "Signiora Maria Gallia Segonie" (Daily Courant, 20 and 22 Mar. 1708).

(14) The text of Love's Triumph was an English translation by Peter Motteux of Pietro Ottoboni's La Pastorella. It had music by Carlo Cesarini, Giovannino del Violone and Francesco Gasparini.

(15) For the final season of the operatic career of Catherine Tofts, see Baldwin and Wilson, "Harmonious Unfortunate" 231-32.

(16) The opera company at the Queen's Theatre put on 47 performances of three operas in 1708-09, 49 performances of five operas in the next season and 56 performances of six operas in 1710-11, in which season the theatre company at Drury Lane staged 78 different main pieces.

(17) Dieupart did not work for the company in 1710-11, by which time Mrs Tofts had left.

(18) Wilks and Cibber are here referred to as Dorimant and Sir Fopling, their roles in George Etherege's The Man of Mode, and Rogers as Statira, her role in Nathaniel Lee's The Rival Queens. Ortolans are small finches, considered a great delicacy, and Toccai [Tokay] is a sweet Hungarian wine.

(19) The printed proposals (copy at Lbl, 1602/437) give the address for Haym, but are undated. The proposals were advertised as available from the publisher, Tonson, in the Daily Courant, 28 Apr. 1716.

(20) The documents are at East Sussex Record Office (ASH/3000) and the National Archives, Kew (C 108/418). We are very grateful to David Hunter for sharing his findings with us.

Works Cited

Aspden, Suzanne. "L'Epine, Francesca Margherita de". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Web.

Avery, Emmett L., ed. The London Stage Part 2, 1700-1729. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1960.

Baldwin, Olive and Thelma Wilson. "England's Glory and the Celebrations at Court for Queen Anne's Birthday in 1706", Theatre Notebook 62:1 (2008): 7-19.

Baldwin, Olive and Thelma Wilson. "The Harmonious Unfortunate: New Light on Catherine Tofts", Cambridge Opera Journal 22:2 (2010): 217-34.

Baldwin, Olive and Thelma Wilson. "The Subscription Musick of 1703-4", Musical Times 153:1921 (2012): 29-44.

Bononcini, Giovanni. Camilla: Royal College of Music MS 779. Intro. Lowell Lindgren. Music for London Entertainment, Series E. London: Stainer and Bell, 1990.

Burney, Charles. A General History of Music, vol. 4. London: For the Author, 1789. Print.

Cibber, Colley. An Apology for the Life of Mr. Colley Cibber, Comedian. London: For the Author, 1740.

DeSimone, Alison. " 'Equally Charming, Equally Too Great': Female Rivalry, Politics, and Opera in Early Eighteenth-Century London", Early Modern Women 12:1 (2017): 73-101.

Downes, John. Roscius Anglicanus. Ed. Judith Milhous and Robert D. Hume. London: Society for Theatre Research, 1987.

Evelyn, John. The Diary of John Evelyn, vol. 5. Ed. E.S. de Beer. Oxford: Clarendon, 2000.

Hawkins, John. A General History of the Science and Practice of Music, vol. 5. London: Printed for T. Payne and Son, 1776.

Highfill, Philip H., Kalman P. Burnim and Edward A. Langhans. A Biographical Dictionary of Actors, Actresses, Musicians, Dancers, Managers and Other Stage Personnel in London,1660-1800, vol. 1. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1971.

Holman, Peter. Before the Baton: Conducting and Musical Direction in Stuart and Georgian Britain. Woodbridge: Boydell Press, forthcoming.

Hunter, David. Opera and Song Books Published in England 1703-1726. London: Bibliographical Society, 1997.

Lindgren, Lowell. "The Accomplishments of the Learned and Ingenious Nicola Francesco Haym (1678-1729)". Studi Musicale 16 (1987): 247-380.

McGeary, Thomas. "Thomas Clayton and the Introduction of Italian Opera to England". Philological Quarterly 72:2 (1998): 171-86.

McGeary, Thomas. "Vice Chamberlain Coke and Italian Opera in London: New Documents". Early Music, 46:4 (2018): 653-74.

Milhous, Judith and Robert D. Hume, eds. The London Stage, 1700-11. Revised online version, 2011. Web.

Milhous, Judith and Robert D. Hume, eds. Vice Chamberlain Coke's Theatrical Papers 1706-1715. Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1982.

Rand, Benjamin, Berkeley and Percival. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1914.

Olive Baldwin and Thelma Wilson have written extensively on seventeenth- and eighteenth-century singers and theatre performers for journals and for Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. They were Research Associates of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, for which they wrote over 60 articles, and have edited facsimile editions of the Complete Songs of Richard Leveridge and of the Monthly Mask of Vocal Music 1702-1711. Recent articles and papers include "Nancy Dawson, her Hornpipe and her Posthumous Reputation" (Restoration and Eighteenth-Century Theatre Research, 2016), "Dancing the Hornpipe in the Beggar's Opera" (Oxford Dance Symposium, 2018) and "Thomas Arne as a teacher of singers" (A Handbook for Studies in 18th-Century English Music, 2018).
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Title Annotation:THEATRE NOTEBOOK; Joanna Maria Lindehleim
Author:Baldwin, Olive; Wilson, Thelma
Publication:Theatre Notebook
Article Type:Biography
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Feb 1, 2019
Previous Article:British Theatre Companies: 1965-1979.

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