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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: July 2019

Chapter 4 - Midas, Kane O’Hara and the Italians: An Interplay of Comedy between London and Dublin

from Part II - Symbiotic Stages: Dublin and London


One of the works of the 1764 season at Covent Garden was a new burletta called Midas. Midas was, though, not ‘new’; it was only new to London: an early version of the work had its first staging privately in 1760 in Lurgan near Belfast, and the first professional version was at Dublin’s Crow Street Theatre in 1762. The professional version was prepared in response to the appearance in Dublin of an Italian burletta company, a company that had previously performed in London and would do so again after its Dublin engagement. This interplay of repertory between the two cities - of which Midas was the most obvious product - resulted both in a new genre and a tangling with Italian opera troupes. Midas was the product of a group of Irishmen, of whom Kane O’Hara, the librettist, was the most important and the most enigmatic; this chapter explores his role in the cross-currents of drama between the two cities. In so doing, Burden’s chapter re-contextualises the history of the burletta and offers a powerful demonstration that theatre historians cannot and should not write about London’s theatre in isolation: regional influences were important tributaries to the Georgian capital’s culture.