THE LEEDS PEOPLE versus THE TIMES NEWSPAPER

To the EDITOR of the HARMONICON.

Leeds, October 22, 1827

SIR,

I need not tell you that we have just had an opportunity of hearing Madame Pasta in this town, for the fact has been pretty generally learnt through the medium of the Times Newspaper; the editor of which has thought fit to imply, that the general disappointment which the singing of this lady produced in Leeds, is a proof, not of her want of attraction in a concert-room, but of our defective taste—of our barbaric ignorance. Now, sir, the diligence with which the art of music is cultivated by most classes here, is well known to all who are acquainted with the habits of this great town, though the Times may not have thought it worth while to acquire any information on the subject; and in proportion to our population, we have, I boldly assert, more good judges of music among our amateurs, than are to be found in the same class in London, where opinion is so much governed by fashion, and so little influenced by judgment.

I admit Madame Pasta’s merit on the stage, on which I have often heard her with pleasure, though I am only a dull, provincial manufacturer. Even there, however, I think she is over-rated, or, rather, over-puffed; but in a concert-room, the huskiness of her voice, and the uncertainty of her intonation, not being covered by superior acting, disappoint those whose expectations are raised too high by the inordinate, unqualified praise bestowed on her by the London press. I can further inform the Editor of the Times, that this is not only the feeling of us, the poor, stupid people of Leeds, but also of many professors who are in the habit of hearing her everywhere; and likewise of some able and impartial critics who were present at her performances in Norwich, Worcester, and Liverpool.

I am, Sir, &c.,

A YORKSHIREMAN.

Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)

Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)

If you ever find yourself in Leeds and fancy some pasta, I can recommend Salvo’s.

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2 Responses to “THE LEEDS PEOPLE versus THE TIMES NEWSPAPER”

  1. Michael H. Says:

    My only musical experience in Leeds is hearing the first performance, in Leeds grand Town Hall, of a new work by Richard Rodney Bennett, but I cannot remember what ’twas’. But I have seem much theatre tnere. I remember a young Ian McKellen in ‘Richard II’ and I’ve often seen plays at Leeds West Yorkshire Playhouse. And I’ve been to Leeds City Varieties. It’s a bit of a push though from Blackpool for a day’s outing by car over the Pennines…….

    • Gareth Says:

      My grandfather was present at the first performance of Walton’s Belshazzar’s Feast at Leeds Town Hall on 8 October 1931. He’d have been 14. I think as a rule he preferred G&S.

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