Opera Scotland

George Snazelle Suggest updates

George Harry Snazel; Mr G H Snazelle.

Born Sydenham, Surrey, 1848 (baptised 18 November).

Died Stockwell, London 1912.

English baritone.

He was known professionally as Mr G. H. Snazelle. Having begun his working life as a bank clerk (and moonlighting as a singer under an assumed name), he made his stage debut in Italian Opera at the Gaiety, Glasgow, stepping in as Mephistopheles when Signor Rota was indisposed.  Snazelle records that his entrance was much enhanced by the lycapodium flash used in those days. He was ignorant about making an entrance from a trap, and the flash set fire to the spirit-gum holding on his hairpiece, to the excitement of the audience.

He spent nine years singing 'second baritone' roles with Carl Rosa, then in other companies.  He sang in Italian opera companies, in comic opera and in musicals.  In 1888 he created the role of Bobadillo in Carina, a comic opera by Julia Woolf, at the London Opera-Comique. Latterly he trod the boards with his own show, building a considerable reputation as singer, raconteur and entertainer. He was well travelled, visiting the United States before moving to Australia.  The first documented use of the word 'snazzy' coupled with his surname in Wellington, New Zealand in 1901 suggests that his stage persona could have been the origin of the word.  In 1898 he published lightweight memoirs called Snazelleparilla.  Snazelle complained that he was paid five pounds a week when he was with Carl Rosa and playing lead roles, yet in Melbourne got twelve pounds a week extra over his regular wages for consenting to appear in a bald-head advertisemnt.

He is mentioned in the memoirs of Sir Thomas Beecham, A Mingled Chime.  Beecham as a young man got his break as a conductor for a ramshackle opera company touring round London suburbs in 1902, and records "that inveterate old joker, G.H. Snazelle, who was playing Devilshoof (in Bohemian Girl), succeeded in setting fire to the stage as a farewell gesture on the last night."

Roles in Scotland

Father Tom Parish Priest of Kenmare
Lily of Killarney 1877
Bartolo a doctor, the Countess's former guardian
Nozze di Figaro 1877
Charles II King of Spain
Maritana 1877
Maritana 1879
Arimanes a fiend
Satanella 1877
Page Herr Reich, a Windsor merchant
Lustigen Weiber von Windsor 1877
Much the miller's son, an outlaw
Robin Hood 1877
Devilshoof leader of the gypsies
Bohemian Girl 1879
Bohemian Girl 1880
Bohemian Girl 1882
Torteau a sculptor
Piccolino 1879
Baptista a rich gentleman of Padua
Taming of the Shrew 1880
Dancaïre a smuggler
Carmen 1880
Ferrando captain of Di Luna's guard
Trovatore 1880
Trovatore 1882
Malvolio
Alessandro Stradella 1880
Aboul-y-Vaz the Cadi
Cadi 1881
Count Monterone
Rigoletto 1882
Clopin King of the Beggars
Esmeralda 1883
Rocco gaoler
Fidelio 1883
Savelli a Corsican bandit
Colomba 1883
Colonel Ollendorf Governor of Cracow
Beggar Student 1884

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