Opera Scotland

Charles Webber Suggest updates

Born London c1875.

Died London, 29 July 1954.

English conductor.

Charles Webber is one of a succession of British musicians, mostly now forgotten, who played a vital role in the development of opera in Britain. He was, for several seasons, the highly versatile principal conductor of the Carl Rosa company, at a time when it was performing regularly at Covent Garden with a group of excellent singers, including a young Eva Turner.

He studied in Leipzig before joining the music staff at the Dresden State Opera, which achieved memorably high standards under the direction of Ernst von Schuch from 1882 to his death in 1914. During his period there, Webber was able to work on preparation of the premieres of three Strauss masterpieces, Salome (1905), Elektra (1909) and Der Rosenkavalier (1911). As a conductor, he worked with the companies at Chemnitz and Lübeck. 1914 saw him working as an assistant at Bayreuth, where one of his assignments was to play the bells in Parsifal.

On his return to Britain, his engagements included a period with the Carl Rosa company in the twenties, when he toured widely throughout the UK at a time when the company's standards were at their highest. He then joined the music staff at Covent Garden during the international seasons, and in 1932 he conducted Tannhäuser there.

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