Opera Scotland

Frederick Weatherly Suggest updates

Frederick (later Frederic) Edward Weatherly.

Born Portishead, 4 October 1848.

Died Bath, 7 September 1929.

English barrister (eventually KC),  lyricist, librettist and translator.

Frederick Weatherly provided the words for an enormous number of successful songs which remained popular well into the twentieth century. Four notable settings by Stephen Adams (Michael Maybrick 1844-1913) were The Holy City, The Star of Bethlehem, Nirvana and Thora. The Old Brigade became popular in a setting by Odoardo Barri (c1840-1920). A later, and perhaps more familiar composer, Eric Coates (1886-1957) had lasting success with The Green Hills o' Somerset and Star of God. Perhaps most famous of all is the hugely popular lyric known as Danny Boy, set to the existing melody The Londonderry Air. There were hundreds in total.

As a translator of opera libretti he produced usable English versions of several works of the verismo school, most importantly Cavalleria Rusticana (1892) and Pagliacci,(1893) both of which remained in use for over half a century. Mascagni's later works L'amico Fritz (1892) and I Rantzau (1893) were also staged, with less success, in his English versions. He also provided the performing version of a French opera of similar vintage, Bruneau's L'Attaque du Moulin staged in 1915.

As an original librettist he collaborated on the texts for Signa (Cowen 1893) and The Lady of Longford (Leonhard Emil Bach 1894).

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