My latest book, Innocence and Impropriety by Diane Gaston is out in bookstores this month.
Rose, the heroine of Innocence and Impropriety, is a Vauxhall singer who aspires to sing opera at the King’s Theatre, a dream her mother was unable to fulfill in her own youth. The hero, Flynn, makes Rose’s wish come true.
The King’s Theatre of 1817, when Innocence and Impropriety is set, was located in Haymarket in London and possessed the exclusive right to hold performances of Italian Opera. The first theatre on the site was built in 1705. It burned down in 1789 and was rebuilt in 1791--the theatre of the story.
The theatre had five tiers of boxes for which the beau monde purchased subscriptions for the season.
Mozart’s Don Giovanni had its London premiere at King’s Theatre in 1816, and was performed at the theatre in 1817 when the story is set.
Invoking the name of his employer, the Marquis of Tannerton, and providing generous payment out of Tannerton’s funds, Flynn arranges with Mr. Ayrton, director of the season, to have Rose tutored in the opera by Miss Hughes-Gatti, who sang Elvira in Don Giovanni, and Signor Angrisani, who played Don Giovanni.
Mr. Ayrton really was the musical director who brought Don Giovanni to the London stage and Signor Angrisani and Miss Hughes-Gatti did perform the opera.
When Victoria ascended the throne, The King’s Theatre became Her Majesty’s Theatre. By 1847 it no longer carried the title Italian Opera House, and it became the London theatre to showcase romantic ballet. In 1867 the theatre burned down and another was built but later demolished in 1892 and replaced by the present building.
Today Her Majesty’s Theatre in the Haymarket is home to Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera, premiering at the theatre in 1986 and remaining there ever since.
When I am able, I love to pepper my books with real historical characters such as these. To me, it brings the history alive and makes the story more real. And setting my stories in real places like King’s theatre and Vauxhall Gardens helps to transport me to the era I love the most--The Regency.
What Regency settings have you enjoyed the most?
(Images of the theatre and some of the above factual information comes from Wikipedia)
Read Reviews of Innocence and Impropriety at Amazon and Romance Readers Today.
Vote for Diane’s A Reputable Rake for Favorite Historical and her Mistletoe Kisses for Favorite Anthology at eHarlequin.com.
Visit Diane every Monday at Risky Regengies.