Singing Stars and Singing Students: The Bath Assembly Room Concerts

Research output: Contributions to conferencesPaper


Castrato singer and singing-master, Venanzio Rauzzini (1746–1810) was sole director of the Bath subscription concert series, held at the Bath Assembly Rooms, from 1780 until his death in 1810. Under his direction, the series was very popular, in part because he attracted opera stars such as Gertrud Mara (1749-1833) and Elizabeth Billington (1765?–1818), to sing. He also used the subscription series as a platform to showcase his aspiring professional students. One notable student, whose successful career was launched at the Bath concerts, was tenor singer, John Braham (c. 1774–1856). He trained with Rauzzini from around 1794 and performed as a principal singer at the Bath concerts during the 1794-95 and 1795-96 seasons. Rauzzini arranged for Stephen Storace (1762–1796), who was resident composer at Drury Lane, to hear Braham in Bath. The tenor must have made a lasting impression as he debuted on 30 March 1796, in the title role of Storace’s new opera Mahmond. Other singers, such as Ann Cantelo (1766–1831) and Elizabeth Clendining (bap. 1767–1799), who also performed at the Bath concerts, could credit Rauzzini with launching their professional careers. This paper will discuss just how many of Rauzzini’s pupils performed at the concerts during his tenure as director and will highlight how many went onto have professional careers. Indeed, I will argue that public performance was an important part of an aspiring professional singer’s development. Likewise, the initial and later success of his pupils was established Rauzzini as a renowned singing master.


Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished or Performed - 29 Sept 2021
EventBath 250 Virtual Conference - Bath Assembly Rooms, Bath, United Kingdom
Duration: 29 Sept 202130 Sept 2021


ConferenceBath 250 Virtual Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address