London: Various, 1850's. Hardcover. Squires' scores for three different operas, including Fra Diavolo, performed in Melbourne in 1861, signed many times, and Linda Di Chamounix, performed at the Theater Royal in Melbourne on Nov. 7th, 1861, extensively annotated by Squires for his performance as the lead.
Squires was an American tenor born in Bennington, Vermont in 1825. He was first trained in Troy NY, studied in Bologna Italy, and toured America when he appeared with Jenny Lind. In the early 1850s, he was performing in San Francisco. The Daily Alta newspaper, published in San Francisco, (1 December 1854); "We see by the papers that two American singers have met with the most unprecedented success on the continent of Europe. They are Mrs. Lucia Escott and Henry Squires. They went to Europe about three years ago, studied Italian and music at Bologne, (sic) and made their debut at Naples. Their triumph from the first was complete."
Squires and Mrs. Lucia Escott joined the Lyster's Grand Opera Company for what was intended as a limited tour in 1861. The Melbourne Argus 2nd March 1861 "The ship Achilles, which arrived from San Francisco yesterday, has brought to these shores a "complete opcratio troupe," comprising the names of Madame Lucy Escott, .... & the tenor, Mr. Henry Squiers..." . However, the tour was so successful that Lyster made Melbourne the home of an extensive touring operation for the next 20 years, Squires and Escott staying in Australia for eight more years. "'Known for his ‘legitimate head tones and skilfully (sic) managed falsetto notes’, Squires appeared in over 1300 performances during his eight year stay, the majority of which he performed in leading roles with his future wife, prima donna di forza, Lucy Escott" (National Portrait Gallery, Canberra). "Immediately before leaving for Australia they mounted a successful sixty-three night season at Maguire's Opera House, San Francisco. The group that made the voyage consisted of Squires, Escott, William Lyster, Fred Lyster, Georgia Hodson (Mrs. William Lyster), Rosalie Durand (Mrs. Fred Lyster), Ada King, Frank Trevor, Anton Reiff (conductor) and. W. Lloyd (stage manager). It seems unlikely that they brought much in the way of scenery, which was available in the well-equipped theatres of Melbourne, or of costumes, apart from the personal stage wardrobes of the principals; however, they did bring numbers of San Francisco printed libretto books, examples of which are in the La Trobe Library's collection."*
The Art Centre Melbourne holds a silk program for "Lyster's Grand Opera Company" production of "Linda di Chamouni" and "La Maja di Sevilla" at the Theatre Royal, 7 November 1861...printed on blue silk, with fringe. Henry Squires played the lead "Carlo". (reference available on request.)
FIRST VOLUME: Verdi's "Fra Diavolo A Comic Opera". Signed three times by Squires: on the ffep "Henry Squires Melbourne 1861 Theater Royal 30/-"; on the first page of the score; signed p. 97. With the binders label for Wm. Detmold, Melbourne. Musical score. Sml folio, 330pp, half brown leather, purple buckram boards bound by Wm. Detmold bookbinder, 35 Collins st East, Melbourne with his green binders label which is laid in on the rear inside cover. "Commenting on his performance as Fra Diavolo on 7 April 1861, the Argus noted that ‘Mr. Squires sang with his usual taste and finish’."
SECOND VOLUME Rossini's "Stabat Mater for four Voices & Chorus". Signed "Henry Squires" on the ffep and first page of the score. Sml folio, 80pp, bound in publishers purple cloth. Published London by Messrs. R. Cocks & Co, with a Sydney label "Moss, Music Seller, Hunter Street". (Sydney). Lewis Moss was a music seller and music publisher from 1851-82 in Sydney.
THIRD VOLUME Donizetti's "Linda Di Chamounix". Extensively annotated for performance, with Squires' notes on blank p. 250 and back ep. Roy. 8vo, 249pp, half black calf with title on spine and a handsome label on the front board "Squires" in gilt with gilt border decoration. The first page of the score bears the stamp of "Sold by S. Rosa San Francisco" in the top right corner and the pen signature, "J. Wilkie" in the top left corner.
Fra Diavolo and Stabat Mater are not much annotated, Linda Di Chamounix extensively annotated by Squires. Stabat Mater bumped lower front corner, cloth a little faded at edges. Overall, very nice copies of a missing piece of Australian operatic history.
*Love, Harold. "Henry Squires: An American Tenor in Australia", article in the La Trobe Journal of the State Library of Victoria, 16 October 1975. Very good condition. Item #27300