Costa, Michael correspondence Edit




  • 1846 – 1909 (Creation)


  • 1 Boxes (Whole)




  • Abstract

    The Michael Costa correspondence collection is comprised primarily of letters to nineteenth-century Italian-born British conductor and composer Michael Costa (1808-1884) covering his personal and professional life from 1846-1884 and the years following his death until 1909. The collection also includes a few contracts, receipts, documents, photographs and artefacts related to Costa.

  • Scope and Contents

    The collection includes letters, contracts, receipts, and other documents, photographs and artefacts addressed to or otherwise related to Italian-born British conductor and composer Michael Costa (1808-1884) dating from 1846-1909.

  • Arrangement

    Correspondence is arranged first by correspondent and then chronologically within each folder. For correspondents identifiable only by partial names, folders are labeled with the known partial name and either bracketed names (likely name) or "unknown" (undecipherable) for the unidentifiable names. For unknown correspondents, letters have been arranged by date. Documents, photographs and artefacts have been grouped separated by item type.

  • Immediate Source of Acquisition

    Materials were previously separated from the Moldenhauer Collection and combined with subsequent acquisitions of Michael Costa correspondence and other materials.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    No restrictions. Collection open to research.

  • Biographical / Historical

    Michael Costa (1808-1884) was a nineteenth century British conductor and composer of Italian birth. He led a number of English musical organizations and ensembles, composed three symphonies, several cantatas, operas including "Don Carlos" (1844), and the oratorios "Eli" (1855) and "Naaman" (1864). While critics somewhat disagreed on his overall merits as a conductor, he was generally well-regarded as an excellent orchestra trainer.

    Costa served as maestro of the King’s Theatre (later Her Majesty’s Theatre) from 1830 to 1946 and then founded the Royal Italian Opera at Covent Garden where he remained until 1871. Costa was also named conductor of the Philharmonic Society in 1846, conducting this group until 1854 when he returned to Her Majesty’s Theatre and served as musical director from 1871 until the company merged with the Covent Garden company in 1881.

    Costa also led the Sacred Harmonic Society from 1848 until its dissolution in 1882, directed the first years of the Handel Festivals at the Crystal Palace from 1857 to 1880, and led provincial choral festivals in Bradford (1853), Leeds (1874) and Birmingham (1849 to 1882). His most widely performed works, the oratorios “Eli” and “Naaman” were written for these festivals. He received numerous awards in England and abroad, and was knighted by Queen Victoria in 1869.

  • Processing Information

    Collection processed August 2017 by Alan Akers and Nicholas Ritter.

  • Related Materials

    Other materials related to Michael Costa and his circle may be found in the Moldenhauer Collection– especially in relation to his professional relationship with the celebrated double-bassist Dominico Dragonetti. Additional letters written by or to Costa may also be found in the Musical Autograph Collection.