t h e   r o s a   t r o u p e

Fanny Moody and Charles Manners

Fanny Moody in Faust

Fanny Moody was one of a musical family born at Redruth in Cornwall on 23 November 1866. She began as an amateur soprano at local concerts and with the aid of local patronage later studied with Charlotte Sainton-Dolby in London. Singing at private concerts in the metropolis led to an introduction to Carl Rosa who eventually engaged her on a three year contract. She made her Rosa debut as Arline in Bohemian Girl at the Royal Court Theatre, Liverpool, on 15 January 1887 and quickly became a Rosa prima donna with leading roles in Nordisa, Carmen (Michaela), Mignon, Masaniello, Marriage of Figaro (Susanna), Robert the Devil (Alice), Faust, La Juive, and Puritan’s Daughter. The illustration shows her as Marguerite in Faust. In all she made about 330 appearances in ten operas, with a final Puritan’s Daughter at Drury Lane on 10 May 1890. Also her sister, Lily Moody, sometimes sang with the company.

Charles Manners

Charles Manners, really Charles Southcote Mansergh of Irish descent, born at Hoddesden in Hertfordshire on 27 December 1857, had a different route to the Rosa. He studied at the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin, Royal Academy of Music in London, and then in Florence. The D’Oyly Carte company recruited him to the chorus in 1882 and he rapidly progressed to leading roles creating the role of Private Willis in Iolanthe later in the year. He left the following year and for a time sang in light opera before joining the Carl Rosa in 1887 as a principal bass. He made his debut at Cork Opera House as King Henry in Lohengrin on 10 August 1887 and followed with Maritana, Masaniello, Don Giovanni, Robert the Devil, Faust, La Juive, and Star of the North. He made 184 Rosa appearances in these operas closing as Peter the Great in Meyerbeer’s Star of the North at the Royal Court Theatre on 24 May 1889.

They married in London on 5 July 1890 and commenced a hectic professional life together with provincial concerts, overseas tours, and operas in London which included the British premiere of Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. In 1898 after a successful concert tour of South Africa they formed their own company. They were not the first Rosa artists to go down this road but they were the most successful rivalling the Rosa until the Moody-Manners finally closed in 1916. They finally retired to Ireland where both died at Dundrum in County Dublin, Manners in 1935 and Moody a decade later. Both lived into the gramophone era but neither of them made recordings.

© 2017 John Ward

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