LAST MODIFIED Thursday 13 September 2018 18:20

Anna Bishop and Nicholas Bochsa in Australia

Dr GRAEME SKINNER (University of Sydney)


To cite this:

Graeme Skinner (University of Sydney), "Anna Bishop and Nicholas Bochsa in Australia", Australharmony (an online resource toward the history of music and musicians in colonial and early Federation Australia):; accessed 24 September 2018

BOCHSA, Nicholas Charles (The Chevalier BOCHSA)

Harpist, pianist, conductor, composer, teacher

Born Montmédy, France, 9 August 1789
Arrived Sydney, NSW, 3 December 1855 (per Kit Carson from San Francisco)
Died Sydney, NSW, 6 January 1856 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier)

BISHOP, Anna (Miss RIVIERE; Mrs. Henry BISHOP; Madame Anna BISHOP; Mrs. Martin SCHULZ; Madame BISHOP SCHULZ)

Soprano vocalist

Born London, England, 9 January 1810
Married Henry Rowley BISHOP, England, 1831

First tour 1855-57:

Arrived Sydney, 3 December 1855 (per Kit Carson, from San Francisco)
Departed Sydney, 23 September 1857 (per Manitou, for Callao)

Married Martin SCHULZ, New York, USA, 1858

Second tour 1868-69:

Arrived (1) King George Sound, WA (for Adelaide, SA), 8 May 1868 (per Geelong, from Point de Galle)
Departed (1) Sydney, NSW, 16 December 1868 (per Hero, for Auckland, New Zealand)
Arrived (2) Melbourne, VIC, 24 February 1869 (per Alhambra, from Wellington, NZ)
Departed (2) Adelaide, SA, around 24 May 1869 (per mail steamer, for Europe)

Third tour 1874-75:

Arrived Sydney, NSW, 9 November 1874 (per City of Melbourne, from San Francisco)
Departed Sydney, NSW, 7 August 1875 (per Osyth, via Melbourne and Cape Town, for London)

Died New York, USA, 18/19 March 1884 (TROVE tagged by Australharmony) (NLA persistent identifier)


He was son of a Bohemian musician, Charles (Karl) Bochsa, and his name was generally pronounced BOX-sa by his homeleand British, American, and Australian contemporaries; see, for example: "A FRENCHMAN", The Courier (28 May 1841), 4:

Previously in England he had been a teacher of later Australian residents Lewis Lavenu, Stephen Marsh, Charles Packer, Ernesto Spagnoletti (senior), and Madame De Storr.

Bochsa arrived in Australia via the Pacific route, with his companion, the singer Anna Bishop, on 3 December 1855 ("MADAME BISHOP", Empire (4 December 1855), 5:

Copies of Bochsa's music had been advertised for sale in Launceston as early as 1834. Early Australian performances of Bochsa's music included those given by the Gautrots (songs, 1839), Joseph Reichenberg (a "concerto" for clarinet with orchestral accompaniment, 1841), John Howson, Richard and Mrs. Curtis and G. F. Duly (Concertante for flute and harp, 1842; and Quartetto for harp, piano, flute, and cello, 1842, played again by Maria Prout and Julius Imberg with amateurs in 1848), and by his former pupils Maria Prout and Stephen Marsh (1842). In Sydney in November 1845, the band of the 99th regiment accompanied Marsh in "a Grand Fantasia, on the Harp, of Bochsa's (performed for the first time in the southern hemisphere), entitled, "Recollections of Wales", introducing several very favourite Welsh Airs."

Bochsa's and Bishop's Sydney programs included one recent American work by Bochsa, A characteristic Fantasia for the orchestra based on Bochsa's own "Mexican song", La Pasadita. Another recent work, and possibly a first performance, was "Bochsa's new Whimsical Overture for full Orchestra", The past and the present. Bochsa was reportedly already ill on arrival in Sydney, and Stephen Marsh, already engaged as piano accompanist for Bishop's Sydney concerts, took over as musical director after the first concert. Bochsa's condition worsened, and he died in Sydney shortly afterward. He was buried in the churchyard at St. Stephen's, Camperdown (now Newtown). One item of his funeral music was arranged from a tune that he had reportedly written on his deathbed.

According to the press report of his obsequies, this "dying chant" was shortly to have been published, to a specially-written English text, as Rest, great Musician, rest! But, if so, it does not survive.

After Bochsa's death, Bishop continued to perform his music in Australia, notably the Mexican "castanet" song La bajadere, also printed locally in W. J. Johnson's Sydney Harmonicon (no copy survives, but see US edition:

Some previous commentators have suggested that, at the time of her first visit in 1855, Bishop was reduced to visiting outposts like Australia because she was unwelcome in homeland Britain, on account of her adulterous relationship with Bochsa. Contemporary sources would seem to suggest that this was either not generally so, or at least an exaggeration. Henry Bishop's death in 1855, followed by Bochsa's demise early in 1856, at the outset of her colonial tour, may well have helped silence wider discussion of any perceived immorality on her part. Notwithstanding, when she left Australia for South America in 1857, her musical director, George Loder, and agent Rees, made for London, presumably there to organise her return. And in December 1858, having tested the waters in the colonies, she appeared again on a London stage for the first time in 10 years.

Early documentation on Bochsa and Bishop in Australian and other sources

BOCHSA, in John Sainsbury (ed.), A dictionary of musicians from the earliest ages to the present time . . . vol. 1 (London: printed for Sainsbury and Co., 1824), 102-03 

"LIBEL.-BOCHSA v. FISHER AND SMITH", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (2 May 1827), 4

ROYAL ACADEMY OF MUSIC", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (11 May 1827), 4

"THE KING v. FISHER AND ANOTHER", The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (23 May 1827), 4

"THE PRESS AND THE LAW OF LIBEL", The Monitor (8 June 1827), 2

[Advertisement], Launceston Advertiser (11 September 1834), 1

"ELOPEMENT", Australasian Chronicle (6 December 1839), 4

[Advertisement], Australasian Chronicle (10 December 1839), 3

"MORI AND BOCHSA BECOME ITINERANT MUSIC-MONGERS", The Sydney Monitor (24 January 1840), 4

"A FRENCHMAN", The Courier (28 May 1841), 4

[Advertisement], The Australian (31 August 1841), 4

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (8 June 1853), 1 

... TUESDAY EVENING, JUNE 20, Under distinguished Patronage. MADAME DE STORR, Harpist, Pupil of Signor Bochsa, begs to notify to the gentry of Sydney and its environs that she purposes giving a Grand Evening Concert at the Royal Victoria Theatre ...

"EDITOR'S TABLE", The pioneer; or, California monthly magazine (February 1854), 112 

"ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (13 October 1854), 4 

. . . We perceive by the San Francisco journals that Madame Anna Bishop and M. Bochsa have been starring at that city; and we are informed that they propose to visit Sydney.


[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (5 July 1855), 1 

MADAME NAEGUELI, pupil of Bochsa, gives lessons on the harp and flower painting . . .

ASSOCIATIONS: Mary Richardson Naegueli (d. 1866)

"A SINGULAR MISTAKE", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (21 July 1856), 2 

A rumour was industriously bruited about, on Thursday night, that Madame Anna Bishop and Bochsa the harpist had arrived by a vessel from San Francisco. The acting managers of our rival theatres were on the qui vive, and galloping about in cabs, at reckless speed, to discover the hostelry to which the musical lions had adjourned. Enormous sums were talked of as about to be offered in the expected out bidding; and milliners and tailors blandly congratulated themselves on the prospect of full-dress nights at both houses, as Miss Catherine Hayes will arrive in a few days, and would surely take whichever theatre was left open. However, the next morning proved the whole to have been concocted by some wag or fool; and the unfortunate stage managers are left in a state of pitiful enervation consequent on the false excitement.

Sydney, NSW (3 December 1855 to 6 January 1856)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE, ARRIVALS", Empire (4 December 1855), 4 

December 3. - Kit Carson, American ship, 996 tons, Captain Seth Crowell, from San Francisco October 2. Passengers - Monsieur Le Chevalier C. N. Bochsa, Madame Anna Bishop, Miss Maria Phaleu, W. J. Berry, Delia Berry, Martin Schultz, Bartholomew Rees, John Jeffrey, and 15 in the steerage. Agents, Wilkinson Brothers and Co.

[Ship news], The Sydney Morning Herald (4 December 1855), 4 

The Kit Carson, which arrived yesterday, is a new American clipper ship of very pretty model. She left San Francisco on the 2nd October, and has experienced light winds and calms nearly the whole time . . . By the Kit Carson, Madame Anna Bishop, accompanied by Bochsa, Miss Phelan, and Mr. B. Rees have arrived.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (5 December 1855), 1 

GREAT MUSICAL NEWS. - The celebrated Madame ANNA BISHOP, and her musical director and manager, BOCHSA, have arrived. Due notice will be given of Madame Anna Bishop's first performance in Sydney. Any message on business to be directed to Mr. BOCHSA, Royal Hotel.

[Advertisement], Empire (6 December 1855), 1 

ROYAL VICTORIA THEATRE. - A. TORNING respectfully intimates to his Friends and the Public, that he has succeeded in engaging the world renowned PRIMA-DONNA, MADAME ANNA BISHOP, AND CHEVALIER BOCHSA, the great COMPOSER, HARPIST, AND PIANIST.

ASSOCIATIONS: Andrew Torning

"THEATRICAL ON DITS", The Argus [Melbourne, VIC] (10 December 1855), 5 

Madame Anna Bishop with M. Bochsa, having arrived at Sydney, and being ultimately bound for this colony, we have less to regret in connection with the departure of Miss Hayes than we could have imagined a few weeks ago. Madame Bishop has been pronounced by the British press one of the finest sopranos of the stage at home; and we anticipate for her in this colony an equal amount of public favor. It is gratifying to find that at the antipodes we can command in succession the efforts of the best artistes, both in the historic and the lyrical drama. A Madame Cailly, whose reputation as an operatic artiste is not of today, has arrived. From the evidence now before us in this lady's favor, we may pronounce her an acquisition to any stage which may be the scene of her performance in this colony.

Mid December 1855, Sydney

"From our Regular Correspondent (SAN FRANCISCO, March, 15, 1856)", Marysville Daily Herald [California, USA] (18 March 1856), 2 

. . . By this mail we had a few days latter from Melbourne. Madame Anna Bishop is at Sidney, but not yet singing. She is living with her daughter, and Madame B. will not appear in public for some time. Old Bochsa is failing fast, and his medical men say cannot live over a month. The Backus troupe of "niggers" are doing fairly, that's all. Gustavus Brooke is draeing crowds, and leaves for this sity in two months time. Chatharine Hays [sic] is not making the money she did in former times.

10 December 1855, extract from a letter from Bartholomew Rees, Sydney

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP IN SYDNEY", Sacramento Daily Union (12 May 1856), 4 

The San Francisco Chronicle publishes the following extract from a letter written by the agent of Mad. Bishop:

SYDNEY, Dec. 10, 1855.

We arrived here on the 3d, and this is the first opportunity I have had to write to you. I send this by way of Valparaiso, as there is no ship up for San Francisco at present. We were boarded outside the Heads by the reporters and managers of both theaters, offering big engagements, &c. I came up from the heads in a small boat. I was instantly seized on my arrival here in the evening, and put on the free list at both theaters. Then came champagne, oyster suppers, &c, and it was kept up until a very late hour in the night. We play at the Victoria in a week from now. Everything here in Sydney is very dull now. Everybody thinks that Madame will do well, and I hope she may. Bochsa has increased the prices to an immense rate - and that is going to hurt us. Bochsa has people to come and see him that he has not seen for thirty years - his old pupils at the Academy. His reputation and fame as a musician have long preceded him. He has been very sick since we landed.

This Sydney is a beautiful place - one of the finest cities I was ever in. It has beautiful parks, domains, drives, and its buildings are composed chiefly of granite. There are more women here than I ever saw together in my life. Women are not thought much of here, and they do all the hard work - open oysters in the streets. At all the taverns the proprietor's wife tends on the bar. Everybody drinks here - men, women and children. Water is not drank at all; you see none at dinner it is either ale, pint of sherry, or a cobbler of gin or brandy. To-day the town is in a great state of excitement - stores are closed - all business suspended, on account of the news brought by a packet ship to Melbourne that Sevastopol was taken. I must say that the English here in the Colonies are a very enthusiastic people. For my part, I hardly believe it - it has been taken so many times. B.

P. S. - You can tell them that the Backus Minstrels took the town by storm - they are doing an immense business here. They are now playing in Melbourne.

[Advertisement], Empire (14 December 1855), 1 

ANNA BISHOP. - Just published, a new edition of the interesting Biography of the above eminent Songstress. Also, a Sketch of Bochsa's Life. Price, 1s. At all Book and Music Stores.

"THEATRICAL", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 15 December, p. 3. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

[Advertisement], Empire (15 December 1855), 1 

NOTICE. A. TORNING begs to inform his friends and the public, that in consequenxce of the indisposition of Chevalier Bochsa, Madame ANNA BISHOP'S GRAND CONCERT is POSTPONED, until THURSDAY EVENING, the 20th instant.

[Advertisement], Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 21 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

22 December 1855, first concert

"Prince of Wakes Theatre", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 22 December, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

1855 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 22 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

"PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE", The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 24 December, p. 4. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

Madame Anna Bishop made her first appearance at this theatre on Saturday evening, in a musical entertainment; the selections being from the works of Bellini, Sir H. R. Bishop, Moore, and other composers of the Italian, English, and Irish schools. M. Bochsa presided. The whole of the vocal selections were rendered by Madame Anna Bishop, who was very successful.

1855 'SYDNEY.', The Argus (Melbourne, Vic. : 1848 - 1957), 31 December, p. 5. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", Empire (24 December 1855), 4 

26 December 1855, second concert

1855 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 26 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

27 December 1855, third concert

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 29 December, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

29 December 1855, fourth concert

1855 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 29 December, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

[Advertisement], Bell's Life in Sydney (29 December 1855), 3

"PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE", Empire (3 January 1856), 4

3 January 1856, . . . concert

1856 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 3 January, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

1856 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 4 January, p. 7. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

"THE DRAMA. PRINCE OF WALES", Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 5 January, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

5 January 1856, . . . concert

1856 'Advertising', Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 5 January, p. 1. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

Bochsa's obituaries

"DEATH", The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 7 January, p. 8. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

On the 6th instant, at the Royal Hotel, Mr. N. C. Bochsa, aged 65 years.

"FUNERAL", The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 8 January, p. 5. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

"DEATH AND OBSEQUIES OF THE LATE M. BOCHSA [COMMUNICATED]", The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 9 January, p. 4. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

At the Royal Hotel, on Sunday night last, shortly be- fore twelve o'clock, expired this illustrious and world- famed musician. For many years he had been a great physical sufferer, yet he maintained his mental and musical abilities unimpaired through all corporeal in- firmities. A full history of his life is unnecessary in our columns, for it is known to all who take any in- terest in the profession of "sweet sounds," and we therefore give but a short sketch. He was a native of Prague, but at an early age became celebrated in Paris, then the centre of the beaux arts, as the most talented harpist of his, or any former or later day. He was immediately attached to the private artistic troupe of the Emperor Napoleon, and received an appointment as Maitre de Concerts, or, as in the German Courts, "Kapel-meister." For years he astonished and de- lighted all Europe, and finally adopted England as his home. In estimating the powers of M. Bochsa, it must be well borne in mind that he was not a mere in- strumentalist, but also a great composer ; and, above all, one of the most comprehensive and rapid scorers that ever undertook the heavy task of operatic and orchestral arrangement. His lamented decease was much hastened by fatigue and privation of comforts during a tedious passage from San Francisco to Sydney ; and though he rallied sufficiently to preside at Madame Anna Bishop's debut, the exertion proved too much for his exhausted frame, and he was soon obliged to keep his chamber. For some days prior to his decease he was aware that his Sands were near out, but he neither conversed nor complained on the ap- proaching finale. Death did not appear immediately imminent on Sunday evening, and Madame Bishop and the attendants had already bid him "good night," when he suddenly heaved a deep sigh, and nought remained of the great maestro but his earthly tenement. It is, however, a consolatory reflection that he departed without the mortal agony of a struggle between soul and body, and that every service and kindness surrounded his death-bed. Yesterday (Tuesday) morning was appointed for his funeral, and every preparation was made to render due homage in the obsequies to his long and justly- earned fame. Soon after nine o'clock a large assem- blage of the leading members of the musical and his- trionic profession, with many private individuals, as- sembled at the Royal Hotel, and preparations were immediately made for marshalling the procession, by Mr. Curtis, the undertaker. At ten o'clock the cortege moved, preceded by mutes and pall-bearers. The hearse was drawn by four horses, all surmounted with plumes ; and an open car, containing the wind- instrumentalists of the united theatrical orchestras, immediately followed ; the band playing sad dirges throughout the route to the cemetery at Newtown. Several mourning coaches came next in order, occu- pied by those in closest relation to the departed ; and a long string of private vehicles closed the funeral line. When arrived at the burial-ground, a foot procession was formed, and paced slowly after the coffin to the solemn "Dead March in Saul." The sepultral rites were performed according to the English Episcopalian service, and a large crowd of uncovered followers and spectators testified to their respect of the deceased Bochsa and the impressiveness of the occasion. At the close of the accustomed prayers, a singular and affecting ceremony took place in the chaunting over the grave a truly wailing "Requiem." The occasion of this is very interesting, and we give the touching tale as a real matter of fact. Nearly every one has heard the lovely melody of "Weber's last Waltz," and that it was the last pro- duction of the expiring composer. With the same Ruling passion, strong in death, did Bochsa three days before his demise, also com- pose a mournful refrain, as if therein bidding "fare- well" to his stay on earth. His mind was rather wandering at the time, but he gave the score to a female attendant, and told her to take great care of it. However, the scrap of music paper was forgotten till the afternoon before the funeral, when she gave it to Madame Bishop, and, struck with the solemnity and appropriateness of the air, she requested that words might be arranged to it, and sung over his last resting- place. Accordingly, the Latin "Requiem" from the Catholic Ritual was adapted by Mr. Frank Howson, and harmonised in four parts by Mr. Paling, was most effectively tendered. So affecting was the circumstance of the composition, and the subject of its melody, that tears came unbidden to the eyes of many, "albeit unused to the melting mood." This dying chaunt will shortly be published, the following stanzas having been written thereto at pri- vate request : - Rest ! Great Musician, rest ! Thine earthly term is o'er, And may thy tuneful soul To choirs seraphic soar ! Tho' hush'd thy mortal tones, Their echoes yet remain - For in thine own sad chords We chaunt thy burial strain. Rest ! mighty genius, rest ! We sing thee not "adieu" - Thy melodies still live, And name and fame renew. Yet may our pray'rs to Heav'n For thee be not in vain, As in thine own sad chords We chaunt thy burial strain.

'Advertising', The Sydney Morning Herald (NSW : 1842 - 1954), 9 January, p. 5. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

A CARD. - Madame ANNA BISHOP avails herself of the earliest opportunity to tender her grateful acknowledgments to her musical and other kind friends for the extreme cosideration evinced towards herself since the death of her lamented instructor, the Chevalier Bochsa, and to assure them how deeply sensible she is of the respect and regard manifested by such a numerous attendance at his obsequies this morning. Royal Hotel, January 8th, 1856.

"DEATH AND OBSEQUIES OF THE LATE M. BOCHSA", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 January 1856), 4

... Bochsa, three days before his death, also compose[d] a mournful refrain ... Madame Bishop was struck with the solemnity and appropriateness of the air ... Accordingly, the Latin Requiem from the Catholic Ritual was adapted by Mr. Frank Howson, and harmonised in four parts by Mr. Paling ...  The dying chaunt will shortly be published, the following stanzas having been written thereto [prints text]

"DEATH OF CHEVALIER BOCHSA", Bell's Life in Sydney (12 January 1856), 2

"THE LATE CHEVALIER BOCHSA", Empire (9 January 1856), 5

1856 'PRINCE OF WALES.', Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 12 January, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

"DEATH OF CHEVALIER BOCHSA" Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 12 January, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

1856 'DEATH AND OBSEQUIES OF THE LATE M. BOCHSA.', The Age (Melbourne, Vic. : 1854 - 1954), 18 January, p. 4. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

1856 'Sydney.', The Moreton Bay Courier (Brisbane, Qld. : 1846 - 1861), 19 January, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

Bochsa's grave, St Stephen's Churchyard, Newtown

Bochsa's gravestone in the cemetery, St. Stephen's Church, Newtown, is near the (liturgical) west door of the church; see also "Monument in memory of N. C. Bochsa, erected by Anna Bishop over his grave in Camperdown Cemetery, 1856"

"Death of Bochsa, the harpist", Dwight's journal of music (3 May 1836), 36 

Robert Nicholas Charles Bochsa, the celebrated harpist, died at Sydney, Australia, on the 7th of January. The only biographical sketch that we possess of this rather famous individual, says that he was born at Montmedi, in the department of the Meuse, in France, in 1789, so that his age was but sixty-seven, though he was generally supposed to be older. His father was first performer on the hautboy in the Grand Theatre at Lyons, and he began to learn music before anything else. Indeed some of the stories told of him remind one of the infancy of Mozart; for he is said to have publicly performed a concerto on the piano, when only seven years old, to have written "a duet and symphony for the flute" when only nine, to have composed ballet overtures and a quartet when only eleven, and an opera called "Trajan" when only sixteen.

His family having removed to Bordeaux, Bochsa began to study composition under Beck, and marvellous stories are told of his progress, and of his rapidly acquired skill upon nearly every instrument of the orchestra, but especially upon the harp, the pianoforte, the flute, and the tenor. From Bordeaux he was taken to Paris, placed in the Conservatory, under Catel, and at the end of the first year, won the first prize in harmony. He then continued the study of composition under Mehul, but at the same time devoted himself greatly to the harp, receiving lessons from Nadermann, and afterwards from the Vicomte Marin. In a little while he not only surpassed his masters, but become the greatest living performer on the harp, maintaining this pre-eminence until years and rather premature infirmities, diminished his powers.

In the days of his youth and greatest skill Bochsa was the pet of the leading courts of Europe. In 1813 Napoleon the Great appointed him the first harpist of his private concerts. In the following year, on the Restoration, he was appointed to compose an opera called Les Heritiers Michaux, which was graciously received by Louis XVIII and by the Russian and Austrian Emperors. In 1815 he wrote a grand Requiem by command of Louis XVIII. He was also appointed harpist to the King and the Duc de Berri. In 1817 he went to England, where he became the pet of the court and nobility, performing frequently at concerts, and writing many compositions for the harp. In 1822 he was made director of the oratorios, and also a life governor, professor of the harp and secretary of the musical department of the Royal Academy. He retained these offices for many years, and derived a handsome revenue from his concerts and his publications.

During his residence in London, Bochsa made the acquaintance of Madame Anna Bishop, an accomplished woman, and a charming singer, who had been raised from obscurity, educated, and afterwards married by Sir Henry R. Bishop. The great harpist was then a very handsome, as well as a celebrated man. The result of the acquaintance was that the lady deserted her husband and followed the harpist, to whom she has been a faithful and devoted servant ever since. Their visit to the United States is remembered by all our readers. Since they have left us, they have visited Mexico, South America and California, and finally, Australia; the great harpist who had been petted by Bonapartes and Bourbons, and had instructed empresses and princesses, finding at last a grave in the land whither, if all that is said of him be true, he should have been legally sent years ago; for among the eccentricities of his genius was one which used to prompt him to lay violent hands on finery and jewelry belonging to ladies who attended his re-unions - this peculiarity being one of the reasons why he could not venture back to the scenes of his early European triumphs.

Bochsa was a vain, petulant, domineering, bad-tempered man. The hints we have given are sufficient to indicate his moral deficiencies, so we need not enlarge upon them. He was, unquestionably, a wonderful harpist, and a composer of skill. But he lacked genius and inspiration, so that among his couple of hundred works, there are none that will live, except as mere studies for the harp. - Phil. Bulletin.

[Letter from Stephen Marsh, Sydney]:"THE LATE BOCHSA", The Musical World (24 May 1856), 326

"Bochsa", Daily Alta California (12 July 1856), 1 

Died, "on the night of Sunday, January 6th, at the Royal Hotel, Sydney, after a long and painful illness, the Chevalier Bochsa." His remains were carried, on Tuesday morning, to Newtown Cemetery for internment, attended by a numerous concourse of musical, dramatic, and other friends; among whom were his Secretary, Mr. Schultz, his old pupils Stephen Marsh, Charles Packer and E. Spagnoletti, and the elite of the artistes residing in Sydney. The band of wind instruments heading the cortege were under the direction of Mons. Paling. After the burial service, "a very simple, sweet and solemn requiem, composed by the veteran musician" a few hours before his decease, was sung by his professional friends, and "thus the world closed upon the remains of one, who, but a few days back, was one of its greatest living musicians."

Bochsa was a native of Prague, Bohemia, and was born in 1791. His family removed, when he was very young, to France. At the age of eight years he performed compositions of his own, in public, at Lyons. He was a solo performer on the harp, pianoforte, violin and flute, and could play on any instrument in the orchestra. He was appointed composer to the Theatre before he had reached his twelfth year. Napoleon early appreciated his extraordinary talents, and placed him at the Paris Conservatoire. Regarding the harp as capable of the most delicious musical effects, he turned his attention particularly to its study, and became the king of harpists. He instructed the Empress Josephine. In 1816 Bochsa arrived in London, and was received with the utmost enthusiasm. In 1820 he followed in the train of George IV, when that monarch visited Ireland as King's Minstrel. His greatest achievement in London was a "vocal quartette and chorus, accompanied by fourteen harps, and a double orchestra." He was appointed in 1824 director of the King's theatre, and superintended the production of all the grand operas, with such singers as Pasta, Malibran, Sontag, Tamburini and Rubini. He founded the Academy of Music, of which he was a governor for life. Bochsa composed, among other things, "Le Herutuer de Painspoe," "La Lettre de Change," "Alphonse, Roi d'Arragon," "Un Mari," "Les Noces de Gamache," "The Deluge," "Voyage Musicale," "The Music of the Passions," "Records of Early Music down to the Present Century," "A History of the Harp," and an innumerable number of studies for his pet instruments, the Harp. Bochsa has travelled over the civilized portions of the globe; has conducted operas in almost every capital of note, and in every language; has received the highest musical honors; has received the title and distinction of "knight and commander of several distinguished orders;" and is at last buried, with great consideration, in a remote corner of the earth.

But, how mournful is the contemplation, that with all his renown, with all the genius which won for him an exalted position among the great ones of the earth, when the nineteenth century shall have become a finished column in the corridors, adown whose aisles events fade into oblivion, the name of Bochsa will have become erased from the memory of man; such is the melancholy fate of a musician!

"A REMITTANCE", Sacramento Daily Union (24 July 1856), 2 

Madam Anna Bishop has transmitted to a gentleman in San Francisco $2,500 to pay some debts which had been contracted in that city by Bochsa during her sojourn in California.

[News], Sacramento Daily Union (9 October 1856), 3 

It is said that Bochsa, the late musical preceptor of Madame Anna Bishop, the cantatrice, left $50,000 to that lady in available funds. Bochsa, it will be recollected, died in Australia last spring.

Sydney, NSW (6 January to 3 May 1856)

"SYDNEY HARMONICON", Empire (Sydney, NSW : 1850 - 1875), 11 January, p. 5. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

1856 'THE DRAMA.', Bell's Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (NSW : 1845 - 1860), 19 January, p. 2. , viewed 12 Sep 2018,

[Advertisement]: "SYDNEY HARMONICON", The Sydney Morning Herald (2 February 1856), 9

"THE SYDNEY HARMONICON", The Sydney Morning Herald (26 February 1856), 5

1 March 1856, first notice of publication of Katty Darling [after Bellini's Vaga luna che inargenti], "as sung by . . . Madame Anna Bishop"

Katty Darling, as sung by Madame Anna Bishop (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1856]) (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (1 March 1856), 12 

MUSIC. - Newly published, "Katty Darling," as sung with enthusiastic applause by Madame Anua Bishop (with an elegant arabesque title page), 3s . . . WOOLCOTT AND CLARKE, Music Sellers, George-street.

Melbourne, VIC (6 May to 12 August 1856)


May 6 - Wonga Wonga, s.s.s., 700 tons, R. G. Gilmore, from Sydney, 3rd inst. Passengers cabin : Madame Anna Bishop, Mrs. Richardson, Mr. and Mrs. Williamson . . . Miss Philan; Messrs. F. Howson . . .

Sydney, NSW (15 to 30 August 1856)

"SHIPPING. ARRIVALS", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 August 1856), 8 

August 15. - London, (s.), 430 tons, Captain Watts from Melbourne 12th inst - Passengers - . . . Madame Anna Bishop, Mrs. Phaler . . . Messrs, Schultz, Coulon, Laglaise . . .

"DEPARTURES", The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (1 September 1856), 190 

August 30. - Telegraph (s.), 650 tons, Captain Gilmore, for Melbourne. Passengers - Madame Anna Bishop, Miss Fayland . . . Messrs. M. Schultz, G. Loder . . . E. Coulon, - Laglaise . . .

Anna Bishop; Edmund Thomas, 1856 (Sydney: Woolcott and Clarke, [1856]; J. R. Clarke, [1857])

6 September 1856, Sydney, NSW, publication of Oft in the stilly night (Moore and Stevenson), "as sung by Madame Bishop"

Oft in the stilly night by Thomas Moore, as sung by Anna Bishop (Sydney: Woolcott and Clarke, [1856])


[Advertisement], Empire (6 September 1856), 8 

PUBLISHED THIS DAY, price 3s, as sung by Madame BISHOP, the favourite song, "OFT IN THE STILLY NIGHT, with portrait of Madame Anna Bishop. WOOLCOTT AND CLARKE, Music Hall.

Oft in the stilly night by Thomas Moore, as sung by Anna Bishop (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1857]) (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (13 June 1857), 8 

. . . New edition of Oft in the stilly night . . . J. R. CLARKE, musicseller . . .

Melbourne, VIC (1 September to 3 November 1856)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED (HOBSON'S BAY)", The Argus (2 September 1856), 4 

September 1. - Telegraph, steamer, 358 tons, George Gilmore, from Sydney 30th ult. Passengers - cabin: . . . Madame A. Bishop, Miss Fayland . . . Messrs. . . . Laglaise, Coulon, Gordon, Loder, Schultz . . .

Adelaide, SA (6 November to 10 December 1856)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. ARRIVED", South Australian Register (7 November 1856), 2 

Thursday, November 6 - The steamer White Swan, 330 tons, W. H. Lamond, master, from Melbourne November 3 . . . Passengers - Madame Bishop, Miss Phelan . . . Messrs. . . . Schultz, Geo. Loder, Seide . .

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE. CLEARED OUT", Adelaide Times (10 December 1856), 2 

Tuesday, December 9 - The screw-steamer Burra Burra, 196 tons, Allan Harper, for Melbourne. Passengers - Messrs. . . . Loder, Schultage, Seide . . . Madame Anna Bishop and servant . . .

Portland, Belfast (Port Fairy), Warrnambool, VIC (12 December 1856 to 1 January 1857)

Notwithstanding notices of their arrival at Melbourne by the Burra Burra on 13 December, Bishop and her party had in fact left the ship at Portland, as planned, and gave concerts there

"SHIPPING. ARRIVED (HOBSON'S BAY)", The Age (15 December 1856), 4 

The Burra Burra put into Twofold Bay [sic] to land Madame Anna Bishop and suite.

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP'S CONCERT", Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (19 December 1856), 2 

Madame Anna Bishop gave a second concert last Wednesday evening in Mr. McDonald's new assembly room. It was attended as numerously and respectably and was received as enthusiastically as the first. The programme was very varied and well arranged and well calculated to exhibit the varied and tasteful excellencies of Madame Anna Bishop's wonderful singing powers, Mr. Siede's celebrated flute performances, and Mr. Loder's piano and vocal acquirements. Madame Anna Bishop has the rare accomplishment of combinining perfect taste with a high degree of talent. Her appreciation of the sentiment in her ballads is from the penetration of natural genius rather than from the rules of art; consequently her rendering of the sentiment into music has the more thrilling effect. Madame Anna Bishop and company have been prevented, in consequence of the vessel being detained by contrary winds, from proceeding to Belfast this week as was arranged. Another concert is therefore to be given this evening for which second class tickets at reduced prices are issued. This will enable many who were unable to do so on former evenings, to enjoy a musical treat such as can very rarely come in their way.

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", Portland Guardian and Normanby General Advertiser (24 December 1856), 2 

Madame Anna Bishop gave a concert of sacred and secular music on Monday evening last, at Mr McDonald's Assembly Room . . . Madame Anna Bishop and company left Portland yesterday morning by steamer, Champion, for Belfast; and at parting expressed thenselves gratified with the reception they had met with in Portland.

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", The Argus (26 December 1856), 5 

. . . From Portland Madame Bishop was to proceed to Belfast and Warrnambool.

Madame Anna Bishop as Lucrezia (Edmund Thomas, 1856)

Madame Anna Bishop as Lucrezia; by Edmund Thomas, 1856; in The Australian album 1857 (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, 1857) (DIGITISED)


Melbourne, VIC (2 to 15 January 1857)

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Argus (3 January 1857), 4 

January 2. - Champion, s.s.s., 300 tons, Frank Helpman, from Portland 1st instant. Passengers: cabin - Madame Anna Bishop . . . Miss Phalen . . . Messrs. . . Schultz, Loder, Sude [sic] . . .

Tasmania (16 January to 28 February 1857)

"Ship News", The Cornwall Chronicle [Launceston, TAS] (17 January 1857), 4 

Passengers per Clarence, from Melbourne. - Madame Anna Bishop and servant . . . Schultz . . .

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", The Hobarton Mercury (23 January 1857), 3 

Mr. Rees has arrived in Hobart Town to make the necessary arrangements for a limited number, not exceeding four, concerts, to be given by Madame Anna Bishop, Mr. George Loder, and Herr Siede; and the public, we understand, will be gratified by the performances of this accomplished cantatrice in the course of next week.

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP'S CONCERT", The Courier (16 February 1857), 2 

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", The Hobart Town Mercury (16 February 1857), 2 

This talented Cantatrice proceeds on a Musical tour into the interior, and will give a Concert at Oatlands on Wednesday evening. Our friends in tho country have been already apprised of the extraordinary vocal accomplishments of Madame Bishop, and we can assure them, they have in store an entertainment, to which Mr. G. Loder and Herr Siede will contribute, such as they have never hitherto, enjoyed.

"COMPLIMENTARY Concert to Madame Bishop", The Cornwall Chronicle [Launceston, TAS] (28 February 1857), 5 

Melbourne and country Victoria (1 March to 25 June 1857)

"SHIPPING", The Age (2 March 1857), 4 

March 1 - Black Swan, s.s.s., 129 tons, A. T. Woods, from Launceston 28th ult. Passengers - cabin: Madame Anna Bishop and suite . . . Messrs. Schultz, Herr Siede, Loder . . .

16 April 1857, first notice of publication of Stephen C. Massett's Take back the ring dear Jamie

Take back the ring, dear Jamie, as sung by Madame Anna Bishop, new song by S. C. Massett (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1857]) (DIGITISED)

"NEW MUSIC", The Sydney Morning Herald (16 April 1857), 5 

TWO fresh pieces of music have just been issued by Mr. J. R. Clarke, of George-street. The first is the "Columbian Mazurka," by Boulanger . . . The next is the new song by S. C. Masset, "Take back the Ring, dear Jamie," as sung by Madame Anna Bishop. The title of the piece is sufficiently suggestive of its nature. The words, which are Scotch, are by James Linen, and the music is very appropriate. Both are printed from engraved plates, and worthy the notice of every lover of music.

15 June 1857, publication of Stephen C. Massett's When the moon on the lake in beaming, "as sung by Madame Anna Bishop"

When the moon on the lake is beaming, sung with the most enthusiastic applause by Madame Anna Bishop, to whom it is respectfully dedicated, by the composer. Stephen Massett (Sydney: J. R. Clarke, [1857]) (DIGITISED)

"MR. STEPHEN MASSETT'S SONGS", The Sydney Morning Herald (15 June 1857), 4 

"When the Moon on the Lake is Beaming," and "Take back the Ring, dear Jamie," the former written and composed by Mr. Massett, and the latter composed by him, have just been published by Mr. J. R. Clark. These songs are highly popular, and have been repeatedly sung by Madame Anna Bishop. Mr. Massett left Sydney yesterday, in the Tasmania, but will return in a few weeks, when he will again appear before a Sydney audience.

Sydney, NSW (27 June to 23 September 1857)

"SHIPPING. ARRIVALS", The Sydney Morning Herald (29 June 1857), 4 

June 27. - Wonga Wonga (s.), 734 tons, Captain David Walker, from Melbourne 25th instant. Passengers - Madame Anna Bishop, Madame Sarah Flower . . . Miss Phelan, Mrs. Capper, Miss Chalker . . . Messrs. Farquharson . . . Kitts, Schultz . . . Gregg . . .

July 1857

August 1857

1 August 1857, Bishop's benefit, Royal Victoria Theatre, Flotow's Martha

3 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Flotow's Martha

4 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Donizetti's Linda di Chamounix

6 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore

8 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore

10 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Weber's Der Freischütz

11 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Weber's Der Freischütz

13 August 1857, Royal Victoria Theatre, Weber's Der Freischütz

15 August 1857, last night of the opera season, Royal Victoria Theatre, Sydney, Bellini's Norma

18 August 1857, grand oratorio, St. Mary's Cathedral

25 August 1857, ballad concert, Prince of Wales Theatre

27 August 1857, charity benefit, for the children of the late James Gordon Griffiths

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (27 August 1857), 1 

PRINCE OF WALES THEATRE. - Grand BENEFIT CONCERT, given by Madame ANNA BISHOP, THIS EVENING, in aid of the Young Children of the late J. G. GRIFFITHS, formerly manager of the Sydney Theatres. The notice of the charitable public is requested to the above last appeal which can be made to them in the above benevolent cause, and which they have already so generously supported. Unavoidable circumstances have rendered it imperative that it should take place TO-NIGHT, as it is the only occasion upon which Madame Bishop could give her valuable aid, and it is therefore hoped the public will finish the work they so nobly commenced at the Victoria Theatre in the same cause, and more especially when it is remembered that the "Prince of Wales" was built under the late Mr. Griffiths' personal superintendence, and that the object in view is to support the helpless young members of his family. Sydney, 27th August.


29 August 1857, publication of Charles Packer's Little Nell

Little Nell, foudned on an incident in "Master Humphrey's clock", the poetry by Charlotte Young, such, with enthusiastic applause, by Madame Anna Bishop, to whom it is dedicated, by her friend and fellow student, the composer Charles S. Packer (Sydney: W. J. Johnson, [1857]) (DIGITISED)

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (29 August 1857), 8 

LITTLE NELL.- This channing Ballad, composed by Charles S. Packer, sung with such enthusiastic applause, by Madame Anna Bishop; published THIS DAY by JOHNSON and CO.; 57, Pitt-street. Price, 2s. 6d.

31 August 1857, charity concert, in aid of the Sydney Infirmary

[Advertisement], Empire (31 August 1857), 1 

September 1857

3 September 1857, grand oratorio

[Advertisement], Empire (19 September 1857), 8

PIANOFORTE FOR SALE. - The property of Madame Anna Bishop - To be SOLD, an elegant Spanish Boudoir Cottage Pianoforte, by ERARD, with patent action, two pedals, metallic plato, 6-8 octave. The abovo instrument was the one used by Mr. George Loder, at the concerts lately given at the Prince of Wales Theatre, and may be seen, and every information obtained, on application to W. JOHNSON, Music Seller, Pitt-street.

21 September 1857, final farewell concert

"GRAND CONCERT", The Sydney Morning Herald (21 September 1857), 7

The detention of the Manitou, as we mentioned on Saturday, enables Madame Anna Bishop to give a Concert of Sacred and Secular Music, this evening, at the School of Art. The entertainments are under the immediate patronage of the Philharmonic Society . . .

"MADAME BISHOP'S CONCERT AT THE SCHOOL OF ARTS", The Sydney Morning Herald (22 September 1857), 5 

Last evening this charming and popular songstress gave what we suppose will prove her farewell concert, at this institution. There was a very large and fashionable attendance - indeed, the hall was as crowded as it could conveniently be. Whether it was because it was the last opportunity, or not, we cannot say; but it really appeared as if she never sang with greater effect. Every song was encored, and with charming good nature she gave different specimens of her varied reportoire. The first part of the concert consisted of a selection of sacred music, and included those favourite masterpieces that may safely be said to have an eternal hold on the public mind, namely, "Angels ever bright and fair," by Handel, and "With Verdure clad," by Haydn. In these beautiful pieces the organ accompaniment told with fine effect. In the secular part of the entertainment a very fine pianoforte of Erard's was used, and under the master hand of Mr. George Loder "discoursed most excellent music." The Messrs. Howson sang various pieces with great taste and acceptance. We may congratulate Mr. John Howson on his improvement. His delivery of "Cujis Animam" was excellent altogether. Indeed, Madame Anna Bishop's last trial proved one of the best that has been offered to the citizens of Sydney, and her absence will be long regretted by the lovers of "sweet sounds."

The following address was presented to Madame Anna Bishop by the committee of the Philharmonie Society:

Committee Rooms, Philharmonic Society, Sydney, 18th September, 1857.
Madam, - The repeated and enthusiastic applause which you received at the Society's Concert on Monday last must have proved to you more clearly than any mere words how highly the members collectively appreciate your talents, and how deep a sense they entertain of your kindness towards the Society. But, as members of the committee of management, we feel that we should not allow you to proceed on your voyage from these colonies without a special acknowledgment from us of the great services which you have rendered to the Society, and an expression of our thanks for the very kind and cordial manner in which, during your visits to Sydney, you have supported, by your gratuitous assistance at their concerts, the efforts of the Society to raise the standard of musical taste in this young community. The foremost claim which you have upon the regard of the public here is doubtless that founded upen your generous application of your talents to the furtherance of objects of charity. On this, however, it is not for us now to dwell. But as representing the Sydney Philharmonic Society it is properly our province to acknowledge, as entitling you to a grateful and lasting remembrance amongst us, the beneficial influence exercised upon the cause which we are associated to promote, by your refined taste, artistic excellence, and efforts to produce the compositions of the great masters of the musical art with the utmost effect which the means at your disposal would allow. With our best wishes for your prosperity, and your professional success in the countries which you are about to visit, we remain, Madamo, yours very faithfully.
J. H. Plunkett, president of the society; F. L. S. Merewether, W. M'Donell, Henry Spyer, W. H. Aldis, B. Mountcastle, Charles Younger, J. M. Richardson, T. A. Boesen, membsrs of the committee; John Dean [sic], secretary.

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (23 September 1857), 8 

St. KILDA HOUSE - Vacant Wednesday next, the Suite of Apartments now occupied by Madame Bishop, Woolloomooloo-street.

23 September 1857, departs for London

"DEPARTURES", The Sydney Morning Herald (19 September 1857), 4

"CLEARANCES", The Sydney Morning Herald (22 September 1857), 4

September 21. - Manitou . . .

"DEPARTURES", The Shipping Gazette and Sydney General Trade List (28 September 1857), 218 

September 23. - Manitou, ship, 1481 tons, Captain Honeywell, for Callao, in ballast. Passengers Madame Anna Bishop, Mr. Scholtz [sic], Mrs. Gardner, Mr. Marriotts, Mr. G. Roberts, Mrs. Honeywell and 3 children.

September 24. - Electra, ship, 1226 tons, Captain Wegman, for London. Passengers - Mrs. Reynolds, Mr. and Mrs. Tuting, Mr. G. Loder, Mr. G. Rees [sic] . . .

[Advertisement], The Sydney Morning Herald (24 September 1857), 1 

MADAME ANNA BISHOP having intrusted W. J. JOHNSON and CO. with the SALE of her Pianoforte, by "Erard," they beg to inform the Public that it is now on view »t their Repository, 57, Pitt-street, near King-street, price, seventy guineas.

After first Australian tour (1858 to 1868)

13 December 1858, Exeter Hall, London (her first piblic appearance since her return)

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP'S CONCERT", The Musical World (18 December 1858), 804

After an absence of ten years Madame Anna Bishop has returned to the country of her birth, the scene of her early artistic successes, and with laudable ambition has at once placed herselfbefore the tribunal of public opinion. "Am I," she might inwardly have speculated before the numerous audience assembled on Monday night, in Exeter Hall, to welcome her, "Am I much changed since I last sang before you - have I retrograded, or have I advanced as a proficient in my art? In both cases the response, had the interrogation been audibly tendered, would have been decidedly favourable. Mad. Anna Bishop, if changed, is changed forthe better, being now stout and buxom, while retaining all those attractions of physiognomy that used to lend a charm to her slender personal exterior . As an artist she must also be congratulated, for besides the perfect justness of intonation, agreeable quality of tone, fluency and uniform correctness of execution for which she was deservedly renowned from the first, her voice has considerably gained in force, her style in expression and what may be termed dramatic vigour.

Mad. Bishop's reception on Monday night was enthusiastic beyond measure; and her performance in the old-fashioned sacred bravura of Guglielmi (a contemporary of Mozart's) entitled "Gratias agimus tibi," with clarinet obbligato (Mr. Lazarus), was so irreproachable as at once and unequivocally to entitle her to the highest honours. Later in the evening, the fire and passion she infused into Mendelssohn's superb "concert scena" known in Italian as Infelice, showed her equally at home in another and a nobler school. A duet from Donizetti's Elisir d'Amore (with Signor Belletti), with a couple of sentimental ballads, "Oft in the stilly night," and a ballad about Mr. Dickens's "Little Nell," not quite up to the calibre of Thomas Moore, were Mad. Bishop's other contributions to the programme. In every piece she was successful, her ballad singing being quite on a par with her bravura, and with her more serious exertions in the fine composition of Mendelssohn. She was recalled after each performance, and enthusiastically encored after "Oft in the stilly night." In short, our great harmonic societies, sacred and secular, aud it may be surmissed our lyric stage, have now at command a new singer, thoroughly efficient and more than ordinarily endowed - an artist at all points, equal to any emergency, and exactly suited to fill up the gap which has so long yawned in the terra firma of metropolitan musical entertainments. Madame Clara Novello has found an honourable competitor in the concert room, and Miss Louisa Pyne on the operatic boards.

The concert was otherwise rich in attractions, although the members of the orchestra were at fault all the evening, and even in Weber's familiar Concert-stück played so badly, so out of time and out of tune, that had not the pianist been the accomplished Miss Arabella Goddard, whose executive proficiency is so great that nothing can wholly disconcert her, it is doubtful whether they would have got to the end of it. Happily the audience were not over-critical, and Miss Goddard was loudly recalled at the termination of the performance; while in her solo "Home, sweet home," where she had no such antagonist elements to fight against, she took what our friends on the other side of the Channel term une éclante révanche, playing with such exquisite refinement and such dazzling brilliancy of finger as fairly euraptured the audience, who recalled her with acclamations and compelled her to repeat the whole. Another interesting feature was the masterly performance by M. Wieniawski (from M. Jullien's concerts) of a solo by Vieuxtemps. This being unanimously redemanded, the great Polish violinist introduced the popular Carnaval, in which the well-known variation in harmonics was, as usual, encored. Mr. and Mrs. Weiss and Signor Belletti swelled the list of vocalists, and the Italian artist was deservedly recalled, after Ricci's air. "Sulla poppa del mio brik," which he gave with genuine spirit, and repeated with increased effect. The conductor, Mr. G. Loder, did not seem to have much control over his orchestra, except in a somewhat lugubrious overture of his own composition, "suggested" (according to the programme) by Scott's "Marmion," but which we are rather inclined to think must have been "suggested " by certain inspirations of Carl Maria von Weber, composer of the opera of Der Frieschütz, &c. This overture, at least, went well; but all the other pieces with which the band had to do - and, beyond all, the unfortunate Concert-stück - the less said the better."

[The other morning papers are agreed with the Herald as to the merits of Madame Anna Bishop, but at issue with regard to those of Mr. George Loder's overture, which they pronounce extremely clever, and which we were not fortunate enough to hear. - Ed. M. W.]

"Madame Anna Bishop's Concert", The Era [London] (19 December 1858), 10

The return of this celebrated vocalist to her native country, after a long locomotive absence in the remoter regions of the world, is likely to be an event of considerable importance in our circles, inasmuch as the ten or eleven years which have elapsed since the lady in question appeared in the metropolis have produced those fruits which could only come of indefatigable physical cultivation and wide experience. It is not often that so marked an improvement is visible in the case of an artist who reappears after a prolonged secession from the public eye. Madame Anna Bishop may now unquestionably take rank with the greatest sinoers of the day. The faults which were apparent during the earlier period of her career no longer exist, while she has acquired a largeness and felicity of expression which denotes the full possession of an intelligent and highly dramatic instinct.

The concert of Madame Bishop took place last Monday at Exeter Hall, and the success which she achieved was beyond doubt or question. Her personal aspect will not have been forgotten by the frequesters of the theatre and the concert room in the year 1847. The slight elegantly formed brunette now assnues the dimensions of the matured woman, the deteriorations that usually attend a life of occupation in many climates being but lightly imprinted upon her handsome face. She was received with all the welcome due to English artist who had earned the best honours that America and our most prosperous antipodean colonies had to bestow. The specimens which she gave of her present powers were sufficiently comprehensive, inasmuch as they embraced Cherubini's [sic] once famous "Gratias agimus," Moore's' Oft in the stilly night," Mendelssohn's fine scena "Infelice," the comic duet from the Elisir, "Quanto amore," and a ballad or two. The air by Cherubini, the floride divisions of which tax the mechanical proficiency of the singer to the utmost, and the lively duet by Donizetti displayed not only the force and variety of her executancy, but the truth and beauty of the vocal organ. While more highly finished, or natural excellencies more winning and prepossessing, could not possibly be met with, and the audience freely appreciated the consummate merits of the one and the physical charm of the other. In the scena, by Mendelssohn, her dramatic talents were brought into play, and the breadth and vigour of her declamation were no less remarkable than the spirit and appropriateness of her conception. This performance was probably hel most effective that she undertook - effective in the best sense of the word, because it dealt with music of the noblest character in a style commensurate with the grandeur and nobility of the theme. After these exploits the delivery of the two ballads scarcely requires notice; but it is due to Madame Anna Bishop to say that into these bagatelles she infused the proper amount of feeling, and that without artifice or exaggeration. Altogether, Madame Bishop completely won the hearts of those among the spectators who had not heard her before, and strengthened those who had in their former good and complimentary opinions.

The concert, which was conducted by Mr. G. Loder, contained other attractive features . . .

"EXETER HALL - MADAME ANNA BISHOP'S CONCERT", The Illustrated Magazine (25 January 1859), 52

"MADE. ANNA BISHOP", The players: a dramatic, musical and literary journal [London] (3 November 1860), 137-38 

"Bishop, Lady Anna", in Edward Walford, Men of the time: a biographical dictionary of eminent living characters (including women) (London: Routledge, Warne, & Routledge, 1862), 71-72

Second and third Australian tours

"ARRIVALS", The South Australian Advertiser (13 May 1868), 2

"CLEARANCES", Empire (17 December 1868), 2

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", South Australian Register (17 April 1869), 2

Since her visit to the colony [South Australia] in June last, Madame Bishop has visited Melbourne, Sandhurst, Echuca, Castlemaine, Daylesford, Kyneton, Geelong, Ballarat, Sydney, Newcastle, Maitland, Brisbane, Ipswich, Auckland, Nelson, Christ Church, Lyttelton, Dunedin, Launceston, Hobart Town, and back again to Melbourne.

"MAIL STEAMER", South Australian Register (24 May 1869), 2


[News], Empire (10 November 1874), 2

"DEPARTURES", The Sydney Morning Herald (9 August 1875), 4

"SHIPPING INTELLIGENCE", The Mercury (14 August 1875), 2

Anna Bishop obituaries

"DEATH OF MADAME ANNA BISHOP", The Sydney Morning Herald (3 May 1884), 6

"MADAME ANNA BISHOP", The Argus (3 May 1884), 10

Bibliography and resources

E. J. Lea-Scarlett, "Bochsa, Robert Nicholas Charles (1789-1856)", Australian dictionary of biography 3 (1969)

Richard Davis, Anna Bishop: the intrepid prima donna (Sydney: Currency Press, 1997)

Gyger 1999

Rosemary Margaret Hallo, Erard, Bochsa and their impact on harp music-making in Australia (1830-1866): an early history from documents (Ph.D thesis, University of Adelaide, 2014) (DIGITISED)



"MUSICAL MATTERS IN MELBOURNE", The Sydney Morning Herald (26 July 1856), 5

© Graeme Skinner 2014 - 2018