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Joseph Haydn in London

The series about historical places of opera art & culture. Get to know exciting excursion and travel ideas for opera lovers. This time: Joseph Haydn in London.


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Joseph Haydn in London

Haydn saw the sea for the first time during his trip to London:

Haydn spent a total of almost 2 years in London in his two visits to England. The first stay in 1791 was arranged by the impresario Solomon, who presented him in his concert program in the concert hall Hanover Square Rooms (were demolished in 1900). His stays were accompanied by great appreciation and his concerts were the sensations of the season. He wrote for the English capital 12 symphonies, 1 opera, two dozen chamber works and 200 songs and came to considerable wealth.

Besides, he also gave well-paid private lessons, especially to the 40-year-old widow Rebecca Schroeter, who became the 60-year-old’s mistress and near whom he lived during his second visit in 1794/95. There at 18 Great Puleteney Street, a plaque commemorates his stay (though the house does not date from Haydn’s time).

One of the highlights was a visit to the Handel Festival at Westminster Abbey, where Handel’s oratorios deeply impressed Haydn and inspired him to compose his two oratorios “The Creation” and “The Seasons”, back home in Vienna.


Destination Sheldonian Theatre Oxford

The celebration of the conferment of the honorary doctorate lasted three days.Haydn’s Symphony Number 92 was given at the festive concert; it has since borne the honorary title “Oxford Symphony.” Haydn had composed this commissioned work for London for a Parisian commission and had coldly sold it twice. When Haydn was asked to perform something after receiving his honorary doctorate, he stepped up to the organ, fiddled somewhat nervously with his clothes, and said “I thank you.” To which the dignitary replied “You speak very good English!”.

The extraordinary, magnificent Sheldonian Theater where the festivities took place still stands today and is a must-see when visiting Oxford. See the website for tours and/or concerts in this wonderful building.

Sheldonian Theatre:



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