The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

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The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Wed Feb 11, 2015 5:34 am

Should you decide to see the Paganini movie, you might be interested in what really happened.

John Watson was a composer to Covent Garden Theatre and the English Opera House. He toured with Paganini and also his daughter Charlotte Watson (born Dec. 1817), who was a member of his corps d'opera. Watson was pianist and conductor for Paganini's UK tours, Charlotte was vocalist, as noted on the Paganini playbill, Birmingham, February 1832, as from the Theatre Royal, Dublin and Edinburgh.

Then they toured the continent, quite successfully according to newspaper reports:

"In the Italian songs allotted to Miss Watson, she was much applauded by the Parisians, who admired the chaste and correct style of her singing, and expressed their surprise that "une Anglaise" should have acquired so perfect pronunciation of Italian."

The tabloid drama developed after their return to london:

"…subsequent conduct has rendered her an object of so much notoriety and unmerited censure. … On their arrival, Paganini requested that he and his son might be accommodated with apartments in Mr. Watson's house, and here originated the proposals to Miss Watson, which were not to become his companion, as has been maliciously reported. Such a proposition never was made by Paganini, nor by any person for him; his proposal invariably was that of marriage, which he artfully premised, must (for cogent reasons) take place in Paris, in preference to London. … Paganini's valet, a crafty Italian [Francesco Urbani], was his personal agent and confidant …"

"… Thus proceeded the drama, which was calculated to deceive and impose on heads more sage than usually appertain to an unsuspecting girl of sixteen. One condition imposed on Miss Watson, which caused her much pain, was that her intended marriage to Paganini should not be imparted to her father until after it had taken place."

The London tabloids reported the drama that ensued in 1833:

"Extraordinary Elopement -- Paganini stands charged with having induced Miss Watson (daughter of Mr. Watson, formerly of Covent Garden theatre), a girl of sixteen, to quit her father's house to accompany him to the Continent. Mr. Watson had been professionally associated with Paganini for a considerable period, and, with his daughter, accompanied the Italian to Paris, Brussels, and other places."

Watson intercepted Charlotte when she landed at Boulogne with Francesco Urbani:

"…Francesco, Paganini's valet, however (who would have received a considerable douceur had the plot succeeded) with characteristic bravado, rushed into the custom house, and, in the presence of Mr. Watson, the secretary of the British Consul, and the police, had the temerity to seize Miss Watson and was in the act of forcing her away, when the police and gens d'armes beat the fellow with their staves and muskets, after which he made his retreat."

"…for a considerable time after her return home, she remained under the illusion that Paganini would certainly return and fulfill his promise."

Watson evidently decided it would be wise to move to New York:

"Shortly after their arrival, Miss Watson made her triumphant American debut at Niblo's on August 28, 1834, under her father's direction, and instantly became the darling of New York. … not yet 17, distracting the hearts of all the young men and exciting the envy of all young women …"

The Spirit of the Times (June 6, 1835) proclaimed Miss Watson to be "a decided success … she exhibits no artifice, and never offends you by grimace, contortions of the mouth, twisting of the neck, rolling of the eyes, nodding of the head, or any similar abominations."

"Miss Watson has now attained her 18th year -- she has been described as possessing a beautiful, laughing, Rebe-like face, which unquestionably is irradiated by a bewitching pair of eloquent blue eyes. Her deportment on the stage is easy and confident, her tournure elegant and graceful; her figure, though correctly symmetrical, is petite, and this will necessarily limit the range of dramatic characters which her talent would otherwise command. … her manners are mild, modest and unpretending; and although doubtless fully sensible of, she appears not to be vainly elated with, the marked applause the public has awarded her."

That might have made a good movie -- but it's not the movie that was made.

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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:32 am

There is an actual picture of Charlotte in a googlbook--but googlbook does not allow us to see it. Mad

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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:40 pm

This isn't actually her--it's Andrea Deck, who is from Michigan, of all places. Shocked


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:29 am

So, when Mrs. Bailey (formerly Charlotte Watson) went to perform in Cincinnati in 1837, the critic said it was a sign that Cincinnati could present artists of the same calibre as the eastern capitols, and that it would soon no longer be subject to the sneers of those snotty easterners.

The critic said that Cincinnati could have a real cultural life in the foreseeable future, if those yahoos in the orchestra pit would just stop conducting themselves like capering jackanapes. bounce

"Fortunately," said the critic "last night the Indians were present, which shamed the musicians in the pit into being on their best behavior."

It's true, they can be very intimidating, looking at you with that "not amused" warrior look.


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:05 am

Paganini had a son (the mother wasn't Charlotte, but another singer), named Baron Achille Paganini.

You can tell he's a boy by the pants:


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:13 am

In Klaus Kinski's movie, Baron Achille is played by Nikolai Kinski, wearing the same costume as the picture:


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  Yakima Canutt on Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:20 am


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  pinhedz on Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:55 am

^
Yeabut, that's Italian, how hard can it be? Paganini said that Achille was really good at speaking German, so he could help with translations. study

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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

Post  Yakima Canutt on Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:35 am


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Re: The true story of Charlotte Watson's attempt to elope with Paganini

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