Henri Kowalski (1841–1916) in the Antipodes and His Comic Opera Queen Venus

Author: KERRY MURPHY
The French Australian Review 73 (Australian Summer 2022-2023): 42-61

French virtuoso pianist and composer Henri Kowalski visited Australia in 1880 and then returned in 1885 when he settled in Sydney for twelve years. In 1881 he wrote a comic opera, Queen Venus. with a libretto by Marcus Clarke. This paper traces the transformation of Queen Venus into a French fantaisie-bouffe called La Guerre aux hommes, ten years later. It reveals a story of unusual cultural entanglement across two countries.

Keywords: Cultural transfer, opera, travelling artists, Australian colonial music, nineteenth century France.

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