Ernest Bucalossi

Ernest Bucalossi (cond., 1880s)

[Born 1859, died 15 Apr 1933]

Ernest Bucalossi was engaged by one of Mr. D'Oyly Carte's provincial companies in the early 1880s, though it's not clear precisely when. The son of composer/conductor Procida Bucalossi (1832-1918), Ernest succeeded his father as conductor at the Prince of Wales's Theatre in 1881. Shortly thereafter, he fulfilled his provincial engagement with D'Oyly Carte, presumably as assistant music director. For many years thereafter (until 1928), he served as musical director for a variety of London theatres. He was also a successful composer of waltzes and other lighter works, most notably the waltz "La Gitana" and a small orchestral piece "The Grasshopper's Dance," a work for which he is still remembered today.

Ernest's progenitor, Procida, is well known to Gilbert & Sullivan aficionados as the arranger for Chappell & Co. of many of the dance arrangements (Lancers, Polka, Quadrille, Waltz) for the Savoy Operas, beginning with Princess Ida. As a composer, Procida's most successful work was the comic opera Les Manteaux Noirs (The Black Cloaks), Avenue Theatre, June-December 1882. In 1883, the Daily Telegraph described it as "the brightest and funniest opera that has been produced in London for years." D'Oyly Carte thought well enough of it that he obtained the rights to produce Les Manteaux Noirs himself, both in the British provinces and in America.

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