Document Type

Theses, Ph.D


Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

Submitted for the Award of PhD to Technological University Dublin College of Arts and Tourism: Conservatory of Music and Drama, April 2014.


The popularity of Kane O’Hara’s Midas lasted from its introduction to the public stage, in Dublin in 1762 and London in 1764, until the end of the nineteenth century. The name of the opera, and the new genre of English burletta which it epitomized, outlived the name of its author, who is frequently referred to as ‘the author of Midas’ on the title pages of his later operas. This thesis outlines the theatrical, musical and social milieu out of which Midas grew and in which it flourished. An analysis of the different versions of the opera, in Chapter 2, gives a greater insight into the purpose and dramatic priorities of the opera. The musical and literary antecedents of Midas are discussed in Chapter 3, with reference to the Enlightenment, the Querelle des Bouffons and Rousseau’s Le Devin du Village from which O’Hara borrowed in Midas. Chapter 4 explores the performance history and reception of Midas, with a detailed presentation of the reception of the most popular air in the opera, ‘Pray Goody’. Kane O’Hara’s close connection with the puppet theatre and the reception of Midas there is also discussed. Two later operas based on Midas, and a literary parody, are compared with the original opera to establish the lasting associations of Midas. A full music edition of Midas is presented in the Appendix, taking the most common form of the opera, the second edition of 1766, as the main version in Appendix A. Appendices B and C provide the material necessary to recreate the two three-act versions from 1764 and 1762. (A DVD of a DIT student performance of a shortened version of the opera is included with the edition). Chapter 5 discusses the music in Midas, leading to notes on the edition in Chapter 6.