E J Loder, Charles Seymour and music at Manchester’s Theatre Royal 1845-1855

EDWARD JAMES LODER was a Victorian musician and composer who died in 1865. The 150th anniversary of his death has been marked in Bath, the city of his birth (in 1809) and early career, but his time in Manchester as musical director of the city’s Theatre Royal – 1851 to 1855 – was a fruitful one and entitles him to a distinguished place in this community’s musical history, too.

That is so particularly because it saw the birth of his masterpiece, the opera Raymond And Agnes, in 1855. I wrote about this in Manchester Sounds vol. 6 (at pp. 71-77), noting the relative lack of attention to the sesquicentenary of the one serious opera of any quality that can be claimed to have been completed, rehearsed and premiered in this city.

He was also the collaborator with Charles Hallé in the Theatre Royal’s most ambitious home-produced classical opera season, in 1854 – a venture for which Hallé was later inclined to take the artistic credit (such as there was) but which seems to have been at least …