The Duenna was a three-act comic opera, mostly composed by Thomas Linley the elder and his son, Thomas Linley the younger, to an English-language libretto by Richard Brinsley Sheridan his son in law. It was considered one of the most successful operas ever staged in England and its admirers included Samuel Johnson, William Hazlitt and Lord George Byron (Byron called it "the best opera ever written".
Thomas Linley was an English tenor and musician based in Bath. After his marriage to Mary Johnson in 1752, Linley at first supported his wife and growing family as a music teacher. As his children grew and he developed their musical talent, he drew an increasing amount of income from their concerts while also managing the assembly rooms in Bath. When the new Bath Assembly Rooms opened in 1771, Linley became musical director and continued to promote his children's careers. He was eventually able to move to London with the thousands of pounds which he had amassed from their concerts.
|Thomas Linley the Elder by Gainsborough|
The Devil to Pay or The Wives Metamorphos'd was the most successful ballad opera of the 18th Century after John Gay's the Beggar's Opera. It was written by the Irish playwright, opera librettist and arranger of music Charles Coffey.