The Ideal World of Mrs. Widder's Soirée Musicale
Social Identity and Musical Life in Nineteenth-Century Ontario
The printed program of Mrs. Widder’s 1844 Soire Musicale, a formal concert at her lavish Toronto, lists eleven musicians performing opera, parlour ballards, and glees. This information helped trace the networks which drew a working tenor and leisured Lady and Gentlemen Amateurs into a brilliant program balancing aesthetics with social politics. The widder program reveals how conventions linking class and gender with musical genre and local issues shaped the meaning of musical life both public and private. The Soire Musicale, a concert form transplanted from imperial London, was the embodiment of an idealized hierarchical universe.