Clive [née Raftor], Kitty [Catherine]

Joncus, Berta. 2024. Clive [née Raftor], Kitty [Catherine]. In: Deane Root, ed. Grove Music Online. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9781561592630 [Book Section] (Forthcoming)

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Catherine Clive (née Raftor; 5 November 1711 – 6 December 1785) Catherine ‘Kitty’ Clive (1711-1785, active 1728-1769) was a first songster and star comedienne of British playhouse entertainment. Clive led and created new forms of English musical theatre. She was celebrated both in high-style parts – singing, for instance, Handel’s music for her in Messiah, Samson, and The Way of the World – and in low-style ballad opera roles. Her likeness was printed and traded in unprecedented volume. She championed women’s rights throughout her career.

An image crisis in the late 1740s forced Clive to quit serious song and instead lampoon herself on stage. Though this self-ridicule won Clive public favour back, and she reigned as first comedienne until her retirement in 1769, the strategy’s very success caused her musical legacy to be slighted and forgotten. A definitive biography of Clive by Berta Joncus appeared in 2019.

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30 September 2024Accepted

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19 Jun 2024 09:54

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19 Jun 2024 09:54


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