A Dictionary of Music and Musicians/Allen, Henry

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ALLEN, Henry Robinson, was born in 1809 at Cork, and received his musical education at the Royal Academy of Music. His début took place on Jan. 11, 1831, as Basilio in a performance of 'Figaro' by the students of the Academy at the King's Theatre. He first attracted public attention by his performance on Feb. 5, 1842, of Damon on the production of 'Acis and Galatea' under Macready at Drury Lane. 'He was the only person worth listening to, in spite of the limited powers of his organ.'[1] In 1843, under the same management, he played Acis, and Phaon in Pacini's 'Saffo,' when the heroine on each occasion was Clara Novello, and later in the autumn he played at the Princess's as Edward III in the English version of 'Les Puits d'Amour.' From that time until the close of the Maddox management in 1850 he was continually engaged at the latter theatre, where, owing to its small size, he was heard to advantage. He played in 'Don Giovanni' 'Othello,' 'Anna Bolena,' Hérold's 'Marie,' 'La Barcarole,' 'Les Diamants,' Auber's 'La Sirène,' etc.; Halévy's 'Val d'Andorre'; Balfe's 'Castle of Aymon'; Loder's 'Night Dancers.' In the early part of 1846 he was engaged at Drury Lane, where he played, Feb. 3, Basilius on production of Macfarren's 'Don Quixote.' À propos of this part, Chorley, in the 'Athenæum,' considered him, both as singer and actor, as the most complete artist on the English operatic stage.

Allen retired early from public life, and devoted himself to teaching and the composition of ballads, two of which became popular, viz. 'The Maid of Athens' and 'When we two parted.' He died at Shepherd's Bush, Nov. 27, 1876.

[ A. C. ]

  1. Cox, Rev. J. B., Musical Recollections.