User:Rich Farmbrough/DNB/M/r/Mrs. Kennedy

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{{subst:Quick infobox|Mrs., Or Farrell, Mrs. Kennedy||1793|}} Mrs., or Farrell, Mrs. Kennedy (died 1793), actress and vocalist, a native of Ireland, is said to have been a waiting-woman at an inn in the neighbourhood of St. Giles's, London, where she sang to the guests. The fine quality of her contralto voice so much pleased Dr. Arne, who had been brought by some musicians to hear her, that he undertook her musical education (Parke, Musical Memoirs, page 27). Mrs. Farrell, as she was then called, first appeared on the stage in the part of the third bard in 'Caractacus', with Arne's music, on 6 December 1776, at Covent Garden. The enthusiasm aroused by the exceptional quality and deep compass of her voice, her intelligence, and her excellent enunciation, was proof against her plain features and clumsy figure. But when she appeared as Ariel, the 'Morning Post' remarked that Ariel 'was a full head and shoulders taller and some few inches wider in the girth than Prospero', played by Hull. Mrs. Farrell's chief successes were gained in male parts: Artaxerxes (to Miss Catley's Mandane, 25 January 1777), Belford in 'Love Finds the Way', Colin in Dibdin's 'Rose and Colin', and other musical farces, and especially as Captain Macheath in the 'Beggar's Opera' in October 1777, when protests were raised against the personation of the hero by a woman, and the introduction by her of Arne's 'A-hunting we will go'. Mrs. Farrell married Dr. Kennedy on 24 January 1779. She sang Young Meadows in 'Love in a Village', and Don Carlos in the 'Duenna' in that year. Mrs. Kennedy's other parts, which were all performed at Covent Garden, were Don Alphonso, with Sestini as Lorenza ('Castle of Andalusia', 2 November 1782), William ('Rosina', 31 December 1782), Pat ('Poor Soldier', 4 November 1783), Margaret (17 April) and Allen-a-Dale ('Robin Hood', 13 October 1784), a Jockey ('Fontainebleau', 16 November 1784), Oediddee ('Omai', 20 December 1785), Saib ('Love and War', 12 March 1787), Peggy ('Marian', 22 May 1788), Huncamunca ('Tom Thumb', 3 June 1788), and Mrs. Casey in 'Fontainebleau', for Mrs. Billington's benefit, 20 May 1789.

Mrs. Kennedy also sang at concerts, Vauxhall Gardens, the Drury Lane oratorios (1778–84), the Handel commemorations of 1784, 1786, and 1791, and the fête at Frogmore in 1791 (Parke; Papendiek). She died at Bayswater House on 23 January 1793.[DNB 1][DNB 2][DNB 3][DNB 4][DNB 5][DNB 6][DNB 7][1]


  1.  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain

    L. M. M.

    (1892). "Kennedy, Mrs. (DNB00)". In Lee, Sidney. Dictionary of National Biography 30. London: Smith, Elder & Co. p. 0.

DNB references[edit]

These references are found in the DNB article referred to above.

  1. A B C Dario, page 29
  2. Papendiek's Journal, i. 225, 256, ii. 254, 295
  3. Parke's Musical Memoirs, i. 27, 132
  4. New Morning Post for 7 December 1776
  5. Morning Chronicle, 7 December 1776
  6. Public Advertiser, 18 October 1777, and 1776–89 passim
  7. European Magazine xxiii. 160.

External links[edit]


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