John Laguerre


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(b c1700; d London, 28 March 1748). English baritone and painter. The various spellings of his name in playbills, advertisements and cast-lists have caused much confusion, with some writers asserting that more than one person is involved. Laguerre first appeared in Italian opera, having a minor role in G.F. Handel's Radamisto (1720). He then joined John Rich's company at Lincoln Inn Fields and Covent Garden, where between 1721 and 1740 he sang in pantomimes, afterpieces, ballad operas and burlesques. He sang again for Handel, creating Curio in Giulio Cesare (1724), his English theatre roles being taken by other singers on Italian opera nights. His most popular roles were Hob in Flora and Gaffer Gubbins in The Dragon of Wantley. He sang Corydon in the first public performance of Handel's Acis and Galatea in March 1731. In 1724 he married the dancer and actress Mary Rogeir; they always worked together and after her death in 1739 his career declined. In 1741 he was imprisoned for debt, but was allowed to sing in his benefit performance on 23 April. In 1746 he was taken on by Rich as a scene painter. He had published engravings of theatrical subjects, having been trained by his father, the French-born mural painter Louis Laguerre, who died at the theatre on John's first benefit night in 1721. ‘Honest Jack Laguerre’ had a reputation as a wit, a mimic and an amusing companion.

From The Grove Book of Opera Singers in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Opera.

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