Dictionary of London Immigrants |||

1757-1805 - Hanover Square (Mayfair)

Dancer and theatre manager Giovanni Andrea Battista [John Andrew] Gallini was born in Florence on 7 January 1728. He was trained in Paris and moved to England at an unknown date. By 17 December 1757 he was dancing at Covent Garden Theatre. Between 1758 and 1766 he served as director of dances at the King’s Theatre, Haymarket.

He ceased to perform in public at the end of the 1766 season. Attempting to raise the profile of his profession, he published A Treatise on the Art of Dancing in 1762, which was followed by Critical Observations on the Art of Dancing. These publications helped him gain entrée into society. In spite of ridicule in the fashionable world, he married Elizabeth Peregrine Bertie, daughter of the 3rd Earl of Abingdon.

In addition to the money and property his wife brought him, Gallini himself accumulated a substantial fortune. On 28 June 1774, with Johann Christian Bach and Karl Friedrich Abel, he purchased premises in Hanover Square, where the three men built a splendid concert room. Two years later he bought out his partners and continued to operate the hall for the rest of his life. Surprisingly, he paid more attention to opera than to dance. He died at his home in Hanover Square in January 1805. Gallini was one of the most successful opera managers of the eighteenth century.

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