- Born: 13 Apr 1774
- Marriage: Andrew ASHE on 19 Sep 1799 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England
- Died: 8 May 1843, Dublin, Ireland aged 69
Extract from "Venanzio Rauzzini in Britain: Castrato, Composer, and Cultural Leader" by Paul F. Rice (2015)
In 1799, a contretemps developed between a Mrs Wingrove and Rauzzini, the nature of which has never been explained fully. Mrs Wingrove was the sister of Jane Miles (née Guest), with whom Rauzzini enjoyed a good working relationship over a number of years. To have fallen out with a member of this family woulkd have been uncomfortable to say the least. Mrs Wingrove exacted what appears to be a petty revenge against either Rauzzini or her student, Mary Comer. Comer was nearing the end of her apprenticeship to Mrs Wingrove in 1799. She had been singing in public since 1795 when she was eighteen. She had become well liked by local audiences; even Rauzzini had engaged her for his benefit concert in the spring of 1797. He made plans for a similar engagement on April 10, 1799, and advertised her name in the newspapers. This time, however, Mrs Wingrove objected and sent a message to Rauzzini on the day before the concert: "Mrs Wingrove desires Mr. Rauzzini will discontinue Miss Comer's Name in the Bills for tomorrow's concert, as she will on no terms allow her to sing." This message was copied on to a handbill given to audiences at the concert, a copy of which survived at the Bath Central Library, along with Rauzzini's apology to the audience:
"Mr. Rauzzini is very sorry the Publick should be deprived of Miss Comer's singing this Evening, but the following will serve to exculpate him.
A Wish to have the Publick pleased, and a Desire to bring forward a Young Person of Talents, on which she is to rest for her support, induced Mr. Rauzzini to wish Miss Comer to Sing on this Occasion."
Mary Comer's apprenticeship ended on May 3, and she was given a benefit concert directed by Rauzzini shortly thereafter. She went on to become one of Bath's finest sopranos, appearing under her married name of Ashe following her marriage to the Irish flautist, Andrew Ashe, in September 1799.
Extract from "Musicians of Bath and Beyond" edited by Nicholas Temperley (2016)
The Irish flautist, Andrew Ashe, married the Bath singer, Mary Comer; a favourite pupil of Rauzzini, she was a daughter of the clerk of the Kensington Proprietary Chapel. (Source: James, 'Concert Life').
Extract from the "Dublin Evening Mail" dated Friday, 12 May 1843
May 8, at her residence, 5 Lower Pembroke Street, Mrs Ashe, relict of Andrew Ashe, Esq.
Mary married Andrew ASHE, son of Samuel ASHE and Jane, on 19 Sep 1799 in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, England. (Andrew ASHE was born in 1756 in Lisburn, Ireland, christened in Lisburn, Ireland, died on 26 Apr 1838 in Dublin, Ireland and was buried on 30 Apr 1838 in Merrion, Dublin, Ireland.)