The Flower Queen, or The Coronation of the Rose

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The Flower Queen, or The Coronation of the Rose is a cantata in two parts with a libretto by Frances Jane Crosby (1820-1915)[1] and a score by George Frederick Root (1820-1895)[2].

F.C.L. Bosman (1980:p287) mistakenly gives the composer's name as "George F. Boot".

The original text

Written as a work for teenage girls, it is usually described as a "popular operetta" demonstrative of nineteenth-century American romanticism. The Libretto tells of an old man who has become tired of the world and wishes to become a hermit, but as he is about to retreat to his hut, he is intrigued to hear a chorus singing "Who shall be queen of the flowers?" and comes upon a contest by flowers and is asked to choose the Queen. He picks the rose for her beauty and she in turn persuades him to return to the world and to his duty.[]

The cantata was first performed by the young ladies of Jacob Abbott's Springer Institute on March 11, 1853, followed by a performance by Root's students at the Rutgers Female Institute. Performed an estimated 1,000 times throughout the United States in the first four years after its publication.

The libretto was first published in New York by Mason Brothers in 1853[3] and a British version of the musical score was printed in London by Bayley and​ Ferguson in 1864.[4]

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1866: Performed ("for friends and relatives only") in the school building during May as their pièce de resistance by the vocal music classes of Misses Solomon and Amm's School, directed by Mr Ashley .


Facsimile version of the original published libretto, Hathi Trust Digital Library[5]

D.C. Boonzaier, 1923. "My playgoing days – 30 years in the history of the Cape Town stage", in SA Review, 9 March and 24 August 1932. (Reprinted in Bosman 1980: pp. 374-439.)

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.286-7

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