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Some data points: Die Zauberflote filled a public theatre six nights a week for weeks on end in 1790 or 1791. Verdi used to collect his entire fee in gold on or before the opening night, and had the right to withdraw his score at any time before that. Madama Butterfly played Melbourne, Australia, six nights a week for over a month in about 1906. No ...


Hearing lectures from prof. Robert Greenberg from Berkeley. He explained in the time J.S. Bach it was the clergy or the nobility that the financial means to hold musicians on their payroll. In the later years of Bach he made some works (profane) that were for the coffee houses and that was the begin of bringing music to the masses. I listened to the great ...


I can't answer specifically for Mozart and Beethoven, but Handel's operas were the great public sensation of their day; this article from the London Victoria & Albert Museum gives a little flavour of the 'opera fever' of the 1720s. 18th Century Opera

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