Adrian Ross

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b. Arthur Reed Ropes, 23 December 1859, Lewisham, London, England, d. 10 September 1933, London, England. Ropes’ early career was in academia and he gained respect and admiration as an historian and…
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Artist Biography by

b. Arthur Reed Ropes, 23 December 1859, Lewisham, London, England, d. 10 September 1933, London, England. Ropes’ early career was in academia and he gained respect and admiration as an historian and as a translator, from French and German. He adopted a pseudonym upon entering the theatre world, in order to retain his academic reputation. As Adrian Ross he wrote numerous librettos for musicals, many of which proved to be very successful. He collaborated with several composers, enjoying a particularly fruitful working relationship with Lionel Monckton, resulting in songs interpolated into The Shop Girl (1894), The Orchid (1903) and Our Miss Gibbs (1909). Interpolation of songs into shows largely written by others was a common practice of the day. Ross and Harry Greenbank were lyricists for The Circus Girl (1896), with music by Ivan Caryll, and for A Greek Slave (1898), music by Sidney Jones. With Percy Greenbank he wrote lyrics for The Messenger Boy and The Toreador (both 1901), music by Caryll and Monckton. He was co-lyricist with Claude Aveling, with music by Cecil Cook and Caryll, for Owen Hall’s 1902 show, The Girl From Kays; and with Percy Greenbank and Monckton he wrote songs for The Cingalee (1904).

Ross’ linguistic skills came in very useful when he adapted Franz Lehár’s operetta The Merry Widow (1907) into an English-language version; comparing the original text to Ross’ version show that he was much more creative than would have been an orthodox translator. Several other adaptations from German and Austrian originals followed, on some of which he collaborated with Basil Hood: The Dollar Princess (1908), A Waltz Dream (1911), The Count Of Luxemburg (1911) and Gypsy Love (1912). In addition to his work in the theatre, Ross also wrote popular fiction, including the horror story The Hole Of The Pit (1914).