1836-1889

April 8, 1836, Burntisland, Fife, Scotland.

September 21, 1889.

Farnie was a librettist, adapter of French operettas and author. Some of his English language versions of operettas became record setting hits on the London stage of the 1870s and 1880s, strongly competing with the Gilbert and Sullivan operas being played at the same time.

After attending Cambridge University, Farnie returned to his native Scotland, where he was appointed editor of the Cupar Gazette. In 1857, he wrote The Golfer’s Manual, the first book on golf instruction. In 1860, he wrote books on the flora of St. Andrews and on The City of St. Rule. His journalism career brought him to London in 1863 as editor of a new musical journal, The Orchestra. He began to write the lyrics to popular songs, and, in 1867, he began writing plays. In the 1870s and 1880s, Farnie turned out translations and adaptations of dozens of French operas and operettas. Many of the latter had long and successful runs. Among his few enduring lyrics is the Gendarmes’ Duet, adapted from Offenbach’s Geneviève de Brabant.

  1. Cradled All Lowly