Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Mountier, Thomas

MOUNTIER, THOMAS (fl. 1719–1733), vocalist, whose name may be of French origin, or a corruption of the English name Mouncher, was lay vicar, and from 1719 to 1732 preceptor of the choristers, of Chichester Cathedral (Chapter Books), Before finally exchanging the cathedral for the theatre Mountier was in correspondence with the dean and chapter of Chichester , who on 12 May 1732 declared Mountier's place as lay vicar vacant. It was not until August that he resigned the preceptorship of the choristers.

It appears that Mountier sang for the first time in London at J. C. Smith's concert in Lincoln's Inn Fields Theatre on 2 April 1731. An advertisement of a later date runs: 'At the request of great numbers of gentlemen and ladies, for the benefit of Thomas Mountier, the Chichester boy (who sang at Mr. Smith's concert at the theatre in L. I. F.), at the New Theatre in the Haymarket, on 6 May 1731, a concert. ... To prevent the house being crowded, no persons will be admitted without tickets' (Daily Journal). Mountier was also announced to sing in Geminiani's winter series of weekly concerts at Hickford's (Daily Post, 15 Nov. 1731), and Smith's and Lowe's benefit concerts, on 22 and 27 March 1732, songs in Italian and English (Daily Journal).

On 17 May 1732, under Dr. Arne at the New Theatre in the Haymarket, Handel's 'Acis and Galatea' was first 'performed with all the grand choruses, machines, and other decorations ... in a theatrical way' (Daily Post, 6 May), Mountier in the part of Acis, and Miss Arne as Galatea. The choruses had taken more than a year's practice (Fitzball). A second performance was announced for 19 May. Mountier was cast for the part of Phoebus, but sang that of Neptune, in Lampe's 'Britannia.' In 1733 he joined the Italian opera troupe, and sang as Adelberto in the revival of Handel's 'Ottone' (Grove).

[Information kindly supplied by Prebendary Bennett, Chichester; Fitzball's Thirty-five Years of a Dramatic Author's Life; Grove's Dict. ii. 377.]

L. M. M.