Ryan, Michael Desmond (DNB00)

RYAN, MICHAEL DESMOND (1816–1868), dramatic and musical critic, son of Dr. Michael Ryan (fl. 1800) [see under Ryan, Michael], was born at Kilkenny on 3 March 1816. He was educated at Edinburgh for the medical profession, but went to London in 1836 and gradually drifted into literature. ‘Christopher among the Mountains,’ a satire upon Professor Wilson's criticism of the last canto of ‘Childe Harold,’ and a parody of the ‘Noctes Ambrosianæ’ were his first notable efforts. In 1844 he became a contributor to the ‘Musical World,’ of which he was sub-editor from 1846 to 1868. He was also connected as musical and dramatic critic with the ‘Morning Post,’ ‘Morning Chronicle,’ ‘Morning Herald,’ and other journals. In 1849 he wrote the libretto of Macfarren's ‘Charles II,’ and a spectacular opera, ‘Pietro il Grande,’ commissioned by Jullien, was produced at the Royal Italian Opera on 17 Aug. 1852. In collaboration with Frank Mori he wrote an opera, ‘Lambert Simnel,’ intended for Mr. Sims Reeves, but never produced. He wrote the words of a very large number of songs, of which may be mentioned ‘Songs of Even,’ with music by F. N. Crouch (1841), a set of twelve ‘Sacred Songs and Ballads’ by Edward Loder (1845), and a collection of ‘Songs of Ireland,’ in which, in conjunction with F. N. Crouch, he fitted old melodies with new words. He died in London on 8 Dec. 1868.

[Grove's Dict. of Music and Musicians; O'Donoghue's Poets of Ireland; Obituary notices in Musical World and Morning Post.]

J. C. H.