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‘Fallen Fairies.’ New Gilbert-German Opera.

Musical Times vol. 51 no. 803, Jan. 1, 1910, p. 23.

This eagerly expected opera was produced at the Savoy Theatre on December 17.  [sic]  The idea of the libretto is based upon an earlier drama, ‘The Wicked World.’  It is in two acts, but there is one scene throughout.  The fairies live in a cloud, and are at first very happy and incredibly innocent.  It appears that every one of them has a human counterpart on earth, which at the fairies’ command can be summoned to cloudland.  When some of the male sex are thus transported, the fairies learn what love and its frequent attendant, jealousy, mean.  Although much is said in praise of mortal love, in the end the counterparts are all dismissed to earth and the fairies resume the jejune monotony of their former existence.  Notwithstanding the piquancy, wit, and occasional sincere emotionalism of many of the lyrics, the play as such drags rather wearisomely.  Mr. Edward German’s dainty, melodious, and lucid music provides the main interest, and this result is achieved in spite of the restriction of the choruses to female voices, and Sir William Gilbert’s barring of tenor solos.  The few male singing characters are therefore all bass or baritone.  The cast of the chief characters is as follows:

Ethais Mr. Claude Flemming.
Phyllon Mr. Leo Sheffield
Lutin Mr. C. Herbert Workman
Selene (The Fairy Queen) Miss Nancy McIntosh.
Darine Miss Maidie Hope.
Zayda Miss Jessie Rose.
Locrine Miss Ethel Morrison.

Miss McIntosh displays great vocal and dramatic power, and all the other artists named are successful.  Mr. Workman, as may be expected, makes the most of the humour in his part.  The dances, and the music with which they are associated, are very welcome.  The mounting of the piece is on the usual Savoy scale, and the orchestra is efficient and never overpowering. Mr. German conducted the premier performance, and is now succeeded by Mr. Hamish McCunn.


Transcribed by Arthur Robinson

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