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Review of the 1000th Perfromance from The Times
Monday, November 2, 1896.

SAVOY THEATRE

The celebration in honour of the 1,000th performance of The Mikado in London, held on Saturday night, was a very brilliant affair, and the occasion was marked, not only by extremely tasteful floral decorations in every part of the theatre, but by the distribution of the “Gilbert-and-Sullivan Birthday-book” to every member of the audience. The composer conducted this, his most successful work, and the performance went with the utmost smoothness. It must have been a surprise to many of the audience to find, not that the opera had reached its 1,000th performance here, but that no higher number had been registered since its production 11 years ago, so famous has the work become.

Of those who identified themselves with the characters in 1885 there only remain Miss Jessie Bond and Miss Rosina Brandram, who have never been approached in the respective parts of Pitti-Sing and Katisha. The distance which separates these distinguished members of the original company from their companions is very marked, both in humour, refinement, and musicianship of the particular kind required; but it is only fair to say that the newer generation of performers can show some remarkably good representatives, such as Miss Florence Perry, who was compelled to repeat the difficult soprano air at the beginning of the second act, after vain endeavours to decline the encore, and Mr. Walter Passmore, who is steadily improving as an exponent of the class of parts associated with the name of Mr. Grossmith. Mr. F. Billington can reflect only the more ponderous characteristics of Mr. Barrington, but he is, on the whole, adequate, and Messrs. Kenningham and Scott Fishe are entirely satisfactory.

Some of the concerted numbers of the second act were encored three and four times, and both the stage business and the orchestration of the encore version of “The flowers that bloom in the spring” are exceedingly funny. It is, perhaps, hardly a fair exchange to give us a couplet concerning the Sultan instead of the series of momentary impersonations of political characters which was the life and soul of Ko-Ko’s first song; but this is almost the only new allusion that is made.

Mr. Luard Selby’s charmingly whimsical lever de rideau, Weather or No, is now very brightly acted and sung by Miss Jessie Rose and Mr. Scott Russell. At the close of the evening Sir Arthur Sullivan and Mr. Gilbert appeared in answer to the inevitable call, and an apology was read for Mr. D’Oyly Carte, who, it was announced, was kept at home by illness.


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