|The Mikado > C Company in Glasgow 1897
In such brilliant weather as we are having the theatre is not a place to which the citizens resort in such numbers as when the skies are less propitious. There was nevertheless a large audience in the Royalty last night when Mr. D'Oyly Carte's opera company entered on an engagement which is to extend till the close of next week. The work produced was the evergreen "Mikado," the finest perhaps of the whole brilliant series of operas bearing the names of Gilbert and Sullivan. The librettist is here at his brightest and best, the composer equally reaches his highest. level. In the music of "The Mikado" there is not a dull bar; the melodic gift of Sir Arthur Sullivan is employed in fullest measure, and with the most charming results.
"The Mikado" has been frequently heard in Glasgow, and the leading parts are associated with well-known names now renowned from the play-bill. If their successors at times appear to suffer by comparison, this is due perhaps less to lack of artistic merit than to the law of association and the recollection of earlier interpretations. Mr. M. R. Morand, for example, gives a different reading from that of George Thorne. Under his method Ko-Ko is not so dainty, not so reticent, but the character is broadly and effectively presented, and Mr. Morand introduces little touches of realism which are at least amusing. The familiar song assigned to the Lord High Executioner, "I've got them on my list," is brought up to date by the introduction of the Sultan, the "scorcher" on wheels, and the man who plays golf and misses the ball.
Miss Esme Lee, the Yum-Yum of the opera, is a favourite in Glasgow. She looks the part admirably, and sings and acts with grace and vivacity. Miss Kate Kavanagh and Miss Edith Broad, as the kittenish sisters of Yum-Yum, also sang and coquetted brightly and archly. The voices of the "three little maids " from school were of much service throughout the opera. Miss Ethel M'Aipine, as Katisha, the elderly spinster who is so anxious to get married, contributed much to the excellence of the performance. Her voice is of sound quality and pleasant tone, and both her singing and acting were marked by dignity as well as refinement.
Mr. Robert Evett, as Nanki-Poo, the love-sick prince in the character of a wandering minstrel, has nothing to fear by comparison with the past. His voice is good, and the rendering of the opening melody, "A wandering minstrel, I," showed that his method is sound. Mr. William H. Leon was an excellent Pooh-Bah, and Mr. C. R. Walenn, as the Mikado, made the most of his limited opportunities. If it cannot be said that Mr. Walenn possesses a voice of silvery tone, it is at least a telling one, and his articulation is perfect — this latter acquirement one of much importance in the rendering of Mr. Gilbert's verses.
Many of the vocal numbers were encored, this mark of approbation applying with special desert to the rendering of the lovely quartet in madrigal form occurring in the second act. The choral singing was fairly good, and on the whole the performance was one of distinct merit. "Iolanthe" is the opera for to-night.
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