|Patience > D Company in Edinburgh
THEATRE ROYAL — Lessees, Messrs. Howard and Logan; Acting-Manager, Mr. F. Sephton. — Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's new æsthetic opera Patience was presented here, for the first time in Scotland, on Monday evening, and had the occasion been the first production of a grand opera, by the first composer of the day, there could not have been a larger or a more brilliant and appreciative audience present than that which filled the Theatre. The opera had a truly characteristic representation, and was listened to with marked attention, while the zest and spirit of the performers was also warmly recognised. There was a powerful cast, Mr. Carte having selected his company with much judgment from among the best of the large staff of artists that are always under engagement with this enterprising Manager. The work, too, has had adequate preparation, the late performances at Scarborough, Hull, and York familiarising the performers with their parts, so that an ensemble is now presented as near perfection as possible.
One of the features of the representation is certainly the Reginald Bunthorne of Mr. George Thorne, who as the "fleshly" poet was admirable throughout. His powers of comedy are of the highest and most comprehensive order, and the enthusiasm with which he entered into his part was as hearty and complete as was the favour its clever rendering met with at the hands of the audience. He has just the voice to give due effect to the very ingeniously constructed patter songs that invariably embellish Mr. Gilbert's operas, and his telling enunciation of the song "If you're anxious for to shine" was as distinct as it was enjoyable. The song was, of course, several times encored, and has since been greeted nightly with much applause.
Archibald Grosvenor, the "idyllic" poet, was an assured success, when coupled with the name of Mr. Arthur Rousbey, a comedian who never fails to impart preeminent distinction and artistic prominence to every character he plays. His performance on this occasion was one of the most exquisitely finished he has yet given us, and his singing was splendid throughout. In particular his charm of voice and cultivated style were apparent in the charming "Prithee, pretty maiden," with its delicious eighteenth-century flavour; and his duet with Bunthorne was also capitally rendered.
As the Colonel of Dragoons Mr. George B. Browne looked very handsome, and acquitted himself well, rattling off the song "If you want a receipt" with appropriate dash and energy, and a musical skill that won it a hearty encore. Mr. J. B. Rae made an excellent Major, playing the character with that quiet drollery and originality of style which are the feature of all his performances; and Mr. James Sydney gave material assistance as the Duke of Dunstable, singing also with considerable effect. All these three artists, we may add, greatly distinguished themselves in "The Æsthetic Trio" which occurs in the second act.
Miss Ethel McAlpine, who is a great favourite here, played Patience with a rustic grace and picturesque simplicity that fully realised the author's ideal of the character. Her singing was particularly satisfactory, and her interpretation of the song "I cannot tell what this love may be," and of the ballad "Love is a plaintive song," was in each instance eminently successful, and greeted with unmistakable approval.
The "massive" Lady Jane, the most magnificently majestic among all the rapturous maiden, was impersonated with true theatrical skill by Miss Fanny Edwards, whose colossal performance, so large in idea, so immense in grasp of character, and so formidable in point of ability and artistic proportion, was equally tremendous in its success. This accomplished lady's capacity for comedy, and her remarkable gifts of voice and finished vocalisation astonished and delighted the audience, her superb rendering of "Silvered is the raven hair" creating a furore of applause that could not be silenced until the song had been repeated. Her duet with Bunthorne "So go to him and say to him," which followed, was similarly successful, and, in the hands of Mr. Thorne and Miss Edwards is unquestionably one of the hits of the opera. This had a double encore, and narrowly escaped a further demand.
The other principal rapturous maidens were Miss Elsie Cameron, who spoke her lines with exquisite effect as Lady Angela; and Miss Hetty Chapman, who, as Lady Ella, revealed a voice of surprising beauty in her tastefully rendered song "Go, breaking heart," Miss Clara Deveine was the Lady Saphir, and Mr. E. Pearce completed the cast as Bunthorne's solicitor.
The dresses, designed by the author, were beautiful in the extreme, and the æsthetic attitudes of the chorus of maidens cleverly assumed. The choral numbers were sung with notable spirit and effect, and the orchestra did its work well under the direction of Mr. Arnold, who had only joined the company that evening. The business is simply tremendous, the Theatre being filled to over-flowing each evening, and Mr. Vincent Oxberry and Mr. Sephton, each at his wits' end to find accommodation for the surging crowds imploring admission at any price.
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