|Patience > No. 2 Company in Derby
From The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, April 4, 1883; Issue 8777.
Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful æsthetic opera is at last to be heard in Derby, Mr. D'Oyly Carte having arranged for one of his provincial companies to perform it in the Corn Exchange on Friday and Saturday of this week.
We scarcely like to assume that anybody in Derby is unaware either of the history or of the merits of this charming work, but, in case any such ignorance should exist, we may state that "Patience," the fourth of the writers' efforts in this style of composition, was performed for the first time at the Opera Comique, London, on April 23rd, 1881 — that is to say, almost exactly two years ago. Since then it has been heard in nearly all the chief towns of the United Kingdom, it being reserved for Derby to come very low down in the list of places visited.
Of the company which is to appear here on Friday and Saturday, we can, from personal knowledge, say little, Mr. Albert James (the Bunthorne) and Miss Marion Grahame (the Patience) being the only artists known to us either by sight or by reputation; but Mr. D'Oyly Carte has the credit of never sending into the country troupes incompetent to do the work expected of them, and it may, therefore, be anticipated that the performance will be adequate both as regards the principals and as regards the chorus, which, in the Gilbert-Sullivan operas, has always an important part to play. And if "Patience" is adequately performed, there can be no anxiety as to the reception it will receive.
The libretto is perhaps the wittiest Mr. Gilbert ever wrote, and Mr. Sullivan never composed music more delightful than the solos accorded to Patience, Lady Jane, and the two poets, the duet between Patience and Grosvenor, the duet between Bunthorne and Lady Jane, the duet between Bunthorne and Grosvenor, the quartette in the second act, and the sestett in the first.
From The Derby Mercury (Derby, England), Wednesday, April 11, 1883; Issue 8778.
The representations of "Patience" given at the Corn Exchange on Friday and Saturday last were acceptable in the sense of giving the public of Derby some notion, at any rate, of the beauty of the music and of the wit and humour of the dialogue. If the audience had to put up with a piano accompaniment only, that was at least better than no accompaniment at all; and if the principals were not thoroughly competent for their work, they were at least so far competent that they gave their hearers a very fair idea of the admirable merits of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's composition.
Miss Marion Grahame, the Patience of the occasion, is indeed, worthy of praise somewhat less measured. She has a voice of some power and freshness, and she uses it with skill and with effect. Her solo in the second act (barring an unjustifiable liberty with the last bars of the last verse) well deserved the encore it obtained, and the lady was also heard to advantage in the charming pastoral duet with Archibald. She acts with intelligence; and if her voice were but of more delicate timbre, her performance would run very close to that of Miss Ethel Pierson in the same part.
Mr. Albert James also acts with much spirit, and sings (so far as he can be said to sing at all) with considerable cleverness. Even he, however, has the defect of somewhat overdoing the business of the part, through his inability to be contented with the excellent model afforded him by Mr. Thorne. Mr. James was an admirable Major in the No. 1 "Patience" company, but as Bunthorne he is apt to turn Mr. Gilbert's high comedy conceptions into low comedy of a less artistic kind.
Mr. Allen Morris, the Grosvenor, is evidently quite a novice in acting, and his voice, though an agreeable baritone, will require careful cultivation. At present his vocalization and his acting are both wanting in the proper polish. Miss Inglis, on the other hand, is better histrionically than vocally. She has a good notion of the part of Lady Jane, so far as its humour is concerned, but her voice is not able to cope with its musical requirements — a fact especially noticeable in the duet with Bunthorne. The representatives of the Colonel and the Duke are altogether inadequate. Their voices are not good in quality, and they force them disagreeably, especially in the concerted numbers. Mr. Sullivan never intended his music to be shouted. Much of the incompetency of the performance was owing, there can be no doubt, to the absence of a conductor. It is, indeed, surprising that Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan should be willing to have their opera produced under such depressing circumstances.
There was a very large audience on Friday and a very fair audience on Saturday, but the musical amateurs present cannot have been satisfied with renderings so inefficient. The arrangements in front of the house were well made by Mr. Harwood, but Mr. D'Oyly Carte is by no means to be congratulated on his share in the matter.
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