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From The Era, 2 November 1879

AMUSEMENTS IN NEW ZEALAND.
(FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT)
DUNEDIN, August 27, 1879.

The success of the month, indeed, of the year, has been the production in the south by an Auckland company of H.M.S. Pinafore. On their way to Dunedin the company received notice that if the operetta were performed an injunction would be applied for at the suit of Mr. J. C. Williamson, of Struck Oil celebrity, who had just reached Auckland from America, as the possessor of the copyright from the authors, and process was, I believe, ordered by him, but by a fortuitous accident, so far as the company were concerned, it was at about the same time cabled over here that a similar effort in Melbourne and Sydney had failed on a technical point, and Mr. Williamson's legal representative in Dunedin did not feel warranted in testing his client's rights.

The threatened litigation proved a good advertisement for the company, which is managed by Messrs Riccardi, Crane, and Harding. The first mentioned appears to have had the chief hand in collecting the material and drilling it into working order. He is a basso of considerable power and culture, possesses a good knowledge of stage business, and makes himself a great favourite with his company and his audiences. His Stage-Manager is Mr. H. Hodson, formerly of Simonsen's troupe, and Professor Hughes is Musical Director. Apart from Mr. Riccardi and Mr. Harding, a very capable baritone, the musical ability displayed by the company displayed by the company was not great. Miss Leaf, who played Josephine, has a voice suited more for Concert Halls, and Mr. Crane, the tenor, did not create a favourable impression. But Mr. Riccardi, as the First Lord, and Mr. Harding, as the Captain, pleased everybody who went to see them.

The piece had a fortnight's run, drew full houses at the Princess's all the time, was withdrawn in favour of The Sorcerer, which proved a veritable wet blanket, and was resuscitated for the remainder of the season, and drew full houses to the end. Mr. Riccardi had a benefit on August 15th, when the holding capacity of the Princess's was tested to the uttermost. The company have since introduced H.M.S. Pinafore to the notice of the residents of Oamam, Timaru, and Christchurch with equal success. They have fairly taken the wind out of the sails of the Lingards, who are due at Dunedin on August 30th with a Pinafore, company, under engagement to Hiscocks, Hayman and Co.


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