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From The Morning Post, December 17, 1879.

THE OPERA COMIQUE

The first performance of the successful nautical opera “H.M.S. Pinafore” by children, of which a favourable opinion was formed at the “dress rehearsal” last week, took place yesterday, and more than justified the prognostic that it would be well received when thoroughly launched. A few more rehearsals had served to remove the slight defects apparent, and to enable the young actors to acquire that confidence which is so necessary to prevent any display of nervousness, and to enable them to bring out the points of the characters they assumed with greater distinctness and precision. So well did the whole piece go yesterday that but one opinion seemed to pervade the audience, and that was that the adult actors who have performed the part on the same stage for so many nights have found very formidable rivals in public favour.

The audience was, indeed, exceedingly enthusiastic, and the children, as they are termed – though many are far past that period of life when they can be properly so denominated – were certainly well entitled to the unbounded applause with which their efforts were rewarded. The youngest of the crew, the important individual the “Midshipmite,” who bears the imposing name of Augustus Fitzclarence, seemed to be in especial favour, and a great effect was produced by sending him on solus to bow and scrape his way across the stage at the close of each act.

Much of the music was encored, and Mr. R. Barker, under whose direction the juvenile version was produced, as well as Mr. D’Oyly Carte1, the lessee, were twice called before the curtain and heartily applauded. The “Children’s Pinafore” may safely be regarded as one of the events of the Christmas season. The opera was succeeded by a new drawing-room entertainment by Mr. George Grossmith, jun., which well served to bring out his musical and mimical acquirements.


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