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THE THEATRES (excerpts)

Monday, August 5, 1879.

The Imperial Theatre, which stands just on the other side of the Westminster-bridge and so within the charmed circle of the West-end theatres, made a change last week in the cast of Pinafore, and now presents it not only with a very strong orchestra and chorus, but with Miss Rosina Clelland as the haughty captain’s daughter, and Mr. Wilford Morgan as the “lowliest tar that sails the water.” Miss Cleland has had the advantage of practice in Mr. Carl Rosa’s Opera Company; Mr. Morgan is a tenor singer of exceptional vocal resources.

With Pinafore at two theatres in London, touring in the provinces, and scattered throughout the United States from New York to San Francisco, the law of dramatic copyright, and especially of international dramatic copyright, may be seen to contain, like Mr. Thrale’s beer barrels, potentialities of untold wealth. It is erroneously believed that the differences which the lucrative success of the opera has raised between the authors on the one hand and the Comedy Opera Company on the other are entirely settled. In fact, the police-court proceedings are at an end; but the action pending in the Chancery Division of the High Court, in which an interim injunction was obtained and dissolved in one day, goes merrily on. An account is kept of the profits of the performances. No one knows at present who will take them; but it is probable that a handsome percentage will go to the lawyers.

At the Imperial the opera is to be continued till Miss Litton returns next month, and negotiations are pending for its appearance then at a well-known theatre. The conductor at the Imperial, to whom a word of praise is due for his efficient orchestra, is M. Van Biene. Mr. Frederick Oswald is the manager. Mr. J. G. Taylor continues to play the part of the First Lord.

Monday, September 1, 1879.

The Comedy-Opera Company have secured the theatre for which they were, as we mentioned last week, in negotiation and are shortly to bring out Pinafore at the Olympic.

Monday, September 8, 1879.

To-night H.M.S. Pinafore, which has now made its way to Australia, opens at the Olympic, in close neighbourhood to the original company at the Opéra Comique. The Comedy-Opera Company at the Olympic will retain Mr. J. G. Taylor in the part of the ruler of the sea, and will also have the assistance of Mr. Percy Blandford, Miss Clelland, Miss Edwards, and others. During the early portion of last week performances were given every night at the Aquarium (in the building itself, not in the theatre adjoining) by Her Majesty’s Opera Ballet Troupe, under the direction of Miss Kattie Lanner. On Friday night it was announced that this performance was suspended, the legal objection having been taken that the ballet was a stage-play and proceedings being threatened. The troupe will, in consequence, now appear at the Olympic, where their first performance will be given to-night, with the addition of Mdlle. Cavalazzi as première danseuse.

The troupe is the outcome of the school formed by Mr. Mapleson four years ago when he was building the opera house on the Embankment. The school is situated in Cleveland-street, governed by an elaborate body of rules, on the model of the State schools of ballet at Milan or Vienna, and has satisfied the requirements of the School Board with regard to the general education of the pupils. It has now become self-supporting, and the more accomplished pupils (of whom Miss Müller deserves particular mention) have danced with success in the United States as well as in London. There are 147 pupils, from the age of three upwards. None are admitted who have exceeded 12 years of age. Between 30 or 40 of the children constitute the troupe which is now to appear at the Olympic in the ballet divertissement called the Fairies’ Fancy Ball.

Monday, September 22, 1879.

At the Olympic, on Saturday night, Madame Pauline Rita replaced Miss Kate Sullivan as Josephine in the Pinafore. After four years’ absence from the stage this lady returns to the boards with increased dramatic and vocal power. Her rendering of “Sorry her lot who loves too well,” which met with a well-deserved encore, was easy and unconstrained, and her voice was perfectly controlled. Mr. Fleming Norton also made his first appearance, in the place of Mr. J. G. Taylor, as Sir Joseph Porter, K.C.B. His delivery of Sir Joseph Porter’s song, “When I was a lad,” was very effective, and the trio between Sir Joseph, Josephine, and Captain Corcoran was so successful as to meet with a double encore. Afterwards the children of the National Training School for Dancing gave their cleverly-managed French ballet. Mdlle. Cavalazzi appeared as the Gardener’s Daughter, Mdlle. Luna in a graceful Hungarian dance, and Mdlle. Marie Müller, with Master Craig, gave the picturesque Spanish seguidilla which the wilful heroine of Carmen so ardently desired to dance at the hostelry of Lillas Pasità.


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