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2 February 1879

THE DRAMA IN AMERICA

FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT

You can readily understand that the production of H.M.S. Pinafore at the Standard Theatre, on Wednesday night, attracted a great deal of attention. We had all heard of its great success in England, and of its eight weeks' run in Boston, so that expectation was on tiptoe. Candidly, the result was a disappointment. The delicate quaintness of Mr. Gilbert's words and ideas and the exquisite beauty of Mr. Sullivan's music were recognised by the dilettanti, but to the masses they were caviare, and it is a very open question whether the piece will prove a Metropolitan success.

Besides this, Mr. Duff, who has leased the Theatre from Mr. Henderson for a month, has produced the opera in a very slipshod way. The characters, with the exception of Mr. Charles Whiffin as the Admiral, Mr. Davidge as Deadeye, and Mdlle. Jarbeau as Hebe, are most inadequately represented, and on the first night they acted as if at a rehearsal, the choruses going badly and the principals forgetting both words and music. The cast included Mr. Eugene Clarke as the Captain, Mr. Henri Laurent as Ralph Rackstraw, Mr. Makin as the Boatswain, Miss Blanche Galton as Little Buttercup, and Miss Eva Miles as Josephine. Of these the best was Miss Miles, a pupil of Max Marctzek, who sang capitally, but was very amateurish in her acting.

I can readily understand how the opera could be a success well performed, but young Mr. Duff is not the Manager to make it a. success here, the exigencies of its proper representation being a trifle beyond his mental and financial capacity. Mr. Colville contemplated producing it with his Folly company, and, doubtless, would have made it so bright that the public would have been taken with it.


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