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From The Cheshire Observer, Saturday, January 29, 1881.

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE —This popular opera was performed at the Music Hall on Monday and Tuesday evenings by Mr. D'Oyly Carte's company. On Monday there was a crowded house, nearly the whole of the reserved seats having been taken.

The celebrity or the opera and the well-known efficiency of Mr. D'Oyly Carte's company render any detailed criticism of ours unnecessary. Suffice it to say that the whole of the characters were faithfully deliniated, and that all present seemed delighted with the performance. The choruses were rendered with particularly good effect, and were loudly redemanded.

Mr. R. Mansfield as Major-General Stanley, the Pirate King (Mr. Geo. B. Browne), his lieutenant (Mr. F. Federici), and his apprentice (Mr. James Sydney) all richly deserve a word of special praise. The police, too, under the superintendence of their sergeant, Mr. Hy. Cliffe, carried out the instructions of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan with commendable fidelity, and their chorus was rightly considered one of the great attractions of the performance.

Miss Fanny Harrison as "Ruth" and Miss Ethel McAlpine as "Mabel" were enthusiastically received. Altogether the performance was a decided success, and must have given entire satisfaction to all who had the pleasure of witnessing it.

From The Era, Saturday, January 29, 1881.

MUSIC HALL. – On Monday Mr. D'Oyly Carte's anxiously expected Pirates of Penzance company made its first appearance here, with Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan’s latest and apparently greatest success. A fashionable audience assembled despite the intense frost and dense fog which prevailed out of doors, and both the piece and the performers were accorded a very hearty reception. Many of the Gilbertian sayings and situations seemed to tickle those present immensely; none more so, perhaps, than those which the constabulary element indulges in. Mr. Sullivan’s bright tuneful, and catching music was also greatly admired, and elicited frequent marks of approbation, several of the most popular "numbers" having to be repeated in response to the enthusiastic applause with which they were greeted.

The company, most of the members of which are new to Chester, is a large one, and in all respects adequate. Miss Ethel McAlpine takes the lead with a most charming impersonation of Mabel. This young lady's performance is alike artistic, either from a musical or a dramatic standpoint. She possesses a light but eminently pleasing soprano voice, and her brilliant rendering of the waltz song "Poor Wandering One " at once installed her a. favourite. Miss Fanny Harrison makes a handsome Ruth, and gives her share of the music with praiseworthy taste and expression. The Misses Arnott, Blanche Grosvenor, and Hutchinson form a charming trio as Kate, Edith, and Isabel respectively.

Mr. Richard Mansfield is exceedingly good as Major-General Stanley, giving the now famous patter song with great humour and raciness. The Pirate King loses nothing of his melodramatic demeanour in the hands of Mr. Geo. B. Browne, who, moreover, sings admirably. The Pirate Apprentice of Mr. James Sydney is a passable performance dramatically, but we cannot say that that gentleman does full justice to the musical requirements of the part. The Sergeant of Police is capitally interpreted by Mr. H. Cliffe, who, although evidently suffering from a cold on Monday night, elicited a well merited encore for one of his songs. Mr. F. Federici worthily completes the cast as Samuel, the lieutenant.

The choruses were splendidly given. The mounting was all that could be desired.


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