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Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), Monday, January 7, 1884; Issue 4572.


At the savoy Theatre on Saturday night Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's new comic opera, founded upon Tennyson's "Princess," and described as a respectful perversion of that poem, was produced to a crowded house. The Observer, in a very eulogistic notice, says the success of the opera was never for a moment in doubt, and Sir Arthur Sullivan's music, whilst more ambitious in many of its elements than in his other comic operas, seems sure of gaining speedy popularity. The writer, after referring to the production by Mr. Gilbert of a whimsical allegory under the same title, the "Princess," at the Olympic fourteen years ago, praises the present production, from which he quotes, as specimens of Mr. Gilbert's peculiar humour, the following lines, sung by the deformed and crabbed King Gama, impersonated by Mr. Grossmith:–

I know everybody's income and what everybody earns;
And I carefully compare it with the income tax returns;
But to benefit humanity however much I plan,
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
  And I can't think why!
I'm sure I'm no ascetic; I'm as pleasant as can be;
You'll always find me ready with a crushing repartee.
I've an irritating chuckle, I've a celebrated sneer,
I've an entertaining snigger, I've a fascinating leer.
To everybody's prejudice I know a thing or two;
I can tell a woman's age in half a minute — and I do.
But although I try to make myself as pleasant as I can,
Yet everybody says I'm such a disagreeable man!
  And I can't think why!

The following lines are a description by the Prince of the ambitious designs of the lady students:–

As for fashion, they forswear it,
  So they say – so they say –
And the circle they will square it
  Some fine day – some fine day –
Then the little pigs they're teaching
  For to fly – for to fly –
And the niggers they'll be bleaching,
  By and by – by and by!
Each newly joined aspirant
  To the clan – to the clan –
Must repudiate the tyrant
  Known as Man – known as Man –
They mock at him and flout him,
For they do not care about him,
And they're "going to do without him"
  If they can – if they can!

The critic of the Referee on the other hand gives the new production a very vigorous "slating." He describes the libretto as "rhapsodical nonsense," and says of the first act "it was sp lengthy that the brain began to weary before the culminating pont arrived." He adds it was nearly eleven o'clock before the curtain rose on the second act, and when the gallery struck up "We won't go home till morning," the rest of the house applauded sympathetically. After this, it was impossible to get up more than a semblance of enthusiasm; and although author and composer were duly called at the close, and no one challenged the favourable verdict, that verdict was given in a lukewarm style not usual on Gilbert and Sullivan first nights.

Both papers unite in commending Miss Leonora Braham's performance of the Princess, and noticing the fact that Mr. George Grossmith's part is devoid of that prominence which has characterised the parts hitherto accorded to him.

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