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The Era (London, England), Saturday, March 1, 1884; Issue 2371.


THEATRE ROYAL. — Lessee, Captain R. Bainbridge. — With Miss Jenny Hill's tremendously successful benefit on Friday night and the crowded houses of Saturday the pantomime of The Babes in the Wood reached the conclusion of its career, and all parties concerned in the production thereof are left now to congratulate themselves on the truly remarkable success which rewarded their efforts.

This week Princess Ida,  Gilbert and Sullivan's latest opera, has been produced before very large and fashionable audiences, who have greeted the production with storms of applause every night, the favourite numbers of Sir Arthur Sullivan's music being rapturously encored. The mis-en-scène of the opera is all that could be desired, the three scenes being very beautiful specimens of stage painting; while the dresses and armour are perfect in their tastefulness and richness.

The company — Mr. D'Oyly Carte's "D" company — is scarcely so strong as might be desired, the vocal ability of the members being specially deficient. Miss Esme Lee's Princess Ida scarcely answers to one's conception of the Princess that Tennyson painted, but her vocalisation, although not powerful, is at least artistic. Miss Beatrix Young is a pleasing Melissa, but it should not be impossible for her to improve upon her rendering of a part that is so full of opportunities. Miss Fanny Edwards is exactly suited to the rôle of Lady Blanche; and Lady Psyche finds a very competent representative in Miss Louis.

Amongst the gentlemen engaged Mr. Billington decidedly carries off the chief honours for his exceedingly clever rendering of the part of King Hildebrand, and we question whether any member of the company so thoroughly realises and carries out Mr. Gilbert's ideas as this gentleman. Mr. Billington, moreover, renders his songs admirably, the delivery of "And I'm a peppery kind of King" being unexceptionable. Mr. David Fisher, jun., unquestionably contributes a capital King Gama, but, humorous as is Mr. Fisher's impersonation now, we incline to the belief, based on our knowledge of his ability, that he will find himself able to infuse even more humour into his part. Hilarion, Cyril, and Florian are represented respectively by Messrs C. Pounds, C. Rowan, and Federici, the latter of whom not only sings his music with excellent effect, but also imparts a great deal of humour to the opera by his expressive by-play. The two former also act their parts well. Competent representatives have been found for King Gama's three sons, and the chorus and orchestra leave nothing to be desired.

The Era (London, England), Saturday, March 8, 1884; Issue 2372.

THEATRE ROYAL. — Lessee, Captain R. Bainbridge. — The second week of the run of Princess Ida has not only proved no less successful than the first, but, on the contrary, public interest in the opera appears to be increasing, and the management has been compelled to add an extra row of stalls in order to provide accommodation for the large number of admirers of the Gilbert and Sullivan collaboration who have sought admission to the theatre.

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