|[This review of the opening night of the reivised version of His
Majesty ran in the London Times on Saturday, March 27, 1897.]
Various changes have been made in His Majesty, with the result that the opera now takes considerably less time in performance, although the substitution of Mr. H.A. Lytton for Mr. Grossmith in the title part has little result except to reduce the number of comic parts in the piece, since the new King of Vingolia seems scarcely to have any sense of comedy, and to take his part with more than the desired seriousness. In another respect, too, the fun of the piece, which never was its distinguishing feature, has undergone sensible diminution; it would seem that the quodlibet in the martial finale to the first act was too witty or too subtle for the frequenters of the theatre -- at all events, it has disappeared. Another concession to the intelligence of the audience is that Mme. Palmay now sings the Wagnerian version of "Miss Muffet" in her broken English instead of German; happily the brilliant parody of the Italian school of opera goes with even more spirit than at first, and the utmost is made of it by Miss Perry. The part of Boodel has been written up considerably for Mr. Passmore, who convulses the hearers in all his solos, whether danced or sung. The most important new number is an excellent song for Mopolio, "I'm the model of a melancholy king," the words and music of which are alike admirable; last night, when it was sung by Mr. Jones Hewson instead of Mr. Billington, it had to be repeated. There is also a new quartet, "Although we are at war," for the two pairs of lovers; it is very bright, and is preceded by some dialogues of far better quality that was to be perceived anywhere in the piece in its original form, although it is so much improved now in almost every sense that the charm and vivacity of the music must now be evident to all who have ears to hear.
This review was submitted to the Gilbert & Sullivan Archive by Clifton Coles of the Gilbert & Sullivan Society of Baton Rouge (Louisiana).
Page created 3 Sept. 1998