The Sorcerer


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Staffordhire Sentinel Review
Friday, 15 Nov 1895, page 2
Theatre Royal Hanley

The Sorcerer, Gilbert and Sullivan's first production was chosen for a matinée performance on Thursday by Mr. D'Oyly Carte's excellent Repertoire Company.

Though the merits of the performance must, of course, be mainly set forth in accounting for a good performance, something may be said for the popularity of this little opera, which, on account of its comparative brevity, is as a rule, bracketed on the programme with the dramatic cantata, Trial By Jury. Under the wrong impression that the latter is included in a matinée performance, a number of persons retained their seats or lingered about the theatre after "John Wellington Wells," surrounded by dazzling red fire, had gone below for his sorcery. Though they made such a mistake, the audience gave any amount of evidence of their satisfaction. Encores were very frequent and all the principals were called before the curtain after the first act, and again at the conclusion. So much pleasure was demonstrated, that for its attractiveness The Sorcerer may be very favourably compared with Gilbert and Sullivan's more recent operas. In the hands of such a company it was seen to advantage, and the enjoyment was, of course, very much due to their own exceptional ways of affording it, In the matter of originality as regards Mr. Gilbert's share of it, it may be acknowledge by its chief admirers that this opera suffers by comparison. The idea of making everybody love-sick by magic means is not at all new in opera, but the humour is peculiarity Gilbertian and occasionally it is one of the best Gilbertian vein.

The opera contains musical numbers which rank among Sullivan's best. The opening chorus, "Ring forth, ye bells" is delightful, and was rendered with excellent effect. Particularly pleasing were the songs of the Parson, of Aline, Wells, Alexis and Lady Sangazure, and the ensemble in each act. The incantation scene enacted chiefly by Mr. G. Thorne as the Sorcerer was both weird and amusing, and the lighting effects were splendidly brought about.

The Mikado was repeated last evening before a crowded house, and Mr. George Thorne, as Ko-Ko, was successful beyond his own usual measure. The opera was altogether delightfully presented.

This review was submitted to the G&S Archive by Louis Silverstein.

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