Original Australian Cast
Saturday, October 25th, 1890
Initial run: 48 Performances

The Duke of Plaza-Toro

Mr. William Elton


Mr. Knight Aston

Don Alhambra

Mr. Howard Vernon

Marco Palmieri

Mr. Leumane

Giuseppe Palmieri

Mr. Charles Ryley

The Duchess of Plaza-Toro

Miss Maggie Moore


Miss Florence Young


Miss Flora Graupner


Miss Ida Osborne


The Gondoliers has satisfied all expectations, and as a result, the theatre has been filled to overflowing every night during the week. The production cannot be spoken of too eulogistically, for where every part is complete, general perfection must of necessity follow, and this perfection exists in the strongest degree in the representation of The Gondoliers.

The music is bright, sparkling, and melodious, and is heard at its best in the concerted numbers. The orchestration is full of beauties that on first hearing are apt to go unrecognized, on account of the brilliant ensemble on the stage.

The libretto is brimful of Gilbertian humour, and is as clever as The Mikado or any other of the dramatist's "books".

Of the scenic appointments, Mr Phil Goatcher is responsible for a vividly realistic Venetian scene, and Mr. John Brunton for a richly-colored and truly royal pavilion that might be a direct transcript from the Alhambra. M. Leon Caron, as the musical director, controls his forces with experienced skill, and Mr. Henry Bracy, as stage manager, has drilled the company so thoroughly that the action is at the same time natural, precise and peculiar to the spirit of the piece.

The performers, including Mr. Elton, Mr. Vernon, Mr. Ryley, Mr. Aston, Mr. Leumane, Mr. Rosevear, Miss Maggie Moore, Miss Florence Young, Miss Graupner, Miss Osbourne, Miss Lewis and the company generally, are individually good and collectively excellent. The dancing - a result of Mrs. Royce's teaching- is a strong element in the success of the opera.

Melbourne Table Talk. Oct 31st, 1890.

Every part of this theatre was filled to overflowing on Saturday evening when "The Gondoliers" was performed for the first time in Melbourne, and the result was an emphatic ratification of the favourable verdict pronounced upon the opera in Great Britain and the United States. The music, without possessing the originality and freshness which characterised the earlier operas of Sir Arthur Sullivan, is as light and bright, as graceful and melodious as heretofore. It fits in so well with the dialogue and with the words of the songs and duets that one wonders how a poet and musician capable of working together in such perfect harmony, and of co-operating to afford so much pleasure to the public, combined with so much profit to themselves, could have quarrelled and fallen asunder after so long a partnership.

(There follows a lengthy description of the opera's plot.)

The orchestra has been materially strengthened for the occasion, and is conducted by M. Caron, who met with a cordial reception on taking his seat; and the composer has so equitably distributed the best numbers of the opera as to avoid giving invidious prominence to either of the principals, while allotting some captivating music to each. The encores were so numerous throughout the performance that to specify them would be to quote almost every morceau; and it is due to the management to state that no expense has been spared in the production of the piece, which has been so well rehearsed that there was only one insignificant hitch from first to last.

The cast taking it all round, is a thoroughly effective one. Miss Florence Young, who made her first appearance at this theatre, and takes the part of the Duke's daughter, possesses a clear resonant voice of good and even quality, articulates her words distinctly, and produced a thoroughly favourable impression, so that when she has gained the perfect ease and confidence which increasing familiarity with the stage will give her, she promises to prove a valuable acquisition to it.

Miss Flora Graupner and Miss Ida Osborne are peculiarly well adapted for the characters of Gianetta and Tessa, and the former, more particularly, sang, danced and played with an unflagging vivacity which seemed to be the spontaneous product of youth and high spirits.

Miss Maggie Moore infused plenty of humour into the character of the domineering Duchess, and made an imposing personage of her.

Mr. Elton, as the Duke of Plaza-Toro, might have sat for a slightly caricatured portrait of Frederick the Great, and played the part with delightful pomposity and solemn drollery.

Mr. Charles Ryley, both by his singing and acting, rendered the character of Giuseppe Palmieri extremely acceptable to the audience, while that of his brother, Marco, became comparatively uninteresting in the hands of Mr. Leumane.

Mr. Howard Vernon has taken great pains to present the person of the Grand Inquisitor under an aspect both picturesque and diverting, and has succeeded in each respect. He makes every point tell, and he restrains his propensity to grimace, with considerable advantage to the character he assumes, and without diminishing its sombre and saturnine humour.

Last, but not least, Mr. Knight Aston is to be complimented upon the zest with which he enters into the character of Luiz, who eventually turns out to be the rightful sovereign of the realm discovered by Cervanres, and governed, for a time, by Sancho Panza.

There was an enthusiastic call for all concerned at the close of the first act, followed by some noisy demonstrations from a section of the occupants of the gallery, because Mr. Elton - who was probably dressing for the second act - did not respond to it with the rest.

The whole of the first act passes in the Piazzetta, at Venice, looking towards the lagoon, with the two granite pillars surmounted by the Lion of St. Mark, and St. Theodore trampling on a crocodile, in the foreground, and the island and Church of San Giorgio Maggiore in the distance; but the artist has spoiled the composition by substituting for one of the most beautiful architectural perspectives in Europe - that formed by the Old Library on one side and the Ducal Palace on the other - motley rows of buildings stretching right down to the water's edge, and effacing the Mole. For the second act, Mr. Brunton has painted a pavilion in the imaginary palace of Barataria,. the general design of which has been borrowed from the Alhambra, but the decorative details would have sent a shudder through the artist who designed that Palais que les génies Ont dor é comme un rêve et rempli d'harmonies. Mr. Brunton and Mr. Goatcher, the scenic artists of the theatre, were called, the one at the commencement of the first, and the other at that of the second act, and bowed their acknowledgements of the compliment.

"The Gondoliers" will be repeated every evening until further notice, and can scarcely fail to become increasingly popular.

The Argus. Monday, October 27th, 1890.


The most dreadful calamity in colonial waters since the wreck of the Tararau at Waipapa Point is reported from Northern Queensland. The British India Company's steamer Quetta, a fine powerful vessel bound from Brisbane to London, was making her way along the coast near to Cape York when she struck on an unknown rock with such terrific effect that one side of the vessel was torn out and the ship went down in about 3 minutes. There was a full passenger list, which, with the crew, made up a total of 282 souls, and of this number more than half were swallowed up in the waves. The number saved was 137, so that a majority of 145 have gone to a watery grave. There were 33 saloon passengers, but only six have been saved. Of the 65 steerage passengers only nine are accounted for. Fourteen out of the European crew of 28 are rescued. A remarkable feature is the large proportion of lascars whose lives are saved. Of the total of 93 coloured crew 59 were saved.
The catastrophe took place at about 9 o'clock on Friday night. The weather was fine moonlight, and the ship was going at a high speed. The captain and the pilot were on the bridge at the time. The captain made an effort to get the women into the boats, but before he should do anything he found the ship going down, and had to jump overboard to save himself. The ship's stern then rose in the air, the vessel gave a lurch and slid down into deep water. Among the few passengers rescued there are only two ladies, but a young girl child has also mysteriously passed through the ordeal.

From a Melbourne correspondent. Tuesday March 4th, 1890.



The third monthly popular concert of the Victorian Orchestra was given last Saturday evening instead of next, when the Town-hall will be otherwise engaged. The attendance was not so large as on the previous occasions. The opening number was the overture "Carm Sea and Prosperous Voyage" (Mendelssohn), the performance of which suffered in parts through weakness in 'cellos, caused by the unavoidable absence, through illness, of Mr. G.E. Howard; otherwise it was exceedingly good. Bizet's captivating suite, "L'Arlésienne," which followed, is one of those gems that will bear frequent repetition without the slightest fear of becoming wearisome, which statement was ambly borne out by the reception accorded to it on Saturday. A romance and tarantelle for flute and orchestra, by Mr. Hamilton Clarke, had been heard before at these concerts, as recently as a fortnight ago. The manner of the performance of the flute solo part by Mr. Herbert Stoneham left nothing to be desired. The symphonic selection consisted of two movements - andante and finale, allegro di molto - from Haydn's symphony in G, "The Surprise". Excepting that the andante was commenced at rather too slow a tempo, the rendering was an entirely satisfactory one. Reissiger's bright and animated overture "Die Felsenmüble," came next, and was in due corse followed by the melodious entr'acte, "Rosamunde" (Schubert) - extremely well played, with much taste - the concluding number being Rhapsodie Hongroise, No 4 (Liszt).

Argus. Monday October 27th, 1890.


Some time early yesterday morning two daring safe robberies were committed at the Fairfield-park and Northcote South railway stations, while an attempt was also made to burst open the safe at Clifton Hill railway station. The daring and methodical manner in which the robberies were made, as well as the coolness shown in visiting one station and another, indicate the existence of a gang of burglars, who, if not shortly arrested, are likely to leave further traces of their handiwork at other suburban stations. It is believed that the first station visited was Fairfield -park, where the thieves managed to open the safe, and were rewarded for their exertions in discovering a sum of £21 13s. 3d. The door leading the stationmaster's office, in which the safe was found, was burst open with a jemmy, and the safe, which rested under the one of the desks and was affixed to the flooring with an iron screw, was dragged to the centre of the floor. In order to deaden the work of operating on the safe a heavy mat was placed under it, and, it appears, was also used when the thieves were hammering home the cold chisels in bursting open the lock. In this case the lock-receivers were torn away and the door opened.

Argus. Monday November 3rd, 1890.


It is not at all surprising that the promoters of the first Melbourne baby show have still in their ears the jingle of the six thousand sovereigns which they netted as profit from the gullibility of stupid, ignorant women, possessed of an insane physical pride in their offspring. A baby show certainly seems to be an easy means to make money rapidly, and even superior to bookmaking, which, we believe, is not an unknown science to the promoters. As a show, it has nothing superior in it, and even the great Barnum may yet learn a wrinkle from the Melbourne promoters of the "National" Baby Show - how to fool the public into providing the show for which they are afterwards asked to pay to see.

Table Talk. March 26th, 1891.


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