Original New Zealand Cast
|King Hildebrand||Mr. Howard Vernon|
|Hilarion||Mr. C. M. Leumane|
|Cyril||Mr. W. Johnson|
|Florian||Mr. H. M. Imano|
|King Gama||Mr. William Elton|
|Princess Ida||Miss Clara Merivale|
|Lady Blanche||Miss Fannie Liddiard|
|Lady Psyche||Miss May Pollard|
|Melissa||Miss Kattie Potter|
REVIEW OF THE NEW ZEALAND PREMIERE OF 'PRINCESS IDA'
Last night witnessed the first production in New Zealand of Gilbert and Sullivan's idyllic opera "Princess Ida", one of the many novelties introduced to the Australasian stage by Messes Williamson, Garner, and Musgrove. From a spectacular point of view, "Princess Ida" takes premier rank amongst the operas presented during the present season. As to the music, it is of a light character throughout, but most of the airs are exceedingly pretty without being of that "catchy" kind which is calculated to shorten their popularity..
Judged by last night's presentation "Princess Ida" ought to have a very successful run. With the opportuneness which a comparatively small theatre affords, no opera could be better staged. The scenery was the work of a master hand; the stage settings unanimously striking; the dresses new and sparkling to Dunedin eves; the choruses very effective, and the tout ensemble all that could be desired by the most exacting critics.
"Princess Ida" from the completeness and general effectiveness of its presentation, will be remembered amongst the many treats which this enterprising firm has provided the New Zealand public with, and their efforts to cater for people's amusement, so regardless of expense, deserve the fullest measure of support that can be accorded to them.
Despite the enormous attraction at another place, last night's attendance was a proof that the season will be a remunerative one to the end.
Good as has been the impression created by Miss Clara Merivale in the minds of the public, her assumption of the part of Princess Ida surpassed all her previous performances. It is a part which calls forth extraordinary efforts both in singing and acting, and Miss Merivale's excelled in both respects. She was in capital voice, and sang the aria "At this my call" beautifully, and her address to the women of Adamant showed an amount of historic talent that is rarely couples with vocal ability. Indeed, her acting throughout was an agreeable surprise, and the audience was loud in appreciation. Again, Miss Merivale gave a splendid rendering of the song "I built upon a rock", and in the finale "With joy abiding" the sweetness of her voice was displayed to great advantage. The concerted music in which she engaged was also well sung, and speaking generally Miss Merivale's Princess Ida was a decided triumph.
Miss Fannie Liddiard took the part of Lady Blanche, and made the most of it. Not only did she act the part exceedingly well, but her vocal contributions were likewise successful, notably the song "Come, mighty must" and in the duet with Melissa (Miss Katie Potter). Miss Liddiard has established herself as a great favourite in Dunedin, and she richly deserves all the popularity she has achieved.
Lady Psyche was undertaken by Miss May Pollard, whose song "The ape and the lady" was redemanded.
Mr. Leumaine who sustained the part of Hilarion, was again in fine voice, an received an encore for his ballad "Ida was a twelvemonth old."
The trio "For a month to dwell" was very effectively rendered by Messrs T. Grundy (Arac), H. Trevorah (Guron), and Stannis Lesley (Scynthius); and likewise the trio "Expressive glances," sung by Messrs Leumane, W. Johnson (Cyril), and H.M. Imano (Florian). The trio by the same gentlemen, "Gently, gently", was encored; also "I am a maiden". An encore was given for the quintette "The woman of the wisest wit", the parts in which were taken by Messrs Leumane, Johnson, and Imano, Miss May Pollard, and Miss Katie Potter.
As King Gama, Mr William Elton made another big hit. In his portrayal of the hunchback monarch Mr. Elton's disguise and loss of individuality were perfect. His song "Whene'er I spoke," was raptuously redemanded.
Mr Howard Vernon had not much to do as King Hildebrand, except to look soldierly, and this he certainly did.
All the choruses were remarkably fine, and altogether the opera may be described as a pronounced success.
In "Princess Ida," more than any in any other opera-bouffe which has yet been presented here, the dialogue is both witty and interesting, and in this respect the libretto is immeasurably superior to any of its predecessors. If "Princess Ida" gets its deserts, bumper houses may be anticipated during the remainder of the week.
Otago Daily Times. Tuesday, March 25th, 1890.
The excursion trips have brought a considerable influx of people from the country, and consequently the attendance at the exhibition has pulled up in proportion. The total attendance yesterday was 5065, comprising 2618 admitted for cash (including 50 children and 9 teachers from three Southland schools), 2249 season tickets, and 198 exhibitors and attendants. The attendance on Tuesday was 2476 - namely, 1245 cash admissions, 1053 season tickets, and 178 passes.
Owing to the scarcity of water the supply has been cut off from the exhibition battery, so that the trial cutting of Waitahuna quartz cannot be completed till the city water supply iimproves
Otago Daily Times. Thursday March 13th, 1890.
BUSH FIRES IN TARANAKI
NEW PLYMOUTH, March 3 - Bush fires are still raging in this district, with no signs of abatement. The amount of damage cannot be estimated, but it is expected to exceed that of the Stratford fire. In several localities all means of communication is cut off. The loss of pasture, fences, and cattle is great, besides a considerable number of homesteads. A telegram was received by the mayor asking for assistance be sent from New Plymouth to homeless settlers at Egmont village. Expresses were at once sent to bring them to town. The borough council held a special meeting to devise means of rendering aid. A settler and his wife are missing, and fears are entertained for their safety. The fires extend from Stratford to Sentry Hill, the whole forest between these two points, a distance of over 30 miles, being apparently in flames. Several country bridges have been burnt. A party of mountain climbers have arrived, and state that it is both different and dangerous to get through. Strenuous exertions are being made by settlers to save their dwellings, and they are kept constantly at work battling with the flames.
Otago Daily Times. Thursday March 6th, 1890.
|Back to the main review listings||Return to 'Down under in the 19th Century'|