Original New Zealand Cast
Monday, June 27th, 1881.
Initial run: 12 performances

The Pirate King

Mr. R. W. Cary


Signor Carmini Morley

Major-General Stanley

Mr. Mr. Wentworth

Sergeant of Police

Mr. J. P. Hydes


Cecil Riverton


Mdlle. Mena Murielle


Miss Amy Johns


Miss Ward


"The long-anticipated production of Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan's delightful comic opera "The Pirates of Penzance" took place at the Theatre Royal last night in the presence of a house crowded from floor to ceiling. It is needless to enter into an analysis of either libretto or music, as so much has been written about both during the last few months in all the newspapers of the world that everybody must be conversant by this time with Mr. Gilbert's intensely amusing mock-serious music with which it has been illustrated by Dr. Sullivan. Suffice it to say that the former is one of the happiest conceptions of the gifted author of "Pygmalion and Galatea" and the "Palace of Truth," and that the music is in Dr. Sullivan's most felicitous vein.

It must be studiously borne in mind by all who would thoroughly enjoy "The Pirates" that it is throughout intended as a caricature of the grand classic opera. So we find the absurdly solemn and grandiose music set to the most ludicrous words, and in the most laughter-provoking situations, as in the "Ode to Poetry," which is sung all kneeling, the "orphan Boy" scene, the various dramatic recitatives, the choral responses of the policemen. The whole of the music, as well as the plot, is a clever satire on the conventional "grand opera" and it is only by keeping this view that its wonderful wit and drollery can be fully appreciated.

Last night's performance may fairly be said to have been a triumphant success. There were hardly any of the hitches which usually attend a first performance, and this is the most creditable when it is recollected that this is a first effort, not only in Wellington, but also in New Zealand and on the part of the present company, who have never played together on any occasion before.

Mr. Cary may be heartily congratulated on the excellence of the production, and Mr. Wolf, the conductor, deserved high praise for his careful drilling of the performers. The choruses were remarkably good, especially those for mixed voices and for the male voices alone, the unison choral singing of the female voices being occasionally a little uneven, which doubtless will be corrected in future productions. The "Ode to Poetry" and the combined choruses of the ladies, pirates, and policemen were given with splendid effect, and the former elicited a vociferous encore, a similar compliment being paid to several other movements.

The principals were thoroughly versed in their parts, and acquitted themselves admirably. Mdlle. Murielle made a charming Mabel. She has greatly improved as a vocalist, and sang excellently throughout, not withstanding a little nervousness, natural with a débût in so important a part. She was warmly applauded, and several bouquets were thrown to her. Misses Johns and Wyatt were very successful as Edith and Isabel, but Miss Ward's voice was scarcely powerful enough for Kate's part.

Mr. Cary made a splendid Pirate King, and delivered his song with fine effect. Signor Carmini Morley was not in such good voice as we have heard him, except in his high chest notes, which he gave forth with his old clearness and power; he sang, as he always does, like a thorough artist.

Mr. Wentworth was a capital Major-General, Mr. Hydes an irresistible Police Sergeant, and Mr. Lissart an efficient Pirate Lieutenant.

Mr. Riverton's Ruth was excessively comic, dramatically, but musically would have been improved by some of the phrases being taken an octave higher, as the part was really written for a contralto.

The band was very steady and effective, the dresses very handsome, and the scenery so artistic as to win a "call" for Mr. Briggs.

In short, the whole affair was a marked success, and we expect to see another crowded house tonight, when the opera will be repeated. "

Wellington Evening Post. Tuesday, June 28th, 1881.


The Gas Company have lately adopted the plan of delivering their coke of a suitable size for domestic use, and have by this means removed, we think, the only objection to a much more extended adoption of this valuable fuel. Coke has, for domestic use, many advantages, not only because it makes no smoke, but because, weight for weight, it gives off more heat in a radiant form directly to the vessels placed over the flame, than coal does. A very considerable portion of the heat value of coal resides in the gases which, when ignited, make a long flame and burn in the chimney to waste. Generally speaking, we recommend the use of coke with local coal, especially when the oven is not required for baking. Used with local coals, coke is certain now to win its way in many households, and to give satisfaction to all who use it with judgement. As the company undertake the delivery in their own sacks, little now remains to be done save leaving the order at the Gas Office.

New Zealand Herald. March 7th, 1881.


The practice of buying and selling wives still continues in some parts of England. Ina recent assault case heard at Barnsley (Yorkshire) one witness swore to having bought his wife for ninepence. Another witness, a woman, swore that her husband had sold her to another man for half-a-crown. To corroborate her testimony, she handed to the Bench a lengthy document, signed by three witnesses, on a penny receipt stamp, which stated that Charles Clarke, her husband, agreed to sell her to Peter Scott, of Sheffield, for 2s 6d, from the first day of February, 1878, from, which time until death he would not annoy her.

New Zealand Herald. January 20th, 1881.


The Princess Theatre
William Poppens, landlord of the Princess Theatre Hotel, Tory Street, was charged with allowing prostitutes to assemble on his licensed premises. Mr. Edwards defended. Constable Donovan deposed that on the night of the 20th instant a ball was held at the Princess Theatre, which is under the same roof as the hotel for which the defendant holds the license. At the ball there were about 12 or 15 prostitutes present, whose names were furnished to the Court. Doors led from the hotel to the theatre, but were closed on this occasion. There was also a door leading from the defentant's yard through the stage. For the defence it was stated that the theatre was not included in Mr. Poppens' lease, and he had no tenure of the hall at all. On the night of the 20th the hall was let to a man named Evans. The doors referred to were kept locked, and were never used for the purpose of communicating with this theatre. The prosecution not being able to disput the staement that Poppens had no tenure of the theatre, the information was dismissed.

Evening Post Tuesday June 28th, 1881.


Among the passengers detained in quarantine at Auckland, in the S.S. Hero, is Miss Leaf, who has returned to New Zealand to fill an engagement to Mr. Cary in the "Pirates of Penzance" Company. Miss leaf will not be able to arrive in time to play with the Company in Wellington during the present season, but will do so on their return to the city.

Evening Post July 5th, 1881.

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