REVIEW OF AUSTRALASIAN PREMIERE OF 'RUDDIGORE'
"The task which the Amateur Operatic Society set itself last night was one of unusual difficulty. Not only was it producing a new work without the very material assistance of minute author's directions as to stage management and interpretation, and without the models of properties and scenery which, for instance, the Comic Opera Company would have had in similar circumstances, but it was giving the first Australasian airing to a work which none of the performers had seen, and which was the only one of a brilliant series to fail to seize upon the public taste in England. Certainly the opera had a ten month run at the Savoy in 1887, and the run was extended at another house to which it was removed, but this in a record of extraordinary successes was failure. But Gilbert and Sullivan's worst is better than other men's best, and very often we are treated in these colonies by travelling companies to melodramas little less idiotic and gory than those which Gilbert had satirised, so that there is every reason why the plucky venture of our amateurs should continue on the plane of success upon which it started last night.
Sullivan's music has the polish and finish, the melody and rhythm, which have marked all his works, and given to even his most airy trifles a musicianly stamp. Over and over again last night numbers had to be repeated, and applause broke out again and again.
Mr Lyon has the part of Robin Oakapple, the hero, who is living in rural innocence and obscurity in order to escape the dreadful curse imposed upon his race through a witch-burning ancestor, and which requires the living baronet to commit a crime every day of his life or die in Agony. This is the part in which Grossmith failed. It is a strong acting part, and a difficult part, both dramatically and vocally. Mr. Lyon came through with credit, and is likely to further improve on his first performance. He has two good patter songs.
Mrs. Miller has a very bright and attractive part as the beautiful village maiden Rose Maybud. She not only sang the pretty music with which the scene is studded very sweetly and well, entering into its quaint humour, but her acting was full of sparkle and animation, and she has evidently grasped fully the spirit of the part, which she had dressed very prettily.
Mr. E.J. Hill was expected to succeed vocally, but not histrionically, as the seadog Richard. The reverse was the case. The fine sea-song..and other fine numbers were marred by his singing out of tune; but his comedy was distinctly good, and with an excellent make-up aided to constitute the part one of the most marked successes of the piece, and to establish him from his entrance in the good graces of the audience.
Mr. Parsons as the bad baronet, Sir Despard, was exceptionally good in his first scene. His air of melodramatic villainy, and the sepulchral tones in which he sang, were in excellent keeping with the character, but his acting was not always up to the same standard.
The opera is well mounted and dressed, and its production reflects great credit upon Mr. A. Levy, the stage manager, and Mr. Trimnell who had the musical direction and conducted the efficient orchestra as well as orchestrating the score, the society having been unable to get the band parts.
Last night's performance must be considered a distinct success, and one which will grow as the performers become more accustomed to their parts and develop appropriate 'business'."
THE QUEEN'S BIRTHDAY
As usual today, the 24th of May - the anniversary of the anniversary of the birthday of Her Majesty Queen Victoria - will be observed in Auckland as a public holiday, and arrangements have been made for providing amusement for the public. The races at Takapuna will no doubt prove a very general attraction, but there are other sports provided, and railway and other excursions will no doubt draw large numbers.
THE MILITARY RECOGNITION
The military recognition of Her Majesty's birthday is to be reduced to the smallest possible dimensions. There will be no general parade of volunteers, no evolutions, no march past, and no feu de joie as in former years. These loyal and instructive musters have been designated luxuries, or worse, by the Hon. the Defence Minister, so the only recognition will be the firing of a salute from the Albert Park. Here the "A" Battery of Artillery, with their four nine-pounder Armstrongs, will muster at half past eight under Captain O'Brien, and will fire the Royal salute of 21 guns at nine o'clock, after which they will take the guns to the stores, and leave them there for the present, as the gunrooms will be required for the forthcoming Garrison Ball and the Poultry Show. It is intended to have a grand parade of public school children in the Metropolitan Grounds in the afternoon, but the volunteers smile dubiously at the substitution of boys with wooden toy-guns for the customary military display on an occasion of this sort.
New Zealand Herald. Friday May 24th, 1895.
THE WINTON BABY-FARMING CASES
[By Telegraph - Press Association]<
Wellington Evening Post. Friday June 7th, 1895.
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