Original Australian Cast
July 29th, 1879
Initial run: 6 performances

Sir Marmaduke

Mr. John L. Hall


Mr. Richard Lord Skinner

J. W. Wells

Mr. William Horace Lingard

Dr. Daley

Mr. John Forde


Miss Alice Dunning (Lingard)

Lady Sangazure

Mrs. J. L. Hall


Miss Laura Wiseman

Dame Partlet

Miss Kate Foley


The new work of Messes. Gilbert and Sullivan produced last night at this theatre contains some music of a higher quality than that of "H.M.S. Pinafore", with a kind of reductio ad absurdum of the lyric drama, with its unreal personages, its impossible incidents, its extravagant sentiment, and its preposterous situations. Each of the characters a hero or heroine of opera turned inside out. We have met them all before, in "La Sonnambula," in "L'Elisire d'Amore," in "Der Freischutz," and in half-a-dozen other works of a similar character. But then they were pretending to be serious. They ran through the gamut of the passions with imposing earnestness. They made love in duets, declaimed in recitative, expressed the tumultuous conflict of emotions in trios, quartets, and quintets, soliloquised in solos, revealed the depth of their affections in a cavatina, uttered the fervour of their happiness in a bravura, or died to the accompaniment of a rallentando movement, executed by the violins in the orchestra, with the upmost gravity, and in perfect good faith. In "The Sorcerer" we perceive that they are demurely poking fun at us; that they are talking, acting, singing, posturing, and gesticulating with an arrière pensée. The beauteous Aline, who is a lineal descendant of Helen of Troy, 7,037 times removed; the courtly Sir Maramaduke, who belongs to the stately gentlefolks of the Pamela and Clarissa Harlowe period; the sweetly sentimental bridegroom, who is evidently composed of pâte tendre; his blue-blooded mother-in-law, who also belongs to the porcelain of humanity; the modest and ingenuous Constance, who is one of its common clay pipkins; the grey-haired old rector, with his pastoral pipe and suit of rusty black; and Mrs. Partlett herself, together with the inevitable chorus of neatly-dressed rustics, who never do any hard work, but are always making vociferous protestations of their sympathetic emotions - all these are laughing ar the absurdities of the whole operatic business in their sleeves. And the audience laughs with them; but it does so openly, and the mirth which is excited by the performance is not mitigated by any misgivings as to the legitimacy of its object, for the most ardent admirers of the lyric drama must perforce acknowledge the intense absurdity of the plots, personages, sentiment, and situations which Messes Gilbert and Sullivan have caricatured.

The music generally is full of variety and verve. Some of the airs are worthy to be wedded to better words than the clever nonsense to which they are united, and the concerted pieces and choruses are exceedingly taking. Aline's air, "Happy young heart," was charmingly given by Mrs. Lingard, and the patter song of John Wellington Wells, by Mr. Lingard, in which he enumerates the stock-in-trade of the mercantile magician, and informs the audience that he

"Changes organity
With an urbanity,
Full of santanity,
Vexes humanity,
With an inanity,
Fatal to vanity,
Driving your foes to the verge of insanity" -

was sung with so much volubility and vivacity as to result in its being redemanded. And a similar compliment was awarded to Mr. Forde as Dr. Daley, for his humorous delivery of "Engaged to So-and-so," with its flageolet obligato. The incantation scene, with its appropriate loans from Weber, and with the sorcerer in a dress coat, white waistcoat, and Hessian boots, distilling his magic potion in the domestic teapot, was an amusing burlesque of the original; and the choral finale of both acts

Now to the banquet we press,
Now for the eggs and the ham,
Now for the mustard and cress,
Now for the strawberry jam" -

recalled to mind many a similar termination to a professed serious opera.

Sir Marmaduke Pointdextre, a gentleman of the old school, is impersonated by Mr. Hall, Alexis, by Mr. Skinner; Lady Sangazure, by Mrs. Hall; Mrs. Partlett, by Miss Foley; and Constance, by Miss Laura Wiseman; and a strong chorus of male and female voices contributes materially to the success of the opera which went as smoothly as could be reasonably expected for a first night's performance, and is likely to become increasingly popular as the ladies and gentlemen concerned in it acquire the ease and confidence which they exhibited in "H.M.S. Pinafore."<

The Melbourne Argus. July 29th, 1879.


The electric lights have been tried at the Exhibition building, with the view of affording illuminating power to work on the dome. Light was thrown from two different directions, extending upwards to the top of the dome, but it was flickering and uncertain, and consequently dangerous to work under.

Sydney Morning Hearald. July 16th, 1879.

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