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December 20 , 2008

Punch, or the London Charivari, Vol. 108, June 29, 1895 (Illustrated)


Monday.—Tannhäuserites disappointed. Signor Vignas indisposed. Tannhäuser's understudy Faust put up. House good. Performance better. Plançon,—onceJupiter now Mephistopheles, the extremes meeting in one singer,—excellent. Melba quite the German Fräulein. Bevignani, C. B., i.e., "Conducting Beautifully," in the chair.

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Tuesday.—Many other attractions, yet heart is true to Opera. M. Victor Maurel, as Iago, adds another leaf to his victor's wreath of Laurel. Maggie Macintyremakes distinct advance, and sings, "O Willow, we have missed you" most melodiously. Tam Agno as Misther O'Tello, the Irish darky singer, uncommonly powerful. Richard Green, Montano, greener than ever: quite fresh. Percy Mordy a good Roderigo Randomo. The highly Pole-ish'd Olitzka a fair representative of Emilia. And this cast, with Merry Mancinelli manipulating musicians, makes the Opera a delight to the fine fleur of the Covent Gardenian Hot House.



Wednesday.—House crammed to see and hear Adelina Patti as Rosina in the ever delightful Barbiere di Siviglia. Rossini for ever! "Whar's your Wullie Wagner noo?" Patti's acting worth a third of the money; her singing makes up t'other two-thirds. "Bonus" to audience in "Home, Sweet Home." Wrapt attention! Here we are all of us out for the night, so to speak, in silks and satins and jewels rare, and with feathers and diamonds and all our war paint on, off afterwards to routs, balls and supper-parties, and yet all hushed, conscience-stricken as it were, in the midst of our gaiety, by sweet voice warbling so distinctly "Home! Home! Home! Sweet Home! Wherever (including the Opera Covent Garden) we wander (and we can't wander when our attention is riveted on la Diva) there is no-oh-o-o place like Ho-ome!" And then, second verse finished, a storm of rapturous applause bursts over the singer! Yes! those are our sentiments. "Home! Home!" by all means. Only—excuse us—we "won't go Home Sweet Home till morning, till daylight doth appear." But why, Adelina mia, didst thou sing at the end of the Opera that remarkably anti-climaxious waltz of Ti-to-tum Mattei's? Ti-to-tum all very well in his way, but not a Rossini. And then you sang it from a paper in your hand as though doing penance in a music sheet? A mistake, Adelina, don't do it again, spin yourTi-to-tum at a concert, but not in Rossini's Barbiere. Bertha Bauermeister obtained a rapturous encore, but shook her finger at the audience as who would say "too late! too late!" So Bevignani bowed, and on we went again merrily. Pini-Corsi good as pantaloon Bartolo. Ancona a capital Figaro, looking like one of Cruikshank's comic characters. 'Abry Mundy, fine Basiliodone in Italian oils; M. Bonnard, light and airy French count, more of larker than lover. All Home-Sweet-Home-ing (or elsewhere) about midnight, many being detained by the singers at the Opera from getting to the Speaker's "at Home," Sweet Home.

Thursday.—Pagliacci, with Miss Pauline Joran appearing as Nedda, and playing it in first-rate style. "Gee up! Nedda!"Query. Pini-Corsi good as Tonio? Answer. 'Corsi was. T'others not much, but Opera still charming. Yet this evening's programme too trying for emotional persons. Pagliacci, tragedy; Cavalleria Rusticana tragedy also; tragedy from beginning to end; even the celebrated mezzo very like a wail! Not kind of Druriolanus to afflict us thus. Madame Bellincioni, "the originalSantuzza," admirable. Honours easy between Madame Calvé and Bellincioni. The latter played it first abroad; but the former had the start of her here. In some of the action peculiarly characteristic of the type, Bellincioni wins, not by a neck, but by two hands. Calvé more striking (hands down) in her jealous agony. SignorValentine Figaro Ancona excellent as Alfio; the situation when Vignas, going strong as Turiddu, catches Alfio's ear, in order, as he says in Sicilian, "Tu-rid-u of his presence" by subsequently killing him, more dramatic than ever. Giulia Ravogli admirable as quite the gay Lola of the Sicilian Seven Dials. After intermezzoBowing Bevignani declines encore.

Friday.—Child Harold allowed to sit up late for another night. Composer Cowen ought to sing, "I love my Albani with an A, because she's Admirable." Haroldimproveth on representation. William Malet played by Richard Green. Nice of the librettist, Sir Edward Malet, to keep the memory of his ancestor Green. It must make singers rather nervous to have the composer vis-à-vis conducting his own work; as Wagstaff observes, "in this instance it must have the effect of Cowin' them." 'Nother week gone.

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