Opera Scotland

Pirates of Penzance 1903D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertoire Company

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A Dundee Review

Dundee Courier & Argus: Thursday, September 10 1903

Her Majesty’s Theatre - The Pirates of Penzance

'The performance by the D’Oyly Carte Principal Repertoire Company of The Pirates last night reached the high-water mark of excellence, and attracted the most enthusiastic audience of the week.  The almost unprecedented enthusiasm at the end of the performance was doubtless due to the presence of many of those who are studying the work for the purpose of production in December, and who were, therefore, better than many, able to appreciate the talents of the D’Oyly Carte Company.

'It is three years since The Pirates was last played in Dundee, and few of the principals remain the same.  The opera is notable for the number of instances it contains of Sullivan’s humour in music, obvious points being the droll travestie of Italian opera in the early duet between Frederic and Ruth, and the imitation deftly indicated of various styles of church music.  Few modern composers have carried the idea of musical humour to a higher point of refined art than Sir Arthur Sullivan, and The Pirates perhaps contains more specimens of this department of his genius than any of the other operas.

'Miss Norah Maguire sang with abundant power as Mabel, and for “Poor Wandering One” was awarded one of the warmest encores of the week.  It was a really clever and brilliant bit of vocalisation.  Miss Rassam was splendidly effective as Ruth, one of Mr Gilbert’s most unfortunate characters, but to whom the composer has awarded some of his best music.  Miss Rassam gave the famous song in the first act, “When Frederic was a little lad,” with great dramatic point, and she sang admirably in the concerted music.  Neither Miss Lulu Evans as Edith nor Miss Jessie Rose as Isabel had much to do, but what they did have to do was nicely done, and Miss Amy Royston sang with feeling and power as Kate.

'Mr Fred Billington appeared in his great, but we scarcely think original, part of the Sergeant of Police.  Mr Rutland Barrington certainly created this part in town, and, if we mistake not, the late Mr George F Marler was the first to play it in the provinces.  It is impossible, however, to imagine any performance of this droll part more full of quiet telling humour than Mr Billington’s.  He has two of the best songs to sing, and he sings them for all they are worth.  His little skip when he leads his men in blue on to the stage brings down the house.  Mr Scott Russell declaimed the tuneful song “Oh, is there not one maiden breast,” with great vigour and effectiveness, and Mr Frank Wilson was at his best as the Pirate King, and specially in the characteristic song, which he sang with splendid dash and energy.  Mr C H Workman was also first-rate as the Major-General, and brought his patter song up to date by substituting the now familiar “Mauser” for the former “Chassepot” of the book.  Mr G Villiers Arnold was a remarkably satisfactory Samuel.

'The chorus was at its very best in the majestic “Hail Poetry,” which was given with abundant fulness of tone and firmness.  The finale of the first act was a little shaky in point of time.

'To-night Patience will be played.'

Performance Cast

Pirate King

Frank Wilson (Sep 9)

Samuel a Pirate Lieutenant

Mr G Villiers Arnold (Sep 9)

Frederic a Pirate Apprentice

Scott Russell (Sep 9)

Ruth a Piratical Maid of all Work

Theresa Rassam (Sep 9)

Mabel Gen Stanley's Youngest Daughter

Norah Maguire (Sep 9)

Edith Gen Stanley's Daughter

Lulu Evans (Sep 9)

Kate Gen Stanley's Daughter

Amy Royston (Sep 9)

Isabel Gen Stanley's Daughter

Jessie Rose (Sep 9)

Major-General Stanley

Charles Workman (Sep 9)

Sergeant of Police

Fred Billington (Sep 9)

Production Cast

Conductor

Mr P W Halton (Sep 9)

Performance DatesPirates of Penzance 1903

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

9 Sep, 19.30

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