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his sweet notes. And Melodioso thought that he was another Orpheus, and that having moved mankind, he would also inspire brutes and trees with his music. Yea, he would often times swell with the ecstacy, which we discern in that Orpheus which Barry painted to decorate the room of the Society of Arts.
But every night, when Melodioso retired to rest, a little elfin figure stood by the side of his couch. The words “Buona fortuna” were inscribed on its girdle, but yet its face was melancholy. Occasionally, the little figure would attempt to smile, but no permanent hilarity could illumine that sad countenance. The reality of sorrow ever broke through the semblance of content.
“ Thy name is of good omen, but thy aspect is mournful,” said Melodioso.
And the figure pointed to a tall veiled form behind it, and clapping its hands with despair, it cried, Alas, alas, that I was born so soon !" And he could get no other answer.
Day succeeded day ; the delight of the natives at the notes of Melodioso went on increasing, but the face of his nocturnal visitant became more and more sorrowful, and the tall veiled figure became more and more conspicuous.
Suddenly, a voice of thunder exclaimed, “ Easter," and the tall figure threw aside its veil, standing before Melodioso with all the majesty of an august beauty. And with a wreath of cypress it struck the minute elf, which gave a shriek of intense agony, and then disappeared in vapour.
The next day, Melodioso again sang to the natives, but they regarded not his
song The old wagged their heads as they looked upon him; the young surveyed him with indignant scorn.
And the heart-broken Melodioso said, “ Truly the small genius · Buona Fortuna' was a type of a success before Easter.”
So it was in former days, but, we repeat, out of a parenthesis, there is nothing of the sort this year. Mademoiselle Cruvelli, if not a singer of immense power, has an extensive voice of very even quality, and is a graceful actress while she is a delightful vocalist. She does not at once astound her public, but she pleases every body, and she is more likely to take a permanent place in the Opera company than any female vocalist, previously unknown, who has made a début' at Her Majesty's Theatre since Moltini. Signor Belletti, the new baritone, has every qualification to be a most useful addition to the establishment. He has a good firm voice, and acts with uniform taste and judgment. Mr. Lumley is eminently fortunate in securing two vocalists of such decided merit for the commencement of his season.
As for the ballet, it is always admirable at Her Majesty's Theatre. The glories of “Alma,” of “ Esmeralda," of "Giselle," shed an unfading lustre
upon those Haymarket boards, and from them new brilliancies must inevitably spring
This year we have a superb Terpsichorean entertainment called “ Fiorita et la Reine des Elfrides.” What an “ Elfride” is we have not the slightest notion ; our French dictionary cannot tell us, our French friends cannot tell us. For us it is sufficient that Marie Taglioni, the younger, is the sovereign of the beings so called. The only thing of which we complain is, that she is supposed to be a spirit of evil. No,
Mr. Lumley, you may do what you like-you may people your stage with the most bewitching danseuses ; you may adorn it with your most gorgeous scenery and most subtle mechanism ; in short, employ all those dazzling means which you so well know how to handle, but you shall never convince us that there is any evil in Marie Taglioni. That juvenile innocence of countenance, that charming gaucherie of movement—that -that-that-“ Marie-Taglionism" (for there is no other word), convinces us that she can never be an evil elf. Has she not a fear, that even against her will, her hair may throw itself out, and become, as it were, a snare to entangle the hearts of mortal men, and does she not therefore bind it back, and keep it harmless ? Back to the printer with your programme, Mr. Lumley ; alter, erase, transpose—what you will—but do not try to persuade us that that dear naïve Marie, who bounds about in manner so unsophisticated, is a spirit of evil.
The accomplished Rosati, who, as we demonstrated last year, can put her feet in several places at once, is the heroine of the ballet—the young peasant, whose lover is snapped away by the evil (pshaw !) fairy. Rosati is the very personation of brilliant dancing, and of that confidence which the artist feels when she has thoroughly mastered the difficulties of her
Those intricacies, which to many danseuses would be a goal they could scarcely hope to reach, are to her mere play-work, trifling riddles which she can sportively solve with her nimble little feet.
Then how beautiful is the seenery! Never has real water been employed with such excellent effect. The jets of water rise, and intertwine, and blend, and sparkle, so that a prettier appearance cannot be conceived. Very different was the ancient use of water upon the stage. If
any of our readers can number years enough to comprise the old aquatic glories of Sadler's Wells, they will perfectly remember that when the boards were removed an inky surface was presented to the sight. The actors in those days were not magnificent.
“Sir,” said Smith to Jones, in the pit of Sadler's Wells, “ that water seems to be Styx.”
“Sir,” said Jones to Smith, “those performers seem to be sticks likewise.”
There has probably never been a more striking instance of a sudden change for the better than in the case of the appearance of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Kean at the Haymarket. Prior to that event, boxes scantily filled, and pit benches meagerly occupied ; subsequent to that event, boxes and pit both full.
Mr. Lovell, already known by several successful dramas, has made a play which is the very thing for its purpose, and which Mr. Kean has very wisely made his own property. wife who by her endeavours to save a brother, excites the suspicion of a husband, and the husband, who being devoted to his wife, is the more alive to feelings of jealousy
these are the personages of the play, and by describing the personages we have almost described the plot.
The'groundwork of the drama is not new, but the manner in which the subject is worked out, so as to produce curiosity, notwithstanding the transparency of the plot, is most admirable. The audience are kept in a state of excitement, which oes not cease until the curtain has descended.
However, the success of the Wife's Secret is as much to be attributed to the excellence of the acting as to its own intrinsic merits. Mrs. Charles Kean, who plays the tender, devoted, but dignified wife, has a more truly feminine manner than any actress on the stage. The character is most delightfully played ; beautifully mild in the calmer portions, terribly impressive when energy was required. And Mr. Charles Kean, as the doating but suspecting husband, exhibited a genuine pathos. Before his jealousy is aroused there is an air of honesty which at once commands sympathy, and the sorrow which is forced upon that manly nature is visibly and eloquently marked in his desponding gestures.
The play has been followed by a farce called Dearest Elizabeth, from the pen of Mr. Oxenford. The infidelities of a married “fast” man, who having lost a letter that may compromise him, uses every effort to regain it, form the foundation of the piece, which, with Mr. Keeley as the sinner, and Mrs. Keeley as the pert housemaid, keeps the audience in a roar.
THE DRAMA IN PARIS.
BY CHARLES HERVEY, ESQ.
“Les Délassements Comiques aux Enfers”—M. Dumersan–Le Couplet de Made
moiselle Darcier--Variétés-Mademoiselle Potel-Théâtre Français -“ Le Puff”—Opéra National-"Le Brasseur de Preston"_“La Fin du Monde"Mademoiselle Boutin-Théâtre Historique—“Monte Christo”—“La Clé dans le Dos”— Arnal—" Notre Dame des Anges"— Montdidier-Madame Guyon* Théâtre de Madame Ancelot”-“Griseldis."
TALKING of revues, I have just seen a very amusing one at a remote Boulevard theatre, the Délassements Comiques. The salle alone is worth a visit, being, though of small dimensions, neatly and tastefully arranged ; and I wish I had never been doomed to see worse acting than that of the major part of the company. One cannot expect very firstrate pieces in a theatre where the remuneration of authors is necessarily limited ; nor, indeed, would the refined wit of a Scribe or a Rosier be so much to the taste of the audience as are the broad and soinewhat unclassical sallies and repartees of Guénée or a Couailhac.
The vaudevilles of the Délassements Comiques but rarely find their way into print ; they appear on the affiche for a certain number of days, and then vanish without any one's asking why or wherefore. It is only when a piece has been brought out with some attempt at scenic display that the performances remain unchanged for weeks together, and such a piece has been lately produced, bearing the singular title of “Les Délassements Comiques aux Enfers.” In it Lucifer, thoroughly blasé, and unable to shake off that most pertinacious of all night-mares ennui, resolves on self-destruction ; and after vacillating between the dagger, the pistol, and poison, determines on brewing for himself a deadly draught, composed of the most appropriate materials he can collect, viz., a parcel of the past year's unsuccessful pieces, including Eugène Sue's " Martin et Bamboche.' These are all by turns thrown into the cauldron, and properly stirred about by his demon satellites, but lo and behold, just as he is about to raise the fatal bowl to his lips, a gong sounds, and a plump little fairy in blue and silver, with a profusion of light corkscrew curls, glides in from behind the cauldron. This is Mademoiselle Esther, otherwise the genius of the Délassements Comiques, and the object of her visit is to prevail on the would-be suicide to postpone for a time his dark design, and to accompany her to Paris, where she promises to protect him from his dreaded foe ennui.
“ Je veux bien!" says poor Lucifer, who, being evidently a bit of a coward, is by no means sorry to give life another trial.
Off they go in some peculiar special train patronised by the genius, and in less than no time step out of the terminus in the Rue St. Lazare, as quietly as if they had only come from Manteş or Rouen, at furthest. Then begins the regular revue business; all the events, inventions, and improvements of the by-gone year; all the remarkable novelties of the different theatres, nay, even la Grippe itself, ether, and chloroform, are in turn personated by the several male and female artistes of the company; Here is “ Cléopâtre," here “ Jérusalem," here the Opéra National, and here the Château des Fleurs ; and all these successive apparitions are enlivened by smartly turned couplets and calembourgs so outrageously absurd that you cannot for the life of you help laughing at them.
Nor are there wanting episodical performances in the salle itself, which are almost as amusing as those on the stage ; in the smaller boulevard theatres the arant-scenes are, on all grand occasions, frequented by parties of third-rate lions, who, in humble imitation of the tenants of the once celebrated loge infernale at the Opera, consider themselves sovereign judges, from whose decision there is no appeal. This inferior variety of the leonine species may be described as generally sporting pink or blue striped shirts, waistcoats which in make and pattern resemble those marvellous specimens of art exclusively manufactured for and worn by Grassot, of the Palais Royal, and stout watch-chains, to which are attached as many keys, seals, and even pencil-cases as would weigh down the most solid châtelaine. These exquisites regard the remainder of the audience with the utmost contempt, and show it by interrupting the performances exactly at the moment when every body but themselves is deeply interested in what is going on upon the stage. This is resented, as a matter of course, by the titis in the gallery, and cries of “A la porte les avantscènes !"' « Qu'on les mette dehors, les tapageurs !” varied by divers personal allusions of any thing but a flattering nature, proceed from the remote heights of paradis.
These popular demonstrations making but little impression on the offending lions, one of whom ejaculates very audibly and very sarcastically the word “canaille !” the uproar in the gallery increases in violence, and this time the pit and even the orchestre take part against the avant-scènes, who, finding themselves in a decidedly small minority, direct withering looks at their adversaries, and relapse into a contemptuous silence, leaving the actors (who have been perfectly inaudible during the preceding quarter of an hour) to resume the dialogue wherever they think fit.
After Mademoiselle Esther, who, though possessing a Jewish name, has any thing but a Jewish face, the leading actresses of the Délassements are Mesdames Bachelet, Virginie Mercier, and Bergeon. The first of these has a pretty face, and a pair of such marvellously arched eyebrows as to reflect the greatest credit on her pictorial talent ; the second, though a pains-taking performer, is no beauty; and the third—alas ! that it should be so- -is positively plain. Yes, Madame Bergeon, the once piquante representative of dashing pages and gallant mousquetaires Madame Bergeon, whose saucy eyes were once fatal as those of Kate Kearney, is now a quiet, sedate personage, condemned henceforward to twelve-line parts and ten-franc costumes. “'Tis true, and pity 'tis 'tis true.”
Leriche, Sevin, and Emile are lively, spirited actors ; and Sagedieu is an amusing comique ; nor must Christian be forgotten, a new recruit, but a very droll one.
The vaudeville final of the revue consists of about twenty couplets, nearly half of which were encored, the choruses being sung by the entire gallery. And all this with a stalle d'orchestre into the bargain, for thirty sous. Prodigious!!!
I spent an hour very pleasantly the other day with M. Dumersan, one of the oldest and best of France's innumerable dramatic authors. He is now in his sixty-ninth year, having been born early in 1780, since which period he has written from 250 to 300 pieces for the theatre. The majority of these have been very successful, some immensely so; in support of which assertion it is only necessary to mention · Le Petit Chaperon Rouge,” “ Madame Gibou et Madame Pochet,” and “Les Saltimbanques,” immortalised by Odry. M. Dumersan is also at the head of the medal and coin department at the Bibliothèque Royale, and has himself written several works on numismatics. He is slightly made, and his countenance is thin, but strikingly intelligent and most prepossessing. I have rarely met with a man of more polished or more agreeable manners ; he has all the courtesy and politeness of the ancien régime, mingled with a frank, yet modest bonhommie, peculiarly his own.
“ Je sens bien,” said he, to me, “que je ne suis pas de mon siècle; my sympathies, my tastes, my habits, are those of the eighteenth, not the nineteenth century; and I regard, almost without interest, the love of change and thirst after novelty which characterise the present genera
Speaking of his own literary productions, he observed, that the public bad often been pleased to find merit in them, where he himself had perceived none ; but added, with a smile, “Do not think me vain, if I tell you
that I have discovered a resemblance between myself and four of the greatest men France has ever produced.” I will quote his own words.
“ Je ressemble à Voltaire, parceque je suis maigre; à Molière, parceque j'ai l'estomac mauvais ; à Rousseau, parceque je suis timide ; et à Lafontaine, parceque je suis naïf et bête.”