The Carandinis gave their first concert in Ashburton at the Town Hall last night. There was a very good attendance, and the audience was decidedly an appreciative one. Mias Marie Carandini and Miss Deakin opened the concert with a carefully and tastefully executed selection from “ Martha.” These young ladies are the only members of the company who are new to us, and no doubt equally so to our readers, and of them we propose to speak first. Miss Carandini, besides being a graceful pianist, possesses a sweet, rich soprano, thoroughly adapted to the true rendering of ballad music. By her perfect control over the notes in the upper register of her voice, she is enabled to bestow effectual embellishments upon the text, and to impart to the piano passages an amount of pathetic tenderness unobtainable in most sopranos. This was especially noticed by us in her rendering of Cowen’s exquisite song, “ It was a dream.” The commencement of what may be called the major part was sung pianissimo, and, as may be supposed by those who are acquainted with this touching air, with groat effect. We should be inclined to pronounce Mias Carandini’a singing of this song as faultless were it not that we entirely disagree with her in her idea of the way in which the words, “it was a dream,” should be sung. It appears to us contrary to the very spirit of the words that the two last should be dipt, and sung as if forming but one word. As an operatic singer, Miss Carandiui was not so successful. The gentleness which gave such a charm to her ballads, was out of place in the operatic selections, and there was a marked want of energy and histrionic power. It will be as a singer of ballads, and essentially ballads of a tender and pathetic nature, that Miss Carandini will take her position with the music loving public. Miss Deakin has a very rich mezzo soprano of fair compass, and acquitted herself well in the only song allotted to her—so well, indeed, that wo were surprised to see that her name had been entirely omitted from the vocal portion of the second part. Though it is many years since we have had the pleasure of hearing Madame Carandini, her voice seemed to us as fresh and vigorous as ever. Her singing of Millard’s cavatina, “ Waiting,” was a truly brilliant performance and richly deserved an encore. It is, however, with her Scotch ballads that Madame Carandini is particularly effective. For her “ Jessie, the Flower o’ Dumblane” she obtained a rapturous encore, and in response gave that ever-charming ballad “ Cornin’ thro’ the rye.” Mr Sherwin is as usual very useful in concerted pieces, to which he strictly confines himself. In Mr Gordon Gooch (whom we recollect seeing in former years under a less pretentious patronymic) we see little of improvement. Taken all round, his voice is a full and pleasing bass, but without any great compass and deficient in strong upper notes, and quite unfitted to cope with such songs as, “Ifear no foe” and “The Yeoman’s Wedding.” “ Jack’s Yarn” was more within his reach, and secured for him a well deserved encore. We omitted to mention tnat Miss Carandini was loudly encored for her rendering of “It was a dream,” and gave as a substitute “ Take me to thy heart again.” The concerted pieces were all sung well, especially the quartette, “ The Blue Bells of Scotland,” and the closing chorus, “ The Merry Gipsies.” Altogether the entertainment was a most successful one. Tonight the second and last concert will take place, when an entirely fresh programme will be offered.
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