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It has come with quite a shock of surprise on a good many people in England to learn recently that the widow of William Vincent Wallace, the composer, of the world-famed and popular opera ol " Maritana," is still alive and in necessitous circumtances. Tbe appeals that have been made on behalf of the venerable lady by Mr G. R. Suns and others are sure to meet with a generous response from the multitude to whom such familiar melodies as " Let mc like a soldier fall," " There is a flower that bloometh," "Alas! those chimes so sweetly stealing," &_., have given unalloyed pleasure for close on fify yean. Australia has always taken a justifiable pride in the fact that most, if not all, of the music of •* Maritana " was composed on her soil. Why young Wallace shoud have thrown up the condactorship of a Dublin theatre orchestra, and buried himself in the Australian bush (says a Home paper) is a quest.ou that has never been satisfactorily auswered ; bun that he did so is undeniable. It may have been through reasons of health, as some say. or it may have been a disappointment in love, as others would have it. A chance visit to Sydney, during which he was accidentally enabled to display his skill on the violin in the presence of the Governor, Sir Richard Bourke, was the meaus of bring him back to civilisation again, and launching him on his successful career as composer and musician. Under Viceregal patronage he became the favurite of the hour in Sydney, one concert of his realising £1000 for th>3 building fund of the Catholic Cathedral. A.:er a while he went on a professional tour through New Zealand, where he was captured by a band of rebel Maoris. His life ivas on the brink of being sacrificed, when a Maori maiden pleaded for nim, and succeeded iv getting him respited. He escaped, and a common sailor on d. whaling vessel bound for the Antarctic seas, where he had another succession of adventures. After that he crossed the South American Continent on the back nf a snule. Tnere is an opportunity for somebody with a talent tor industry and research to produce an admirable book by hunting up the variegated vicissitudes in the career of the composer of " M-ritana," *' Lurline," and "The Amber Witch."

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Bibliographic details

WILLIAM VINCENT WALLACE., Press, Volume LII, Issue 9199, 2 September 1895

Word Count

WILLIAM VINCENT WALLACE. Press, Volume LII, Issue 9199, 2 September 1895