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On Saturday evening Mr Simonson's opera company commenced a return season at the Princess’s Theatre. 'Maritana’ was the opera chosen for the first night, and in this choice we think Mr Simonsen was illadvised, for Wallace’s charming opera has been played here so often and so well that Dunedin audiences have become hypercritical ; and further, the company as a whole appear to better advantage in other operas in their repertoire. Miss Elsa May, as the Gitana, sang her music brightly, and was wholly successful. Miss Florence Seymour made a satisfactory Lazarillo, and Miss Julia Beaumont, with Mr Dean, as the Marchioness and Marquis, made the most of their parts, Mr Walsho’a Don Ciesar was only a moderate success; while Mr England, as the King, sang his music correctly, but failed to give duo dignity to tho character. Mr W. Gainer is not happy as Don Jose ; there was a lifelessness about his acting on Saturday night which was only redeemed by the way in which he sang ‘ Now my courage.’ The other parts were well filled; and the chorus, though few in number, did their work well. ‘ Carmen ’ will be produced this and tomorrow evening. Speaking of the production of this opera in Wellington, the 'Post’ says: placed on the stage at the Theatre Royal last evening, and proved a moat pronounced success. In fact, the performance of last night was far and away the best of any given by Mr Simsonsen’s Company during the present season. It was evident the veteran musician and manager had kept his trump card for the last two nights of his stay here. It is between nine and ten years since the opera was played here, Carmen being Rose Hersee, with Ames Beaumont as the tenor, and Verdi as basso. The music of ‘ Carmen ’ may be charaoterised as sparkling rather than beautiful or grand. The same theme runs throughout the whole of the four acts, and terminates only when the curtain descends on the culminating tragedy involving the murder of the fair but fickle Carmen by her rejected lover Jos A The theme is suggestive of the fandago. Indeed, the opera is redolent of the orange groves of gay Seville, and abounds in darkeyed donnas, gipsies, and bold dragoons. Tho opera was better staged than most of its predecessors. The various ' sets,’ especially that of the first act, were appropriate, and had evidently been specially painted for 'Carmen.’ The dresses had the gloss of newness upon them, and indeed they have been only used for a few nights, having been specially made for the Simonsen Italian Opera Company’s recent Melbourne season. Much care has evidently been bestowed upon the rehearsing of the opera, and Mr Tom Pollard is to be congratulated upon tho success of his labors as stage manager. The audience was a large one, and were most liberal in their applause.”

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Bibliographic details

THE OPERA., Evening Star, Issue 8049, 28 October 1889

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THE OPERA. Evening Star, Issue 8049, 28 October 1889