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MISS AMY SHERWIN., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXV, Issue 9036, 20 April 1888
MISS AMY SHERWIN.
Yesterday morning the "Australian Nightingale" (Miss Amy Sherwin), with her company, arrived by the Wanaka from the South, and will open to-night, a season of one week, at Abbott's Opera House. The programme will include Sir Henry Bishop s " Lo, Here, the Gentle Lark," which will be Bung by Miss Sherwin, and the first act of " Martha," in costume, in which will be introduced the "Last Rose of Summer," which will also be rendered by her. There will bo a different programme each night, and the season cannot be prolonged beyond the arrival of the Mariposa, on Friday next, as Miss Sherwin has to proceed to Melbourne to begin rehearsals for her opera season. A large number of tickets have been disposed of for the dress circle, and it is anticipated the balance will be taken up during to-day. We may mention that the other members of the company are Miss Fischer, a lady of German extraction, said to possess an excellent voice; Mr. H. W. Stock well (tenor), who has been for some time in Dunedin ; Mr. Arthur Sherwin (bass), Miss Sherwin's only brother; and Mr. J. Lemmone (flautist), a gentleman of Greek extraction. THE CAREER OF THE " AUSTRALIAN NIGHTINGALE." It may not be uninteresting at the present moment to recapitulate the leading events in the life of this talented artiste. Miss Sherwin is a native of Tasmania, and was born in 1861. Her father was a Tasmania!) farmer, and only died about two months ago. She got her first musical education from her mother and sisters, who were musical, but had no regular professional studies. It may be interesting to notice in this connection that at her appearance in the "Messiah" at Hobart, Herr Schmitt was leader of the orchestra. When she did make a first appearance in 1878 her musical talent was at once recognised by an Italian Opera company (Cagli and Pompei's), which visited Hobart, and they at once offered her an engagement, and at a fortnight's notice she sang as "Norine" in " Don Fasquale." With that company she went to Melbourne, and appeared at the Grand Opera House under Lyster's management, with the leading artistes in the same company—in "Lucia de Lammermoor" and in "La Sonnambula," playing the prima donna. The young artiste created quite a furore in musical circles and among the opera-going classes. The season at Ballarat and Sydney was equally successful. In October of the samo year Miss Sherwin came to New Zealand and commenced a tour through the colony, beginning at Auckland. At first, being entirely unknown, she was but indifferently patronised, but after her first concert the daily journals spoke in such commendatory terms that her business steadily increased, and on her return to Auckland on the conclusion of her New Zealand tour she filled the Choral Hall every night until the day of her departure for America in the first week of 1879. Miss Sherwin made her first appearance in New York in the oratorio of " Elijah," and immediately secured the leading soprano parts in Berlioz's " Damnation of Faust," which was such a success that it had to be repeated for ten nights in succession. Following this she sang with the philharmonic societies both in New York and Brooklyn, both under the famous conductor Theodore Thomas, and also took the leading soprano part at the Cincinnati Festival, which is the leading biennial musical event in America. Miss Sherwin then sang in the same season at Chicago and Boston, and from thence started for Germany, to complete her musical education, her teachers being Stockhausen at Frankfort, Hustache at Paris, Madame Fillipi, wife of the famous critic at La Scala, Milan, and Signor Ronconi giving her the necessary instructions in acting while in Milan. She had an offer of five years' engagement at the Court of Vienna, but declined it owing to her intention to revisit her Tasmanian home before the en- I gagement would have oxpired, and, instead, accepted engagements at Drury Lane, Her Majesty's, and Covent Garden Theatres, London. At the conclusion of the London season she made professional trips through Scotland, to the Continent, and to America, thus completely filling up her time. These engagements extended to the sth March of last year, when she embarked for America and Canada, giving a series of 20 concerts on her way to San Francisco, and thence took passage by the Mariposa for Sydney. Miss Sherwin's present professional tour commenced on the 11th June at the Town Hall, Melbourne, and since then 168 concerts have been given in all the principal Australian and New Zealand towns. THE BURSARY IN MUSIC. During yesterday afternoon a Herald representative interviewed Miss Sherwin at the Star Hotel, relative to the statements which had been current in the Southern Press as to the establishment of the Chair of Music. Miss Sherwin, unlike many musical celebrities which have come along, was frank, unaffected, and natural. She had just returned from a charming drive to the top of Mount Eden, from which " coign of vantage" she scarcely recognised, through the growth of the city, the old remembered points during her visit nine years ago. In response to inquiries, she said : — " During my season in Dunedin, owing to the kindness shown to me, I gave a concert towards the establishment of a fund for the creation of a bursary in music, open for competition by all New Zealand-born students throughout the colony in vocal music. The weather was rather u fortunate right through. In Dunedin the night was rainy, and in Christchurch the concert for the same object had to be abandoned, owing to the gale coming on, which caused such havoc further North, at Wellington. At Wellington the effort was marred by counter influence—some local musicians having a preference for instrumental to vocal music, did not give the object, in consequence, their hearty support. I hope to add considerably to this fund during the present season. Endeavours will be made to get the co-operation of Mr. Fenton, who took such an active interest in the proposal to establish a chair of music. lamat a loss
to understand the suspicion and misrepresentation which has been thrown around the movement. It can be of no personal advantage to myself, and if I return to New Zealand I will add still further to the fund. Having known what it was to be with but scanty means to pursue my musical studies, it occurred to me it would be a good thing to create a bursary in music to aid poor but bright musical students of either sex to obtain increased musical culture. I have no intention of using the fund towards establishing a Chair of Music." CONSECRATED TALENT. • In Sydney Miss Sherwin sang on behalf of the Blind Asylum and the Deaf and Dumb Institution, raising a goodly sum for them, and also at a concert in aid of the Little Sisters' Home, which realised £300. In Sydney and Melbourne she devoted her Sunday afternoons to singing some sacred songs to the convalescent patients in the Hospitals, and will probably do so here. MUSICAL MATTERS. Miss Sherwin is an ardent lover of Wagner's music, but does not appear to think very highly of the new school of English musicians. "They had written some good music, but nothing in the way of dramatic works for her to go into ecstacies about them. The Jubilee Cantata of Mr. Mackenzie, the new President of the ' Royal Academy of Music, seemed to her to be splendid, but his ' Columba' was, on the other hand, laboured. Mr. Villiers Stanford, the Professor of Music at Cambridge, is perhaps the most wonderful theorist of them all" She states that in the English press , there is a strong tendency now to keep the : English stage for native talent. Mr. Bennett, of the Daily Telegraph, had done much in this direction; but, says the lady, " art, whether in music, painting, or sculpture, should know no country. Let the best man or woman win. I cannot ' complain of there being any prejudice against myself as a colonial in English musical circles. There was a feeling of ' surprise at a lady coming from Australia— | that was —but from the English artistes 1 I received nothing but kindness." Speaking of Sullivan's music, Miss Sherwin re- • marked "though he had raised opera- : bouffe to a purer level, he had shown i capacity for something better than whimsi- ] caf, frivolous music, something enduring. » In his '.Golden Legend' the orchestration 1 was beautiful, and it was a noble work." ! By the way, Mr. Gorlitz (Miss Sherwin's) i husband) received' a cablegram yesterday ' from his agent-stating that he had secured | the copyright of "Esmeralda" in Australasia, it will be produced by Miss
Sherwin at the Melbourne Opera season, in Exhibition time. It is by Goring Thomas, who writes the prettiest operatic music of the French school. Miss Sherwin described it as "a charming work, the music sparkling, and the opera abounding in beautiful and striking situations."
MISS AMY SHERWIN., New Zealand Herald, Volume XXV, Issue 9036, 20 April 1888
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