Opera Scotland

H M S Pinafore 1904D'Oyly Carte Principal Repertoire Company

Read more about the opera H M S Pinafore

As usual, H M S Pinafore was played as the evening's main entertainment, to be followed by a shorter after-piece, Trial By Jury.

 

A Dundee Review

Dundee Courier & Argus: Thursday, November 17 1904

Her Majesty’s Theatre - The D’Oyly Carte Opera Company - HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury

'The production last night at Her Majesty’s of HMS Pinafore and Trial by Jury was one which tempts to the recall of old memories.  HMS Pinafore was the first of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas to be seen in Dundee, and there must have been a few in Her Majesty’s last night who remembered the delightful freshness and novelty of the first performance in the Theatre Royal in October 1878.  The novelty must, of course, have worn off, but the freshness certainly has not.

'Then, Trial by Jury was the first work produced under the direction of the late Mr D’Oyly Carte, whose business acumen saw in 1875 the possibilities of collaboration with Mr Gilbert and Sir Arthur Sullivan, and although it was a couple of years later till The Sorcerer began the series of successes which lasted without intermission for so many years, Trial by Jury may be said to have been the foundation stone of all these successes.  How many people know that Mr W S Penley made his debut in the small part of the Foreman in Trial by Jury?

'The brilliance of the performance and the delight of the audience both touched high-water mark last night.  There was a splendid audience, and Pinafore with a spirit and dash and breeziness which were beyond all praise.  The picturesque stage and the smartness of the crew of the famous ship were welcomed with applause, and every number seemed but to enhance and intensify the enjoyment of the house.  The company themselves seemed to enjoy playing Pinafore, and the result was a brilliance and dash unequalled in the earlier part of the week, and the audience, catching the infection, fairly revelled in enjoyment.

'The story of Pinafore is one which never grows old, and the setting is ever popular with a nation so proud of its navy as we are.  The character of Sir Joseph Porter, KCB, is a satire, keen but kindly, of our Admiralty, and the interchanging of positions between Captain Corcoran and Ralph Rackstraw is happy and ingenious.  The vagaries of a First Lord of the Admiralty composing songs for the sailors and teaching hornpipes on the cabin table after dinner are neat points that help to make up the clever and amusing satire.

'It is difficult to know where to begin to praise last night’s performance.  It was not the singing or acting of one or even two of the principals that made the result what it was; it was the ensemble.  Principles, chorus, and band all seemed at their best, and to be so inspired that we regret it is not possible to have another Pinafore before the week is out.

'Miss Maguire was a dainty Josephine, and sang unusually well, even for her.  She sang “Sorry Her Lot” delightfully and the duet with Ralph with great dramatic vigour.  Miss Jessie Rose lent importance to the small but pretty role of Cousin Hebe by her natural and vivacious acting, and Miss Rassam sang the music of Buttercup with much feeling and charm.  Her fine solo, “O Many Years Ago,” the symphony of which suggests with much appropriateness and humour Schubert’s “Erl King,” was magnificently sung.

'Mr Workman was extremely funny as Sir Joseph Porter, suggesting at every point the legal luminary in effective contrast to the surrounding nautical men.  His great song was encored, and the brilliant trio, “Never Mind the Why and Wherefore,” in which he took part with Miss Maguire and Mr White, was so well sung and so cleverly danced by all concerned that it was redemanded again and again.  Mr Pacie Ripple made a gallant Ralph Rackstraw, and Mr E A White as Captain Corcoran looked the part to perfection, and acted with that bonhomie and savoir faire characteristic of the British naval officer.  He sang his opening song with such spirit that it was the first encore of the evening.  Mr Fred Drawater made a most dramatic Dick Deadeye, and Mr Albert Kavanagh, made up beyond all recognition, was an excellent Bo’sun’s Mate.  The “Englishman” trio, splendidly sung by Mr Ripple, Mr Kavanagh and Mr George Sinclair, was rapturously encored.

'The chorus was at its best in power and brilliance.  The finale of the first act, in which the voices did run away a bit, was so exhilarating in its sparkle and vigour that the curtain had to be raised and the finale repeated.

'Trial by Jury was immensely funny, and full of capital “business.”  We have only space to allude to Miss Rose’s charming impersonation of the Plaintiff, Mr C H Workman’s brilliant performance of the part of a notable “judicial humorist,” Mr Kavanagh’s dignified appearance as the Counsel, and the delightful appearance and singing of the Bridesmaids, gracefully led by Miss Mabel Burnege.

'To-night Patience will be played for the only time this week.'

Performance Cast

Little Buttercup Mrs Cripps, a Portsmouth Bumboat Woman

Theresa Rassam (Nov 16)

Bill Bobstay Boatswain's mate

Albert Kavanagh (Nov 16)

Bob Becket Carpenter's Mate

George Sinclair (Nov 16)

Dick Deadeye Able Seaman

Fred Drawater (Nov 16)

Ralph Rackstraw Able Seaman

Pacie Ripple (Nov 16)

Captain Corcoran commanding H.M.S. Pinafore

Edward White (Nov 16)

Josephine the Captain's Daughter

Norah Maguire (Nov 16)

Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph Porter, KCB First Lord of the Admiralty

Charles Workman (Nov 16)

Hebe Sir Joseph's First Cousin

Jessie Rose (Nov 16)

Production Cast

Conductor

Tom Silver (Nov 16)

Stage Manager

Fred A Leon

Performance DatesH M S Pinafore 1904

Map List

Her Majesty's Theatre, Dundee | Dundee

16 Nov, 19.30

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