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Eur. Mag. March, 1823.
KING'S THEATRE, ITALIAN OPERA.
A new spectacle called Alfred the scenery and extended processions, yet Great bas been brought out at this it is large enough for something rather · Theatre since our last number, and better, more worthy of rational beings, was deservedly received with than eternal pirouettes and entrechats. bounded applause. It was composed Alfred is personated by Mr. C. Vesfor the Academie Royale de Musique, tris, whose acting was highly comwhere it was originally brought out mendable. Mademoiselle Mercandotti, last year, or late in 1921, and has been (who has since seceded from the produced at this theatre under the di- theatre,) as his page, looked very rection of its author, M. Aumer. The charmingly, though she wanted the story comiences with Alfred's tempo energy that this part requires. Marary abandonment of the regal dignity, dame Ronzi Vestris has but little to and his disguise as the assistant of his do, but she does that little well. The own neat-herd; and ends with the acting falls chiefly upon Mademoiselle battle of Eddington.
Aurellie, who does herself great credit We are sorry we have not room for by her performance. A pas de cinq in a detail of the plot of this ballet, which the first act is exceedingly graceful is likely to prove extremely attractive, and beautiful, and was much applaudand we congratulate the manager on ed; and a chorus-dance, while Alfred its success, and hope it will operate as and his page are sleeping, bas great an incentive to many improvements, taste and merit, both of which will be the necessity of which must be obvious. more apparent when the performers Alfred is a true ballet l'action, con are a little more perfect. The music, structed after the Italian models, and by the Count De Gallemberg, a name has very little of what, in modern lan- unknown to us, is a compilation from guage, is termed dancing. It is a se Pucitta, Rossini, &c. mixed up with rious pantomine, a sort of performance Scottish and other national airs, and is known in all countries, and liked in not remarkable for any thing but what most when accompanied by good mu is already well kpown. The scenery sick and splendid decorations, and de- is excellent, and the decorations are rived with very little change from liberally and tastefully supplied,
of considerable antiquity. though the costume bas not been much This sort of ballet is, we must acknow. regarded. The whole piece has been *ledge, much to our taste; and though got up at a considerable expense, and the stage of the King's Theatre is not has been received with great applause favourable to the display of combined by full houses.
There has been nothing particu tive fille de chambre of Beaumarchais 'larly novel at this theatre during the We know not whether this remark past month, for excellent acting and will not apply almost as closely to the singing and full houses are common singing as to the acting of Miss Sieoccurrences at this renovated theatre. phens; but then what can be more The most worthy of remark are the delightful in itself than the quality of opera of Figaro, and the Lent Con voice which makes her one and alone. certs. The Marriage of Figaro was The predominant povelty was the Count performed with considerable eclat, Almavira of Mr. Elliston, which amus. The Figaro of Liston, and the Susanna ed us exceedingly. Mrs. Austin was a of Miss Stephens are so well kuown, very tolerable Countess as to musical it is scarcely necessary to dwell upon effect, and the Page of Mrs. Hughes their respective merits. As the per was very fair, although somewhat too sonal representative of the piquant girlishly wild; but the Page of an Soubrette, Miss Stephens mast yield English Figaro is any thing but the to both her rivals of Covent Garden ; Page of the original author. The the character in her hands is one of whole opera went off with spirit, and lively simplicity, and we look for a was received with loud approbation. more spirited vivacity in the attrac The Lent Concerts have been held
at this theatre exclusively, and have also of native growth, have delighted been attended with overflowing houses. their auditors; and this is not so much The works of the following great owing to their own rapid advance to- : , composers have delighted their re wards perfection, which is undeniable, spective admirers :- Handel, Haydn, as to the increased and increasing Mozart, Rossini, and Dr. Crotch; and love of the science which pervades the provided ample scope for the faculty public. Puzzi's wonderful performof comparison. Among the vocal per. ance on the horn is not merely diffiformers, the only novelty has been a cult, it is beautiful; he can do almost Miss Spence. Her attainments in the any thing with that instrument, so science, however respectable (and such indexible in other hands. Mr. Bochsa, they are,) will not compensate for the and his pupil, Miss Dibden, make the want of the first of requisites-pathos. harp every thing it is susceptible of, Her voice, although susceptible of and surprise us by playing their conmelioration, is at present a radical and certos, comprising highly wrought promineat drawback on her perform- variations, from memory. Moschelles ance. By the engagement of profes- plays with the utmost brilliancy and. sors of supreme rank in their respec- rapidity of execution, and his charactive iostruments, every amateur has teristic is vigour and decision. been ja turn delighted with hearing These concerts are now ended, and that one of his owo peculiar choice in the theatres closed for a week; for perfection. We have had the bitherto custom seals the doors, and imposes unrivalled Lindley, to whom it has a rigid abstinence from places of publong been sufficient to hold the emic lic amusement to the inhabitants of nence be bas attained, for beyond it this great city, while those of provinwe hardly think human art can arrive. cial towns hail the interval as offerHis powers are still in all their vi. ing a certain treat at their respective gour. Mori and Nicholson, who are theatres.
SINCE our last publication, we have offspring of a Miss Mitford, who has been favoured with the representation of given birth to some poems of minor one of those ephemeral productions calle pretensions, and which certainly did ed tragedies; so called, we believe, for not prepare us to expect either a no other reason but because they at tragedy or an epic poem. After stattempt the exbibition of a great deal of ing that this play has been acted for grief, and bring two or three fictitious several nights, and is still in progress personages to an uptimely grave. Per to the “ waters of oblivion," we probaps there is nothing in the whole ceed to detail the plot. range of intellectual exertion, in which the authors of the present day are so The scene is laid in Sicily, and the deficient, as good tragedy, and yet there action of the tragedy arises from the is no want of attempts in that difficult virtuous opposition of Prince Julian path to Fame, Jadeed so common is the to the ambitious designs of his father, attempt that even ladies, who have the Duke of Melfi. The latter, who previously signalized themselves only is uncle to Alfonso, the rightful heir in some petty volume of pettier poems, to the Sicilian crown, is, on the demise think themselves entitled to the most of the Prince's father, constituted Refavoured smiles of Melpomene, and gent of the Kingdom, and guardian of dare to attempt that which no indi. ibe young monarch. Under the previdual of the sterner sex is able to pro tence of conducting the Prince to Mesduce. We think that these vast aspi- sina, where it is proposed that his rations of the fairest part of the crea- coronation shall take place, Melfi intion arise from their reliance on the veigles him into a solitary pass in the gallantry of the audience, rather than mountains, where he attempts to murfrom any temirarious and over-wean der bis kinsman and his sovereign. ing conceit in their own powers. How At this crisis Prince Julian, who bad ever this may be, as impartial critics,we ridden from Messina to meet the cavalare bound to temper our devotion to cade, is attracted to the spot bythe cries, the fair with prudence, and not to suffer of Alfonso; be interposes at the moour critical acumen and honesty to be ment when Melfi is on the point of sacrificed at the shrioe of beauty - slaying the youthful king; and, ere he Without farther preface we must inform has had an opportunity of seeing the our readers that we are about to cri. face of the traitor whose arm is upticise a tragedy, entitled Julian ; the lifted against his Sovereign, he plunges.
bis sword into the side of his father, having elapsed. Ttere is, he observes, whom he recognises as he is sinking but one way in whielt she can escape to the earth. He immediately fties dishonour, and he prepares to kill her. from the scene of blood, accompanied His resolation fails ; but while he is yet by Alfonso, who travels with him in parleying, Bertone, D'Alba's servant the disguise of a page. The dreadful enters, with two murderers. Annabel reflection that he has slain his parent rusbes forward to protect her husband, preys on the sensitive mind of Julian ; and receives a fatal wound. The asand, during eight days, delirium usurps sassins quit the prison; and Julian, the seat of reason. The play opens having thrown his cloak over the with his recovery; and one of its best dead body of his wife, .covers bimself and most powerful scenes is that in with a garment which one of the murwhich bis bride, Annabel, draws from derers had left behind him. D'Alba, ighim, by her passionate endearments, noraut of Annabel's death, and exulting the cause of his strange and sudden in the supposed success of his scbeme, malady. Peace revisits his breast returns to the prison. He mistakes when he learns that he has only wound. Julian for one of his followers ; he ed, not destroyed, his father: but his passionately demands of him where happiness vanishes when he finds that Annabel has retired; and is appalled his father, still obstinate in cvil, has when, after an ambiguous conversation, propagated a report of the death of Julian throws aside bis disguise, and Alfonso by the hand of an assassin, at the same moment snatches from the and has assembled the barons to wit lifeless body of his wife the cloak unness his coronation as next beir to the der which it had been shrouded. Crown. Julian, whose loyalty is in D'Alba is consigned to the hands of flexible, vainly endeavours, in an in- justice, and Julian dies in a state of terview with his father, to dissuade melancholy delirium. him from his guilty design. One of The principal eharacters are cast as the best passages in the tragedy occurs follows: in that scene. The unexpected ap- Alfonso, King of Sicily.. Miss Foote. pearance of the young King, whose Ruggiero, Duke of Melfi, and Regent death had been so confidently reported, of the Kingdom... Mr. Bennett. excites the suspicion of the nobles. Prince Julian (his son) Mr. Macready. One of them, Count d'Alba, who has Count D'Alba...... Mr. Abbott. received some secret intelligence of the The Princess Annabel attack which had been made on Al. (wife of Julian).... Miss Lacy. fonso, arrests Melfi on a charge of high treason. He calls on Julian to bear We are of opinion that the tempowitness against his father; this he in rary success, that attends tbis play, dignantly refuses; and he declares, arises from its melo-dramatio incidents, that whatever blood was spilt when and the excellent acting of Macready, Alfonso was attacked, was shed by without whose great and acknowledged himself. Melfi, when arraigned, in a fit talents the first pight would have been of frenzy, admits the truth of every its last. The plot is very inartificial, charge brought againt bim. He and the passions exbibited inconsecutive, his son (whose ambiguous declaration and two of the scenes unnatural and is looked upon as a confession of his absurd. What can be more contrary guilt) are banished. The character of to nature than the slumbering inacthe Count d'Alba is now brought tivity of Julian at the feet of the young prominently forward. His great object King while his father, Melfi, is arin removing Melfi and Julian from raigned by the surrounding nobles, Sicily was, that he might have an op and evidentiy falling from the highest portunity of assailing the virtue of pinnacle of earthly grandeur into the Annabel, whom he had long loved, lowest depths of destruction? What He contrives to bave her ip veigled can be more puerile than the death of to his castle, where he urges his suit, Julian, who dies, no one knows how, but is indignantly spurned. Julian, by the side of his slaugbtered Annabel, while weeping over the dead body of whom a few minutes before he was his father, whose mental conflict has anxious to immolate together with himcaused his wound to burst forth afresh, self? What more ridiculous than the and thus occasioned his dissolution, is conduct of the assasins who, as soon informed of the perilous situation of as Annabel had fallen an accidental his wife. He hastens to her place of con- vietim, might easily have killed Julian, finement : be gajos admission. He tells for which purpose they were employ. her that his life is forfeited, the houred by D'Alba. The melo-dramatic inat which he should have quitted Sicily cidents to which we have alluded, and