Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, July 25, 1891

by Various

Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 101, July 25, 1891

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OPERATIC NOTES.

Amonasro (the Black King). "I am your father. I've kept myself dark so long that I've become quite black!"

Aïda (the White Maiden). "Oh! go away, black man; don't come anigh me!! You ought to be Otello to-morrow night."

Little Ravelli-Radames (aside). "No matter what colour, I love her!!"

Covent Garden Stars seen through the Harriscope.

Tuesday, July 14.—Madame NORDICA is not at her best as Aïda. It lacks colour—that is on the face and hands, where at least should be shown some more "colourable pretence" for being the daughter of so blackened a character as is her father Amonasro, played as a villain of the deepest dye by M. DEVOYOD. When the celebrated march was heard, the players didn't seem particularly strong in trumps, and the trumpets giving a somewhat "uncertain sound,"—a trifle husky, as if they'd caught cold,—somewhat marred the usually thrilling effect. Gorgeous scene; and RAVELLI the Reliable as Radames quite the success of the evening. Mlle. GUERCIA as Amneris seemed to have made up after an old steel plate in a bygone Book of Beauty. Where are those Books of Beauty now! And The Keepsake? Where the pseudo-Byronic poetry and the short stories by Mrs. NAMBY and Mr. PAMBY? But this is only a marginal note, not in the Operatic score. Signor ABRAMOFF was a powerful Ramphis, his make-up suggesting that his title would be more appropriately Rumfiz,—which would be an excellent Egyptian name. Very good House, but still suffering from reaction after Imperial visit, and not to recover itself till to-morrow, Wednesday, when the House is crowded with a brilliant audience to hear a brilliant performance of Otello. The Grand Otello Co. Covent Garden, Limited. Thoroughly artistic performance of Iago by M. MAUREL. His wicked "Credo" more diabolically malicious than ever it was at the Lyceum; an uncanny but distinctly striking effect. Then DRURIOLANUS ASTRONOMICUS gave us a scenic startler in the way of imitation meteoric effect. 'Twas on this wise: of course, neither DRURIOLANUS nor any other Manager can carry on an operatic season without stars, and so they are here, a galaxy of 'em, up above, on the "back cloth," as it is technically termed, shining brilliantly but spasmodically, strange portents in the operatic sky. Pity Astronomer Royal not here to see and note the fact. Next time Otello is given, if this atmospheric effect is to be repeated, the attendants in the lobbies might be permitted to supply powerful telescopes at a small fixed charge. But the greatest star of all is Madame ALBANI as Desdemona; a triumph dramatically and operatically. Her song in the last Act, the celebrated "Willow Song"—which of course no cricketer ought to miss hearing—was most beautifully and touchingly rendered. Those persons suffering from the heat of a crowded house, and dreading the difficulty of finding their "keb or kerridge" in good time, and who therefore quitted their seats before ALBANI sang the "Willow Song," must, perforce, sing the old refrain, "O Willow, we have missed you!" and go back for it whenever this Opera is played again....