Archive for November, 2014

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An incident in the original production of H.A. Jone’s play, The Masqueraders, London, 1894

November 30, 2014

an incident from the original production of Henry Arthur Jones‘s play, The Masqueraders with, left to right, Mrs Edward Saker as Lady Crandover, Beryl Faber as Lady Charles Reindean, W.G. Elliott as Montagu Lushington and Irene Vanbrugh as Charley Wisranger. The play opened at the St. James’s Theatre, London, on 28 April 1894.
(cabinet photo: Alfred Ellis, 20 Upper Baker Street, London, NW, negative no. 16228-2)

Emily Mary Kate Saker (1847-1912) was the widow of the actor manager, Edward Sloman Saker (1838-1883); before her marriage she was known on the stage as Marie O’Berne (or O’Beirne).

Beryl Crossley Faber (1872-1912) was the first wife of the playwright and novelist, Cosmo Hamilton (1870-1942). She was also the sister of the stage and film actor, C. Aubrey Smith.

Irene Vanbrugh (née Irene Barnes) (1872-1949) was married in 1901 to the actor and director, Dion Boucicault junior.

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Mdlle. Sylvia, Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville, Globe Theatre, London, 1880.

November 30, 2014

Mdlle. Sylvia (active late 1870s/early 1880s), Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, London on Saturday, 4 September 1880. The part of Serpolette had been first played in London by he American soprano, Kate Munroe.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1880)

‘Mdlle. Sylvia, a young vocalist of Swedish extraction, made her first appearance in England on Wednesday last as the heroine of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, which still retains its popularity after nearly 500 continuous repetitions. Mdlle. Sylvia is young, graceful, and prepossessing. Her voice is a soprano of good quality and ample compass, and she sang with taste and expression, although at times so nervous that her intonation became unsatisfactory. She was heartily applauded, and will probably prove a valuable addition to the excellent company at the Strand Theatre.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 1 August 1880, p. 7d)

Globe Theatre, London, Saturday, 4 September 1880
‘On Saturday, September 4, the Globe Theatre, which has been newly decorated, will reopen for the regular season with Les Cloches de Corneville, the reproduction of which will derive additional interest from the engagement of Mr. [Frank H. ] Celli, who will personate the Marquis; and Mesdames Sylvia and D’Algua, who will respectively sustain the parts of Serpolette and Germaine. Mdlle. Sylvia is already known to the London public as having successfully impersonated Madame Favart at the Strand Theatre, during the absence of Miss [Florence] St. John. Mdlle. D’Algua will make her first appearance on the London stage, and Messrs. [Harry] Paulton, [Charles] Ashford, and Shiel Barry will reappear as the Bailie, Gobo, and the Miser. Les Coches will only be played for a limited number of nights, pending the production of a new comic opera from the pen of Offenbach.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 29 August 1880, p. 3f)

‘After a short recess, during which the auditorium has undergone a complete renovation, the Globe Theatre reopened on Saturday evening with the familiar but by no means unwelcome Cloches de Corneville as the staple entertainment. M. Planquette’s charming opera has not yet outlived its popularity, and no doubt it will attract the music-loving public while Mr. Alexander Henderson is getting ready the promised Offenbach novelty. The present cast is in many respects an excellent one. Mr. Shiel Barry, of course, retains his part of the miser, Gaspard, and plays it with the same intensity as heretofore; while Mr. Harry Paulton and Mr. Charles Ashford continue to impersonate the Bailie and his factotum, Gobo, in a manner which is well known. With these three exceptions the characters have changed hands. Mdlle. D’Algua is now the Germaine, Mdlle. Sylvia the Serpolette, Mr. [Henry] Bracy the Grenicheux, and Mr. F.H. Celli the Marquis. Unfortunately both Mdlle. D’Algua and Mdlle. Sylvia have but an imperfect acquaintance with the English tongue, and their speeches are therefore not readily comprehensible. Perhaps practice, in each case, may make perfect, but at present a little judicious “coaching” would make an improvement. Mdlle. D’Algua sings her music efficiently, and with some degree of artistic feeling; while Mdlle. Sylvia acts with plenty of vivacity throughout, and proves herself an accomplished vocalist. Mr. Bracy has a pleasant tenor voice, which he used fairly well, and Mr. F.H. Celli brings his ripe experience in opera to bear upon the part of the Marquis – a character usually assigned to a tenor, if our memory serve us right. The work is placed on the stage with all due regard for picturesqueness of effect, there is a capital chorus, and Mr. Edward Solomon has his orchestra thoroughly well in hand. So wholesome and refreshing is M. Planquette’s work that playgoers may perhaps disregard the oppressive head, which renders indoor amusements all but intolerable, and take the opportunity of renewing their acquaintance with the chiming of the Corneville bells. The opera is preceded by a farce.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 6 September 1880, p. 3d)

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Mdlle. Sylvia as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, London, 4 September 1880

November 30, 2014

Mdlle. Sylvia (active late 1870s/early 1880s), Swedish soprano, as she appeared as Serpolette in Les Cloches de Corneville upon its reopening, Globe Theatre, Newcastle Street, London on Saturday, 4 September 1880. The part of Serpolette had been first played in London by he American soprano, Kate Munroe.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1880)

‘Mdlle. Sylvia, a young vocalist of Swedish extraction, made her first appearance in England on Wednesday last as the heroine of Offenbach’s Madame Favart, which still retains its popularity after nearly 500 continuous repetitions. Mdlle. Sylvia is young, graceful, and prepossessing. Her voice is a soprano of good quality and ample compass, and she sang with taste and expression, although at times so nervous that her intonation became unsatisfactory. She was heartily applauded, and will probably prove a valuable addition to the excellent company at the Strand Theatre.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 1 August 1880, p. 7d)

Globe Theatre, London, Saturday, 4 September 1880
‘On Saturday, September 4, the Globe Theatre, which has been newly decorated, will reopen for the regular season with Les Cloches de Corneville, the reproduction of which will derive additional interest from the engagement of Mr. [Frank H. ] Celli, who will personate the Marquis; and Mesdames Sylvia and D’Algua, who will respectively sustain the parts of Serpolette and Germaine. Mdlle. Sylvia is already known to the London public as having successfully impersonated Madame Favart at the Strand Theatre, during the absence of Miss [Florence] St. John. Mdlle. D’Algua will make her first appearance on the London stage, and Messrs. [Harry] Paulton, [Charles] Ashford, and Shiel Barry will reappear as the Bailie, Gobo, and the Miser. Les Coches will only be played for a limited number of nights, pending the production of a new comic opera from the pen of Offenbach.’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 29 August 1880, p. 3f)

‘After a short recess, during which the auditorium has undergone a complete renovation, the Globe Theatre reopened on Saturday evening with the familiar but by no means unwelcome Cloches de Corneville as the staple entertainment. M. Planquette’s charming opera has not yet outlived its popularity, and no doubt it will attract the music-loving public while Mr. Alexander Henderson is getting ready the promised Offenbach novelty. The present cast is in many respects an excellent one. Mr. Shiel Barry, of course, retains his part of the miser, Gaspard, and plays it with the same intensity as heretofore; while Mr. Harry Paulton and Mr. Charles Ashford continue to impersonate the Bailie and his factotum, Gobo, in a manner which is well known. With these three exceptions the characters have changed hands. Mdlle. D’Algua is now the Germaine, Mdlle. Sylvia the Serpolette, Mr. [Henry] Bracy the Grenicheux, and Mr. F.H. Celli the Marquis. Unfortunately both Mdlle. D’Algua and Mdlle. Sylvia have but an imperfect acquaintance with the English tongue, and their speeches are therefore not readily comprehensible. Perhaps practice, in each case, may make perfect, but at present a little judicious ”coaching” would make an improvement. Mdlle. D’Algua sings her music efficiently, and with some degree of artistic feeling; while Mdlle. Sylvia acts with plenty of vivacity throughout, and proves herself an accomplished vocalist. Mr. Bracy has a pleasant tenor voice, which he used fairly well, and Mr. F.H. Celli brings his ripe experience in opera to bear upon the part of the Marquis – a character usually assigned to a tenor, if our memory serve us right. The work is placed on the stage with all due regard for picturesqueness of effect, there is a capital chorus, and Mr. Edward Solomon has his orchestra thoroughly well in hand. So wholesome and refreshing is M. Planquette’s work that playgoers may perhaps disregard the oppressive head, which renders indoor amusements all but intolerable, and take the opportunity of renewing their acquaintance with the chiming of the Corneville bells. The opera is preceded by a farce.’
(The Standard, London, Monday, 6 September 1880, p. 3d)

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Nina Mardon, English-born German actress and champion of women’s rights

November 27, 2014

Nina Mardon (1873-1946), English-born German actress and champion of women’s rights, in the role of Iphigenia in Goethe’s Iphigenia in Tauris at the National Theatre, Mannheim, 1897
(cabinet photo: Hubert Lill, Mannheim, 1897)

‘MISS NINA CARNEGIE MARDON, a present taking the rôle of Kriemhilde in Hebbels Nibelungen, is a young English girl who, though only twenty-three years of age, has already achieved a high measure of success in what are called in Germany ”classical heroine” parts. This success is the more remarkable when it is taken into consideration that Miss Mardon had never set her foot on German soil until after she had reached her thirteenth birthday, and at that time she was totally unacquainted with the language. Her industry however, was so great that, aided by her exceptional talents, she soon completely identified herself with the tongue of Goethe and Schiller, and the public have accepted the brilliant young interpreter of all that is finest in German literature as a native of the Fatherland. Miss Mardon’s present engagement at Mannheim is a very important one. The Grand Ducal Theatre plays all the year round, with the exception of the months of July and August; and as the same piece is never given more than three or four times during the season the amount of work required from the select few who form the ”company” would strike terror into the heart of the average English actress. Since October 1st [1897] Miss Mardon has played Hermione in A Winter’s Tale, Viola in Twelfth Night, Goneril in King Lear, Leonore d’Este in Torquato Tasso, Iphigenia in the play of the same name, and, as already mentioned, Kriemhilde in the Nibelungen. Though she has only been on the stage for six years, Miss Mardon has fulfilled long engagements at the Court Theatres of Altenburg and of Meiningen. In the latter duchy she was especially successful in attracting the notice and praise of the Grand Duke, who is deservedly acknowledged one of the finest dramatic critics of the age.’
(Black & White, London, Saturday, 12 February 1898, pp. 208 and 209)

‘Frauline Nina Mardon, the well known German actress, recently addressed a meeting of the Rechts-Schutz-Verine, in Berlin, on the subject of ”The Stage as a Profession for Women,” during which she made the following reference to prevailing conditions on the German stage: ”While women’s societies are constantly striving to obtain a high moral standard in every branch of women’s work, and are endeavoring to better the conditions of labor for factory hands, home workers, etc., the actress has remained outside the sphere of interest. The salary an actress receives in Germany is, as a rule, very much less in proportion to that given to an actor. Besides which she is bound by a special paragraph in her contract to provide all necessary stage costumes, historical and modern, while the actor is provided by the theatre with everything except modern dress. This, with very few exceptions, such as the Court Theatres of Dresden, Meiningen, Berlin, is the rule, and it has been the cause of great distress among the female members of the profession. The normal salary can never be sufficient to cover the necessary requirements. It must not be forgotten that the repertory of a German theatre is extremely varied – a different play being put on almost every night.’
(The New York Clipper, New York, Saturday, 15 July 1899, p. 383c)

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Nina Mardon formed a relationship with the German novelist and short story writer, Wilhelm Holzamer (1870-1907), for whom he left his wife and seven children. As Nina Fraenkel her name appears in a 1938 index of Jews whose German nationality was annulled by the Nazi Regime. She died in Lucarno, Switzerland, in 1946.

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programme cover for the Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, in its 25th Anniversary year, 1912

November 23, 2014

Empire Theatre, Leicester Square, London, ‘The Premier Variety Theatre. The Cosmopolitan Club and The Rendezvous of the World,’ 25th Anniversary programme cover, featuring the titles of a few of the ballets produced and the names of ballerinas to have appeared there between 1887 and 1912
(artwork by C. Wilhelm [William John Charles Pitcher (1858-1925)], English artist, costume designer and choreographer; printed by Henry Good & Son, London, EC, 1912)

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Fitzsimmons & Flory, American vaudeville entertainers

November 21, 2014

Fitzsimmons & Flory (active 1926-1927), American vaudeville entertainers, as they appeared on tour in the United States during 1926 and 1927 in ‘A Novel Comedy Diversion’ entitled By the Weight?
(photo: Sussman, 305 Nicollet Avenue, Minneapolis, 1926/27)

Before teaming up with Mlle. Flory in 1926, Billy Fitzsimmons had been on the vaudeville circuits in the United States for some years, notably in 1918 with Florence Normand, whom he had married he had married on 9 November 1917 at City Hall, New York, in Trimmings, a comedy skit (Variety, New York, Friday, 9 November 1917, p. 25c; The Fort Wayne News and Sentinel, Fort Wayne, Wednesday, 11 September 1918, p. 2a). Between 1921 and 1925 he toured with Joe Shriner in ‘a new comedy diversion’ entitled The Newsdealer.

Mlle. Flory was known as Jeanette Fleury before the fall of 1926 and her appearances with Billy Fitzsimmons. The reason for her change of name is unknown but it is remarkable in the light of the widely reported suicide at Drury Lane Theatre, London, on 17 June that year of the well-known French actress and singer, Regine Flory.

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Keith’s Vaudeville at Fairfax Theatre, Miami, Florida, week of Monday, 23 April 1923
‘Joe Shriner and William Fitzsimmons have a novel comedy entitled ”The Newsdealer.” This little sketch portrays an old man of 92 as the newsdealer, while Shriner as an actor brings in much witticisms in this conversation with the newsdealer. They offer many songs of the rag time variety as well as the old ones of yesterday.’
(The Miami Daily Metropolis, Miami, Wednesday, 24 April 1923, p. 2c)

Faurot Opera House, Lima, Ohio, October 1926
‘Billy Fitzsimmons and Mlle Flory are a new combination of entertainers and will be seen in a novelty comedy diversion entitled ”By the Weight.” Fitzsimmons has made a speciality of eccentric old men parts, haing appeared in intimate productions under the management of Cohan and Harris … Mlle. Flory was in four consecutive editions of Greenwich Village Follies and with ”Innocent Eyes” and ”Gay Paree.”’
(The Lima News, Lima, Ohio, 13 October 1926, p. 13a)

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Lily Elsie about the time of her return to the stage in the title role of Pamela, Palace Theatre, London, 1917

November 19, 2014

Lily Elsie (1886-1962), English star of musical comedy, upon her return to the stage in the title role of Pamela, comedy with music by Arthur Wimperis and Frederic Norton, Palace Theatre, London, 10 December 1917
(photo: unknown, probably London, 1916/1917)

‘MISS LILY ELSIE.
‘I hear them talking. For once they all agreed. Not time or love or circumstance could change her – she must succeed. She was Lily Elsie. I did not marvel. She is such a sweet woman. Men and women love her equally. Could anyone wish for greater blessing? What is her fascination? Perhaps it is charm. That elusive quality. Few women and fewer men possess it. She alone of all our stage women possesses it to the full. She is herself – Lily Elsie. Queen of Hearts – back on the stage once more. If Alfred Butt never did anything else he has earned in that achievement the gratitude of playgoers everywhere.’
(The Pelican, London, Friday, 1 February 1918, p. 3)

Note the similarity between this photograph and Sir James Jebusa Shannon’s portrait of Miss Elsie, which has been dated to circa 1916.