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Alexandrine Martens, ‘die preisgekrönte Schönheit,’ international singer

November 17, 2014

Alexandrine Martens (active 1886-1896), ‘die preisgekrönte Schönheit’ (‘the award-winning beauty’) and singer, who was at the Amy P, Paris, in 1888 and again in 1893
(photo: unknown; Ogden’s Guinea Gold cigarette card, England, late 1890s)

‘Aux Folies-Bergère. – Nous constatons avec plaisir que le théâtre des Folies-Bergère jouit d’une vogue indiscutable sous la nouvelle direction de M. Allemand, lequel fait du reste tout ce qui est nécessaire pour attirer et retenir son public.
‘Trois attractions en ce moment sont inscrites au programme: les taureaux espanols, les frères Hulines, les soeurs Martens.
‘Les soeurs martens sont quatre gracieuses et superbes tziganes, qui chantent avec un charme indéfinissable des mélopées de leur pays. Ces chants où les cris de joie se mêlent à des accents d’une tristesse sauvage, produisent une profonde impression sur les spectateurs. Puis ce sont des tyroliennes, des romances, des chansonnettes d’une gaieté folle.
‘L’une de ces jeunes filles, Mlle Alexandrine Martens, dont nous donnons le portrait, a obtenu l’année dernière le prix de beauté au concours de Vienne.
‘Il est difficile de rencontrer une jeune fille plus séduisante. Son visage, du plus pur ovale, encadré de cheveux noirs, a quelque chose qui attire et fascine. Aussi n’est-il pas étonnant que chaque soir les soeurs Martens soient l’objet de véritables ovations.’
(La Presse, Paris, Thursday, 5 April 1888, p. 9a)

‘The Alexandrine Martens Quartet will commence on Monday next an engagement with Mr Dan Lowrey, of Dublin and Belfast, afterwards going to the Winter Garten, Berlin.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 December 1895, p. 17a)

‘AN UNLUCKY QUARTET.
‘At the Lambeth County Court, on the 27th ult. [February 1896], an action was tried by his Honour Judge Emden, which was brought by Miss Ada Dannett against Miss Alexandrine Marten, to recover damaged for breach of contract. The plaintiff claimed to be entitled to £125 balance of salary due under a contract dated Nov. 20th, 1895, whereby the defendant agreed to engage her for twelve months at £2 10s. per week to sing in a quartet, but to bring the matter within the jurisdiction of the county court she claimed £50 damages for the breach. Mr C.W. Kent was counsel for the plaintiff, and Mr W.H. Armstrong solicitor for the defendant.
‘The plaintiff stated in her evidence that, having been engaged by the defendant, the quartet opened at the Star Music Hall, Dublin, for twelve nights, commencing Dec. 23d, 1895, and, after fulfilling the engagement, they returned to town [i.e. London], after which the defendant decided not to proceed further.
‘For the defence Mr Armstrong stated that, in consequence of the want of stage experience of the plaintiff and the other two ladies engaged by the defendant, she decided to abandon the affair.
‘Miss Amy Pennington, one of the quartet, stated that she had cancelled her contract with the defendant by mutual consent, on account of her want of stage experience, and that the other lady had done the same.
‘His Honour said that, according to the terms of the contract, there must be judgement for the plaintiff, but not for the amount claimed. It was a most unfortunate affair for the defendant, and he should award the plaintiff £20. On the application of Mr Armstrong that amount was allowed to be paid at £2 per month.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 March 1896, p. 18c)

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