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Blanche Owen, English music hall and concert singer

March 31, 2015

Blanche Owen (active 1870-1875), English music hall and concert singer
(lithograph flyer, 1872)

‘Mr. Alexander McDonald.
‘A successful and very interesting entertainment was given on Monday evening by Mr. Alexander McDonald, at the Spread Eagle Assembly Rooms, Wandsworth [south west London]. Mr. McDonald is one of the many who have recently adopted the profession of a public reader, and at the same time he is one of the very few who can approach Mr. Charles Dickens or Mr. Bellew either in voice or in the rendering of the works of great authors. His longest as well as his shortest ”reading” is committed to memory, and is delivered without nots or reference, word for word, as it is found in the book; with action suited to the word, and word to the action. His voice is powerful, flexible, and of very pleasing quality. Every word is distinctly heard, the softest utterance or the fullest exhibition of passion and energy being equally seized by the most distant among the audience. We have hear Mr. McDonald declaim the selection from Nicholas Nickleby with remarkable intelligence and force; but on Monday evening his selections were of the humorous type, including the ”Election for Beadle” (by Dickens), ”Pyramus and Thisbe,””Blind-man’s Buff,” and ”A Norrible Tale” (by E.L. Blanchard). The audience was kept in full laughter throughout. The entertainment is very agreeably varied by the introduction of some ballads by Professional singers. Miss Blanche Owen, a very pretty lady with a ringing soprano voice, and a marvellous set of teeth, made an impression upon the audience generally, and upon the writer particularly. This was not the case with a young gentleman who sung Kucken’s ”O’er vale and mountain,” and who was specially described in the programme as a ”tenor.” The gentleman who presided at the piano played very cleverly, and, besides, contributed to the merriment of the evening by a quaint manner of walking on and off the stage.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 6 March 1870, p. 5c)

‘Beaumont Institution, Mile-End [London].
‘The annual entertainment in aid of the funds of the Horn of Plenty Philanthropic Society took place at the above Institution on Tuesday evening last [21 February 1871]. The objects of the Society are in every respect praiseworthy, and by means of these entertainments some thirty or forty pounds are annually raised and expended in bread, coals, &c., among the poor of the district. The proceedings, which were of a miscellaneous character, commenced with a pianoforte selection by Mr. C. Solomon, after which the Pickwick Histrionic Club appeared in [J. Maddison] Morton’s comic drama, produced last spring [21 April 1870] at the Royalty Theatre [London], entitled Little Mother… . The chief feature of the performance was the Kitty Clark, or Little Mother, of Miss Alice Vincent. The acting of this talented young lady was in every respect praiseworthy, and the style in which she ”lectured” the old dentist, spurned his gift, and thrust him from her door, elicited loud laughter and well-deserved applause. Miss Blanche Owen as Fanny, whose amatory relations with Christopher form the basis of the plot, acted with pleasing intelligence; and on the fall of the curtain the whole of the performers were enthusiastically cheered. Miss Blanche Owen afterwards appeared and sang ”The Watch on the Rhine” and ”The Marseillaise.” In the latter she carried the tri-colour and wore a crape scarf. Her singing was much admired, but why two verses of ”The Marseillaise” were given in English and one in French we were unable to learn …’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 26 February 1871, p. 12a)

‘ROYAL SURREY GARDENS [London]. – Mr. F. Strange has engaged Mr. Howard Paul and a talented concert and entertainment party to appear next week in a series of amusing impersonations, all of which will be given in costume. Mr. Howard Paul ranks among the best of those who ”sing a song and tell a story” on the stage, and the artistes who assist him, Miss Laura Joyce, Miss Blanche Owen, and Miss Nelly Ford, come well endorsed as young and talented aspirants to public favour.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 June 1872, p. 12a)

‘MUSIC HALL SURREY STREET. [Sheffield, Yorkshire]
‘THIS EVENING, AND DURING THE WEEK.
‘PEOPLE’S CONCERTS,
‘In Magnificent Costumes.
‘MISS LAURA JOYCE,
‘In Six Songs and Impersonations, including a Lecture on Woman’s Rights.
‘MISS BLANCHE OWEN,
‘In Six Songs and Impersonations, including ”TONY TOPPER, THE NEWS BOY.”
‘MISS NELLY FORD,
‘The Most Accomplished Little Pianist in the World.
‘MR. HOWARD PAUL,
‘In his latest and greatest hit, ”I am so Volatile.”
‘Doors Open at Half-past Seven; commence at Eight. Carriages at Ten.
‘Front Seats (Reserved), 2s.; Second Seats, 1s.; Gallery and Back of Room, 6d.
‘Tickets may be had and places secured at Mr. FREEMANILL’S Music Warehouse, High street.’
(The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Sheffield, Yorkshire, Monday, 7 October 1872, p. 1a, advertisement)

The Marylebone music hall, London
‘… Miss Blanche Owen, who is here, is new to us. She has a pleasing, winsome manner, and sings with ease and distinctness. The strains which she rendered in our hearing were ”While the sun is shining always make your hay,” ”Good-bye, Charley,” and another.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 2 November 1872, p. 4c)

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