Posts Tagged ‘Covent Garden Theatre (London)’


Fannie Leslie, ‘The Little Pirate of the Nore’

July 3, 2013

a full-length colour lithograph portrait of Fannie Leslie (1856-1935), English singer, burlesque actress and music hall serio-comic, at the beginning of her career in 1871/72, featured on the song sheet cover of ‘The Little Pirate of the Nore,’ published by Simpson & Co, London, early 1872

‘NEW MUSIC … The Little Pirate of the Nore is a serio-comic song, sung by Miss Frances Leslie with great applause. As a musical composition we cannot rate the air very highly, but it is effective enough for the purpose.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 14 January 1872, p. 4c)

* * * * *

Fannie Leslie, whose real name was Fanny Catherine Annesley, was born on 13 June 1856, the daughter of Frederick Annesley (1817-1868), a solicitor, and his wife, Louisa (née Hook, 1824-1887), and baptised at St. Anne, Soho, on 5 September 1856.

She was married in Brighton on 8 April 1878 to Walter Gooch (1850?-1899?), sometime manager of the Princess’s Theatre, Oxford Street; their son, Walter Leslie Gooch (1881-1956) became a theatrical manager. The marriage ended in divorce in 1891, when the co-respondent was named as William Freeman Thomas, for many years lessee of Covent Garden Theatre. Freeman died at the age of 54 in 1898 and his funeral took place at Kensal Green (The Era, London, Saturday, 22 August 1891, p. 8a). By the time of the 1901 Census Miss Leslie, describing herself as a widow, was living at Ridgmont Gardens, Bloomsbury, with the 27 year old William Charles Broughton Wilson (commonly known as Broughton Wilson, 1873-1949), who later became a property valuer and estate agent. The couple were married in 1902, about three years before Miss Leslie retired from the stage. She died in Camden on 8 February 1935.


Anna Hiles

May 25, 2013

Anna Hiles (fl. 1857-1875), English soprano, as she appeared in the title role of William Vincent Wallace’s opera Maritana at Covent Garden Theatre, London, 13 December 1862
(carte de visite photo: published by T.H. Lacy, 89 Strand, London, probably 1862)

‘Mr. W. Wallace’s ”Maritana,” one of the ”stock” works of the Royal English Opera, has been performed so often this season that it would scarcely seem to be a subject for criticism, especially as the same performers are constantly appearing in the same parts. The racy humour of Mr. W. Harrison, as Don Caesar de Basan; the manly vigour, softened by courtly grace, of Mr. W.H. Weiss, who so ably represents Don José; the musicianly skill and histrionic talent displayed by Miss Susan Pyne as Lazarillo; the promising talent of Mr. Patey as exemplified by his clever singing in the arduous and somewhat ”uphill” part of the King, are all perfectly well known and justly appreciated by the public. But from time to time the ”cast,” so far as regards the principal female character, is altered.
‘Miss Louisa Pyne, with her lovely voice and surpassing artistic powers, plays the famous Gitana, we need not say, to the delight of the public. The accomplished Madlle. Parepa, with her rare physical gifts and genuine dramatic feeling, assumes the same character to the complete satisfaction of her audience. But the changes are not limited to the alternate display of these celebrated singers’ conceptions of Mr. Wallace’s most popular creation. On Saturday last, for instance, Miss Anna Hilles, who has won considerable reputation by her very promising efforts as Arline, in the ”Bohemian Girl,” was put forward for the first time as Maritana, and, despite the fresh recollections of her renowned predecessors, made a very satisfactory impression. An incontestable succès d’estime was won by the young lady, and, taking into consideration the very reasonable expectations of a public accustomed to very high excellence in the portrayal of the same character, this is no small praise. As an actress Miss Hiles has yet much to learn, and her Maritana can scarcely be regarded, from a histrionic point of view, as an improvement upon her Arline; but she sang much of the music with real taste and expression, eliciting throughout hearty applause, and unanimous encores for the popular ”Scenes that are brightest,” and (aided materially by Miss Susan Pyne) for the duet ”Sainted mother.” hearty redemands were likewise elicited by the renderings of ”Turn on, old Time,” by Mr. W. Harrison, Mr. Weiss, and Miss Susan Pyne; the airs, ”Let me like a soldier fall,” ”Hear me, gentle Maritana” and ”In happy moments,” respectively by Mr. W. Harrison, Mr. W. Patey, and Mr. W.H. Weiss.
‘The band and chorus, under the masterly direction of Mr. Alfred Mellon, were, as usual, quite irreproachable.’
(The Morning Post, London, Monday, 15 December 1862, p. 6b)

‘ROYAL ENGLISH OPERA. – Miss Anna Hiles has appeared in Wallace’s ”Maritana.” Her singing in the part of the heroine of this pretty opera, differs in no respect from that which characterized her performance in ”The Bohemian Girl.” It is smooth and pleasing, but of very little volume. Miss Hiles, however, will doubtless be found useful upon what are technically called the ”off nights.”’
(The Observer, London, Sunday, 22 December 1862, p. 3d)