Posts Tagged ‘Jacques Offenbach’

h1

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)

h1

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)

h1

Ada Lee, English actress and singer, sister of Jennie Lee

March 23, 2014

Ada Lee (1856?-1902) English music hall serio-comic and burlesque actress, as she appeared during 1871,1872 and 1873 in H.B. Farnie’s adaptation of Offenbach’s comic opera, Genevieve de Brabant, first produced at the Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, on 11 November 1871.
(carte de visite photo: Fradelle & Marshall, 230 & 246 Regent Street, London, W, 1871-1873)

Alhambra Palace music hall, Hull, week beginning Monday, 8 February 1869
‘Miss Ada Lee, a lady-like and pleasing serio-comic, meets with great applause in ”One a penny swells.”’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 14 February 1869, p. 12b)

‘Mr. EDITOR. – Sir, With reference to your favourable criticism of Jenny, in Kind to a Fault, I have much pleasure in informing you that my sister, ”Ada Lee,” kindly played the part to oblige me, until Saturday last, when I played it myself, according to previous arrangements. Trusting ou will insert this in justice to her, I remain, dear Sir, your faithfully, JENNY LEE. Royal Strand Theatre, August 11th [1870].’ (The Era, Sunday, 14 August 1870, p. 10c)

The Philharmonic Theatre, Islington, season commencing Monday, 2 October 1871
‘The second dramatic season of this theatre, under the management of Mr. Charles Morton, commenced on Monday evening… . True to its title, the Philharmonic puts forth music as the chief attraction in a remarkably rich bill of fare. The piece de resistance of the present season is a compressed version of Herve’s celebrated opera bouffe, Chilperic, produced under the direction of Miss Emily Soldene, who sustatins the principal character with that spirit and bright intelligence which, added to other gifts of nature and grace of person, have won for this lady a very distinguished place amongst the votaries of the lyric drama in London… . The other parts in the opera are for the most part very happily filled. The Fredegonde of Miss Selina [Dolaro], a lady endowed with a sweet pliant voice and most graceful appearance, is a very charming performance. Miss [Alice] Mowbray, as the High Priestess, Miss [Clara] Vesey as the Spanish Princess, and Miss Lenard as the hero’s sister-in-law, acquit themselves creditably both in acting and singing; whilst Miss Ada Lee and Miss Isabella Harold make very pretty ”pet pages” indeed …’
(The Standard, London, Friday, 6 October 1871, p. 3b)

Bush Street Theatre, San Francisco, 3 November 1879
‘The principal event of the week has been the production of The Magic Slipper by the Colville Opera company, who made their first appearance at the Bush-street Theatre, Nov. 3 to the largest audience of the season… . Miss Eme Roseau, the leading star of this organization, although a beautiful woman, cannot be congratulated on achieving a recognition for any attainments requisite for the position… . Miss Kate Everleigh made a handsome Prince, and might perhaps have scored a success had she been compelled to act the part in pantomime. Miss Ella Chapman nightly received a warm welcome for the sake of ”auld lang syne,” and bids fair to retain her former popularity, as she has already succeeded in dancing herself into the good graces of her audiences. Miss Ada Lee’s graceful bearing, and the charming and pleasing manner in which she portrayed the Prince’s secretary, have made her a favorite. The admiration this little lady excites is not one white lessened by the fact that she bears a great resemblance to her sister Jennie, and the she possesses the most shapely limbs ever seen here… .’
(The New York Clipper, New York, New York, Saturday, 22 November 1879, p. 274g)

Melbourne, Australia, 17 April 1884 – Opera House, Melbourne
‘Mr F.C. Burnand’s burlesque Blue Beard was produced at this theatre last (Easter) Monday. Miss Jennie Lee, Miss Ada Lee, and Mr Harry Taylor sustain the principal roles. The piece suffered much from imperfect rehearsal, and has not go in through going order yet.’
Melbourne, Australia, 21 April 1884 – Opera House, Melbourne
Blue Beard now runs smoothly and evenly. The various performances are at home in their roles, and the burlesque may have a good run. Miss Jennie Lee and Miss Ada Lee are the life and soul of the piece.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 21 June 1884, p. 15c)

‘Miss Ada Lee has returned to London after an absence of several years in Australia and South Africa, having fulfilled successful engagements with Messrs Williamson and Musgrove, Brough and Boucicault, and Frank Thornton and Jennie Lee.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 17 August 1895, p. 8c)

Ada Lee succumbed to the bubonic plague during a visit to Australia with the Charles Arnold Company, dying in Sydney on Saturday, 1 March 1902.

h1

Lottie Montal in London, 1874

September 10, 2013

Lottie Montal (née Louise Felicie Augustine Jean, 1851-1933), Parisian-born singer, at the time of her appearances at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, in 1874.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1874. Please note that this photograph has suffered water damage.)

In 1874 Miss Montal was married in London as his third wife to the French-born touring violinist, Horace Remy Poussard (1829-1898). In 1887 Miss Montal was married in New Zealand to Wynne Aubrey MacLean (1857-1890). After his death she lived for a while in London, where she taught singing. She died in London on 13 October 1933.

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 3 August 1874
‘The Alhambra was crowded to repletion on Monday. The herione in The Pretty Perfumeress, recently played by Miss Kate Santley, is now personated by Miss Lottie Montal, an arch, bright-eyed, clever little lady from Australia, who sings nicely and acts charmingly.’
(Reynold’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 9 August 1874, p. 5d)

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 10 August 1874
‘Notwithstanding the repeated statement that everybody is out of town, we found a large assemblage at the Alhambra on Monday evening, so that it is evident the programme must have especial attractions for those who have not yet gone to the seaside, hillside, moorside, or lakeside… . Filling the place of Miss Kate Santley as Rose Michou, the heroine of Offenbach’s opera bouffe La Jolie Parfumeuse, we have an Australian prima donna, new to the London boards, by name Miss Lottie Montal. It was singular to notice, in one scene especially, the remarkable similarity in Miss Lottie Montal’s conception of the character to that of Miss Kate Santley. We are not aware whether this was intentional or accidental, but the result was the same, and the likeness went far to secure the favour of the audience, apart from Miss Montal’s own claims, which, personal and otherwise, are considerable. With a graceful figure and remarkably easy action Miss Montal combines pleasing features, eminently calculated to add to charm to such a character as that she is now depicting. Her voice is not powerful, neither has it the finest quality of tone, but one great merit belongs to it, which is not likely to pass unappreciated in opera bouffe, it is very flexible, enabling the fair owner to execute any florid passages with great ease. This was noticeable in the drinking song of the second act, one of the prettiest melodies of La Jolie Parfumeuse, in which Miss Montal revealed her best qualities as a singer. The song was rendered with much sparkle, dash, and vivacity, and was deservedly encored. In many other instances Miss Montal was entitled to very sincere congratulations, and the more she becomes accustomed to the large area of the Alhambra the more successful we believe she will be. The somewhat ”risky” scene of the second act, considerably toned down since the first night, leaves nothing at present to offend the fastidious, which (thanks to the droller of Mr [Harry] Paulton, who aids Miss Montal admirably here) it is full of fun. The lady, greatly to her credit, resists the temptation to make the incident too suggestive, and we feel grateful. It might easily be played so as to ”make the unskilful laugh,” but it would certainly tend ”to make the judicious grieve,” and Miss Montal’s judgment in leaving well – or ill – alone must be highly commended… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 16 August 1874, p. 11a)

Following her engagement at the Alhambra, Miss Montal was due to appear at the Criterion Theatre, London, but illness intervened.

h1

Lottie Montal at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, 1874

September 10, 2013

Lottie Montal (née Louise Felicie Augustine Jean, 1851-1933), Parisian-born singer, at the time of her appearances at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, in 1874.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1874. Please note that this photograph has suffered water damage.)

In 1874 Miss Montal was married in London as his third wife to the French-born touring violinist, Horace Remy Poussard (1829-1898). In 1887 Miss Montal was married in New Zealand to Wynne Aubrey MacLean (1857-1890). After his death she lived for a while in London, where she taught singing. She died in London on 13 October 1933.

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 3 August 1874
‘The Alhambra was crowded to repletion on Monday. The herione in The Pretty Perfumeress, recently played by Miss Kate Santley, is now personated by Miss Lottie Montal, an arch, bright-eyed, clever little lady from Australia, who sings nicely and acts charmingly.’
(Reynold’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 9 August 1874, p. 5d)

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 10 August 1874
‘Notwithstanding the repeated statement that everybody is out of town, we found a large assemblage at the Alhambra on Monday evening, so that it is evident the programme must have especial attractions for those who have not yet gone to the seaside, hillside, moorside, or lakeside… . Filling the place of Miss Kate Santley as Rose Michou, the heroine of Offenbach’s opera bouffe La Jolie Parfumeuse, we have an Australian prima donna, new to the London boards, by name Miss Lottie Montal. It was singular to notice, in one scene especially, the remarkable similarity in Miss Lottie Montal’s conception of the character to that of Miss Kate Santley. We are not aware whether this was intentional or accidental, but the result was the same, and the likeness went far to secure the favour of the audience, apart from Miss Montal’s own claims, which, personal and otherwise, are considerable. With a graceful figure and remarkably easy action Miss Montal combines pleasing features, eminently calculated to add to charm to such a character as that she is now depicting. Her voice is not powerful, neither has it the finest quality of tone, but one great merit belongs to it, which is not likely to pass unappreciated in opera bouffe, it is very flexible, enabling the fair owner to execute any florid passages with great ease. This was noticeable in the drinking song of the second act, one of the prettiest melodies of La Jolie Parfumeuse, in which Miss Montal revealed her best qualities as a singer. The song was rendered with much sparkle, dash, and vivacity, and was deservedly encored. In many other instances Miss Montal was entitled to very sincere congratulations, and the more she becomes accustomed to the large area of the Alhambra the more successful we believe she will be. The somewhat ”risky” scene of the second act, considerably toned down since the first night, leaves nothing at present to offend the fastidious, which (thanks to the droller of Mr [Harry] Paulton, who aids Miss Montal admirably here) it is full of fun. The lady, greatly to her credit, resists the temptation to make the incident too suggestive, and we feel grateful. It might easily be played so as to ”make the unskilful laugh,” but it would certainly tend ”to make the judicious grieve,” and Miss Montal’s judgment in leaving well – or ill – alone must be highly commended… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 16 August 1874, p. 11a)

Following her engagement at the Alhambra, Miss Montal was due to appear at the Criterion Theatre, London, but illness intervened.

h1

September 10, 2013

Lottie Montal (née Louise Felicie Augustine Jean, 1851-1933), Parisian-born singer, at the time of her appearances at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, in 1874.
(cabinet photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1874. Please note that this photograph has suffered water damage.)

In 1874 Miss Montal was married in London as his third wife to the French-born touring violinist, Horace Remy Poussard (1829-1898). In 1887 Miss Montal was married in New Zealand to Wynne Aubrey MacLean (1857-1890). After his death she lived for a while in London, where she taught singing. She died in London on 13 October 1933.

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 3 August 1874
‘The Alhambra was crowded to repletion on Monday. The herione in The Pretty Perfumeress, recently played by Miss Kate Santley, is now personated by Miss Lottie Montal, an arch, bright-eyed, clever little lady from Australia, who sings nicely and acts charmingly.’
(Reynold’s Newspaper, London, Sunday, 9 August 1874, p. 5d)

The Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, week beginning 10 August 1874
‘Notwithstanding the repeated statement that everybody is out of town, we found a large assemblage at the Alhambra on Monday evening, so that it is evident the programme must have especial attractions for those who have not yet gone to the seaside, hillside, moorside, or lakeside… . Filling the place of Miss Kate Santley as Rose Michou, the heroine of Offenbach’s opera bouffe La Jolie Parfumeuse, we have an Australian prima donna, new to the London boards, by name Miss Lottie Montal. It was singular to notice, in one scene especially, the remarkable similarity in Miss Lottie Montal’s conception of the character to that of Miss Kate Santley. We are not aware whether this was intentional or accidental, but the result was the same, and the likeness went far to secure the favour of the audience, apart from Miss Montal’s own claims, which, personal and otherwise, are considerable. With a graceful figure and remarkably easy action Miss Montal combines pleasing features, eminently calculated to add to charm to such a character as that she is now depicting. Her voice is not powerful, neither has it the finest quality of tone, but one great merit belongs to it, which is not likely to pass unappreciated in opera bouffe, it is very flexible, enabling the fair owner to execute any florid passages with great ease. This was noticeable in the drinking song of the second act, one of the prettiest melodies of La Jolie Parfumeuse, in which Miss Montal revealed her best qualities as a singer. The song was rendered with much sparkle, dash, and vivacity, and was deservedly encored. In many other instances Miss Montal was entitled to very sincere congratulations, and the more she becomes accustomed to the large area of the Alhambra the more successful we believe she will be. The somewhat “risky” scene of the second act, considerably toned down since the first night, leaves nothing at present to offend the fastidious, which (thanks to the droller of Mr [Harry] Paulton, who aids Miss Montal admirably here) it is full of fun. The lady, greatly to her credit, resists the temptation to make the incident too suggestive, and we feel grateful. It might easily be played so as to “make the unskilful laugh,” but it would certainly tend “to make the judicious grieve,” and Miss Montal’s judgment in leaving well – or ill – alone must be highly commended… .’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 16 August 1874, p. 11a)

Following her engagement at the Alhambra, Miss Montal was due to appear at the Criterion Theatre, London, but illness intervened.

h1

Mlle. Thérèsa

April 22, 2013

Mlle. Thérèsa (Emma Valadon, 1837-1913), popular French café-concert singer, the ‘Patti of the pot-house’
(photo: Gaston & Mathieu, Paris, circa 1867)

‘A LETTER OF GOSSIP FROM PARIS.
‘PARIS, Monday
‘If English ladies choose to go and see Mdlle. SCHNEIDER play the Part of La belle Hélène, in imitation of the beauties of Mabille, that is their affair. The piece was not composed for them, and no representations of it are given at the Grand Hôtel for their special edification. Moreover, the first demeanour of the heroine simply amuses them from its grotesqueness. They know nothing of the great original whose gestures and general manner Mdlle. SCHNEIDER imitates. Nor can they make anything of the allusions and jokes – fortunately not broad, but sharp, and to the perfectly pure mind impalpable – in which the operetta of La Belle Hélène abounds. It they could understand them, they would be in the position of the woman whom ROUSSEAU imagines beginning to read La Nouvelle Hèloise and continuing to read it – they would be ”lost already.” The lively love-making of Paris and Helen is also considerably veiled by M. OFFENBACH’S brisk and rather noisy music through which it is carried on; and it may be said in favour of the positive morality of the piece that Helen, in spite of a certain levity which she has acquired by frequenting too assiduously the public gardens of Greece, makes a desperate resistance, until Paris, at the end of the third and last act, carried her off by force. THÉRÈSA is said to aspire to a more artistic reputation that she now enjoys, while Mdlle. SCHNEIDER wishes to descend to the not very dignified but exceedingly profitable position which THÉRÈSA actually fills. Instead of remaining on the stage during the greater part of the time occupied by the performances of three long acts, and singing in some eight or ten solos and concerted pieces, Mdlle. SCHNEIDER, at her musical tavern, will only have to sing twice, or at most three times, in the course of the evening, and during the intervals between the songs will have absolutely nothing to do. She will have no parts to learn, and consequently no rehearsals to attend; her costumes will cost her next to nothing, and she will be paid an immense salary. Let her ”floor” THÉRÈSA, as it is said she threatens to do, and she may gain three thousand a year. That, at least, is the figure at which THÉRÈSA’S income for the last twelve months is estimated – not in francs, but in pounds. It is about a quarter of what Mdlle. PATTI was receiving two or three years ago.
‘Why, it may be asked, should the graceful, charming ADELINA be mentioned in the same sentence as THÉRÈSA? A sort of comparison, however, has been instituted between them. THÉRÈSA has been called by her admirers ”the PATTI of the people,” and by her detractors the ”PATTI of the pot-house,” and it is quite true that she resembles PATTI in being very successful, and in gaining large sums of money. Still, as there is not the remotest personal or artistic resemblance between the two, the comparison suggested by the above phrases is absurd. FIORNTINO was much nearer the mark when he called THÉRÈSA ”la Rigolboche de la Chansonette.” THÉRÈSA declared that this mot gave her much pain. Nevertheless she reprints it in her Memoirs – though, it is true, only to protest against it. She has no objection to being called ”the SCHNEIDER of the café concert;” but we fancy she says this simply out of politeness to Mdlle. SCHNEIDER, whom she has spoken of just before (in her Memoirs) as ”the THÉRÈSA of the stage.” This is all very well. But it is said that La Bell Hélène means mischief, and that she is determining to beat THÉRÈSA on her own ground, or to destroy even the memory of her if she retired to the stage before Mdlle. SCHNEIDER has an opportunity of challenging her to vocal combat before the frequenters of the café concerts. In a little while the partisans of SCHNEIDER and THÉRÈSA will no doubt form themselves into two hostile camps, like the Maratistes and Todistes at the beginning of the century. In the meantime THÉRÈSA’S début at the Bouffes Parisiens is to take place in a few days, while Mdlle. SCHNEIDER will be unable to make her first appearance at a singing tavern for some weeks to come.
‘It is easy to understand why singers, whose exclusive object is to make money, and to make it with as little trouble as possible, go to the café concerts in preference to the theatres. They may not gain quite as much as is generally reported, but it is certain that THÉRÈSA at the Alcazar only sings twice in the course of the evening, and that when the proprietor of a rival establishment brought an action against her not long ago for breach of agreement, the damages were laid at 40,000 francs. Accordingly, the salaries paid by the directors of the café concerts to popular singers must really be very great. How can they afford the outlay, when, according to the custom at those places, they charge nothing whatever for admission?
‘The answer is very simple. Every one who enters the Alcazar – now a music-hall decorated more or less in the Moorish style, formerly a drinking saloon attached to a brewery – must order a ”consommation” of some kind; and he must ”renouveler sa consommation” (or ”renew his consumption,” as the proprietors say when they issue the injunction in English) before THÉRÈSA sings her second song. Otherwise, to the door with him! If he cannot take his two glasses he cannot here THÉRÈSA sing twice. There is no occasion, however, for the amateur to intoxicate himself; and the ”consummation” most devoutly to be wished for at a café concert is a glass of cold water. The liberality of the proprietor allows the visitor to confine himself to this insipid but generally innocuous beverage, which at the Alcazar is charged for at the rate of one franc and a half per glass. It is only fair to add that a glass of beer or a thimbleful of brandy costs the same. You cannot, however, sit down in the place without spending a franc and a half, and the inexperienced visitor who gives his orders first and looks at the list of prices afterwards in all probability spends a great deal more. Served out at the rate of about half-a-crown a pint, a bucket of water or a barrel of bad beer will yield an enormous profit; and out of this profit THÉRÈSA receives her immense salary.’
(The Pall Mall Gazette, London, Tuesday, 25 April 1865, p. 11)