Posts Tagged ‘Maritana (opera)’


Meyer Lutz, resident musical director and conductor at the Gaiety Theatre, London, 1869 to 1894

May 1, 2014

(Wilhelm) Meyer Lutz (1829-1903), German-born English composer and conductor, and resident musical director and conductor at the Gaiety Theatre, London, between 1869 and 1894.
(photo: Russell & Sons, London, circa 1885)

‘The death of one so popular with all who know him as the late Herr Meyer Lutz has caused widespread regret among the older generation of London playgoers. A man of the most genial temperament and a musician of no small accomplishment. M. Lutz had always at command a fund of amusing anecdote and reminiscence relating alike to his twenty-five years’ experience at the Gaiety and to his earlier career as organist in Birmingham, Leeds and elsewhere, while his capacity for hard work and business aptitudes made him an invaluable helper in all the enterprises with which he was associated. Some of his stories of the famous artists he had known – Mario with his perpetual cigar, Grisi (ready to give a street singer a diamond ring if his efforts pleased her), Madame Sainton Dolby, Mrs Kendal, Alfred Wigan, Terry, Royce, Fred Leslie, Nellie Farren, Kate Vaughan, Arthur Roberts and others whose genius burned in the old days at the shrine of the sacred lamp [of burlesque (i.e. the Gaiety Theatre)] – were very amusing, but never unkind, for Lutz was as much beloved by his fellow artists as he was admired by the general pubic who found such delight in his bright and captivating music.
‘On one occasion, Lutz used to relate, when he was conducting a performance or Maritana, the leader of the orchestra was particularly bad, so, when it came to his violin solo in the second Act, Lutz pretended as if by accident to known the desk down on which was the music. Then while the player was fumbling about on the ground to find it, Lutz started his solo on the harmonium, and so got over the difficulty. Another instance of similar resourcefulness on the part of [Alfred] Wigan he used to recall. In this case Wigan was supposed to play the piano in a certain piece, but as he knew nothing of music a dummy instrument was provided, and it was Lutz’s business to play on another piano behind the scenes. On the occasion in question the boy forgot to call Lutz, so that when Wigan sat down and proceeded to play not a sound resulted. Grasping the situation in a moment he blandly observed that he had ”forgotten his music,” left the stage, routed out Lutz, returned with a roll of music, and sat down once more at the ”dummy,” when of course all went well.’
(widely printed in the Press, including West Gippsland Gazette, Warragul, Victoria, Australia, Tuesday, 14 April 1903, p. 5b)


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)