Posts Tagged ‘Savoy Theatre (London)’


Ellen Beach Yaw, American coloratura soprano, appears in London in the 1890s

January 13, 2014

Ellen Beach Yaw (1869-1947), American coloratura soprano
(photo: Sarony, New York, circa 1906)

‘A new American soprano, Miss Ellen Beach Yaw, has arrived in London. She has just finished a tour in the Great Republic after singing at one hundred and thirty concerts. Her compass is extraordinary, extending to three octaves, and American critics say Miss Yaw can ”go one butter” in the matter of top notes then any European soprano. Miss yaw states that she has come to study composition in London; but it is certain that, if her voice is as wonderful as reported, she will soon be heard in our concert rooms.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 6 July 1895, p. 9a)

‘Miss Ellen Beach Yaw, the ”record” high soprano of California, is in London, and Mr. Adlington is arranging some appearances for her. Miss Yaw claims to have a voice which reaches to E in altissimo, and it is hoped that those who hear it will be able to recognise the note. The highest recorded soprano note is, we believe, the C in altissimo, which Mozart heard Lucrezia Agujari sing at Parma in 1770. Mozart admits that this distinguished lady, who was then twenty-seven years old, has ”an incredibly high range.” Agujari just 113 years ago received for singing two songs at the Pantheon the then almost unheard-of fee of 100£. a night. A modern foreign prima donna would scarcely be able to support life upon starvation wage.’
(The Daily News, London, Friday, 9 November 1897, p. 6f)

The Grand Scottish Festival, Albert Hall, London, Wednesday, 31 November 1898
‘Miss Ellen Beach Yaw was much applauded after her delivery of Alabieff’s ”Russian Nightingale,” a song which suited her to perfection and enabled her to display her beautiful high notes to the best advantage.’
(The Morning Post, London, Thursday, 1 December 1898, p. 6f)

The Rose of Persia, comic opera, produced at the Savoy Theatre, London, Wednesday, 29 November 1899
‘There are several new and welcome additions to the [Savoy Theatre] cast, and amongst them Miss Ellen Beach Yaw, who is the possessor of an exceptionally fine soprano voice, over which she has wonderful command. Her rendering of ”Neath my lattice” quite captivated the audience, who listened in breathless silence.’
(The Bristol Mercury and Daily Post, Bristol, Thursday, 30 November 1899, p. 8e)

‘THE NEW OPERA AT THE SAVOY … the Sultana herself [in The Rose of Persia] is embodied by Miss Ellen Beach Yaw in a graceful if amateurish manner. This last-named lady is known to concert-goers by the exceptionally high compass of her voice, and these notes the composer [Sir Arthur Sullivan] has effectively provided for.’
(The Standard, London, Thursday, 30 November 1899, p. 5f)

‘An important change has been made in the cast of the Sullivan-Hood Savoy opera. The leading soprano, Miss Ellen Beach Yaw, whose top register has been the despair of every possible vocal rival, and whose extremely slender physique must have been remarked by everybody who saw her on the first night, has found herself compelled, for purely physical reasons, to abandon her part fro an indefinite period of time. She has been succeeded as Rose-in-bloon by Miss Isabel Jay, a really charming high soprano, for whom Sir Arthur Sullivan has made the one or two absolutely necessary alterations that such change entailed.’

* * * * *

Ellen Beach Yaw made a number of recordings, including a rendition of her own composition ”The Skylark, which she cut for Edison (Diamond Disc 82049) in New York City on 10 April 1913.


Dorothy Doria in The Belle of New York, circa 1908

September 15, 2013

a postcard photograph of Dorothy Doria (fl. early 20th Century), English musical comedy actress and singer, probably as she appeared in 1908 on a tour of the United Kingdom as Fifi Fricot in The Belle of New York. Other members of the cast were Frank Lawton, Hebe Kneller, Winnie Browne and Florence Hersee.
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1908)

By 1910 Dorothy Doria was with James Watts, Hugh Bayly, Harry Harmer, Leslie Maurice, Cecil Cook, Elsie English and Kathleen Severn in The Grotesques, a group of entertainers managed by Chappell & Co Ltd. They appeared at the Savoy Theatre in the autumn of that year for 60 performances before heading off on tour.


Billie Barlow

April 23, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Billie Barlow (1865-1937), English burlesque actress and singer, as Mercury in the burlesque Orpheus and Eurydice on tour in the United States, 1884/1885
(photo: Falk, New York, probably 1884)

‘The Event of the Season.
‘The Bijou Opera Company will appear at Nevada Theater on Saturday evening in the brilliant operatic burlesque entitled Orpheus and Eurydice. This Opera is full of pith and scintillates with bright music and amusing situations. They music in the present production is bright, the orchestration competent and the costumes superb. The cast includes many popular favorites and some new people who will be strong cards. Mr. Digby Bell as Jupiter, and Mr. Harry Pepper as Orpheus, do all that can be done in the vocalism and the lines. Mr. George C. Boniface, Jr., as Styx, the melancholy porter of Pluto, sings ”The Monarch of Arcadia” with becoming solemnity, and Marie Vanoni does the opera bouffe business of Eurydice with chic enough to make it tell. Miss Billie Barlow, as swift-footed Mercury, recalls the pleasant impression she made in Billie Taylor and other pieces. Miss Amelia Somerville gives an enlarged living picture of an ideal Juno, and Laura Joyce Bell is resplendent in lavender silk, satin stars as Diana. The best work of the evening is accomplished by Miss Ida Mulle as Cupid. She is like a bisque figure of the German-doll type, and as dainty a Cupid as St. Valentine, instead of Jupiter, might have chosen as an emissary, and the applause she gains is accorded without hesitation, and the little lady at once becomes a favorite. The presence of any number of ethereally dressed beauties in Jupiter’s Court will carry the opera to the satisfaction of the management and please the jeunesse doree, who delight in the frolic of the can-can, well danced, under the changing lights in a comfortable and pretty theater.’
(Reno Evening Gazette, Reno, Nevada, Thursday, 14 August 1884, p. 3c)

‘Billie Barlow, the dapper Mercury of Orpheus and Eruydice, in the jaunty hat and superbly fitting cloth suit, ascended the witness stand before Judge Browne in the City Court yesterday, and, under the pilotage of Mr. A.H. Hummel, swore that while she was playing at the Bijou Opera House in 1884 it was proposed by Miles and Barton that she should travel with the company. She refused unless an increase of salary from $30 to $50 during the tour was given her. She was paid $50 for her Baltimore engagement, but the defendants declined to give the increase during the period of the performances at Niblo’s Garden, Williamsburg, and the People’s Theatre. Gen. Barton denied the promise of the increase and showed Miss Barlow’s written receipts in full for her salary up to the time she left them. The jury, after fine minutes’ deliberation, returned a verdict for the full amount claimed and costs.’
(The New York Times, New York, Wednesday, 20 March 1886, p. 3)

‘This charming burlesque actress who has achieved such a conspicuous success as the principal boy in the pantomime at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, is not, as may be generally supposed, an American. Her stage appellative was given in America, and given under the following circumstances. Miss Minnie Barlow – her real name – was a member of a comic opera company travelling from Liverpool to New York. During the voyage a member of the same company jokingly called her ”Billie Barlow” after the old song with that title, and on arriving in New York Miss Barlow found herself announced with ”Billie” for a christian name. There was novelty in it, the name stuck, and Miss Barlow has been known by it ever since. Miss Minnie Barlow, however, is a Londoner. She was born in the Metropolis on July 18th, 1865. Her first appearance on the stage was in H.M.S. Pinafore at the Opera Comique, London, June 34d, 1879. In the following autumn Mr. D’Oyley Carte [sic] organised a company for an American tour. Miss Barlow was a member of this combination, and on Dec. 8 she sang in Pinafore at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, New York. On Dec. 31st she appeared in The Pirates of Penzance at the same theatre, and after going on a tour through the principal American cities, we find her in the autumn of 1881 playing in Patience at the Savoy Theatre, London. After remaining there for a year Miss Barlow made her second professional trip across the Atlantic, again with D’Oyley Carte’s company, which opened the season at the Standard Theatre, New York, Sept. 26th, 1882. Miss Barlow appeared successively in Les Manteaux Noirs, Rip Van Winkle, and Iolanthe, under D’Oyley Carte’s management, and then joined E.E. Rice and appeared at the Bijou Opera House as Mercury in Orpheus and Eurydice, and made a great hit. Subsequently Miss Barlow appeared in Falka and The Little Duke, in which she was last seen before her return to England. Her next appearance was in London as a member of the Dixey Burlesque Company at the Gaiety Theatre, when she played Artea in Adonis. When Dixey returned to the Stages Miss Barlow remained at the Gaiety, under the management of Mr George Edwardes, and before long she was playing Fernand in Monte Cristo, jun. During the temporary absence of Miss Nelly Farren from the role of Edmond Dantes, Miss Barlow took up the part at five minutes’ notice, and scored an unqualified success. The charming freshness of her style was quite a novelty to audiences saturated with the conventional. Managers on the look out for attractions for their pantomimes soon had their optics focussed on the new burlesque star, and the competition for her services ended in Messrs Howard and Wyndham securing the prize. Of Miss Barlow’s merits in The Babes in the Wood it is like gilding refined gold to say anything now. The grace and sprightliness of her acting, the conscientious desire she has to please, her sweet, well trained voice, charming face and figure, and above all her modest and becoming demeanour, make her performance of Walter stand out as a revelation in the method of playing burlesque boys.’
(The Newcastle Weekly Courant, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England, Friday, 10 February 1888, p. 5f)


J. & P. Coats ‘Best Six Cord Thread’ advertising card with Courtice Pounds as Nanki-Poo

January 29, 2013

a J. & P. Coats ‘Best Six Cord Thread’ advertising card, featuring a portrait
of the character Nanki-Poo from Gilbert & Sullivan’s opera, The Mikado.
Although Nanki-Poo was created by Durward Lely when The Mikado
was first performed at the Savoy Theatre, London, on 14 March 1885, and the part was played by Charles Kenningham in the 1895 revival at the Savoy, the image on this card is almost certainly after a photograph of Courtice Pounds as Nanki-Poo when The Mikado was first produced by
the D’Oyly Carte company in New York, at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, on 19 August 1885
(lithograph, printed by Donaldson Brothers, New York, circa 1885)