Posts Tagged ‘serio-comic’

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Flora MacDonald, British music hall serio-comic vocalist and dancer

June 22, 2015

Flora MacDonald (active 1864-1871), British music hall serio-comic vocalist and dancer, variously billed as a ‘Scotch and Irish Serio-Comic and Dancer,’ ‘Character Vocalist’ and ‘Scottish cantatrice and danseuse
(carte de visite photo: Henry Burrows, 21 Islington and 59 Moorfields, Liverpool, probably mid 1860s)

‘IMPERIAL COLOSSEUM, BELFAST.
‘MISS FLORA MACDONALD (Serio-Comic Vocalist and Dancer), now fulfilling a highly successful Engagement at the above Music Hall, will be at liberty on the 19th December, 1864. fifth call nightly. Address as above.’
(The Era, London, Sunday, 11 December 1864, p. 1c)

‘FRIGHTFUL ACCIDENT TO A GYNMNAST
‘FALL FROM THE “TRAPEZE.”
‘On Thursday evening [27 February 1868], an accident of an alarming nature happened in the Dundee Music and Opera House, by which a gymnast, one of the Brothers Beleena – narrowly escaped with his life, and the audience were thrown into a state of great excitement. Previous to the Brothers Beleena appearing on the stage, Miss Flora Macdonald, a serio-comic vocalist and dancer, had been performing, and she was received with great favour, and rapturously encored three times. After her third appearance, the audience, in spite of the conductor’s bell only ringing once, signifying that some other performers would appear, made a most determined attempt to get her again on the stage, and a slight misunderstanding seems to have existed between the Brothers Beleena and Miss Macdonald, as all the three came on at the same time. The Brothers Beleena, however, remained; and some of the audience, evidently displeased at Miss Macdonald not reappearing, began hissing. It is supposed that this had had the effect of throwing the former into a state of agitation. Whether this was the case or not, the Brothers Beleena ascended with great agility the rope to the double trapeze, which was suspended from the roof of the hall, right above the orchestra, at a height of about twenty-four or twenty-five feet from the floor. They went through some very clever and daring gymnastic performances, which many of the audience, especially females, could not behold except with fear, but for which they received, from the greater bulk of the audience, the warmest approbation. The elder and stronger of the two hung from the trapeze by the legs, while he caught the younger by one of the hands as he was falling past him, and swung him in the air. This and other equally daring feats, as we have already stated, were accomplished in safety. The next exhibition of their agility was intended to be of a similar kind. The elder of the two swung from the trapeze by the legs, and while in this state it was evidently his intention to catch the younger by the left ankle. By some miscalculation, however, the leg of the younger brother came some few inches short of the reach of the elder, and he fell head foremost into the orchestra. The sensation created amongst the audience on witnessing such a spectacle can be better imagined than described. Screams and sobs escaped from men and women, and a number of those in the front seats rushed in a state of excitement to see whether the unfortunate performer had been killed by his fearful fall. The other performers also hurried to ascertain what was the matter. The unfortunate man, when picked up from amongst the feet of the band, lay in the arms of his supporters in a state of unconsciousness, with the blood flowing from a wound on the skull. He alighted with his head on the sharp edge of the footstool used by Mr. Butler, the leader of the orchestra, with such force that he broke it, after having struck in his descent the neck of that gentleman’s violin. The unfortunate gymnast was carried into an ante-room, and messengers were instantly despatched for medical aid. Dr. Duncan arrived in a cab in the course of ten minutes after the accident occurred, and found him sitting in a chair quite conscious, but complaining of pain in his head, ribs, and back. On examination, it was found that he had sustained a large scalp wound of semi-circular shape, and about three or four inches in length, on the crown of the head, and some slight bruises on the forehead; but, so far as could be seen, he did not appear to have received any very serious injury. The wound was sewed up, and the sufferer was removed in a cab to his lodgings in the Nethergate. Falling a distance of upwards of twenty feet, and alighting on the crown of his head, it is a wonder he was not killed on the spot. It is supposed that he must have saved himself by his hands from receiving the full force of the fall.’
(The Sheffield and Rotherham Independent, Sheffield, Monday, 2 March 1868, p. 4a)

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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.

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Pattie Bella

May 6, 2013

Pattie Bella (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English music hall serio-comic and dancer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1897)

This real photograph cigarette card, featuring a portrait of Pattie Bella, was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes.

‘Miss Pattie Bella, who is new to the London halls, is fulfilling a successful engagement at Collins’s.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 July 1897, p. 17c)

Grand music hall, Clapham, south London
‘Miss Pattie Bella tells in song of the dire treatment to be meted out to a prevaricating and faithless lover ”If ever they meet again,” and with ”It’s a secret, boys,” and ”I can’t tell you the rest” the dainty comedienne secures admiration and applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 April 1898, p. 18c)

Eastern Empire music hall, Bow, east London
‘A dashing appearance and charming manner carry Miss Pattie Bella at once into favour, and her songs ”It’s a secret, boys,” and ”I can’t tell you the rest” are given with a vivacity that compels admiration and wins uproarious applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 May 1898, p. 18b)

London music hall, Shoreditch, east London
‘Miss Pattie Bella, serio and dancer, trips on to sing ”I’m a bachelor girl” and ”It’s a secret.” It is no secret, however, that Miss Bella obtains a flattering reception here, and she deserves it.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 May 1898, p. 18b)

Pattie Bella is also recorded as having appeared as Ganem in the pantomime Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, produced at the Palace Theatre, Plymouth, on 23 December 1912. The star of the piece was May Moore Duprez.

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May 6, 2013

Pattie Bella (fl. late 19th/early 20th Century), English music hall serio-comic and dancer
(photo: unknown, probably UK, circa 1897)

This real photograph cigarette card, featuring a portrait of Pattie Bella, was issued in England about 1900 with Ogden’s Guinea Gold Cigarettes.

‘Miss Pattie Bella, who is new to the London halls, is fulfilling a successful engagement at Collins’s.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 31 July 1897, p. 17c)

Grand music hall, Clapham, south London
‘Miss Pattie Bella tells in song of the dire treatment to be meted out to a prevaricating and faithless lover “If ever they meet again,” and with “It’s a secret, boys,” and “I can’t tell you the rest” the dainty comedienne secures admiration and applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 16 April 1898, p. 18c)

Eastern Empire music hall, Bow, east London
‘A dashing appearance and charming manner carry Miss Pattie Bella at once into favour, and her songs “It’s a secret, boys,” and “I can’t tell you the rest” are given with a vivacity that compels admiration and wins uproarious applause.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 14 May 1898, p. 18b)

London music hall, Shoreditch, east London
‘Miss Pattie Bella, serio and dancer, trips on to sing “I’m a bachelor girl” and “It’s a secret.” It is no secret, however, that Miss Bella obtains a flattering reception here, and she deserves it.’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 May 1898, p. 18b)

Pattie Bella is also recorded as having appeared as Ganem in the pantomime Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, produced at the Palace Theatre, Plymouth, on 23 December 1912. The star of the piece was May Moore Duprez.

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Nellie Navette

April 22, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Nellie Navette(1865-1936), English music hall dancer and serio-comic, as she appeared for her new ‘Floral Electric Dance,’ which she introduced at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, on Monday, 23 January 1893; with ‘kaleidoscopic effects’ by Mr. A.L. Fyfe , specially written music by Georges Jacobi, and a costume designed by herself
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1893)

‘LONDON CORRESPONDENCE.
‘London, Sunday Night [22 January 1893]
‘For those to whom either the political or the poetical drama proves too solid a fare, London just now is able to provide excellent enjoyment. At the Alhambra, where a fresh ballet, Chicago’s World’s Fair, is shortly to take the place of the picturesque Up the River, Miss Nellie Navette, one of the neatest and cleverest of dancers, will to-morrow give for the first time a new ”electric dance,” introducing some kaleidoscopic effects of recent invention by Mr. A.L. Fyfe.’
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, England, Monday 23 January 1893, p. 5b)

‘LONDON LETTER
‘(FROM OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENTS.)
‘LONDON, Tuesday [24 January 1893]…
‘THE ALHAMBRA.
‘A charming novelty was produced at the Alhambra last night. It is a new floral electric dance by Miss Nellie Navette. In light, floating, classical garb, whose soft folds indicate without revealing too much of a lovely figures, Miss Navette glides gracefully through a series of exquisite movements. She is flower decked, and ever and anon among the flowers electric lights sparkle. It is a most charming picture dance, and last night was received with a fervour of enthusiasm. The two great ballets, Up the River and Aladdin, have lost none of their fascination for the frequenters of the Alhambra, but I understand that Mr. A.A. Gilmer, who has succeeded Mr. John Hollingshead in the management, is already preparing a new spectacular ballet which will deal with the humours of the Chicago Exhibition.’
(Western Mail, Cardiff, Wales, Wednesday, 25 January 1893, p. 4g)

‘THE ALHAMBRA…
‘On Monday night the variety portion of the now liberal programme was added to by the appearance of Miss Nellie Navette in her new electric dance. Miss Navette has for some time held a place among the foremost of the favourites of the music halls, owing her position in no small measure to her Terpsichorean ability. Her many admirers might address to her the lines of ”the Bard” from The Winter’s Tale – ”When you do dance, I wish you a wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that,” for her ”steps” are pleasant studies in neatness and grace. In her new electric dance she comes on in a dress that is garlanded with pretty flowers, and in her hand she bears a feathered spray. While she dances flowers and spray become suddenly radiant with electric lights, producing a most charming effect, which is presently enhances, as, retiring for a moment, she returns bearing a sunshade, from the various points of which comes further radiance. Miss Navette’s contribution to the Alhambra programme is as pretty as it is novel, and it is greeted with applause that is both loud and long continued… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 January 1893, p. 16a)

‘New music has, we learn, been composed by M. Jacobi for the ”Floral Electric Dance” now being performed by Miss Nellie Navette at the Alhambra Theatre.’
(The Daily News, London, Monday, 30 January 1893, p. 2a)

‘THE dancing dames who delight the golden youth (and silver age) which frequents ” the halls,” seem lately, in the ever necessary search after ”fresh trips and postures new,” to have found some virtue in wearing electric light. The idea admits of nothing more novel than variation of application, having become pretty familiar to the public since it was first introduced at the Savoy Theatre. Miss Nellie Navette, a lady not unknown in these circles for feat footing, is the latest experimentalist. Wearing a garland of (what are presumably) large red poppies, whose hears are light (either because their souls are pure, or because they nestle on Miss Nellie’s bosom), and carrying a branch of the same flowers (of which one feels a sad prescience that she cannot leave go) the lady executes some ordinary steps neatly enough. She pauses occasionally to smile upon us, and ”light up” (which is permitted at the Alhambra, if not at the Palace [also in Leicester Square]), and the general effect is – shall I say? – fetching.’
(Nestor, ‘Slashes and Puffs,’ Fun, London, Wednesday, 8 February 1893, p. 55a)

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April 22, 2013

a cabinet photograph of Nellie Navette(1865-1936), English music hall dancer and serio-comic, as she appeared for her new ‘Floral Electric Dance,’ which she introduced at the Alhambra, Leicester Square, London, on Monday, 23 January 1893; with ‘kaleidoscopic effects’ by Mr. A.L. Fyfe , specially written music by Georges Jacobi, and a costume designed by herself
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, 1893)

‘LONDON CORRESPONDENCE.
‘London, Sunday Night [22 January 1893]
‘For those to whom either the political or the poetical drama proves too solid a fare, London just now is able to provide excellent enjoyment. At the Alhambra, where a fresh ballet, Chicago’s World’s Fair, is shortly to take the place of the picturesque Up the River, Miss Nellie Navette, one of the neatest and cleverest of dancers, will to-morrow give for the first time a new “electric dance,” introducing some kaleidoscopic effects of recent invention by Mr. A.L. Fyfe.’
(The Birmingham Daily Post, Birmingham, England, Monday 23 January 1893, p. 5b)

‘LONDON LETTER
’(FROM OUR LONDON CORRESPONDENTS.)
‘LONDON, Tuesday [24 January 1893]…
‘THE ALHAMBRA.
‘A charming novelty was produced at the Alhambra last night. It is a new floral electric dance by Miss Nellie Navette. In light, floating, classical garb, whose soft folds indicate without revealing too much of a lovely figures, Miss Navette glides gracefully through a series of exquisite movements. She is flower decked, and ever and anon among the flowers electric lights sparkle. It is a most charming picture dance, and last night was received with a fervour of enthusiasm. The two great ballets, Up the River and Aladdin, have lost none of their fascination for the frequenters of the Alhambra, but I understand that Mr. A.A. Gilmer, who has succeeded Mr. John Hollingshead in the management, is already preparing a new spectacular ballet which will deal with the humours of the Chicago Exhibition.’
(Western Mail, Cardiff, Wales, Wednesday, 25 January 1893, p. 4g)

‘THE ALHAMBRA…
‘On Monday night the variety portion of the now liberal programme was added to by the appearance of Miss Nellie Navette in her new electric dance. Miss Navette has for some time held a place among the foremost of the favourites of the music halls, owing her position in no small measure to her Terpsichorean ability. Her many admirers might address to her the lines of “the Bard” from The Winter’s Tale – “When you do dance, I wish you a wave o’ the sea, that you might ever do nothing but that,” for her “steps” are pleasant studies in neatness and grace. In her new electric dance she comes on in a dress that is garlanded with pretty flowers, and in her hand she bears a feathered spray. While she dances flowers and spray become suddenly radiant with electric lights, producing a most charming effect, which is presently enhances, as, retiring for a moment, she returns bearing a sunshade, from the various points of which comes further radiance. Miss Navette’s contribution to the Alhambra programme is as pretty as it is novel, and it is greeted with applause that is both loud and long continued… .’
(The Era, London, Saturday, 28 January 1893, p. 16a)

‘New music has, we learn, been composed by M. Jacobi for the “Floral Electric Dance” now being performed by Miss Nellie Navette at the Alhambra Theatre.’
(The Daily News, London, Monday, 30 January 1893, p. 2a)

‘THE dancing dames who delight the golden youth (and silver age) which frequents “ the halls,” seem lately, in the ever necessary search after “fresh trips and postures new,” to have found some virtue in wearing electric light. The idea admits of nothing more novel than variation of application, having become pretty familiar to the public since it was first introduced at the Savoy Theatre. Miss Nellie Navette, a lady not unknown in these circles for feat footing, is the latest experimentalist. Wearing a garland of (what are presumably) large red poppies, whose hears are light (either because their souls are pure, or because they nestle on Miss Nellie’s bosom), and carrying a branch of the same flowers (of which one feels a sad prescience that she cannot leave go) the lady executes some ordinary steps neatly enough. She pauses occasionally to smile upon us, and “light up” (which is permitted at the Alhambra, if not at the Palace [also in Leicester Square]), and the general effect is – shall I say? – fetching.’
(Nestor, ‘Slashes and Puffs,’ Fun, London, Wednesday, 8 February 1893, p. 55a)

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Fannie Leslie

April 8, 2013

a carte de visite photograph of Fannie Leslie (1857-1935), English singer, burlesque actress and music hall serio-comic, in an unidentified role
(photo: The London Stereoscopic & Photographic Co Ltd, London, late 1880s)