Posts Tagged ‘Sylva Dancourt’


Alice Delysia in Carminetta, Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, 1917

June 24, 2013

Alice Delysia (1889-1979), French actress and singer, star of London revues
(photo: Foulsham & Banfield, London, circa 1916)

Carminetta, an operetta adapted from the French by Monkton Hoffe, with music by Emile Lassaily, Herman Finck and Herman Darewski, and lyrics by Douglas Furber, was produced by Charles B. Cochran at the Prince of Wales’s Theatre, London, on 22 August 1917. Delysia appeared in the title role (understudied by Sylva Dancourt), and other important parts were played by Leon Morton, Robert Cunningham, Dennis Neilson-Terry (succeeded by Geoffrey Gwyther), May Beatty, Florence Vie and Marie Blanche. Alec S. Clunes, grandfather of Martin Clunes, was also in the cast.

‘Delysia Returns.
‘Whatever else may be said of Carminetta, at the Prince of Wales Theatre, it is undeniable that it gives Alice Delysia the opportunity of demonstrating to the full her completely-equipped temperamental gifts. Her picture of Carminetta, own daughter to Bizet’s immortal Carmen, is one of those performances that, should you brain and heart happen to be tuned to the appeal of the artist, simply thrill and hold you from beginning to end. Stormily tempestuous, utterly lovable, a tiger-cat, a hoyden – everything by turn, and always a great personality – so does Delysia assert herself at the Prince of Wales. It may be pointed out by the hyper-critics that she is not always perfect and that she is sometimes too violent in her passion. But what do such flaws matter with an artist who can sing and act three such absolutely dissimilar numbers as the ”Habanera,” the ”Cliquot” song, and that utterly lovely ”Farewell” which brings down the final curtain? Delysia’s is a truly splendid accomplishment, and Carminetta should find a sanctuary in every heart.
‘M. Morton is, as always, a great comic artist. As the South American wine-grower Panelli he is superlatively quaint. Another excellent bit of character acting comes from Mr. Robert Cunningham as Escamillo, one the Toreador of Carmen’s fatal attraction, Mr. Dennis Neilson-Terry as Ensign O’Hara plays a difficult part with much skill. Then there are pretty Miss Marie Blanche as the English Lady Susan – a skilful contrast to Carminetta’s violent personality – Miss May Beatty clever as Frasquita, and Miss Florence Vie comical as Panelli’s sister. There is also a charming chorus in crinolines and peg-top trousers, and a gay and youthful spirit about everybody and everything!’
(The Lady, London, Thursday, 30 August 1917, p. 199a)