OPERA COMIQUE. The Era 1878 June 2 Country Edition 40(2071): 5, cols. 1-2 [unsigned review]

(the following appeared in our TOWN EDITION of Last Week.)

    Seldom indeed have we been in the company of a more joyous audience, or an audience more confidently anticipating an evening's amusement, than that which filled the Opera Comique in every corner last Saturday. The names of Messrs. W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan in combination have on previous occasions been productive of such legitimate amusement, such novel forms of drollery, such original wit, and unexpected whimsicality, that nothing was more natural than for the audience to anticipate an evening of thorough enjoyment. The expectation was fulfilled completely. Those who believed in the power of Mr Gilbert to tickle the fancy wit hquaint suggestions and unexpected forms of humour were more than satisfied, and those who appreciate Mr Arthur Sullivan's inexhaustible gift of melody were equally gratified; while that large class of playgoers who are pleased with brilliant dresses and charming stage effects declared themselves delighted. The result, therefore, was "a hit, a palpable hit" a success, in fact, there could be no mistaking, and which, great as it was last Saturday, will be even more decided when the work has been played a few nights, as there were some slight drawbacks for which nobody was to blame; such , for example, as the severe cold that affected Mr. Rutland Barrington, and almost prevented his singing. The greatest credit was due to him for struggling as he did against adverse circumstances, and we may compliment him sincerely upon the ability and moral courage which enabled him to triumph over physical weakness. The new work upon which Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan have so successfully employed their talents id a comic opera, in two acts, entitled H.M.S. Pinafore; or. The Lass that Loved a Sailor.


Mr. Sullivan, we may remark, conducting the orchestra himself, had , previously to the rising of the curtain, treated his admirers to a light and sparkling little overture, and then a jovial chorus of the sailors is heard. The sailors listen to a song from Little Buttercup (Miss Everard), and join in a lively chorus. Little Buttercup is a bumboat woman of Portsmouth, and her song describes the various goods she has to dispose of.


The mysterious duet with the Captain on the moonlit deck was an excellent example of Miss Everard's drollery, which in this scene will be more prominent still when Mr Barrington is able to render greater assistance. But, as we have said already, great praise was due to him throughout the opera.


transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 20 October 2001
Updated 14 November 2001