New York Times 1882 October 18 32(9708): 5, col. 4 [unsigned]

this production was not authorised by Carte

     "The Sorcerer," by Messrs. Gilbert and Sullivan, is probably the least known or appreciated in this country, and yet it was the first of the productions of these two talented writers and gave them their introduction to fame. It is clearly apparent that the same pen was used in the text of the subsequent "Pinafore," "Pirates of Penzance," and "Patience," and that the music was the work of the same remarkably clever imitator and ingenious musical writer of the score of the above-named operas. There are characteristic points throughout, and as they are all well taken there is no occasion to seek for opportunities for the detection of inadvertent weakness. The opera is a clean, bright, and charming work in its entirety. When it was heard three years ago it suffered from the fact that the cast was not satisfactory, for it is necessary that the singers should be actors and the actors should be singers. These requisite conditions, however, were fulfilled last night, and a more merry and complete performance has not been given at any theatre for many a day. The audience completely filled the house and was honestly demonstrative in its applause. The management has put the opera on the stage in perfect taste, with good costumes, a full company, and an excellent orchestra, conducted by the experienced leader Mr. Jesse Williams. It was a notable success from the commencement, when it was evident that the opera had been thoroughly rehearsed and that no apopolgies were necessary. Miss Lilian Russell was charming in the rôle of Aline. She not only was prepossessing in appearance and infused a spirit that pervaded the entire performance, but also sang exceedingly well. In the second act she introduced a song, for which she was twice recalled, which was written for her by Mr. Jesse Williams, and is called "A Faithless Maiden." It is a pretty and graceful composition, and unlike most interpolations does not seem out of place. The well-known musical skill and good taste of the composer insured this, however. Miss Laura Joyce, Miss Lucette, and Mme. de Ruyther were all efficient and perfect in their respective rôles. In the male characters there is much to commend. Mr. Campbell sang pleasantly with a tenor voice suited to the capacities of this theatre, and Mr. Olmi as Sir marmaduke was unexpectedly strong. Mr. Digby Bell was admirable as Dr. Daly, and gave an unctuous flavor to the character, complete alike in its conception and delivery, and as to Mr. Howson's personation of theh character of John Wellington Wells it may be said, with all calmness, that nothing more laughable has been witnessed on the stage. His "make-up" (as is the technical phrase) was remarkable. After having copied to the life the exponent of sickly æstheticism in "Patience," his appearance as a perfect picture of a notable public character was very entertaining and kept the house in a continual state of amusement. There is not much doubt that Mr. Howson, who, by the way, does not exaggerate in this performance, will make a special success in his rôle. He was irresistibly droll last night. In all details the opera was faithfully rendered, and is so bright and clever in its composition, and so well performed, that its repetition would seem to be a matter of course for some time to come.


transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 22 October 2003