"THE SORCERER." The Era. 1884 October 18 47(2404): 15, cols. 1-2 [unsigned review]


Before remarking upon the representation generally we may comment upon some changes which have been made, tending to make the opera more efective from a spectacular point of view. The conclusion of the first act, where all the personages are supposed to be suffering from the effects of the love potion, introduces a novel scene. After appearing to be stupefied with the potion the various characters look at each other in a bewildered manner, as, we are told, the Chinese do after taking opium, and finally as the curtain falls they "flop" upon the stage, completely overcome by the mysterious draught so artfully and secretly mixed with the "cup that cheers but not inebriates." The new stage business is carried into the second act, for upon the curtain rising the characters are still seen under the influence of the magic potion. But gradually they awake, and in the ecstacy [sic] of their new emotions of love perform a song and dance, and thus the second act opens far more merrily than of old. A new song for the tenor is introduced, which, however, was omitted on Tuesday evening. Taken altogether the changes are but slight, and in fact no great alteration was necessary or advisable. The opera was unique of its kind, and with the exception of the dramatic effect gained by the elaboration of the finale to the first act, and the alteration in the opening of the second, there was little room for improvement. Just a suggestion in the matter of costume may be made. The heroine appears in the costume of the present day when she comes forth in her bridal dress, while the other ladies don the costumes in vogue some seventy or eighty years ago.

    MR RUTLAND BARRINGTON AS DR. DALY. When The Sorcerer was first produced the character of the smooth, silky, soft-voiced, sentimental vicar was naturally regarded as one of the most amusing features in the opera, and Mr Rutland Barrington's clever embodiment speedily became talked about and has never been forgotten, he looked so thoroughly clerical.

Greatly to our regret we cannot now speak so cordially of Mr Barrington's singing. He looks and acts the character to perfection; but too frequently his intonation lacks the correctness to make his vocal efforts effective. We trust this defect is but temporary as it mars what would otherwise be a singularly attractive performance.



transcribed by Helga J. Perry, 12 January 2001