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ous, hodge-podge things, under the name of operas, called The Maniac, or Swiss Banditti, followed, and fell after a few nights, in spite of the beauty of Bishop's music, and all the arts of management to support its existence; and as it is an useless and ungracious task to detail so many instances of mediocrity, we shall pass over without further notice the gentle plagiary of Sir James Bland Burgess, called Tricks upon Travellers; the abominable Bartholomewfair trash intruded upon the public, (in spite of their dislike and indignation,) under the title of Jack the Giant-killer; a very inferior and comparatively unsuccessful opera, Oh this Love, from the pen of Kenny, who once gave good hopes of better things; another amphibious production (not easily to be classed under tragedy, comedy, farce, or pantomime,) of that amphibious artist Mr Pocock, who divides his time, it seems, between making pictures and two-act pieces for the Lyceum; we sincerely hope his paintings are better than his farces. Neither the merits of the piece, nor the limits allotted to the present article, will suffer us to do more than notice that another English opera, called Plots, or the North Tower, from the rapid manufactory of Mr Arnold, was performed, September 3d,a compound of baby romance, babyishly told, with all the stale incidents of castles, barons, towers, trap-doors, murdering of brothers, and strangling of children, which are collected without end and without meaning, by our present dramatists, from the shelves of Mr Lane in Leadenhallstreet. A musical farce, called Transformation, or Love and Law, by Mr Allingham, was the last new production within the year; it is free,
VOL. III. PART II.
but not a very dexterous compilation, of sundry pillagings from the Bold Stroke for a Wife, Love Laughs at Locksmiths, and several other pieces of the like nature, done to exhibit the versatility of Mathews, to whose quick and perfect assumption of various characters it was chiefly indebted for the success it met with.
The second season of the Lyceum Opera company closed upon the 15th September, with a long address from Mr Raymond, the acting manager, which, as it contains the nature and intention of the institution, it is but fair to give in his own words :
"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN,-The second season of the English Opera will close with the performances of this evening. That the proprietors have spared neither labour nor expence to render the amusements of this theatre worthy your patronage, must be fully acknowledged by the applause with which you have honoured their exertions, and the novelty they have presented to you during a very short and limited season.
"In a period of thirteen weeks, three ments, and two revived pieces, have renew operas, three new musical entertainceived the stamp of your approbation; an exertion, considering the expence and mental labour necessary to render them worthy of your applause, which no other theatre in this metropolis has at any time paralleled.
done to fulfil the promises held forth at "This, Ladies and Gentlemen, has been the close of last season, that every exertion should be made to render the English Opera worthy the protection of the English nation.' You have honoured those exertions with your applause, and the proprietors are satisfied and grateful.
"In one particular, which relates to the English Opera, I wish to be clearly and distinctly understood. It is the deexcel, not injure, any other establishsire of the proprietors to emulate and ment of the same form; and while they thus candidly declare their intentions,
they respectfully solicit your future support. A national institution, which holds forth promises of protection, reward, and encouragement to national talent, must be fully supported by a national feeling; and if a tithe-part of that patronage which is bestowed on a foreign establishment, by the wealthy part of this proud and happy country, should ever be extended to our native opera, then is there every fair promise that English talent shall not only equal, but excel, that which, at so enormous an expence, is yearly imported from a foreign land.
"Satisfied with the encouragement which your liberality has bestowed on the exertions already made, the proprie tors pledge themselves to continue those exertions, and that no expence shall be spared to procure and cherish talent, wherever it may be found; and they have no doubt but that, where honourable emulation shall prevail, and where a desire to please is seen by you to exist in proprietors, as well as performers, your future encouragement will be such as to enable them to make the English opera a national ornament.
"In the name of the proprietors, Ladies and Gentlemen, and of the performers, who, individually, have requested me to return their sincere thanks for the kind attention and applause with which you have honoured their labours, I respect fully bid you farewell."
On the 20th September, the DruryLane company, which had ceased in June, recommenced their operations at this house, with the Hypocrite, and Mayor of Garratt, for the remainder of the year; and it may be recorded, as a very unusual if not an unprecedented circumstance, that for two nights, September 18th and 19th, not a single theatre was open in London or Westminster.
with the Bold Stroke for a Wife, My Grandmother, and The Children in the Wood,-performances which exhibited Mr Bannister in his best strength; and the list of the company was further adorned by the names of Mathews, Liston, Charles Kemble, and Jones; Mrs Glover, and Mrs Gibbs, with several fresh acces sions from different provincial theatres. Miss H. Kelly, from the Southampton theatre, appeared on that evening as Florella, in My Grandmother, and evinced abilities, both as a singer and an actress, that have progressively exalted her in reputation, and confirmed her a considerable favourite with the town.
A Mr Stapleton, from the country, on the 12th, tried his powers in the part of Dennis Brulgruddery, in John Bull. He met with that degree of success which mere moderate and inoffensive abilities cannot fail of commanding in a character so calculated of itself to produce effect, and to engage the favour of an audience; but he only added another instance of the almost hopeless difficulty of supplying a representative of Irishmen, when the public shall be deprived of the inimitable beauty and perfection of Johnstone's delineations.
A new play, called The Doubtful Son, or The Secrets of a Palace, from the pen of Mr Dimond, was brought forward on the 3d of July. Mr Di mond, in his preface, with conceit at least equal to his abilities, tells us that he
thinks it a good play. We are not altogether of his opinion; its only merit, in our estimation, is a tolerable dexterity of arrangement in the incidents to produce theatrical effect. This is an art of which this writer has given proofs upon many occasions; but neither in his incidents nor his
This theatre opened the 11th June characters, is there any thing of no
velty or genius-a Spanish plot, French story-telling and love-making, with a few German agonies and German sentiments,-a second and worse edition of his Marquis, his Young Gentleman and Lady, Chamber-maid and Bertrand, in the Foundling of the Forest, with the addition of a villainous Portugueze secretary, make up a play, of which, after all, Mr Dimond is little more than the translator. For the approbation it met with, it was greatly indebted to the acting. Mr Charles Kemble and Mrs Glover, in the Marquis and Marchioness, and Mr Bannister, in a part far below his talents, exerted themselves with the greatest energy and the happiest success. In the Secretary Malvogli, a Mr Sowerby_was introduced for the first time to a London audience. He had made an unsuccessful round through most of the provincial theatres, and from his not having been heard of since, we suppose he found the oft-repeated sentence of dislike, passed upon him through the country, confirmed in town. We are given to understand he was one of the stage-struck gentlemen who love to wear fine clothes and speak fine speeches, and who, as he received no profit from his labours, committed no very great injustice in imparting no pleasure by them to the public. We have heard he has since wisely withdrawn himself to act his proper part, the gentleman in private life.
The next new piece was a comedy, called High Life in the City, by Mr Eyre, of this theatre, whose only claim to praise for his attempt, is upon the ground of the purity and usefulness of his moral instruction, which is to exhibit the ruinous consequences that attend the absurd attempts to rival the splendour and expence of
those who are placed above our own sphere by birth and fortune. The play itself, however, by which this lesson is conveyed, is not entitled to much commendation, either for originality or good writing. In the first place, it is stolen without any modesty from a great variety of pieces still before the public. Duplex the pawn-broker, and his vulgar daughter, are a mere transcript of Toby and Clementina Allspice, in Morton's Way to get Married; Captain Frazer is Captain Melville, in the Man of the World; and Lady Janet is a miserable appropriation to a most miserable purpose, or rather to no purpose, of Lady Rodolpha, in the same play. Indeed, we could discover no reason whatever why Lady Janet's changing her English dialect to the Scottish should plague her hus band, or why she should talk Scotch at all, except to bring in the Irish-, man's joke of her "shooting with a doubled-barrelled gun." As for the Irishman, he is a laborious copy of every Irishman we remember, leaving out Irish humour and Irish wit. The only character in which an attempt at novelty was any way successful, was Crastinus, an absent man, who, by putting every thing off till to morrow, involves himself in engagements which he cannot fulfil, contradictions which he cannot reconcile, and difficulties that he cannot escape from; the effects were often very ludicrous and well brought out. The reception of the piece the first night upon the whole was unfavourable, but it was afterwards repeated several times with moderate approbation.
August 7th, a new burlesque tragic opera in one act, entitled Bombastes Furioso, was performed, in which the irresistible comic power of Liston in the mock heroic had full scope to
display itself. Mathews and Taylor, though by no means equal to him, gave excellent effect to their parts; Miss H. Kelly was the only female performer. The music is an adaptation of some of the favourite and fashionable airs to burlesque parodies of favourite songs. Liston imitated a highly celebrated female singer with great comic effect, and a trio between him, Mathews, and Miss Kelly, to the tune of "Oh Lady Fair," gave great delight, and was repeated amidst universal laughter. The general whimsicality of the piece was always highly relished throughout its fre
quent repetitions for the remainder of the season.
On September the 15th, this theatre closed with an address from Mr Charles Kemble, stating, that although an extension of one month had been recently added to the annual licence, many obstacles prevented them from now enjoying the advantage of the grant, and therefore the present season must terminate this evening; returning thanks in the name of the proprietors and performers, he withdrew, and with the evening's performances the season accordingly concluded.
WE have little to select for particular notice in this year's account of our own theatre, but must not omit to pay the tribute of general praise to Mr Siddons, for his steady perseverance in the system of proprie ty, correctness, and liberal variety, with which he began his managerial To an established company, more numerous than any other theatre possesses out of London, were added, in continual succession, performers of eminence from the metro. polis; and the scenery and decorations of every new piece that was adopted from London, (for we had none, during the season, of northern original) were in the utmost degree tasteful and magnificent.*
Among the performers who appeared for the first time before the Edinburgh public, Mr Braham was
the most conspicuous. spread and pre-eminent fame of his abilities, had a most powerful effect upon our minds; and the crowd to witness his first appearance was, at least, as great as any we ever remember upon a similar occasion. It was scarcely possible that any positive merit could in experience fulfil the demands of the fervid expectation excited by the report of his excellence, and consequently, notwithstanding his undoubted superiority, some sensation of disappointment was certainly felt at his general performance of the Seraskier, in the Siege of Belgrade. The sensation, however, was short-lived, and not at all detrimental to his subsequent perfect success; for it arose, not from his deficiencies, but from the vague and unbounded ardour of our imaginations. Disappointment soon
* We cannot bestow the same praise on the establishment before the curtain. The house is lighted defectively, and often with tallow candles,-a singular contrast to the liberality exhibited in all other respects.
subsided, and the sweetness and science, the power, the taste, and the execution of Mr Braham's singing, left us astonished and enchanted. He played 18 nights, during which he sung the greatest part of his favourite songs; and those which had been most pro ductive of delight elsewhere, were of course, from the operation of the same general causes, most successful here. The rapturous feelings produced by his ornate ballads, such as "My heart with Love is beating," "Fair Ellen," "The bewildered Maid," "Young Henry," &c. certainly could not be exceeded in any audience; neither could the beauty of his celebrated Polacca, "Said a smile to a Tear," and many of his more elaborate pieces, be more keenly relished, or more justly appreciated.-Mr Braham opened with the Seraskier, on Saturday the 15th of December; and closed with a kind of melange, on Saturday the 12th of January.
After an interval of about ten years, we had again the pleasure of beholding Mr John Kemble; and it is equally honourable to the taste of this city, and to the high-toned and classic grandeur of Mr Kemble's powers, that at no period of his life, in no theatre whatever, has his reception been more ardent, or his success more complete and constant. It is decidedly our opinion, that in no one instance is his excellence abated; on the contrary, in those characters where his excel. lence peculiarly consists, we perceive the mellowness, the refinement, the continually nearer approach to perfection, which time always enables genius that never sleeps in its exertions to accomplish, until arrested by natural decay. Of this Mr Kemble exhibits not the slightest symptom; his figure is as fine as ever, and its action as firm; and
the general impression of his appearance, altogether as vigorous as in his earlier years. It is unnecessary, after what we have already said of him in other places, to enter farther into an analysis of his abilities; their strength and their weakness have been sufficiently canvassed. Common Nature, in her common walks, affords Kemble's talents no opportunities of happy exertion; she must be enlarged, or perhaps rather distorted, and delight to rove mysteriously through all the wild, unfrequented, and entangled paths of feeling and understanding, before he will deign to accompany her. It is therefore needless to observe, that his most powerful efforts were shown in the stern and affected philosophy, and the sublime, rigid, and self-devoted patriotism of the stoic and republican Cato; in the hypochondriac and sullen savageness, the morbid and mistaken grandeur of revenge, of Zanga; in the heart-stricken and secluded, but virtuous misanthrope Penruddock; and in that highly-wrought poetical compound of kingly ambition and domestic tenderness, of grandeur, of weakness, and of wickedness, that slave of human influence, and victim of unearthly agencies, Macbeth.
In his Hamlet, however, we think he has a competitor who bears away the palm. Mr Kemble is princely, is magnificent, is metaphysical; but the morbidness of Hamlet is the morbidness produced by a too acute perception of human misery, and a too delicate and curious tendency of investigation into human motives and causes, acting upon a disposition of uncommonly amiable tenderness and susceptibility; and of tenderness actually exhibited as a constitutional cha racteristic, Mr Kemble can never give a good delineation. He some.
* He opened on Monday, 22d July, and closed on Monday, 5th August,