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MUSIC AND DRAMA. I

-»-?...,

"DEAREST ENEMY."

It has been decided by J. O. Williamson, Ltd., that the musical play "Dearest Enemy" will follow "Lilac Time" at Her Majesty's. "Dearest Enemy" is based on an incident of the American War of Independence, when severe fighting was proceeding in New York, and Howe had defeated Washington at the Battle of Long Island. The plot shows how Mrs. Murray, a wealthy hostess of Murray ?Hill (then on the borders of Manhattan Forest, and now in the heart of New York City), skilfully engaged the attention of the British officers at a reception In her mansion, dis- pensing cake and wine, in order to enable General Israel Putnam and his division to escape to Harlem Heights, where another battle was fought soon afterward. The piece, from its romantic colour and quality of its music, attracted great attention at its first production in New York, at the Knickerbocker Theatre, in September, 1925. The score, by Richard Rodgers, is described as exceedingly melodious, and containing plenty of concerted music, original in treatment. Among the prominent military figures of the drama are Sir William Howe, Clinton, John Tryon, Wash- ington, Israel Putnam, and Aaron Burr. Miss Dorothy Brunton, who returned recently to Melbourne from London, has been engaged for a leading role In the production, that of Betsy Burke, which was played in New York by Miss Helen Ford. Messrs. Sidney Bur chall, Herbert Browne, and Leslie Holland will

also be in the cast.

ST. JAMES THEATRE.

Mr. Ernest C. Rolls, who has brought the London revue, "Topsy Turvy," to Sydney, at the St. James Theatre, and has given it an Australian colour In the extensive revision which he and Mr. A. J. Lawrance have made of the libretto, has in view the production of a musical comedy at Easter, and in that event, "Topsy Turvy" will be transferred to the Princess Theatre in Melbourne. Mr. Rolls states that several pieces are under con- sideration, but the final choice has not yet been made of the new attraction. It will, he says, include a number of fresh artists. Among these will be Mr. Charles Silber, who appeared as the lawyer in "Rio Rita."

RETURNING TO LONDON.

Miss Stella Murray, the New Zealand con- tralto, who went to England about ten years ago, and has established herself there as a concert artist, has been spending a few days in Sydney, before leaving to-day by the Or- monde on her return voyage to London. Miss Murray came out to visit relatives in New Zealand, and while there completed a highly successful concert tour of the Dominion, win- ning great praise for the power of her voice and her qualities of interpretation. Bom in Christchurch, New Zealand, Miss Murray re- ceived her early musical training in that city, principally from Madame Josephine Otlee, and then decided to go abroad for further study. In London, she took lessons from Sir Henry Wood, Miss Ann williams, and other teach- ers in London and Paris, and In due course embarked upon a concert career. She speaks enthusiastically of the help and advice she received from Dame Nellie Melba, who, she says, proved a wonderful friend to her. The earliest visit she paid upon her arrival In Sydney was to Dame Nellie, now a natient in St. Vincent's private hospital. Miss Murray sang several times on the same programme with Melba in London and the provinces. In her career abroad the contralto has appeared in all parts of England in oratorio and concert, and is proud of the fact that she has made it a rule to sing in English. "I find that audiences welcome the fact that they are able to follow the words of a song, and, anyway, it is better to sing well in your own language than to stag with less success in someone else's," she says. Among the con- ductors at whose concerts she has appeared was Mr. Basil Cameron, whose fine standard of music in his Hastings programmes has at- tracted attention throughout Great Britain. Mr. Cameron was recently appointed to suc- ceed Mr. Alfred Hertz as conductor of the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra, and is repeating in California his successes in Eng-

land.

A RUSSIAN OPERA.

One of the features of the present season of the New York Metropolitan Opera was the first production In that city of Moussorgsky's opera "The Fair of Sorotchlntzy," which was left unfinished by the composer, and com- pleted, about 40 years after his death, by the younger Tcherepnln, who has lived for 20 years in Paris, and went to New York to be present at this premiere. Tcherepnln, who found the opera almost a fragment, has drawn for his material upon Moussorgsky's other works, with, as he says, "due regard for situation, character, and feeling." One of the dances of the second act In this new version comes from "A Night on Bald Mountain," one of Moussorgsky's orchestral pieces, which was produced here under the baton of Dr. Arundel Orchard at the Conservatorium. There are, it appears, in a melodious score, suggestions of Stravinsky's "Sacre du Printemps," as well as of "By the River Don," and the famous "Gopak." But the ballet seems to have at- tracted the most attention. "It Is safe to say," says one critic, "that the Metropolitan Opera has done nothing more pretentious or beautiful In its history of ballets." Tullio Serafín con- ducted the performance, In which the leading roles were sung by Marie Mueller, Frederick Jagel, Ina Bourskaya, Ezlo Pinza, and Mark Windhelm. "The Fair of Sorotchlntzy" was first produced at the Free Art Theatre of Mos- cow in 1913, and next at Monte Carlo in 1921.

WESTMINSTER GLEE SINGERS.

Lovers of purely English music in choral and ballad form, and in chanties, catches, and glees, will be pleased to hear of the progress of the Westminster Glee Singers, under Mr. Edward Branscombe. This tireless party started the present great tour in Canada in February, 1928, visited Newfoundland, followed on with the populous centres of the Pacific coast of U.S.A., and gave 160 concerts in New Zealand before opening at the Sydney Palace Theatre in the middle of last year. Before leaving they were joined by Mr. Wilfrid Thomas, who re- ports "all well" in a letter to Mr. Gerald Marr Thompson from Singapore. At that time they had Just finished a tour of Malaya, where they had been much better supported than they expected, in the face of the terrible drop in the value both of rubber and tin, the smallness of the British population, and like- wise of its bank balances, and the high tariffs charged by the palatial hotels characteristic of these luxury-loving Federated Malay States. About five weeks ago they were leaving Singa- pore for the Philippine Islands in a great German liner. Mr. Thomas remarks that the first glimpse of the East was afforded in Java, much of which the members of the party toured by car. At Samarang they were very nearly drowned in rejoining their steamer from a Ticketty sampan in a heavy swell, and were severally hauled on board after the upset In slings-doubtless the real "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune" spoken of by the poet. More enjoyable experiences resulted after the wonders of Singapore, where the party opened In a Chinese millionaire's private theatre at Malacca, before a Chinese audience. They have sung at clubs, theatres, and hotels, and have visited temples where living serpents writhed upon mysterious altars; have sat through amazing Oriental operas, where the scene-shifters rambled aimlessly about the stage throughout the show, and where all dialogue was drowned by the insistent clash of cymbals; they have retained their own grave dignity while a thousand natives roared with laughter at contesting teams of "mad Englishmen" playing Rugby in the blazing heat of tropical summer, simply because It was winter ta England, a reflection which did not keep them cool; they have viewed with sym- pathy the tomb of Saint Francis Xavier, the lover of God's dumb creatures; anu have de- plored latah victims in a hypnotic trance In- duced by too much betnl nut. Mr. Branscombe continues cheerily at the head of aflalrs, and has planned to "keep moverln' along" until the close of the world tour In Egypt, about October. Mr. Wilfrid Thomas goes thence to London with the main body of singers.

Digitisation generously supported by
Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation
Digitisation generously supported by

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