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I AN AUSTRALIAN OPERA.
Beautiful Music in "Collit's Inn"
An Australian opera, or as the programme termed it, "an Australian historical play," was produced last night at the Savoy Theatre, amid enthusiastic applause. The premiere of
"Collit's Inn," which had been awarded second prize in a competition promoted by Miss Natallle Rosenwax (the first prize having been awarded to a work composed by Mr. Arnold Mote), was a pronounced success. This was due to two main ractors. The story by Mr. T. Stuart Gurr dealt with a romance of the old colonial days in New South Wales, when a military officer and a bushranger were rivals for tne hand of the landlord's daughter at Collit's Inn, on the Blue Moun- tains; and tlie music by Mrs. Varney Monk, wife of the well-known leader of the Con- servatorium orchestra, was full of beautiful melodic themes, richly orchestrated and ad- mirably performed under the baton of Mr. Howard Carr. A large cast was needed for the production, and the principals, although many of them manifestly lacked experience In stage deportment, acquitted themselves very creditably. Miss Rene Maxwell, as Mary Collit, th'e landlord's daughter, has a well trained soprano voice of beautiful quality in texture and flexibility. She sang her solos with refined artistry. .She also snug ex- quisitely harmoned love duets with Ambrose Bourke, who tooK the part of Ensign Lake. The music was a revelation to the audience, and lifted the story to a height of romantic interest which would have been unattainable without tlie constant now of significant melody and colourful orchestration.
Mr. Cyril Monk was the leader of the or- chestra. The arrangement of the vocal score was unusual. Both the rivals for the hand of Mary Collitt were baritones, instead of the usual arrangement of tenor for the principal male part and baritone for the second, while there were also two sopranos instead of the usual principal soprano being supported by a mezzo or contralto. The arrangement worked out well musically. Miss Phllippa Alston as Kate, an ally of the bushranger, has a voles of fine power and volume and made good use of It. Ambrose Bourke's voice is a rich bari- tone, which should Improve considerably with further training, and Donald McNiven, a man of Immense stature, as Keane, the bushranger, also has a voice of good volume and tone, which will be heard to better advantage when he learns to use it with more confidence. The low comedy part of Dandy Dick was played by Jack Win with more attention to the comedy than to the singing.
The first act opened with spirited choral singing and a drinking song by Carllsen, the barkeeper, played by Jack Klnson, who has a useful bass and a good knowledge of how to use it. A word of praise Is due to the chorus for their brisk and spirited work. The opera -or musical play- obviously gave much pleasure to the audience, which completely filled the theatre. It Is a good augury for the production of other works cast In operatic form and equally racy of the soil.