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"Falka," a comic opera translated from the French of M.M. Leterrier and Vaulos by H. B. Farnie, with music by F. Chaasaigne, was produced for the first time in Adelaide by the
Pollard Operatic Company at the Theatre j j Royal on Wednesday evening. First per-1 I formed at the Comedy Theatre, London, i on October 29, 1833, the original cast! included Mr. Harry Paulton, now playing! in "A Night Out" at the Princess Theatre,! Melbourne, Mr. W. a Penley, of " Private | Secretary" fame. Miss Violet Cameron, and j other notabilities of the London stage, and it i has eince been played with great success in! both England and America. Its production in I Melbourne some few years ago was attended I with equally satisfactory results, and the Pollard Operatic Company, by arrangement with Mr. George Rignold, have since produced the opera both in the eastern colonies and New Zealand. The plot of "Falka," as is the case with most comic operas, is of very simple construc tion. Falka, a pretty girl of 18 summers, wearied with the exclusion of convent life, resolves on the desperate step of eloping with her lover. Their fiitrht is immediately discovered, and the culprit to elude unavoidable discovery changes places with her admirer, who on assuming the blue and-white garb of tbe convent is at once carried off, while his intended bride, attired as a boy, quickly earns for herself the good opinions of the Baron Folbach, to the de triment of Tancred, the rightful heir. Natu rally the subsequent complication of affaire is highly amusing; for the real Tancred having inspired the sister of tbe Chief of tbe Tzigana with a hopeless passion, is ruthlessly followed by the redoubtable Boleslas, who longs to dabble his hands in his victim's blood. Falka, to save herself from inevitable death at the' hands of the bloodthirsty chief, is obliged to confess her sex, and is sent back to the con vent, while her lover is set free from the serious encumbrances of skirts and tight-lacing. By a aeries of happy chances peculiar to comic opera everything is regulated in the end by the union of several marriageable couples and the curtain' descends upon a scene of general rejoicing. Thedialogue for the moat partis bright and entertaining, even though it serves to introduce puns of a more or less atrocious character, while as the action of the opera passes in Hungary in the middle of tbe last century such interpolated witticisms as "British" and "West-End"beer are distinctly in keeping with the tune and situation. Chassaigne's music is melodious, ingenious, and appropriate, a short introduction being com posed of many attractive melodies, the prin cipal of which is in the form of a march. Several of the solos in the vocal score are bright and tuneful, while the concerted music, notably the trio in the first act; "Now, then, hurry scurry," and another trio in the second, "Oh joy! oh rapture!" in which Falka, being compelled by her persecutors to repeat a certain given sentence does so in a varied harmony of scales, are both in genious and amusing. Unfortunately their having to be sung by female voices detracted from their merit, although under the circum stances the singers acquitted themselves well. The lullaby song in the third act, on the con trary, suffered by the inclusion of a male voice, although* the fault was certainly not the com poser's. As Falka Miss May Beatty had her oppor tunity, and proved herself a dainty, vivacious, and clever littleactress, with anezeellentiiinging voice, which she uses with good effect Phe march song, "I am my noble uncle's heir," was sung with the greatest spirit and verve, while the refrain, "The' boarding-school giri," was invested with appropriate archness and coquetry. The romance in the third act, "At eventide," was also excellently rendered, and for each of her solo numbers Mi?t Beatty was compelled to respond to emphatic encores; In the concerted numbers, too, she sang with taste and discretion, and particularly pleased her hearers in the "Oh joy, oh rapture triopreviously referred to. Miss Maud Beatty, as Boleslas, Chief of the Tzigani, gave an amusing presentment of the haughty bombastic bearing of the savage chieftan, and although manifestly handicapped in having to sing music written for a mails -voice,' displayed Hie greatest spiritiu her rendering of "'Tig the captain, Boleslas, 9 and the Bohemian song, "Cradled upon the heather.*' Miss MetcaUe had little to do as Edwidge, sister of Boleslas, and sang her onesolo "Therewa?rjoray, "with only moderate success; Miss L. Stephens' made a Hjmnmg Alerine de Knllnrnch, and Miss N. Wilson a sprightly Janotna. Mr. Alf. Stephens as Pelican, the doorkeeper of the convent,, was genuinely funny, a capital disguise coupled with humorous by-play adding greatly to the snoces? of the impersonation. Mr. W. Percy, too, as Arthur, the 'effeminate lover of the pretty Falka, was' Mnnaing and clever in bis acting, though decidedly want ing in bis vocal efforts. Mr. ?H. Quealy, as t&e wronged and persecuted nephew of the great Governor Folbach, was comical in facial expression and volatile in action, his performance beinz, however, largely exaggerated by his irritating voice and noless. exasperating " twang." Mr. E. Nable, as the choleric anrl yaimrlorions Folbach, showed him self to be both versatile and energetic, and the minor characters were satisfactorily filled. The choruses, for reasons before stated, were not up to the mark,_ but ?the ?*Tzigani? ballet, introduced by the Missed Cassellis, Hillas, Ascon, Brown, Mitchell, and Brown, bad to be repeated in response to the demands of the audience. The scenic and other acces sories of the opera are both picturesque and artistic, and the repetition of "Falka." to night and to-morrow evening will draw crowded houses. . '