By Adrienne Simpson
This biography tells the tale of Alice may perhaps, a traveling prima donna within the 19th century who travelled from England to Australia, New Zealand, India and the U.S., enjoying pioneering performances of the preferred gentle operas of the day. alongside the best way she took half in lots of premieres, together with the 1st creation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer and the 1st permitted American creation of The Mikado . This vibrant existence tale will attract theatre historians, fanatics of the melodrama, burlesque, and the musical level.
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Additional info for Alice May: Gilbert & Sullivan's First Prima Donna (Forgotten Stars of the Musical Theater)
Low-lying, in an almost featureless landscape, it lacked the beautiful natural setting that made Sydney, capital of the neighboring colony of New South Wales, so picturesque. The town center was regimented into a grid pattern of wide intersecting avenues with deep gutters on either side, spanned at intervals by small wooden bridges. Because there was no underground drainage system, storm water and sewage roared down the gutters in wet weather and the only way of crossing the streets safely was by means of these bridges.
There was a revealing undertone of almost guilty enjoyment in many reviews. Some writers clearly believed that music should be used for interpreting lofty ideals and finer feelings rather than for having fun. ” Geneviève de Brabant, which received its first New Zealand performance in Dunedin on March 24, 1874, was not considered the equal of La Grande-Duchesse. ” Although Drogan and Genéviève’s “Balcony Duet” in act 1, “exquisitely sung” by Alice and Lambert, was “a perfect gem,” the writer thought it a pity to see Alice May—“a brilliant star on the pure lyric stage”—wasting her talents on unworthy material.
She has no doubt discovered the arduous nature of the duties which she has entered, and the severe application needed to ensure even a qualified success but it is very clear she is making the most praiseworthy efforts to overcome the difficulties which of necessity accompany the beginnings of all really important undertakings…. Miss May is to be congratulated on what she has already accomplished; and as her stage life dates from this city it is very natural that more than ordinary interest should be attached to her progress.