Press Clippings for the week ending
Saturday, 29 March 2008

A random selection of clippings
from newspapers and magazines

Bert Williams announced to appear
as Friday in Klaw & Erlanger's
Robinson Crusoe, 1913

Bert Williams

Bert Williams (1874-1922), American actor and singer,
as he appeared in In Dahomey,
Shaftesbury Theatre, London, 16 May 1903

(photo: Cavendish Morton, London, 1903)

'Bert Williams, the very talented and equally modest negro comedian, who has been the feature of recent [Ziegfeld] Follies, will appear in an elaborate production of Robinson Crusoe, which will be staged by Klaw & Erlanger this season. Williams, of course, will appear as Friday, the faithful black retainer of Crusoe. The book of the new production has been written by Glen MacDonough, author of Babes in Toyland and It Happened in Norland.' (The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., Sunday, 24 August 1913, entertainment section, p.3a)

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The San Carlo Grand Opera company
on a tour of the United States
in their production of Bizet's Carmen,
at the Palace Theatre, Fort Wayne, 1919,
with Romeo Boscacci, Stella de Mette,
Estelle Wentworth, et al

Estelle Wentworth

Estelle Westwood (fl. early 20th century), American actress and singer

(photo: unknown, USA, circa 1900)

'Again the music lovers of this city have had a chance to enjoy a rare musical treat at the Palace theatre, in hearing the well-known opera, Carmen, given by the San Carlo Grand Opera company, under the auspices of the Morning Musical. Everyone loves the opera, Carmen, composed by Bizet, it being so full of color and vividness. There is a distinct rhythm and poetic strain throughout the entire piece. The Toreador song reappears many times during the opera. The cast is well balanced, and all members of the company are thoroughly acquained with their parts; there is not a pause during the entire production.
'The orchestra, which is composed of twenty musicians is indeed a joy to hear; their work is artistic and pleasing.
'The story of Carmen is full of fire and vivacity. Jose, brigadier of dragoons at Seville, is waiting the arrival of Michaela, a peasant girl with a letter and purse from his mother. A band of girls arrive at the cigar factory opposite, and Carmen, the prettiest and most coquettish, throws him her bouquet. Jose falls distractedly in love. A quarrel ensues among the girls in the factory. Carmen, declared the assailant, is ordered to prison. She fascinates the luckless brigadier, till he plans her escape, and is himself placed under arrest for it. Carmen, after being coaxed by a band of bandits, returns to her wandering gypsy life, and tempts Jose, who meets her outside of the walls, to desert. He refuses; but, quarrelling with his superior officer about Carmen, is forced to join the smugglers. Carmen's love grows cold. Escamillo, the popular Toreador, woos her, while the jealous Jose departs to visit his dying mother. Carmen is faithless. She goes with Escamillo to the bull fight at Seville. Joseph pursues her; and frantic at her desertion and avowed affection for Escamillo, stabs her.
'Even the music foretells of a tragedy, by the screaming and discordant notes of the instruments. 'Don Jose, the brigadier, is artistically played by Romeo Boscacci. His voice, a clear tenor, is pleasing and his part, a difficult one, he played with great ease. The song, "This Flower You Gave to Me," was especially pretty, and he had a chance to show his voice.
'Carmen, a cigaret girl, and afterwards a gypsy, is a happy-go-lucky part, full of quick action, was beautifully played by Stella de Mette. Her voice, a high soprano, full of tenderness and yet impish at times, especially in the gypsy dance, when she is tempting Jose to desert the army. The highest notes of Miss Stella de Metto's voice are bell-like; she has her own particular style of shading, which is pleasing.
'Joseph Royer plays the part of Escamillo, the Toreador. His voice, a deep baritone, was one of the favorites. He is not only a clever actor, but also a clever interpreter of his songs. His Toreador song is always the one that every once likes. Miss Estelle Wentworth made a charming Micaela. Her pleasing manner, well modulated soprano voice at once won her audience. Her pleasing to Jose to return to his mother was beautiful and full of tenderness.
'Frasquita and Mercedes, gypsies, friends of Carmen, were not large parts but were well worked up by the hard and understanding work of Miss Alice Homer and Miss Frances Morosini. Their voices were full of melody.
'The Captain Zuniga, lord of soldiers, was handled in a clever manner by Pietri de Biesi. The four acts of Carmen are full of all kinds of emotions, from the highest of happiness to the darkest of tragedy, but, and this is one of the reasons why it is so well liked, the music, which is of the understanding kind, is any other reason. [sic]'
(The Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette, Fort Wayne, Indiana, Wednesday, 24 April 1919, pp.8d-e/9b)

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© John Culme, 2008