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I"THE WRECK OF THE ARGOSY."

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"THE WRECK OF THE ARGOSY." PERFORMANCES AT PONTYPOOL. Last week, the Pontypool Amateur Operatic Society gave three performances of Birch's dra- matic cantata, "The Wreck of the Argosy," in the Town Hall, Pontypool. Originally only two representations were announced, to take place on the evenings of Wednesday and Thursday, but the piece was so successful, both as regards its j-endering by the Company and its appreciation by the public, that the Society yielded to the solicitations of several admiring patrons, and determinedujwn giving a repetition performance on Friday evening. On Wednesday and Thurs- day, large anfidiences Yei-epresen-L, especially en the latter evening, but Friday's attendance was very meagre. The wntata was given in charac- ter, the costumes, all or w-hjch were approbate and tasteful, some el-ogant end costly, were fur- nished -W the well-known costumier, Fox, of Co vent Garden, London. The very effective scenery was specially pai nted by our taianted young (townsman, Mr. A. J. Joshua, ef the engineering department, Panteg Steel Works. The soenic effects we-.e -,t-n trusted to Mr. O. Car- stensefri, of Pontypool, whose ability and taste in the i-ioble (but to the audience somewhat bewil- dering) art of makirg-up W staiikingl3, ex- emplified. The manager was Mr. J. Edxnonde (Ala w Gwentj;, whose skill as a teacher and con- ductor was inclusively shewsi by the capital style in which the choruses aJlld concerted music generally wespe performed, wllsthis talents as a dramaturgist wereecliibited the tiling "situa- tifms" with which the piece abounded. The orchestra '.oompl'iod Mr. R. J. England, first violin Mix E. Lanvrence, saCond ^violin Mr. W. Moseley, ilarione.^ Mr. "r R. Richards, coriwt; Mr. T. Sewell, -double bass viol; Mr. G, J., Mordecai, pianoforte. When we state that Mr. England was the leader, it goes without saying that the instrumental aausic and accompani- ments were splendidly played, and left nothing to be desired. The music The Wireck^oi? the Argosy is prettv-it is ttnef ul ip- the tilioruses as well as the solo partii and it is, moreover, pleasantly varied. The plot is simplicity itself:: Lellie Marston (Miss AnnefM Hiil), the daughter of au iinnkeeper. Philip Jdarstor, (Mr. R. Oakes), is beloved -by Hacry Stanchion (Mc. John Thomas, Eos Brychfiniog), a British sailor, of The-Argosy," who ^ias succeeded in gaining a reciprocity of affeciion irem the fair maiden. Trae love, .iu this cage, many others, does not run smooth, for the 41ld innkeeper insists upen his daughter's favourably receiving the a; ads-ances of- Ralph Harman (Mr. J. Edmopde, Alaw Gweat), a pkate chief, on account of his wealth, which he secretly views in 'the pirate's c,g-.vc. While the pirates are carocsisig in their cave, a-sterm breaks out, and soon the -ciy is raised, "A ship in diiFtress." The doomed ■vesselis The A?go§y," -but Har^jr Stanchion is sa ved, only to fail into the hands c £ the pirates, ;w-ho drag him into the presence ,ø.f their chief, by whom he is at once recognised his rival, and is accordingly consigned to a dur^eon, joaded with chains. -During the nj^ht, however, while the pirates 6letp, Alice Airman ((Miss Fiorrie Allen), the pirate chief is «ister, whose character is totally unlike that of her cruel: brother, invokeg the.po;vors of heaven in favour r -of the hapless prisoner. Immediately -after- wards, .a plan occurs to her by which she caa set the siidor at liberty. Her idea is at ionce put into execution, :and Harry fetanchion escapes, to the great chagrin M his lawless jailor, who attempts taeSectualIy te shoot him as he scales the ciift's. This enfls the i second -act. The third act opens with an assemblage of the villagers, who are gathered together for the purpose of celebrating the marriage of Lellie Marston witir. the Pirate Chief. Poor Lellie, who refuses to believe that her lover is ..Ql'o.wll<:v.l. has at last given way to her father's wishes, and, dre seill her bridal tcostume, makes a la,t requdst for freedom to the would-sbe bridegroom hiaiself, who, in spite of her entreaties, insists upon the marriage being carried, out. Fortunately, ■ however, Harry Stanchion makes a sudden and unexpected appearance, to the great joy of his sweetheart. Harry .quickly finds how matters stand, and recognising Ralph Hsxman, denounces him as .the pirate chief. Will Sharp (Mr. P. J". Osborne) r the coastguardeman, at once steps forward and arrests Barman, who is subsequently supposed to be conveyed to prison. Philip Marston falls in with the new order of things and gives his consent to the union Qf bis daughter with her sailor lover, the villagers join in the general rejoicing, and the nuptials of Harry ^nd Lellie are duly celebrated in an appropriate chorus, "How merrily and gay, the village bells." At the opening ot the third act, a sailor's horn- pipe was very cleverly usuiced by Mr. W. Maggs, of Pontypool, who miy be congraulated on the precision and lightness of his action. This fairly brought down the house, and wac encored each night. fairly brought dow.n the house, and wac encored each night. Of the merits of the performances we cannot speak too highly. The entire representation- singing, acting, costumes, scenery, &c.—sur- prised everybody, and ail the performers—band, soloists, and ctior-AS—deserve much praise. They could not, of t-ourse, be-expected to act with the abandon—the forgetiiuljiesc of self in-.eaacting the assumed character-—snewr; by professionals, k but as amateurv? they took their reispectivo parts remarkably well, ij/ss Amieite Mill xsade a charming Lellie Marston. Her acting wa&grace- fuland ufiafrectsd, while her smginf was artistic and expressive. Her tvolce, always sweet and musical, was never heard to "-tetter,r,dvantige- in fact, she np.ay be sail to have sur- passed b&rself. Miss Flo&rie A"en, whose costume æ. the piraiie s s.ister suited her admirably, achieved all excellent reputation —she acted the part well, and sang ,the music with great taste tnd fet-iing, i-jspeciiJiy in her solo in the cave, which received an encore each night. Mr. <Tohn Thotuas (Eos Brytheiniog) was veiy successful AS Kaixy Stauchioiv These who have heard this popuia/' vocalist will knsw tliat any Biuaie cntriasied to him would be sui g in a tllOroUghJ.y artistic and pleasing joanner. while those have not he-.crd him should take an early .opportunity of doi^g t-q. It suffices ti» say that Mr. John Thffmas enhanced his already .splendid reputation, and has strewn that he can do,as well on the .stage xs in tiie cwicert -mom.. Mr„ J. Edmoade (AlawGwont) made a capital: pirate chief—he .both locked aod sapg the part to perfection^ his ricn-to»ed deep bass voice and dramatic style enabling bim to u<»- f uil justice to the character of Ralph Harmaa at his every apjjeai'ance. Evidently musical draxaa is bis forte. 31 r. P. J, Osborne, who apjaeared as Will Sharp, a coastguard, was got up so well thai his greatest friend could not have .beeit expected to recognise him. His part included a song, I he streamer of England (w which the villagers supplied the-ehorus^ and in this lie was fairly successful, particularly when the peculiar difficulties under which he laboured are considered. His voice, a Ibiit baritone., is tuneful and pleasing. Mr„ R, Oakes, who figured as Philip Marion, innkeeper, the fatker of Lellie Marston, ,vas the comic man of .the piece. His appearance alone was sufficient to excite Msibility, and his styie of acting", espe- cially in the bye-phy. was provocative of much merriment. The style in bringing out several • local "hits" was very telling. These jocular allusions took well with the audience, whu loudly applauded, on Thursday night, a reference to the bad .smell from the gas. Mr. Cakes hasevidently a comic and a witty vein. The choruses ail went splendidly, their tune- fulness and expression were remarkably good, there did not seem to be a dull voice in them. As regards the costumes of the young ladies we perhaps may be permitted to express a special word of approbation. They were all'pretty and tasteful, and the effect of the whole was singu- larly For this, the chief credit is due to the fuir singers themselves, as we hear that each of tuein designed and made her own dress. In the matter of encores the several audiences differed a little, but it mtY be said that the sing- ing of each of the principal performers was en- 1 cored, the same evidence of appreciation being accorded to one of the choruses, Our Beautiful Home," to repeat which-from the second verse of the solo—the villagers had to return after having left the stage. The programme of the music was as follows Aet L Overture, Orchestra. Chorus, Sweet spring all hail, Viil vgers. Recit, List the birds,' Lellie Marston. Air, The lark when rising,' Leilie MarstoD. '•Chorus, Asa.il! Aeail! -■ Villagers. Song and Chorus, The streamer of England,' Will Sharp and Villagers. > Song and Chorus, Our beautiful home, Harry Stanchion and Villagers. Ballad, Lellie. dear remember,' Harry Stanchion. Duet, Farewell, farewell,' isllie Mareton and Harry Stanchion. Chorus, 0 mighty sea, Villagers. Act H. Chorus, Hurrah for a pirate s liie, Pirates. Recit, ••• 'A ship in distress,' Ralph Harman. Recit, w fiercely the storm, Alice Harman. Recit, Hark I h«ar,' Ah«* Harman. Reeit, Bring forth the prisoner, Ralph Harman. Duet, 'Deep i:a a dungeon,' Krate Chief and Harry Stanchion- Sony, Calm is the deep,' Pirate Chief. Aria, *• Miserere Donaine,' • Harry Stanchion. Recit, Merciful powers,' • ■ Alice Harman. Air, Holy Father, hear my prayer,' Alice Harman. Dnet, Sweet-pretty maiden, Alice Harman and Harry Stanchion. Choru-, 'Pursue the miscreant,' Pirates. Act III. Sailor's Hornpipe, Mr. W. Maggs. ItClt, Hark rtis the signal gun. WiU Sharp. Cuoru"" Merrily, merrily,' Villagers. Song, Rippling waves ei sparkling hue,' Lellie Marston. Duet, Hear the last request I make you,' Leilie Marston and Pirate Chief, Duet, 'Away from the rolling sea,' Leilie Mar stem and Harry Stanchion. Ballsid, Home at last,' Harry Stanchion. Final Chorus, 4 How merrily and gay,' Villagers =============

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