In its totality, "Flora Bella" pleases one more by daintiness and finish than by the uproar and enthusiasm of more usual musical comedy. It veers towards the opera; thus sacrificing something in rag-time effect--the type that one usually expects.
Miss Abarbanell, of "Madame Sherry" and "Merry Widow" fame, has the leading role and her work, after the first act, makes the evening more than satisfactory. She features in waltzes in a way that makes one long to be the leading man. Essentially a Latin type, Miss Abarbanell uses her voice in a most stirring manner and, as a Russian dancer, is true to form in carriage as well. She has many tricks of the eye, shoulders and head that seem almost even Spanish.
Miss Hazel Kirk, as Countess Drubetzkoy, sets off the leading lady's part to perfection. Hers is the bouncing vivacious style and she first draws attention in an unusual dance of the silk pantelet sort. Later, her dancing is less vivid, but always it draws applause.
Miss Pauline French does a statuesque part adequately. Her appeal is more to the middle-aged patrons. It is easy to imagine them saying, "Superb woman" when she enters from the wings.
The male parts are only fair, and in one of them we find a jarring element; for the humor of Mr. Irving Brooks, when not machine-like, is a coarser element than should ordinarily be found in a production of so delicate finish.
Mention should be made of the chorus; for, though meagre, it was well selected as to voices. Though not collectively extraordinary in the usual sense, it had single features not to be overlooked. And in speaking of the chorus, mention should be made of a rather violent but well executed dance done by one of its members. The scenery and stage effect were well beyond the ordinary. Mr. Urban knows well how to accomplish results in this line.
Taken as a whole, though not brilliant, "Flora Bella" will afford much enjoyment and many thrills to the audience.