Straus Melodies and Dancing Offset Medicore Plot in Hassard Short's "The Three Waltzes"
The music of the Strauses is usually able to cover a multitude of sins, and succeeds in doing so again in Hassard Short's musical extravaganza, "The Three Waltzes," now playing at the Boston Opera House. Beautiful scenery and a pleasing ballet also add their bit and help to compensate for a weak, melodramatic plot, which drags badly in places and has trouble in coming to a conclusion. The show has as many climaxes as a circus, and it is a pity it is so long, for some of the most beautiful dances come at the end, when many of the spectators have been fooled into preparing to leave.
But like most musical dramas, the plot is only an excuse for putting across the music and dancing, and in this case is not hard to accept when accompanied by the show's well-drilled ballet and the voices of Margaret Bannermann and Michael Bartlett. Miss Bannermann has an ideal voice for interpreting the lyric Straus melodies, and Michael Bartlett boasts a pleasing velvet tenor as well as a profile of the best vaudeville tradition. Their most beautiful number probably is the duet, "To Live Is to Love," written by Johann Straus, Jr.
The production is divided into three acts, the first set in Vienna in 1865, the second in Paris thirty five years later, and and the third in the London of the present day. Each act is scored around a waltz by one of the three Strauses: Johann, Johann fils, and Oscar, and the ballet is active throughout, interpreting the dancing of each period. In the first act there is a ballet of toe dancers, a chorus of Can Can Girls appears in the second, and in the third, of course, we see the modern chorines. But if you think the Can Can Girls of 1900 had anything to learn from the modern variety, you better drop in on the Opera House and have another look.