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The Crimson Playgoer

Victor Herbert's Light Opera is Being Presented with Liveliness at the Majestic Theatre

By R. L. W.

Reviewing such well-known productions as the Victor Herbert operettas which are being revived at the Majestic Theatre is rather different to criticizing an unfamiliar play. Everyone who would attend is more or less acquainted with the music and the general nature of the light opera book that accompanies it, so for "The Fortune Teller", for instance, which opened Monday, instance remains only to see how well the cast does with the expected materials.

Eleanor Painter is the featured member of the company and rightly so if only for the number and variety of changes her triple role requires. She appears as a ballet dancer, a gypsy, and a Hussar officer, and the combination keeps her on the stage most of the evening. Thanks no doubt to her long experience in grand opera, the music offers little difficulty and she sustains her part consistently well, particularly when appearing as Irma, the gypsy girl. Sara Bair as Pompom deserves mention for a voice well above the average expected of a supporting singer.

The music is, of course, the backbone of the show and the book (which is by Harry B. Smith) does not come up to the same level. In between the musical numbers the pace lags. Of the airs the most familiar is "Gypsy Love Song", and it is sung by Philip Conyers, but unfortunately the part calls for a basso of extraordinary profundity and Mr. Conyers attempted to master it in a key so low that his voice lacked the power to bring out the full effect. If pitched a trifle higher the results would be considerably better. In this number the accompaniment by the chorus was skillfully managed, as was the massed singing when they appeared at the several finales. The other male members of the cast, Messrs, Pitkin, McCarthy and Hermson, combined in a clever and well-executed number that proved the favorite of the first-night audience; the "Topical Trio" with the "Do you follow me?" chorus.

Thanks to the "first run" nature of the performance, the sets and costumes are bright, new and picturesque and add considerably to the freshness of the production.

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