Review of The Black Hussar at Wallack's NYTimes 5 May 1885
WALLACE'S THEATRE. The season of operetta at Wallack's Theatre was auspiciously entered vpoa last evening-, waen an Enriiab version of aful3ckers FeMprediffor" was produoed under the title of "The Black Hussar.' Dvr Feldpredloer,' In Its ortirl nal a-atfe. bad Ita flnt rrpreeeatatioa at tho Tbsila Theatre Friday of last week, and, was referred to at some length. In this place oa - Saturday. Millfcker's muslo rains by repetition. It oauaut be aaid that the score of Der Feldpred!a-er Includes any numbers of uncommon boauty or originality the composer's measures, in fact. when at all striking, are reminiscent of much that be baa done and that others bare done before, and his reatlveness never roes further than the shaping of a strongly rhythmical maren or a swaying-dance tune but Ita every m ensure is the work of a master of the lighter forms of Instrumentation and of a writer that, even when he has little that Is new or brilliant to Impart, Is able to clothe bis soft nothings la such attire as will attract and bold the attention of an audience la any part of the world. When it us notea mat toe music ox -ine nuct Hussar" was cleverly suns at Wallack'a Theatre, last eight, it will be understood, bearing- in mind that the operetta waa auoceaa-f ul at the Thalia, that It wrought a favorable impression at the up-town bouse. Its story as rehearsed In English la considerably leas Inter-eating and Its scenes much less amusing. Although the acting In ''The Black Huaoar"is not overburdened with the more or less irrelevant " business" which is grafted nightly upon taoft translated operettas at the pleasure of the performers, it would be flattery to say mat the English players handle their respective roles as felicitously as tbelr German associates. The comedy in " Der Feidpredlger" is gotten out of the elaboration of the characters rather than out of the situations and text, and no small share of the spectators' amusement la de rived from the spirit and from the seeming unconsciousness of the unreali ty of the events with which the foreia-n artists go through tbelr tasks. English and American actors and actresses, as a class, have little fitness for this sort of thing: tber can give effect to a oroll incident and emphasis to a uiina-proTosiug line, out very lew can combine caricature and naturalness and elicit merriment by building up personages and endowing tbem with color and vitality by purely artistio methods. Yesterday's representation waa extremely good In the aenae in which most representations of the same order exact 11 xe cora mendatlon. The comedians com pel led the auditors to laugh, the ladles made themselves as comely as possible, and, as recorded, the singing was ejf-ellent. But it cannot be con ceded that the spectator left the theatre with a thorough appreciation of the possibilities of Miiiociter's operetta. That Us Engliah version will have a liberal measure of Buccees may, however, be prophesied with safety. The comicalities of Messrs. Lie Wolf Hooper and Durby Bell bear slander kinshin to the characters these persons assume, but the players keep the audience In a cheerful frame of mind, and no more can be asked. Both gentlemen sing well, and Mr. Hopper, although his humor Is not exactly spontaneous or communicative, occasionally supplies evidence of thought and or a desire to elaborate bis portrayals. Mr. Bell pleases by familiar processes, which every one cannot ap precis. tn. In "The Black Hussar." as in most of the worn he has figured in. his principal points are made by rounding off a sentence in the language of everyday life by a more or less slangy expression, and then assuming a melancholy facial expression and squinting toward the gallery. It is proper to add that the Hilarity consequent upon this proceeding offers the performer every encouragement not to essav experiments in- any other direction, and that Mr. Hell was much applauded on the oc casion under notice. Mr. Mark Smith. who personated the black hussar, was also promptly taken Into the audience's favor, thouvh wholly on account of hla sinaina-. The female roles were divided between Misses Post and Jensen and Mme. Cottrellr. The first-named artUts. instead of following the example of their German associates and painting their faeea so as to simulate age. found it more convenient to wear wire masks with intent to conceal their charms from the invadinr soldiery. The effect of their first scene was spoiled by this innovation, bat their performances during the remainder of the operetta were quite satisfactory. Altbougb the part of Barbara haa been - somewhat "written up" It is .barely worthy of Mme. Cottrelly'a .experience and exuberance. We need but add that the chorales were given with precision anda full volume of tone,and that the orchestra wa efficiently managed by Signor de Novel is. The dreasea and scenery in The Black Hussar" are fresh, a-lit- tering, and appropriate. The representation progressed from first to last with unbroken smoothness. Mr. Roeenfeld's libretto 1b commendable as to his verses; what he is pleased to call the comedy of his version was not apparent to the listener last evening. Arter the first act all the artists were summoned before toe curtain.