By Adrienne Simpson

This biography tells the tale of Alice may well, a traveling prima donna within the 19th century who travelled from England to Australia, New Zealand, India and the USA, playing pioneering performances of the preferred mild operas of the day. alongside the way in which she took half in lots of premieres, together with the 1st creation of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Sorcerer and the 1st approved American construction of The Mikado . This vibrant existence tale will attract theatre historians, fanatics of the melodrama, burlesque, and the musical degree.

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Extra info for Alice May: Gilbert & Sullivan's First Prima Donna (Forgotten Stars of the Musical Theater)

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16 ADRIENNE SIMPSON features plumply rounded with just the hint of a dimpled chin. Her face shows amiability rather than strength of character. Perhaps she was a girl easily persuaded, one who began by respecting and admiring her teacher and ended up under his influence. Mary Fiske of the New York Dramatic Mirror certainly saw Allen as a Svengali-like figure. ” This might have been how an older Alice, in the embittered aftermath of a relationship gone sour, portrayed the situation. Maybe Allen did promise to make her a star, but that does not mean she was unwilling to fall in with his plans.

Chapter 2 Green Girl in a Golden Land When Alice May and George Allen reached Melbourne in June 1870, they found themselves in a booming, bustling minimetropolis that was the economic hub not just of Victoria but of the surrounding colonies as well. The town s prosperity had golden foundations. In 1851 gold had been discovered in the Yarra River, just sixteen miles upstream from Melbourne. Within weeks a fullscale rush was under way. Soon fortune seekers began flooding in from all corners of the globe.

By then, Alice had appeared twice more in The Daughter of the Regiment, each time reinforcing the excellent impression she had made in her debut. It was now the Italian company’s turn to entertain Melbourne’s operagoers. Beginning in August, the English company, with Alice as leading lady and Allen as conductor, toured the small towns of inland Victoria. After a brief return to Melbourne it went on to leafy, conservative Adelaide, the capital of South Australia, and from there to the small island colony of Tasmania.

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