Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cartesians: Lewys and Crimp

Just a couple of delvings today. The sun came out. I'd started on Iago Lewys, so I thought I'd finish him.

LEWYS, Iago [LEWIS, James] (b Tredegar, Monmouthshire 29 May 1866; d Camberwell 1942)

Dear Little Denmark
The tale of the career 'Iago Lewys' is one of those which has more substance outside his years with the Carte companies that in the half dozen years he spent as an understudy, small part player and chorister in their ranks.
Lewys began his career as a baritone concert singer in Wales. I see him first billed in 1893, singing with C Emlyn Jones and his 'National Welsh Choir and Concert Party' and appearing in concert around north Wales. In 1895, he entered the Royal Academy of Music, while performing at various Welsh functions in London ('The Bandolero', 'The Headland Light', 'Hybrias the Cretan'). In 1895 he joined the company at the Savoy Theatre as an understudy, while appearing occasionally in concert with the Tonic Sol-Fa folk, at the Welsh Chapel et al (Elijah quartets, Judas Maccabeus). The Welsh press gleefully reported the odd occasion when he deputised, the most notable being when he filled in for Henry Lytton as Captain Corcoran in the 1899 revival of HMS Pinafore. In 1900, he covered W H Leon in The Rose of Persia.
When he left the Carte organisation, he still had twenty years of activity in the musical theatre left, but I lose him for a wee while. The credits I have culled for him, all bit parts, and mostly in short-lived shows include Miss Wingrove (1905, Camillo), The Three Kisses (1907, Beppo), Dear Little Denmark (1909, Town crier), Love and Laughter (1913), The Laughing Husband (1913, Baldrian), Miss Hook of Holland revival (1914, Hans Maas), Vanity Fair (1916, revue), Pamela (1917, French Chef), Violette (1918, Vanloo), The Eclipse (1919, A Waiter) and Mr Garrick (1922, Thomas Hoskin).
Since he doesn't seem to have gone on the road, I wondered if he might have had a day job,like so many others, but in the 1939 census he is still staunchly claiming his profession as 'vocalist'.
Lewis/Lewys was married 17 Janaury 1900 to Emily Marion Bosher, at which stage we are informed that his father was one Thomas Lewis. Emily survived him and died in Camberwell, aged 92, in April 1967.

There. Another "L" bites the dust. Not that colourful, but our next man makes up for that.

CRIMP, Frank [Harris] (b Pimlico 26 November 1872; d Battersea 1948). 

Frank Crimp, leading man
Much to my annoyance, I haven't been able to pinpoint this fellow's family. Yes, I have found him in the 1881 census labelled as seven years-old (he was eight and a half), but he's not with his parents. He's down in Devon, at Fore Street, Kingsbridge, where all the Crimps come from (and undoubtedly his father) labelled 'nephew'. And uncle and aunt are not home! So, how do I know that it is him? Because Master Crimp was a choirboy at Exeter Cathedral. I ought to say that three years later an Edward Harris Crimp (b 27 June 1868) of Fore Street, aprentice chemist, son of a large milling and corn merchant, was killed by an explosion at his workplace. Uncle? Cousin? Maybe father was Harris Crimp, butcher, of 110 New Bond Street.
In the census of 1891, I see our man not. Is that because he is the Frank Harris Crimp who has joined up with the 3rd Dragoons ...? I suspect so.
However, by 1894 Frank is 'of Birmingham' and into adult singing. I see him taking part in a performance of The Rose Maiden back in Devon. And swiftly (1895), he became a member of the Carte companies. I see him singing the Colonel in Patience, and deputising for Arthur Hatherton annd W H Leon, playing Ferdinand in The Chieftain, Pooh Bah, the Herald in The Grand Duke and, later, the Royal Executioner in The Rose of Persia. His career with Carte continued until 1902 (The Emerald Isle), before he moved on to what we be his career proper as leading man in touring musical comedy. And, unlike Lewys, he played the best roles in only the biggest successes -- A Chinese Honeymoon (1902-4), A Country Girl (1905), The Cingalee (1906). The Prince of Pilsen (1906-8), Miss Hook of Holland (1908-10), The Quaker Girl (1913) -- for more than a decade the pre-eminent Haydn Coffin or Walter Hyde of the touring circuits. And then came the war.

Captain F H Crimp of the 3rd Suffolk Regiment went to war. And he did not return to the stage. In 1920 he was still Captain Crimp, cashier at the Pension Office, Regent's Park. In the 1939 census he was listed as 'clerk with the Iraq Petroleum Company'.
Crimp married, in 1902, fellow Cartesian small part player and chorister Mary Margaret ('Maggie') Hogan (b Limerick 2 November). They apparently had one child. Maggie apparently toured with Frank. I see them on tour in Warrington in the 1911 census. Whether she was in the chorus of his shows, I know not.

Early to bed tonight. The weather promises to be nice tomorrow. It rained quite a lot the night before last ...

Monday, March 30, 2020

Cartesians: allover the alphabet

Another rainy day dawns. Wendy was up before dawn, lit the fire, fed the kitties, and is out cleaning paddocks, I crept from my 12-hour slumber (is it the citalopram re-boost, or simply old age) at 9.30 and have tardily got to my time machine for todays venture into C19th D'Oylyland.  I had intended to get into 'Iago Lewys', but there was a message from David Stone saying 'how about sorting out all the Webb girls'. He only ever chucks me the hard ones. Geraldine St Maur, pah!

Anyway, I peeked at Lillie-Lily-Lillian. She's going to be a mission. Then Dolly ka Dorothy. Yes, there she is in Bury, with the company, in 1901. Aged 28. With three other company members: Lina K Carr, Lucie Caine and Lily Matthews. So I thought, while I'm there ..

David had already sussed that Lina was Michaelangela Katrine Carr from Southsea, born 15 July 1872. And he details her fine career as a leading soprano. I shall just tidy her up. She was the daughter of a naval captain, George Lyon Carr (1824-1890) and his wife Marie-Thérèse Quartano, sister to another naval commander ...   She quickly sloughed her unwieldy first name in favour of 'Lina', and in May 1892 appeared on the amateur stage at Portsmouth as Josephine in HMS Pinafore as such. Apparently she had already been seen as Mabel. She sang in concert with another sprig of the services, Frank Barrington Foote, at Southsea ('A Summer Night', 'Goodbye'), played Rose Maybud with the Portsmouth and Southsea Amateur Operatic (guest: Llewellyn Cadwaladr, with whom she appeared also in concerts), and in 1893-4, whilst giving the Easter Prayer from Cavalleria Rusticana in concert, played Elsie Maynard and Aline with the Operatic. Sidney Tower was the Alexis. Later in the year she appeared as Margery Sylvester in the comedy Our Flat. But she was not long for the amateur ranks: in 1895 she joined the Carte organisation as the leading lady she had always been, and such she remained up to and even beyond her marriage (details in g&s archive).
Her marriage, in 1899, was to Allan Frederic Everett - yes, the same Everett who was to go on to become Admiral Sir Everett (b Warminster 22 February 1868; d 22 January 1938). Making Lina, eventually, Lady Everett. Following her retirement from the Carte, after some seven years service, she returned to Portsmouth and again played with the amateur group where she had begun.
Lady Everett died at the age of 59, after an operation, in August 1931.

Lucie Caine was a little more complex. Because she wasn't born 'Caine'. But I found her in the end. She was born in the Barton Regis district in the third quarter of 1878, the second daughter of Edward Lawrence (commercial clerk) and his wife Mary Ann Harriet née Pocock, and was christened Lucy Gertrude Amy Lawrence. After four children, Mr Lawrence died, and Mrs Lawrence and the children moved to Prittlewell, Essex where, in the 1891 census mother is calling herself 'Lillian L[awrence] Caine. She wasn't. Yet. But in 1898 she did finally marry Charles Cain, a bootmaker from Margate, so, give or take the 'e', I suppose Lucy was in the right to call herself Lucy Caine.
Her career seems to have started in 1896 when she toured in the title-role of Austen Fryer's The New Barmaid company and played principal girl, Rosamond, in the Richmond panto Babes in the Wood, before joining up with the Carte organsiation. Her time there lasted from 1897 to 1901 (see g&s archive),  after which she joined up with the Gaiety touring company playing The Toreador in the Marie Studholme role of Dora Selby (1902-3), and took over from Zena Dare in the title-role of An English Daisy. In 1903 she played in the panto Santa Claus jr at Newcastle, alongside J J Dallas, Horace Mills and Fanny Dango, in 1905 she featured in the Manchester Gaiety's Sleeping Beauty, in 1906 she is touring with a trope known as 'The Dandies', and in 1908 she moved into the West End, supporting Ada Reeve and Hayden Coffin in the musical comedy Butterflies (Lalage). I see her little thereafter, though she turns up in 1915 playing in Florodora with Evie Greene on the road.

Of her further life I know nothing. It doesn't help not knowing what she called herself... Lawrence, Cain, Caine ...  so, for now, I leave Miss Lucy Lawrence on the road in Dundee ... I notice that elder sister [Charlotte] Ethel [Beatrice] Lawrence ka Caine died in 1959.

Where has the rest vanished to!?
Hopefully I can get back the missing section, dealing with
(a) Lucie Caine's family and my failure to find her death
(b) Lily Matthews, which contains nothing beyond her Carte career and a rude comment about censi and landladies
(c) A few extra non-Carte engagements for Dolly Webb, but no identification
(d) Lillie/Lily Webb [WEBB, Lilian Caroline] (b Islington 27 October 1861; d Cape Town 30 June 1939) and her husband Frank Benwell Holt (b Chorlton upon Medlock 2 February 1860; d Cape Town 30 December 1935) (m Glasgow 20 March 1888). Merely the information that she bore him two daughters, Gladys and Lilian, pre-1901, and that circa 1905 they emigrated to Capetown. Also that he was originally a student at the RAM.

I think that was all ....

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Cartesians of the day: Letter B &c

Knit one, purl two ... nope, can't do that anymore with my stroke-struck hand, so here we go with another dip into David Stone's marvellous G&S archive ... Letter B. Not sure why, except I wandered there during my "L"s ...

Let's start with someone who was't in the chorus

BLANDFORD, Percy [WESTON, Percy Blandford] (b Bovey Tracey, Devon, 1847; d Woodcote, Tenterden, Kent 15 March 1928)

The tenor known as Percy Blandford spent half a dozen years as a Victorian vocalist before settling down to real life.

Percy Weston was born into gentry stock, the son of banker and Surrey magistrate Henry Weston and his second wife Emily (née Burgess). He began his working life as a clerk in an insurance office, but a stout tenor voice led to his partaking of music, and in 1876 the Carl Rosa Opera Company announced a ‘new tenor’, Mr Blandford.

It proved to be more fanfare than fact: Percy doesn’t seem to have sung in the company’s season at the Lyceum, but when the Rosa ‘B’ team gave Don Giovanni at the Alexandra Palace, he was cast as Don Ottavio alongside Frank Celli, Aynsley Cook, Cora Stuart, Giulia Warwick and Miss Thornton. Maybe there were other performances, but this is the only one I have found.

Cora Stuart

Through 1877 and into 1878, he appeared in concert at venues such as the Alexandra Palace (‘Adelaide’, ‘Sweethearts’, ‘Up With the flag’), the Brighton Pavilion, the Schubert Society, the Royal Aquarium etc, and made an appearance as an actor, first in the operetta Queen of Hearts at Brighton, and then, in July 1878, in a charity performance of Trial by Jury, alongside Haidée Crofton, Federici and Charles Kelleher.

He sang in Rivière’s proms at Covent Garden (‘he has much to acquire in point of style’) of 1878, performing the Stabat Materwith Madame Lemmens-Sherrington, and the following year, billed as ‘of the Covent Garden concerts’, took to the stage as the latest genteel tenor of D’Oyly Carte’s company, briefly playing Ralph Rackstraw in HMS Pinafore on the road.

He sang at Margate in the season, staged a concert of his own with Auguste van Biene in July (‘My Queen’, Watson’s ‘The Hidden Casket’) and took another brief turn at Ralph Rackstraw in the ‘rebel’ production of HMS Pinafore at the Imperial Theatre.

In 1880, he surfaced at the Albert Hall singing Elijah in the company of Anna Williams, Antoinette Sterling and Henschel, but most of his scattered concert engagements were more modest, society or semi-professional affairs. Each year, for three years, he staged his own concert (‘Sound an alarm’, ‘Ingemisco’, ‘Cantique pour Noel’, ‘Awake thou golden beam of morn’, ‘Ah si ben mio’), and, in 1882, he took a little concert tour with Carlotta Patti. His voice was now described as ‘robust and rich’, his figure ‘manly’ and he seems to have been a pleasant performer.

In 1882-3 he set off for Italy for a few weeks and the press reported his appearances in concert, but it was a last hurrah. He gave one final concert – with Patey, Sims Reeves, Elly Warnots et al – displaying his new-found skills in the arias of Verdi, a few weeks later he was seen at a do for the English Church in Rome, and then Percy Blandford metamorphosed back into P B Weston. And the tenorising insurance clerk into a ‘mining expert’.

And thus he remained. At the age of 63, P B Weston wed Katharine Mary Allen, twenty years his junior, and he lived to the age of 80.

Another who was not in the chorus has defeated me. I can't see why anyone would choose to be known as Edith BROAD if it were not wished on her at birth, but it seems to have been a stage name. Miss Broad spent the years 1890-1897 in the Carte companies, so I'm sure she is lurking somewhere in Wigan in the 1891 census. I shall return there. Anyway, post-Carte she had a small part in the tour of The Gay Grisette, played in pantomime at Newcastle ('I cannot live without him'), toured as La Favorita in Morell and Mouillot's The Circus Girl (1899), and then, in 1900, hooked up with ex-Carte tenor Llewellyn Cadwaladr. The pair purveyed Offenbachian pieces -- A Millionaire for a minute, In the Stew which was undoubtedly La Rose d'Auvergne -- and 'society entertainments' to the music halls until 1905. I wondered if, perhaps, they were more than just duet partners, but in the 1901 census Cadwaladr, boarding in a house of theatricals, is staunchly single, and 'Edith' is nowhere to be seen.
ADDENDUM: Months later, I got her. And the name was indeed wished on her. Edith Hannah BROAD (b Brighton x 29 August 1872; d Acton February 1939), was a daughter of Thomas Peter Broad, musician, and his wife Hannah née Dunt. The reason I couldn't find her in the censi is that she was a teenage bride, and, yes, it was another D'Oyly Carte marriage which collapsed. So she is there in Wigan as Mrs Edith Holdich, with her husband Arthur Beacham HOLDICH (b Bordesley, Warwicks 24 January 1864; d 29 Tavistock Square 11 June 1924), better known as Arthur HATHERTON. Hatherton had quite a career, so I'll leave him till another time. Anyway, he soon gave up trying to be a husband, and by 1901 she is back home with her widowed mother. Sister Earley May Broad is labelled 'actress'. Arthur didn't try marriage again, and Edith died 1939 as Mrs Holdich.

Arthur Hatherton

I didn't hold out much hope of finding Pauline Briscoe (b Bordeaux, France c1860) anywhere but in the 1881 Leeds census, but I thought Mr W Brenham might be better. Well, I found him in 1874 singing tenor with the Court Minstrels, and in concert with Gompetz's Band in Sheffield before going on tour with Gompertz's Tour from London show, narrated by no less than the young Edwin Keene. In 1876, he is with Tute's Minstrels, and in 1877 he advertises from Wolverhampton for a job as primo tenore. His repertoire, he claims, includes Faust, Manrico, Thaddeus, Lubin, Fritz ... Well, in 1879 he got to sing Faust, but not the opera. He went on tour with Fred Smith's Phantasmoscope showing a Faust fantasy. Later that year, he joined May Bulmer's Company at the Garrick Theatre, playing A Cruise to China/Vokin's Vengeance and La Fille de Madame Angot/The Two Gregories, after which he joined the Carte chorus. The archive tells us he stayed there till at least 1889. So he should show up in London's 1881 census ... but he doesn't. Misspelling or stage name.

Not so unproductive was William Orange Billington. He was born in 1849, at Newlay near Leeds. He married Carte chorine Sophie Farquharson (1844-1916) in 1881. They must have stayed together a while, because they had a daughter, Margaret Alice (b 18 August 1885), who became a music-hall performer. Sophie says in the 1911 census that she is 'married' rather than a widow, so I guess the Orange is around somewhere. But he didn't go back to being a 'traveller out of employ' as he had been in the 1881 census. He went on a hugely full and varied career as an comic actor/singer. In 1885 he was a member of the so-called Royal English Opera Company (with Edward Griffin and Michael Dwyer), in 1890 he is singing a song in a piece called The Miser's Will, in 1892 he is an actor as Jonathan Jubb in The Prime Minister, 1893 Rev Benjamin Barrable in A Lucky Dog alongside Bella Cuthbert, then a long tour with 1,000 Pounds Reward, and and even longer one with The Swiss Express (Doctor Gull, 1895-6-7). In 1898, he played Stephen Francis (alongside Harry Tebbutt) in In the Days of the Siege/The Puritan Girl, in 1899 a Boucicault season at Bath and For a Child's Sake, and -- blow me down! -- as late as 1909 as Sir Joseph Verity in a tour of A Country Girl, 1910-1-2-3 as Joey Wright in The Passing of the Third Floor Back on both sides of the Atlantic, Inspector Flanelly-Jones in Robina in Search of a Husband, The Dynasts at London's Kingsway Theatre (1914), Weedon Grossmith's The Night of the Party, Monsieur Duprez in Wild Thyme, Daniel Jakes in The Silver King in 1917. Nearly forty years on the stage. He died in 1928 at Guildford ...
Oh dear, I see a suggestion on the www that he was brother to Fred Billington. No. William was the son of William Billington ('stuff dyer and finisher') and Margaret née Orange and his elder brother was christened 'Osborn'. See the family in 1861 at Bramley. Tut.

Arthur Richardson BOIELLE is strangely difficult to find. Not the basic. He was born in Jersey, son of Rennes-educated French literature professor (and later author), James Boielle and his wife Jane Mary or Jeanne Marie Richardson. At some stage, the family abandoned the Island for Dulwich, and it is there that we first spot young Arthur, in 1896, playing Sir Roderick in Ruddigore alongside sister Marie (b 31 July 1872; d 17 November 1953) (Mad Margaret) with the local amateurs.
Of his career, I can find only a little trace, although I am sure that in the past I have spotted his name in a few cast lists. We have confirmation of The Emerald Isle (1901, chorus), The Princess of Kensington (1903, Sir James Jellicoe), followed in the same year by Little Hans Andersen (The Court Physician) and in 1905 by The Talk of the Town (Cyril Slipp and takeover Colonel Sir Charles Nightingale). The role of Slipp was taken over by chorister 'G Boielle' (so says that impeccable volume The British Musical Theatre) which could be Arthur's younger brother, William Hadden (ie Guillaume) Boielle (b 16 March 1880; d 1954).
That's the basic. I expected more. But Arthur's life went into a bit of a tailspin, so maybe that was the end. He had married in 1900 a lady named Annie Eva Tubby and in 1902 they had a daughter, Nance Richardson Boielle (b 27 August 1902; d 12 December 1978). In 1904, a son followed, but he died as an infant. In 1913 a second daughter also died as a baby. By now, Arthur had renounced the theatre and was operating as a tobacconist and hairdresser in Erith. And then his wife got the wanderlust. They were divorced in 1916 and Annie married her paramour. As for Arthur ... well, in the 1939 census I see his three unmarried sisters (who were gilders and carvers in the 1911 census) running a tea-shoppe in Rye. But I don't see Arthur. As I don't see him in the censi 1881, 1891 and1901. Well, I guess 'Boielle' was a bit beyond those dummies who did the censi. His death registration is clearer. Arthur died at Battle in 1949.
PS Got him. 1901 Arthur Boülle, vocalist, with wife at 6-7 Saville Street, Marylebone ....   1881 Arthur Borelle with parents, two brothers and two sisters at 'Sandringham', Camden Underhills Road ... 'scholar' ... 1891 Arthur Rovelle 'banker's clerk' (so that's what he did!) at the same address.

Boielle in Princess of Kensington

Well, a bit curate's eggy, the Letter B. But, like that egg, good in parts.

While searching for these good folk, I strayed into Letter P. Sadly, not P for extremely productive.

Catherine Pelling turns up in the Wigan 1891 census, lodging with Mary Roney, where she tells us that she is 30 and comes from Maidstone, Kent. Where she must have been born under another name.

Joseph Knight Pearce (b Whiteshill 1838; d Aston Manor 26 April 1907) came from Whiteshill, Stroud and he was another who had a day job whilst singing in the Savoy chorus by night. Pearce was a jeweller for more than forty years. I see in the 1901 census that his daughters were named Nina, Louisa and ... Casilda.  His father was banker's clerk Lot Pearce, his mother Elizabeth Knight, his wife Martha Maria Hughes, he had four sons and three daughters into whom I shall not go, as the family historians have done that, in the year 1870. One was a singer. One brother, three sisters. 

Maybe I'll go for a stroll through Wigan. My brother used to live there. But not in 1891.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

More Cartesians unveiled: Letter "L"

The gates of Gerolstein are locked. We have settled in for a month of 'self-isolation', courtesy of our dear government and the worldwide Chinese fish virus scare. Well, 'self-isolation' on 35 acres isn't too bad. Over in England, brother John is writing an epic novel in his caravan in the middle of a field, in Berlin the beloved Paulie is composing screeds for musicnotes in his bijou flat in the Humboldtheim ... but they are going into spring. Here it is a decidedly chilly autumn, so this old man is pretty well confined to indoors, to fight his drug un-withdrawal (I'm winning) in the company of two elderly, unwell cats, and the beloved Wendy. So what do I do in all those waking hours? I don't read or listen to music any more, the television provides 52 channels of pure crap ... and anyway, I don't want those passive entertainments, I want to do something that requires thought, something mentally active ... Well, here's the result of the first couple of days 'activity' ...

The other evening, I had call, as one does, to dip into David Stone's G&S archive. Letter "L". Then it was teatime. So, next morning, when I came to my computer, Letter "L" was on the screen. It was cold outside, the fire was going, my woolly cardi was wrapped round my shoulders, my usual early-morning sporting reading was non est, so with my no1 cup of camomile,  I dipped into Letter "L". Lots of folk there about whom nothing is or was known. And I'm quite nifty at this game. In the past I've issued a few blogs demystifying C19th members of the D'Oyly Carte organisation ..




But there are still plenty to go. So ... Letter "L".

Well, I drew some disappointing blanks. Hettis Lund (fl 1885-1903) -- surely Henrietta ?Alice by birth -- but the only one I could find was a dock labourer's wife from Heckmondwike. 

Minna Louis (fl 1881-1899), a student at the Guildhall under that name, but maybe Minna Louis *****. Again, no cigar. (PS found! see below!); George J Lackner (fl 1876-1882) (*PS found!). But others were less reticent to my probing.

The first one I went for was 'Arthur Lorraine'. Obviously a stage name. Married to fellow chorine 'Lotti Carlotta'. Even more transparently a stage name. But ... little clues. 8 February 1880 he is listed in the Carte company advertisements as Mr T Lorraine. And in July, in the company cricket team (out for one) alongside poor Nelson Varley (duck). And she is clearly Charlotte something. Marriage 8 April 1880 at Middlesborough, son 6 February 1881 at Torquay .. comb, comb, got 'em! Thomas Arthur PAYNE married Charlotte MOORE ...
'Arthur' was born in St Pancras in the last months of 1851. Who his family were I do not know** (I do now!).  He was nearly 30 when he comes into view as a chorister with Carte. But I imagine he was the Mr A Lorraine, acting manager and chorus/bits (Notary in Barber of Seville) with the Durand Opera between 1875-7, and the Mr A Lorraine playing in La Fille de Madame Angot and Geneviève de Brabant with Fanny Harrison (1877). Could it be he doing Harlequin at Sanger's at Christmas 1877? In 1878 he is with the Walsham Opera (Alcade in Maritana). So, by the time he joined Carte he was a thoroughly chevronned operatic chorister. He stayed three years with Carte, then joined the Turner Opera Company (Marquis in Maritana &) for a similar period. And that's my lot. 'Thomas Arthur Payne' died in Wandsworth in 1897. His death record says he was 44. A little more, I think.

Lotti was born in 1853 (Brighton 11 March), one of the daughters of George Moore (tallow-chandler/turner/museum custodian) and his wife Caroline née Chate. In the 1871 census, she is working as a (sewing?)-machinist in Kentish Town. Quite when she adopted her curious nom de théâtre and went out as a chorus singer, I do not know, but she is there in the Carte touring lists in 1880. I see she stepped briefly from the chorus to play Kate in The Pirates of Penzance in 1882. She, too, joined the Turner Opera Company and seems to have stayed there after Arthur had retired. My last spotting of her is in 1889. After Arthur's death she went to lived with her elder son, carpenter Arthur Herbert Payne, and took up her old trade of dressmaking. I see her in Hornsey in the 1839 census, and she apparently died in the second quarter of 1941.

While I was on the Lorraines, I thought I had better check out Alice [Mary] Lorraine (b 3 August 1863; d Liverpool 6 August 1897) wife of two Cartesians, William Owen Jones (b 12 January 1861; d Nottingham 13 February 1890) and subsequently Peter [Thompson] Flucker (b Constantinople c1868; d lunatic asylum Prestwich, 1 October 1920). She turned out to be no connection of Arthur, her maiden name apparently being Alice Emily Mary MOORE (or HILL, or NORRIS .. ) Flucker subsequently married another singer named Ada Leach.

Ada LEACH (b Heywood, Lancs 25 August 1876; ?d Blackpool 1960) Daughter of a Lancashire joiner, Ada was heard in local concerts round Tynemouth from 1899. She was a member of the Carte troupes in the British provinces and in South Africa over some four years, at the turn of the century, playing supporting soprano roles and covering leading ones. She married first fellow Cartesian Flucker, and after his death, brewer's agent Nicholas Grimshaw.

Kate Lovell [MEADOWS, Kate Lovell] (b Upper Clapton 1853; d The Lodge, Stoke Abbott Rd, Worthing 12 August 1915) gets but short shrift from the G&S community, as she played only once, in Rip van Winkle, for the Carte organisation. But she had a fine career as a player in light opera.

Daughter of solicitor John Osmond Meadows, she set out on a musical career as a serio-comic variety performer (Bynes company 1877) before taking a tiny part in the original London production of Les Cloches de Corneville (1878). She also became regular as Princess in pantomime (Nottingham, York) and was cast in Charles Bernard's The Forty Thieves opposite no less a 'boy' than megastar Emily Soldene. She became a Bernard regular, touring in La Petite Mademoiselle (Jacqueline), Les Cloches de Corneville (Germaine), Billee Taylor (Phoebe) and playing in his pantomime Sinbad, before signing fow two pantomimes at Liverpool, a season at Londons Opera Comique as Psyche in Vulcan and a tour with Soldene as Fiametta to the star's Boccaccio. In 1883 she went out for Carte as Katrina in Rip van Winkle, in 1884 with Lila Clay's ladies company, in 1885 with Alfred Hemming's Carmen burlesque, but quitting Bernard and Soldene proved a bad idea. Her next Boccaccio was with the unritzy company of 'Vivienne Dallas'.
In 1886, 'the favourite artiste from the principal London theatres' took a trip to Australia. She appeared as the Plaintiff in Trial by Jury, then with Edward Farley's company as Serpolette and Wanda, and as Frasquita in Carmen, then in various concert parties before taking a supporting role with the Amy Sherwin Company (Marchioness in Maritana, third maidservant in Martha, Duchess in Le Fille du Régiment, Martha in Faust). She was now billed in concerts as 'the pleasing mezzo-soprano'. When a lightweight production of Little Monte Cristo was staged, she appeared as Mercedes (1888), followed by Camaralzaman (Badoura) and Whittington and his Cat (Alice).
In early 1889, she upped and left for Christchurch, New Zealand, but she was soon on her way back to England. And no work. But she was about to get the biggest headlines and the most international coverage of her life.
Way back in 1875 (15 April) she had married one Nias James Drew. The following year, she bore him twins. And then he skeedaddled. Off to Australia. While in Australia she had poked about and found that he was de facto-ing with a Mrs Hascher, known on the stage as Rose Critchley. So she thought it was time to divorce him. It was a case no different to many another, and Kate was hardly 'celebrated enough' for her affairs to warrant a fuss, but the papers took up the case, with dramatic headlines, and details of the divorce (promptly granted) were spread to hundreds of papers all over England, Australia, New Zealand and probably elsewhere, in places where Kate's name meant nothing.
But she still didn't get work. A panto at Brighton (Fairy Queen now, not principal girl) and a trip to South Africa (1892) with a good burlesque company playing Ruy Blas and the blasé roué (Queen), Little Jack Sheppard (Winifred Wood), Carmen up-to-data (Carmen). And that was more or less the end. For in 1894 (4 August) Kate Drew became the wife of John William Corderoy, mining engineer and the owner of the Streatham Gold Reef, Umtali, Rhodesia ... and in 1897 Nias Drew died in Melbourne.
Kate seems to have lived thereafter in Durban ... but she died back in Worthing. I don't know what had become of Albert, the surviving twin, during all of this, but he went to Durban, too, married there and died there in 1951.

But back to the real Cartesians.

Harry Leffler (b North London 6 January 1864; d Wandsworth 1944) caught my eye, because I'd already spotted him in the 1891 census, in Bradford, seemingly on tour 'actor, married'. Harry was one of twin boys, the sons of Herbert Leffler of Hornsey and his wife Henrietta née Purdie. As far as I know, they were not connected with the famous Leffler family of musicians, and their claim to fame was that Uncle Henry was the sub-manager of the Hull Branch of the Bank of England.
Henry worked, at first, as a solicitor's clerk, but he swtiched to the stage, and in 1890, I see him touring in the Hayden Coffin role of Geoffrey Wilder in an unambitious Dorothy tour. It seems to have been very soon after this that he joined the Carte establishment (I see him playing The Nautch Girl vice Herbert Ralland at the end of 1891), apparently for over a decade of chorus and small parts. However, in the 1901 census he is again describing himself as 'solicitor's clerk' so his reconversion was clearly under way. Later, Harry made himself a career staging the Savoy repertoire and other comic operas for amateur groups .. from Hunstanton (1902) to Totnes (1938) ... with considerable success. In the 1939 census he describes himself as 'Old Savoyard'. And in the marital status column 'separated'. I think, maybe, for quite a while. His wife had been a little song-and-dance lady, Alice [Jane] Ancliff (b 14 July 1870; d Camberwell 1940) who appeared in the 1890s in the odd touring chorus (La Poupée, En Route, Sport understudying Cissie Saumarez). Their only child died at the age of thirteen.

Miss L Antoine wasn't exactly an "L" but somehow I got on to her. She was Louise Antoine (1859-1894) daughter of Théophile Joseph Antoine, professor of music, and a chorus girl from her teens. In 1876, I see her touring with Rose Lee in Giroflé-Girofla. She and her sister 'Miss M Antoine' (Mary Elizabeth ANTOINE) are both listed for the 1880 Pinafore tour, but Mary didn't stay long, if she actually went. She married Henry Edward Brown of the Ship and Whale Pub, Rotherhithe, and settled down to pouring pints. Louise apparently stayed with Carte, and at the Savoy, through The Mikado and Ruddigore and in 1889 she, too, married into the public-house system. Harry Farrell Skeate ran a pub at 27/28 Charing Cross. In 1891, sister Mary is barmaid there. Louise, alas, died at the age of 35.

Another ephemeral Cartesian was the lass known as Mabel Levison. Apparently her real name was Kate TOOLE. She played with Richard South's La Fille de tambour-major company before her time in the Carte chorus and later crossed the Atlantic to play with one of Mike Leavitt's companies. She died 1 March 1903 in Southwark aged 44.

When I started on contralto chorine Josephine [Marie] Lesage (b Dublin 4 April 1870; d Isle of Wight 1948) I didn't know I was getting into a saga. Born in Dublin to Irishman Auguste Eugene Lesage and his wife Catherine née Tynan, she joined the Carte chorus for what seems to have been her first (and only?) engagement in 1891. It was an engagement, however, which lasted some four years. And led her into a rather more unsatisfactory engagment. In 1892, she married fellow chorister Harry George Tebbutt (b London 1870; d Manhattan 1 February 1936), the less talented of two Tebbutt brothers, sons of Thrapston-born John Tebbutt, compositor, and his wife Ellen. Elder brother Frank Tebbutt (b 22 March 1866-1938) was also a member of the Carte companies in rather more appreciable roles than Harry.  In 1896, Harry and Josephine had a son, which seems to have put an end to her theatrical times. Harry continued and picked up parts in second-string provincial musicals (Captain Lionel Norman in Kitty, Madge Rockingham's In the Day of the Siege, second take-over in The Skirt Dancer) before, in 1901, he went out on tour one more time ... and if he hadn't been adulterising before, he now did. Unfortunately, the woman concerned, Marie Ashton née Douglas, was also married. She was Mrs Munkittrick, otherwise the wife of composer Howard Talbot. So the whole affair was not going to go unnoticed. It didn't. Both Josephine and Munkittrick-Talbot sued for divorce and the cases (1904-5) were foregone conclusions. Harry fled to New York, where he carried a spear in the odd production (Bijou Theatre 1908) and apparently made some sort of life for himself up till his death in 1936. He is buried in the Catholic Actors' Guild Plot at Calvary Cemetery.
Josephine remarried, in 1905, Daniel George Dibble, a publican from Dorking, and had a son, Dan Joe (b 3 December 1906), to add to the son and the daughter born during her first marriage. Daughter [Eileen] Rose (b 26 June 1903), brought up as Dibble, was allegedly a Tebbutt. The widowed Josephine and Dan Joe ('chief storekeeper') can be seen in Norris Castle, Cowes, in the 1939 census. Rose has emigrated to Australia where she became Mrs James Henshaw Powell. I don't know what became of Fred (the family historians have the wrong Fred C Dibble).
Ah me! Another pair of Cartesian chorines who married in haste ...

Harry Tebbutt played Frederic in the children's Pirates

Well, I suppose that's better than poor Walter Henry Blizard (1861-1948) an amateur cyclist from Gloucester who turned theatrical. He spent the last part of his life in the Gloucester Lunatic Asylum.

That's enough for today. Maybe I'll try some more tomorrow. It's supposed to rain.


Annetta Sophia Mercy LAUBACH (b Edinburgh 30 August 1859; d Wandsworth 1934). It was her real name, until she became the wife (1893) of hornplayer Henry Vandermeerschen.  Daughter of [Heinrich] Conrad Laubach 'conductor of the Rhenish Band' and his wife Annie née Bourne. Mother of daughters. The Laubach family/families were omnipresent in local musical life, and I see Annette as a contralto chorister in the local Handel Festival in 1883. After her stint with the Carte, she progressed to singing supporting and chorus roles with the Carl Rosa company (Martha in Faust, The Puritan's Daughter, Page in Lohengrin, Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro, Countess in The Daughter of the Regiment, The Star of the North, Marchioness in Maritana, Buda in The Bohemian Gir, L'Elisir d'amore, Annina in La Traviata, Sheelah in The Lily of Killarney  etc). She also sang the contralto role in the Rossini Stabat Mater with members of the company, and the Mozart Requiem under Goossens.
Her sister, Elizabeth, also a member of the Rosa and Burns-Crotty companies, died of typhoid aged 19, on tour in Huddersfield, and soon after that Annetta terminated her extended job with Rosa and retired into marriage.

And here's Ernest F[rancis] LAWS (b Battersea, London 7 March 1881; d Vancouver, Canada 18 November 1954). Son of London metal worker, he went on the stage in his teens, in the provinces  The Adventures of Lady Ursula etc) as an actor, and with the aid of a stout baritone voice, played in The Emerald Isle (Earl of Fessenden, Black Dan) with the Carte/Greet company. He subsequently was seen on the road as the hero of the musical A Trip to Japan. He married Margaret Louise Madeline Hirschberg, from St Leonards, and their son Don was born in 1905, at which time Laws was still describing himself as 'actor'. He seems to have been the 'Laws' of quick-change musical act on the halls from 1905-1909. The family emigrated, soon after, to Canada where Laws worked as a land agent and occasional concert promotor. 

Monday, March 16, 2020

Girls of the Bouffes-Parisiens ... the Noriac years


The other day, I came upon a photo which (as usual) aroused my curiosity ...

Mademoiselle Raymonde of the Bouffe-Parisiens. Who? When? In what? So I went looking. And on the way, I found the Mesdemoiselles Périer, Fonti, Christiane, Gouvion, Léa-Lini, Valtesse, van-Dick, Dalbert, Castello ... all sometime girls of the Bouffes, in large roles or small, in the late 60s and early 70s, so I just kept going. This is what I found. Any additions much welcome.

Mademoiselle Raymonde was one of four ladies initially announced for the opening of the Bouffes season of 1868-9. Three, if you don't count Félicia Thierret, the bulky, mannish heavy comic lady of the establishment. Which I haven't. 'La mère Thierret' was a case absolutely apart. Mlles Périer, Fonti and Raymonde. On the opening bill, she seems to have played Alexis in L'Île de Tulipatan. When it wasn't Mlle Castello. Anyway, she played it some of the time. 

When La Diva was produced (22 March 1869) she was L'Amour, when La Princesse de Trébizonde mark one was given at Baden, she was in the supporting cast; when Le Rajah de Mysore (21 September) was staged she introduced the juvenile part of Dilara alongisde Thierret, Desiré and Bonnet, and was praised as 'gracieuse et jolie' 'c'est un vrai bijou, et son chant un vrai chant de rossignol'. On the same bill, she also played Alexis. At some stage she also appeared in Choufleuri and Lischen et Fritzchen. The she was announced as 'malade'. And that was that.  Perhaps she is the same Mademoiselle Raymonde who was active some years later at the Palais-Royal. The Palais-Royal seemed to specialise in slightly ageing Bouffes babes, and one French paper says that this was the same lady.

Marie Périer [PETIT, Marie Amélie] (c1842-1909) had an altogether more coherent and trackable career, and assembled a fine list of credits. She first surfaces to my vision when, in 1863, she was announced as dugazon at the Opéra-Comique. I don't think it happened. But in mid-1864, she turns up at Boulogne-sur-mer, not as dugazon but as first chanteuse: Marie in La fille du régiment, Camilla in Zampa ('when she has learned to control her breathing she will be a perfect singer'), Athenaïs in Les Mousquetaires au couvent, Comtesse de Flor in Lara, The Bohemian Girl, Le Pont des soupirs, Haydée, Don Pasquale, Pré aux clercs 'Mlle Périer est partout et de tout. Le travail qu'elle accomplit ici tient de prodige' reprted the local critic. 'Her only fault is inexperience', he commented as she carried on as Dinorah, Norina, Mireille and in Le Cheval de Bronze. She continued from Boulogne to Antwerp, thence to Geneva (1865-6), where a wary critic sniffed at her Marguerite in Faust but was quickly won round and raved over her Marguerite in Les Huguenots. Next stop was Metz (Les Mousquétaires de la reine, Le Barbier de Séville, Le Nouveau seigneur du village, Le Docteur Crispin, Inez in L'Africaine), followed by Nice (Le Châlet, Le Maître de Chapelle, La Dame Blanche, Eudoxie in Le Juive, La Fille du régiment, Faust, Selika in L'Africaine) where she took on even Lucia di Lammermoor and the press gasped 'jamais triomphe n'avait été plus grande'.

Thence to Bordeaux ... where, in total contrast, she took on the role of Lilia in Peau d'âne. Curious. Or common sense? But that was the end of the oversized operatic career. Her next job was at the Bouffe-Parisiens. When the compay list for the1868-9 troupe came out, Marie was listed second among the ladies behind Hortense Schneider, with Fonti, Elvire Gilbert and Thierret behind. 30 September, she came out as Coraline in Le Fifre enchanté and, over the months that followed, took part in much of the Bouffes reprtoire: Valentine in Le Chanson de Fortunio, Ernestine in Monsieur Choufleuri, Angela in the new Gandolfo. When the original Pricesse de Trébizonde was given at Baden, she took the star role of Raphael, to which she later succeeded at the Bouffes. Meanwhile, she carried on as Georgette in La Veuve Grapin, teamed with Mlle Fonti as the commères of Le Mariage aux lanternes, as Croute-au-pot in Mesdames de la Halle, in Le Violoneux, as Béatrix in Les Bavards...
And then she was gone. I wonder just what might have been, had she stayed. She was surely one of the mainstays among the Bouffes personnel, and only now still in her twenties ...  but the glamour and roubles of St Petersbourg? Who could refuse such an offer? Alas, the book we have all waited for since forever -- a listing of the St Petersbourg/Moscow seasons of the C19th -- has not yet been written, so I have no idea what Marie played thereup for the next four years.

I see her, back in Paris, once more in September 1874. And what is she doing? Why, playing Eurydice in Orphée aux enfers at the Théâtre de la Gaîté alongside Montaubry and Christian. There followed, in 1875, Alice de Nevers, as second to Desclauzas, La cruche cassée (Elmire) at the Thêâtre Taitbout with Chaumont and Montaland, and then she was off to Bordeaux (1876) to play in féerie! Prince Souci in La Biche au bois ... 'aussi parfait qu'on peut le désirer' before she was announced for ... the Opéra-Comique!
I don't know what happened next. She made her long delayed debut at the Opéra-Comique in March 1877, playing Betly in Le Châlet with Dufriche and Lefèvre ... and then ... did she go back to Russia?
Marie Périer had led an exemplary life in the theatre. Seemingly, too, an exemplary private life. There were no stories of Grand Dukes and Princes, of millionaires and diamonds. Indeed, quite the opposite. When I see her next, it is twent years on, and she is advertising for work as a repetiteur (her piano playing had been oft noted) for opera or opera-comique, or as a singing coach. 16 rue de Passy. The Carnavalet Museum (which is usually right) says she died in 1909. I have found no contemporary report, but ....

Mlle Périer was undoubtedly one of the most multi-talented players -- singer, actress, pianist --- to have trod the 1860s planches at the Bouffes. Another, less multi-talented, but clearly something very delightful purely as a vocalist, was the plumpishly blonde lady who called herself Mademoiselle FONTI. We are never told her first name, although I see a hint that it was Émilie, and it is probable that even the surname was a pseudonym. We know not when she was born, or where, and as for her death ... it seems to have been 'too soon', as a reference in 1884 tells us, but when and why ...?

La Biche au bois

The Théâtre Illustré, at one stage, supplied a wee biographical note on her, which didn't lift any veils, merely claiming that she started her career at the Théâtre Lyrique (Richard Coeur de Lion, Flûte enchantée) in some, doubtless, lesser capacity before heading to the provinces. The only trouble is that, unlike Mlle Périer, whose provincial career is nicely exhumable, I can't find her playing anywhere before she turns up at the Théâtre de la Porte Saint-Martin playing Desirée in a new version of La Biche aux bois alongside Léa Silly.

Next stop: Montpellier as chanteuse légère, but the die was cast.

Next stop: the Bouffes-Parisiens. In no particular order, during the first months she played Jean qui rit et Jeanne qui pleure with Désiré, Valentin is Le Chanson de Fortunio, Zénobie in de Billemont's Le Revanche de Candaule ('in two costumes more than light'), Rigobert in Le Fifre enchanté, Paolina in Petit bonhomme vit toujours, in L'Écossais de Chatou ('Ah! reste auprès de moi'), Le Mariage aux lanternes, then went on tour with the company and, in 1869, at Baden created the role of Zanetta in La Princesse de Trébizonde. 

She subsequently played her role in London for three seasons at the Lyceum and the St James's Theatre, as well as in Paris. And then, when Hortense Schneider withdrew from La Diva, Mlle Fonti took over the all-consuming made-to-measure title role.

In 1871, she played at Nantes (Les Brigands, Le Petit Faust, Le Canard à trois becs, La Diva), but in 1872, re-engaged at the Bouffes, she went down with the disastrous Le Docteur Rose (Gardinella). She played Marie Heilbron's role of Bibletto in Les Braconniers in London and in Belgium, and, back in Paris, at the Théâtre de la Renaissance, she returned to her old roles of Ciboulette in Mesdames de la Halle and Catherine in Mariage aux lanternes, before taking up her second major Offenbach creation-role as the jealous (of Louise Théo) Clorinde in La Jolie Parfumeuse.

In the first part of 1874, I see her taking part in Le Chanson de Fortunio, Le Tour de Moulinet, Pomme d'api, Le Rendez-vous bourgeois ... as a revival of La Princesse de Trébizonde -- her greatest success -- was announced. But something was, perhaps, wrong: 'her voice shows every day symptoms of additional decay...'. And Mlle Fonti's singing voice had always been her trump card. Was it temporary, or permanent. She replaced Peschard in Pome d'api ... things seemed OK ... or was the press being kind. She was announced for September 1874 at Marseille ... did she get there? I don't think so. Something evidently was wrong. She didn't play her original role when La Princesse de Trébizonde reappeared in 1875. In fact, Mlle Fonti's name appears not again in the papers. If she died ... and she must, soon after this, have done so ...

Mlles Périer and Fonti were the quality. The two original lady stars of La Princesse de Trébizonde. Always well noticed: the one for her polyvalence, the other for her plump beauty and her voice. If they have not survived in this buzzword world as a Tostée, a Tautin, a Schneider or a Théo have done, it was maybe because a rôle such as Eurydice or la Grande-Duchesse didn't come their way. That's showbiz. But the ranks of the Bouffes-Parisiens, in the days of the Noriac management, in the late 60s and early 70s, also comprised a swatch of ladies, some fine singers, but not all of whom were vocally and histrionically overtalented. Emily Soldene, effective supremo of the Bouffes' English equivalent, the Philharmonic, said once 'I chose my chorus from the ballet. Minimum voice but maximum ...'

The pages. The beauty chorus of La Princesse de Trébizonde (1875)

Of course, a 'beauty chorus' occasionally throws up a talent. More often it throws up trouble. The Bouffes chorus was no exception. One example was the lady who called herself Mademoiselle Christiane.  

Her real name, as eventually came out in court, was Dubois de Niermont, and she was presumably in some way, thus, connected to the lofty, prefectoral gentleman of that name. Talent? Hmm. If she is the Mlle Christiane, première amoureuse at Rouen ('toute jeune et toute mignonne') in 1863, maybe a little. But, from her arrival at the Bouffes in September 1868, she was simply part of the eight named 'front row' chorines. We see her, for example, in the cast for La Diva, listed alongside our friend Mlle Raymonde, the proven Mlle Bonelli, and Mesdemoiselles Berger, Leduc, Renault, Gayet, Marie Petit, Valtesse and Mizeray (all to be investigated!) in the support team, the 'thinking roles' .. In Le fifre magique she is Lavaleur, same story. 

Mlle Mizeray: it pays to advertise

Well, if Mlle Christiane didn't make the papers by her talent (and she was one of those who liked to declare that she was an 'actrice', even if she weren't much of one), she certainly did by her extra-curricular activities. 
In June 1869 her affair with a certain Prince Ignatieff, 'brother of the Russian ambassador to Constantinople' was splashed round the press. Oh! He said he would marry her. But unfortunately he died in his Paris lodgings before he got round to it. Scuttlebut said he'd drunk three bottles of green chartreuse, and when he got 'overexcited' ... pop! Then it was her dog Floupy which made the (tongue-in-cheek?) press, or a tale about her inviting yoohoo the Queen of Spain to join her girly pub party. 


Anyway, Christiane was never going to rise to anything better than beauty chorus, with the odd line. And she was no professional. She skipped rehearsals, then, when Noriac cut her few solo lines, in the pages' chorus, performances. And he sacked her. And it all went to court, where her lack of any sort of ability became evident, and she lost her case, and her appeal, to a large financial forfeit. Dammit, and no Ignatieff to pay the bill. Anyway, exit Mlle Christiane from theatrical history. Unless the Palais-Royal was foolish enough to take her on ... they may have ...

In this wee Bouffes piece, I've honed in on the Noriac era. Late Sixities to early seventies. Here's one of the other chorus girls: one of the original 'pages' from La Princesse de Trébizonde. Mlle Caroline van Dike or Djke. Alas, she had but a short hour in the stagelight. In September 1871, the Figaro noted her death. She was but 18 or 19 years old.

Apparently she had also played at the Folies-Dramatiques and the Athénée. Must search. Wonder as what. Ah! I see ...

Here's another page. Blessed with the surname of Cinti. Later Cinti-Munié. A grand-daughter and/or niece of the famous Mme Damoreau (is it possible to be both?).  She seems to have stayed around only for a couple of years, playing roles such as a marchande des cigares in Les Bavards, un tambour  in Mesdames de la Halle, a marchande in Boule de neige, or a page in La Princesse de Trébizonde. At Boulogne, she had a wee go at Lischen et Fritzchen, to duly sweet notices. I'm guessing the Munié was André Munié of the Théâtre du Vaudeville ... but it is just a guess.

And here's another. Mademoiselle Gayet. Again, we have name trouble. There seem to have been several Mlle Gayets. A dancer at Ghent 1864-5, a singer at Antwerp 1865, an actress at the Palais-Royal in 1868, the Bouffes one, who played in La Princesse de Trébizonde, La Diva, Les Bavards (un bottier), Le Fifre magique et al in 1868-70. Then there's one wandering round Germany with a poor company playing Wanda in La Grande-Duchesse. She has a prénom: Marguerite. This one (and, of course, they may all be the same one) spendt several years in Belgium, and is last spotted in 1863 playing Peronella in Boccacio in Nantes in 1883. But ... there was a Mlle Gayet, pupil of Masset, at the Conservatoire in 1870, as well. Doubtless, not the same one ...

There's one other of the original group of Trébizonde pages that I have to acknowledge. Super-tart. A professional prostitute (rising to courtesan) of no acknowledged theatrical talent, except beauty, who, presumably, put herself into the Bouffes chorus as a kind of advertisement for her availability. At a price. She called herself Mademoiselle Valtesse (d 1910), and much has been written about her hilariously inept efforts to establish herself as a modern day Aspasia. 

Her name was, in fact, Louise Emilie Delabigne (which duly crept up to the quasi-aristo De la Bigne) and many a tale has been woven around her, as the archetypical Parisian 'courtesan'. He name has been linked (rightly or, more probably, wrongly) with dozens of Parisian figures of her era, and many an apocryphal anecdote is attached to her. She was reportedly furious, when trying to be an Aspasia, to be taken as the original of Zola's Nana. Which, at least in part, she probably was. If all the tales are true, its amazing that she lived so long, or certainly was able to walk for so long. The impressionable Jules Clarétie writes gushingly ('tart with a heart...') of her in his La Vie à Paris. Other folk, less kindly. But the bit of her between her navel and her knees made her a fortune, wisely invested, before she was out of the chorus.

Needless to say, her time on the stage was brief. But, I think, it may have been wrongly reported. Wikipedia and its source say she debuted as Hebe (who has nothing to say/sing) in Orphée aux enfers. When? Where? 1867? Ah! no! There she is in the chorus of Les Bergers in 1865. I see her again at the Bouffes in the chorus role of L'Olive in Le Fifre Magique (1868), as a page in La Princesse de Trébizonde (1869) and in a chorus role in La Diva, and shortly after that, a newspaper report (1870) appeared, picturing her erstwhile colleagues envying her in her lofty box while they worked on. 


I'm more interested in the little colleagues. Oh, and Wikipedia also credits her, amongst others, as a 'mistress' of Offenbach. I wonder that le joli (?) Jacques had time to play his cello, the number of women he is supposed to have bonked. From memory: he wasn't even in charge of the Bouffes when 'le rayon d'or' aka 'L'union des peintres' (some of her rude nicknames) was engaged.

Anyway, back to the ones who could actually sing and act.

Blanche Gouvion obviously could. She was yet another of those Parisian pages in La Princesse de Trébizonde. I'm a bit surprised, because she had (at least, I assume it was she) created the part of Alfred in Chilpéric in October 1868. A 'beauty' part, yes, but with a number of her own. Anyway, she played a few roles at the Bouffes (Rebecca in La Romace de la rose), created La Nuit du 15 Octobre with Lacombe and Lajallais, then moved on to the Folies-Dramatiques, the Delassements-Comiques, and then as an actress to the Palais-Royal (Le Baptême du petit Oscar, Les Esprits de Batignolles), where I see her, in the late 1870s, in supporting roles in Sardou's Dora and the original Le Réveillon. In 1875 she was at the Châtelet as La Folie in Les Pilules du diable. She also appears in the courtesan-catalogue Les joli actrices de Paris ('une gentille boulotte surmontée d'une chevelure blonde comme houblon'. 'Elle ressemble a un moos coiffé d'une perruque blonde') so I suppose her virtue is somewhat 'douteuse'.

Mlle Gouvion

I haven't got a photo of the lady intriguingly named Mademoiselle Léa-Lini. But she was another who was clearly a little more than a pair of legs and accessories. She got to play a number of small parts at the Bouffes (Johnson in La Romance de la Rose, le barbier in Les Bavards, la marchande des pois verts in Mesdames de la Halle), cretaed the part of Fiametta in Les Brigands, accompanied Tostée to Boulogne for a season, and in 1871-2 could be seen at the El Dorado, featured in the little opérettes there produced (Le Nez de carton, Amour et revolver, Millionaire) and giving a set of songs in between the plays ('Il faut aimer', 'Les fraises des bois', 'Amour et miroir', 'C'est la dernière fois que ça m'arrive', 'Les regrets de Mignon', 'Y a temps por tout', 'La désheritée', 'Les pommes'). A lass of the same peculiar name turned up in America in the 1880s, billed as the entertainent ('konzertsängerin', 'opera and ballads') at venues such as Huber's Prospect Gardens and Shäpperle's Muzikhalle, Cincinnati ... I fear it may have been she.


That leaves Mlles Dalbert, Henri or Henry, Cellini, [Brigitte, sister of Irma?] Aubry, Bertelli, de Gratry, Leduc ... must I? Well, Dalbert, at least ...

Mademoiselle [Jeanne] Dalbert seems to have been the sort of lass you like to have in a repertoire company. Pretty enough for the front row of the beauty chorus, talented enough to take an ingenue role in an opérette. Her name appears intermittently on Bouffes bills, at home and away, for a good half-dozen years, between which times she can be seen at and Toulon (Fra Diavolo, Le Caïd, Urbain in Les Huguenots, Fleurette in Le Capitaine Henriot, Zélide in Si j'étais roi, Camille in Lara, Eurydice, La dame blanche 'Mlle Dalbert rachète la petite entendue de sa voix par une gracieuse physiognomie, une grande intelligence de la scène...') or Bordeaux (L'Oeil crevé with Mme Matz, revue Bordeaux après dîner, Countess in the play Les Noces de Figaro, Musette in La vie de Bohème 'elle y apporte la désinvolture des Bouffes', La Périchole) as a leading lady. At the Bouffes, I see her as Minerva in Orphée aux enfers, Saturnin in Le Chanson de Fortunio, Torbisco in Les Bavards and Tsa-tsa-tsing-tsing in Ba-ta-clan in 1863, creating L'Arche-Marion 30 September 1868, and playing Denise (Mariage aux lanternes) alongside Fonti and Périer in October 1869. All this is assuming that these Mlle Dalberts are one and the same person. And the same Mlle Dalbert who was hired for the Gymnase around 1866 (Gentil Bernard, La Fille mal gardée, Peterman in Monsieur Choufleuri), and who was said to be ex-of the Théâtre Français. Ouch. Théâtre Français which city? Oh! it's Bordeaux (1866). And the Gymnase in Bordeaux. Phew. At Bordeaux she took part in a new opérette Les deux frères avares. And the same Mlle Dalbert whose 'piquante physiognomie' is noted as première soubrette et chanteuse d'opérettes at Strasbourg (La Bonne d'enfants, Fleur de thé, Marguerite in Le Petit Faust) in 1869-70?  (Dalbert, the well-known comedian, felt it necessary round this time to write to the press explaining that the 'Mme Dalbert' with whom he was currently playing was not his wife ...)

Ah! Strasbourg says 'Mlle Dalbert, une Déjazet, une Alphonsine, une Schneider, aussi jeune qu'elle est charmante, et qui a tour à tour reçu les applaudissements des Bouffes, de Bruxelles, de Barcelone et de Bordeaux'. So I guess all the Mlle Ds are, indeed, she. Thank you La Comédie newspaper! And thank you for a wee bit of scandal. April 1867 ... in court for breaking a contract to go to ... Constantinople! Barcelona, eh? Yes, there she is 30 August 1869 playing Un mari dans le coton, La Rose de Saint-Flour, Gentil Bernard ... the manager is her Toulon manager ... 'Mlle Dalbert est le séduction même; son brio égale sa beauté'.  Brussels? Yes. Mlle Dalbert as Régina in La Princesse de Trébizonde at Brussels ...
So 1863 to 1870 is basically Bouffes, Toulon, Bordeaux, Strasbourg and then ... take-off!

Mlle Dalbert of the Palais-Royal is to feature in Le Diable à quatre at the Porte Saint-Martin (1872), Mle Dalbert is playing the title-role in La Fée Popotte and in Les Griffes du diable with Léa Silly.  Mlle Dalbert is sharing the role of La Cocotte (1873) with Blanche d'Antigny. Mlle Dalbert is in London playing Lange in La Fille de Madame Angot (1873) with great success. Mlle Dalbert taking over the part from Desclauzas in the original run of the famous opéra-comique in Brussels; Mlle Dalbert at the Palais-Royal alongside (tiens!) Mlle Gouvion in Le Baptême du petit Oscar; Mlle Jeanne Dalbert or d'Albert in Egypt in 1874 getting caught up in one of those silly 'refuse to sing at a benefit' situations. The Capitole Toulouse engages Mlle Jeanne Dalbert of the Bouffes, Palais-Royal and Folies-Dramatiques for 1877 ... they are all she!  And it doesn't stop! Mlle Dalbert in La Reine Indigo at Strasbourg in 1880? Jeanne Dalbert soubrette at Boulogne in 1884 ..  
I never made the connection before. All those Mlle Dalberts are one and the same! A pretty good twenty years' worth of career for the pretty pageboy from the Bouffes ...  Oh, the name? Given the place of Jeanne d'Albert in French history, pretty likely a pseudonym. So ... no dates. and why no photo?

Blanche d'Antigny

Marie Allonzieux doesn't appear to have belonged to the chorus in her time at the Bouffes. Her 'jolie voix' was noticed at Versailles and she was brought straight to town, and to the roles of Inès in Les Bavards and Lischen to the Fritzchen of Berthelier, in 1870. 

I see her thereafter at Nimes, in the Folies-Bergère revue Express-Revue (1872), at Rouen singing Heloïse in Abélard et Heloïse and Les Bavards (1872), and creating the role of Marthe, behind Silly and Matz-Ferrare in La Liqueur d'or at the Menus-Plaisirs. In 1874, she joined up with the Bouffes touring troupe (La Jolie Parfumeuse, La Timbale d'argent) to visit Belgium. In 1875, I see her giving Giroflé-Giroflà at Angers, before setting out for Moscow with an opéra-bouffe company. Thereafter, I spot her at Toulouse ('deuxième chanteuse d'opérettes) with La Timble d'argent and Le Petit Faust (1876-7), at Perpignan (1878) and, finally, as première chanteuse at Le Havre in 1883.

I'm tiring. And I still haven't got round to the likes of Mme Bonelli, Mlle Castello ...

Oh dear. Adèle Castello (b Paris 27 November 1840) should have been at the top of this list, by right of success and importance. But, for some reason, I couldn't, at the start, find a photo. But I finally did. The Carnavalet has a number of them.

The career of 'Mlle Castello à la jolie jambe et au fin maillot' was, apparently by choice, brief, but decidedly interesting, including as it did, two important creations. Adèle was a Conservatoire girl. Of, it seems, certain ambition, as I see her singing 'Bel raggio' at the concerts of the moribund Société de Beaux Arts in 1862. She studied under Fontana, and in 1863, at the concours, those lofty press-gents who annually ripped apart the underripe and underweight students judged her 'très faible'. By the next year, she had added Mocker to her teachers, and had risen to being allowed a deuxième accesit in opéra-comique. But, while others among the more highly decorated struggled to establish a career, Mlle Castello walked straight into a job. As leading lassie at the new Fantaisies-Parisiennes. She opened there 2 December 1865 as Seraphine in Donizetti's little Il Campanello, alongside Leroy and Sujol, and was decidedly well liked. The piece stayed several weeks on the bill, and she rather longer. I see her playing both Louisette in Poïse's Bonsoir voisin with Meillet ('interpretation excellente') and in Barbier's Les Oreilles de Midas, with Bonnet and Gourdon, at the little house during the season that followed. After which, unsurprisingly, she was snapped up by the Bouffes. 
Her first creation at the Bouffes was the juvenile role of Angélique in Hervé's Les Chevaliers de la table ronde (17 November), behind producer Delphine Ugalde as her mother, the Duchesse Totoche, and Mlle Darcier as Melusine the Enchantress. If the role of Angélique included only a duet by way of music ('au premier acte il y a un duo d'amour charmant entre Jannin et Mlle Castello'), she was judged to have 'une voix fraiche et sympathique' and made considerable effect by her acting ... and her good looks. Le Charivari noted 'On a remarqué une jeune artiste, Mlle Castello, déjà signalée par la critique aux Fantaisies-Parisiennes.  Sa voix est pure et légère et elle a joué son rôle d'ingénue d'une façon charmante. Par dessus le marché, elle a eu un succès de beauté ..'.  Decades later, a theatrical memoirist recalled a stage door johnny who sent her a bunch of violets each night: 'Le citoyen' Raoul Rigault of Commune ill-fame.

For the revival of Orphée aux enfers which followed, Adèle was cast as Venus to the Eurydice of manageress Mme Ugalde, but another new piece was to follow. She was selected to create the role of Alexis, opposite the Hermosa of Victor, in the topsy-turvy L'Ile de Tulipatan (30 September 1868). Berthelier and Felicia Thierret carried the comedy of the work, but Offenbach supplied his prettiest music for the juveniles. Adèle got the delightful 'J'ai perdu mon joli colibri' which would, like the little piece, become an enduring success 
Mlle Castello seemed on the fast up-escalier to theatrical and worldly success. But, after this little triumph, I simply lose her. It would later be said that she just gave up the stage after her Bouffes period. But she did return, whether from overseas or retirement, to play the part of Sempronia in Apothicaire et perruqier at the Théâtre de la Renaissance (1873) and another round of Orphée aux enfers, this time as Minerva, at the Gaîté (1874). And then she really was gone, this time out of theatrical knowledge. A diarist, recalling Tulipatan some years later, wondered 'whatever became of Mlle Castello?'  Maybe we'll find out one day. 

Minerva at the Gaîté

Just a minute. One of the Carnavalet's Adèle-photos is labelled 'Porte Saint-Martin'. When? In what ...?

There's a picture of Mademoiselle Bonelli in the same bundle

All I originally knew of Mlle Bonelli's time at the Bouffes is that she was in the cast list for La Diva in 1869 ('Mlle Bonelli s'est distinguée .. et pourtant sa role est bien minime'), was the original Régina in La Princesse de Trébizonde at Baden ('Romance des ancêtres'), and played roles in little pieces such as Tu m'as voulu, Marcel et cie (Charlotte 'Mon village est dans la Touraine'), L'ours et l'amateur de Jardins (Athenaïs) and the pants part of Sténio in Gandolfo.  In 1870 it was reported that she had been re-engaged for two years, and she, indeed, had a supporting principal part in both Boule de neige (1870, Gregorine) and Le Docteur Rose in 1872 (La Pupille). When La Timbale d'argent was produced, she was understudy to Anna Judic. But she was to have at least a decade of career, all across the map, altogether.
I see her, prior to he engagement Passage Choiseul, in 1866-7 playing at the Fantaises-Parisiens in Le Sacripant (Nisida 'jolie et gracieuse debutante'), Le Baron de Groschaminet (Inès), L'amour mannequin (Nizza)as Agathe in Le Sorcier and Daphne in Les Oreilles de Midas, then, in 1868 at the Athénée playing Thisbe with Désiré, Léonce and Irma Marié in L'amour et son carquois, Callimaco in La Viperine, Wilhelmine in Les Horreurs de la guerre, Aventurine in Le Petit Poucet, in Duprato's Le chanteur florentin and succeeding to the star part of Césarine in Fleur de thé. The Athénée company also played a season in Brussels, with Lucie Abel and Mlle B as its principal ladies. So, a confirmed leading lady cover, for try-outs and take-over in major pieces with, nevertheless, a goodly bundle of smaller creations to her credit.
But Mlle Bonelli didn't stop performing after her years at the Bouffes. I spy her, in 1873, in ... New York, 'the young, beautiful and gifted soprano and comedienne from the Variétés ..' (!), for Carlo Chizzola, supporting Aimée (Fragoletto to the star's Fiorella, Geneviève to her Drogan 'a round, clear mezzo-soprano voice', the title roles of Belle Hélène and La Grande-Duchesse when Aimée wanted a night off, Les Cent Vierges), then at St Petersbourg playing Amaranthe in La Fille de Madame Angot ...   
Perhaps she didn't come back from the Steppes. Many a little French actress who headed to Russia succumbed to the cold, the diseases or a Russian semi-nobleperson. But, alas, we don't know ... still lots of finding out to do ..

Mathilde Leduc ... our one?

Well, that's far from all of the little ladies who played or displayed at the Bouffes between 1868 and 1872. I'll maybe tackle another volley later on, but right now I'm Bouffed out ... 

Mlle L Sergent, chorus