December 1858: Miss Augusta Thomson, in Paris

An article, under the heading “PARIS THEATRICALS.”, on page ten of The Court Journal, and Fashionable Gazette, on

Saturday the 1st of January, 1859, reads:


“— Miss Augusta Thomson, of Glasgow, the first British singer who ever trod the boards of the Parisian Opera, appeared on

Wednesday evening in the character of Matilda [sic] in the opera of ‘Guillaume Tell,’ and with complete success. The voice

of this young lady is a soprano of extraordinary volume, purity, and beauty; and, although the rôle of Matilda [sic] was not

by any means calculated to show her great talents to the best advantage, she fairly captivated the audience by her graceful and

fine rendering of the air ‘Sombre forêt,’ and the succeeding duo with Arnold. Many ‘bravos’ greeted the young stranger, and in

the following acts she fully maintained her newly-acquired fame. Miss Thomson is of small stature, but assumes on the stage a

certain dignity of bearing, which, coupled with her spirituel and expressive features and excellent dramatic action, engaged

at once the sympathy of the audience. To the shame of the parties in authority and others, at the ‘Grand Opera,’ notwithstanding

her well-known ability (and perhaps because of it), this young foreigner has only arrived at her débût [sic] after encountering

a mass of intrigues, jealousies, and hindrances, which, but for her own energy and the interposition of friends, would have kept

her back altogether. Instead of that generous treatment which any young débutante had a right to expect, all kinds of obstacles

and vexations were thrown in her way. A Parisian audience, too, is cold and unimpressionable, and unkindly receives the young

beginner with cold silence, and only accords a limited kind of applause when forced, as it were, to acknowledge the merits of

the artiste.”



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George Fairfull-Smith, September 2023.