Review of “Sneferu the Second”: Amateur Opera at the Queen’s Rooms, January 1898

A review was published on page six of The Glasgow Herald, on Friday the 7th of January, 1898:




The Royal Hospital for Sick Children has the good fortune to be one of the most favoured of our local charities. It has lacked neither patronage nor practical effort on its behalf. In the Queen’s Rooms last night a large and fashionable audience gathered to encourage and promote still another generous undertaking in aid of the funds of the institution. The Duchess of Montrose, who has been one of its best friends from the beginning, graciously gave her patronage, and the hall was filled with ladies and gentlemen who have also taken an active interest in the welfare of the hospital. The present venture was the performance of a light opera called ‘Sneferu the Second,’ the joint production of Messrs George Higginbotham and Frank Stanley Young, the former putting together the book and the latter being responsible for the music. It is an interesting legendary story of ancient Egypt. The opera has already been heard in the city, and is therefore familiar to a considerable section of the musical community. There are few, if any, intricacies either in the plot or the music, and the work is consequently well within the range of ardent and painstaking amateurs. In the present instance it had the advantage of a highly meritorious representation. The chorus was composed of ladies and gentlemen whose musical tastes and gifts have been artistically developed, and the choral parts of the work, which, on the whole, are bright and picturesque, were carefully and satisfactorily rendered. The principal characters were well cast, from the dramatic no less than from the vocal standpoint. Miss Baird, in the leading female part, achieved a distinct success. Her fine, pure voice is more than equal to the music, and her unaffected acting was in excellent keeping with the character. Mrs F. G. Tulloch filled a rather exacting part with appropriate spirit, and Miss Dunn Macindoe also sang and played well. Mr Higginbotham was thoroughly suited in the title part, and Messrs H. D. Jackson and A. Erskine Murray played important characters very ably. The orchestra, which included several ladies, did their work splendidly. Mr J. H. Hinton, who conducted, had a skilful band of musicians under his control, and the success which marked the performance was due in no small measure to their intelligent response to his baton. Of the mounting of the opera and the dresses it would be impossible to speak too highly. With the limited accommodation available surprising results were obtained. The scenery and the other stage accessories were appropriate. In every respect the production was remarkably complete. One of the most prominent artistic effects was the cymbal dance in the first act, gracefully performed by six young ladies. The performance, which was received with warm appreciation by the audience, will be repeated on Saturday afternoon.”



George Fairfull-Smith, August 2020.