January 1870: ‘The Songs of Shakespeare’ – Miss Clara St. Casse, at the Trades’ Hall, Glassford Street

On Wednesday the 5th of January, 1870, The Glasgow Herald published the following review, on page four:




On Monday night Miss Clara St Casse, a lady well known on the London stage, gave for the first time in this city a new entertainment entitled ‘The Songs of Shakespeare.’ Musical amateurs have long known that the music to which the verses of Shakespeare are wedded is the finest and purest of its class; but if we are to judge by the audience in the Trades’ Hall last evening, which in point of numbers was by no means worthy of the occasion, they appear to be ignorant of the treat which Miss St Casse has provided for them. The programme includes the best pieces of Bishop, Arne, Steven [sic], and others whose exquisite melodies and rich harmonies have long been familiar in musical circles. Miss St Casse, in appropriate costume, appears in a series of Shakespearean impersonations – ‘Rosalind,’ ‘Desdemona,’ ‘Puck,’ ‘Hecate,’ ‘Ariel,’ ‘Katharina,’ ‘Oberon,’ and ‘Ophelia’ – introducing such vocal selections as ‘When Daisies Pied,’ ‘Over Hill over Dale,’ ‘My Little Airy Spirit,’ ‘Where the Bee Sucks,’ &c. As an actress she exhibits considerable talent and training, and, although unassisted by the accessories of the stage, succeeds in imparting to the various characters which she assumes a good deal of real power. Her ‘Hecate’ and ‘Ophelia’ are to our thinking specially admirable performances – the tender incoherencies of the gentle ‘Ophelia’ being recited with much grace and beauty.  – As a vocalist she is entitled to much praise. Her voice is a mezzo-soprano of unusual purity, sweetness, and compass, and she sings with great taste and brilliancy. Miss St Casse is assisted by the Glasgow Solo and Glee Union, whose rendering of the glees and other pieces allotted them is worthy a society of greater pretensions. We may add that Miss St Casse gives for the present her last entertainment in the Trades’ Hall.”



George Fairfull-Smith, June 2020.