excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 15-17 (374 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 15-17 (374 words)

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Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

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The King's Theatre being now finished, the Drury Lane company were transplanted there, pro tempore, until Drury Lane was ready for their reception. On the 22nd of September it opened, under John Kemble's management, with a prelude written by Cobb, for the occasion, called " Poor Old Drury," "The Haunted Tower," and " The Pannel;" the prices were raised, the boxes to six shillings, and the pit to three and sixpence. The doors were not opened at the hour announced in the bills of the day ; the crowd was immense, and when they entered the house, they could not find their way to the different places; all was hurry, bustle, and confusion. The prelude began with Palmer and Parsons, who attempted to address the infuriated audience in vain; they were obliged to retire; the manager was called for, and Kemble came forward ; a paper was given to him from the pit, stating, that the cause of their disapprobation was the delay in opening the doors, and the great inconvenience of the passages. Kemble stood the fire well, and assured them, those inconveniences should be remedied on the next evening's performances. The storm then ceased; the handing up the paper (which was done by a friend of the management) was a lucky ruse, and did great credit to the projector, General John Kemble himself. The prelude contained some comic points, alluding to the size of the Opera House, compared with Old Drury, and some beautiful scenery, particularly Mount Parnassus, by Marinari. "The Haunted Tower" followed: I had to sing the first song. I was in good voice, and it filled the theatre well, which was by far the best for sound I ever sang at, not even excepting St. Carlos, at Naples. All the performers were welcomed with applause, and Mrs. Jordan, in the afterpiece of " The Pannel," came in for a great share of it. Madame Mara was prevailed upon to perform for a few nights, and Artaxerxes was got up for her in great style. Kemble at this time had to fulfil an engagement which he had previously made at Newcastle. Mrs. Siddons and Mrs. Jordan were also going away, and Signora Storace was confined with severe illness ; all this crippled the theatre very much.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 15-17 (374 words)


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