excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 300-303 (439 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 300-303 (439 words)

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Reminiscences of Michael Kelly

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About this time I received the melancholy news of my poor mother's death ; she had died a few weeks before, but the event had not been divulged to me : however, I was anxious to see my father and family, and set off for Dublin, the 8th of June...My father was, of course, delighted to see me, and I equally so to see him ; for the lapse of so many years had made no alteration in my affection for him. I was most happy to see my sister, and my brothers, Joe and Mark ; and on the 22nd made my first appearance in Lionel, to a crowded house my reception was highly gratifying, and the plaudits I received from my warm-hearted countrymen, and in my native city, were ever most congenial to my feelings. During my twelve nights' performance, I never shared less, upon an average, than fifty pounds per night ; my benefit, a clear one, overflowed in every part, and the greater part of the pit was railed into boxes : two of our nights' performances were by the command of his Grace the Duke of Rutland, then the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, who was accompanied to the theatre by his Duchess, a most beautiful woman. Holman was then acting in Dublin ; the Masque of Comus was got up ; he played Comus, I, the principal Bacchanal, and sang, " Now Phoebus sinketh in the West," and all the principal songs. Mrs. Crouch was the Euphrosyne, and looked as lovely as if she had been bathed in the fountain of the Graces ; her acting in the song of " The Wanton God," and singing " Would ye taste the noontide air ?" and " Sweet echo," were indeed a treat. It struck me that there was a good opportunity to introduce, in the first act of the Masque, between the principal Bacchanal and Bacchante, a duet ; and I fixed upon the celebrated Italian duet of Martini, " Pace, cara mia sposa," which created a great sensation at Vienna, but much greater in Dublin. The English words put to it, " Oh, thou wert born to please me," were very good, and chimed in well with the scene ; no piece of music ever produced a greater effect ; it was always called for three times, and no performance was allowed to go on in which it was not introduced ; it was sung about the streets by the ballad-singers, and parodied by the news-boys, who used to sing to each other, " Oh thou wert born to tease me, my life, my only love ;" in short, it was completely the rage all over Ireland, England, and Scotland, for many, many years.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of Michael Kelly' pp. 300-303 (439 words)


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