Reprint: "Moustique" at the Opera House

This evening, at the Opera House, will be produced a comic opera in three acts, written by the late Marcus Clarke, and composed by Henri Kowalski. During the year 1880 the author and composer collaborated with an idea that their joint work should be fanciful and out of the common run. With this object in view "Moustique" was written and composed. Briefly told the plot is as follows:- A number of men, having become tired of the matrimonial thrall, resolve to emigrate and seek seclusion in some out of the way spot. Accordingly they set sail under the guidance of Captain Cook, jun., and eventually land upon an island which they imagine is uninhabited. Travelling with the party is the boy Moustique, who explores the island, and discovers that it is peopled solely by females. Consternation ensues among the tourists when they learn this intelligence; and their fears are further augmented upon hearing that any man found upon the island must suffer death before sunrise on the succeeding day.

Later on the women of the Virgin Isle appear on the scene, headed by their Queen Venus, and her Minister of Affairs. They discover the intruders, and vow to wreak vengeance upon them. Moustique, however, is spared on account of his youth. Finally love conquers the hearts of the manumitted maidens, and they succumb to Cupid's influence. Marriage is   reverted to, misogyny banishes, and it is to be hoped "all live happily for ever afterwards." The cast of the new piece contains the names of Miss Flora Graupner - in the title role - Miss Lillinn Tree as Venus, and Miss Clara Thompson, Mr. John Forde, Mr. William Stevens, and Mr Henry Bracy. Special interest is attached to this production, from the fact that it is the first representation of an important dramatic musical work by a celebrated author, whose stage writings were always graceful, and by a musician who is much esteemed in local circles.

First published in The Sydney Morning Herald, 2 July 1889

Note: this is the first of three pieces I'm reprinting here over the next week regarding this production. Hopefully all will become clear soon.

Australian Dictionary of Biography entry for Marcus Clarke

[Thanks to the National Library of Australia's newspaper digitisation project for this piece.]

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on December 16, 2009 8:40 AM.

Australian Bookcovers #190 - Snapshot by Garry Disher was the previous entry in this blog.

2010 CAL Scribe Fiction Prize is the next entry in this blog.

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