Manners and customs of ye Englyshe/Regente Strete at Fovr of ye Clocke, P.M.

Illustrated by Richard Doyle

Manners and Customs of ye Englyshe in 1849. No. 24.

Regente Strete at Fovr of ye Clocke, P.M.


Regente Strete at Fovr of ye Clocke, P.M.

[Thurſday, Auguſt 16, 1849.]

THIS Afternoon, about four of the Clock, did walk in Regent Street, with much Delight. In the Evening to the Oueen's Houſe in the Haymarket, to hear Mozart his famous Opera "Le Nozze di Figaro," and Sontag in Sufanna, which ſhe do act mighty ſkittiſh, and with the prettieſt ſidelong Looks, but the moſt graceful and like a Lady, and do trip the Stage the daintieſt, and make the niceſt Curtſies, and ſing the ſweeteſt that methinks I ever did hear or ſee: and to think that Mr. Vieuxboys ſhould tell me ſhe do it as well now as he did ſee her twenty Years ago! Pretty, to hear her ſing "Venite, inginocchiatevi" where ſhe do make Cherubino kneel down on the Cuſhion before the Counteſs, and put him on a Girl's Cap, and pat his Chin and Face. Alſo her ringing of "Sull' Aria" with Parodi, the Counteſs, dictating the Letter to her; and Parodi did ſing well too, and the mingling of their Voices very muſicall. Likewiſe that jolly blooming ſhe-Bacchus Alboni, who was Cherubino, with her paſſionate fine ſinging of "Non ſo pià" and "Voi che ſapete" and all her ſinging, did delight me much; and ſhe did play a Stripling of a Page in Love to the very Life. Belletti did mightily take me with his Knaveries, in Figaro, and ſinging of "Non pià andrai," which is a moſt lively and martial Song; and the Grand March very brave as well, and did make my Heart leap, and me almoſt to jump out of my Seat. Colletti, too, the Count, did content me much, and to the utmoſt with "Crudel! perchè finora." But then to hear Lablache, what a great Thing he do make out of ſo ſmall a Part as Bartolo, with his Voice in the Concert-Pieces heard above all the Reſt, and thundering out "La Vendetta," like a muſicall Stentor; and his undertaking of little Characters to make an Opera perfect is very magnanimous; and Mr. Wagstaffe do well ſay that he "Ingentes Animas ingenti in Pectore verſat," and have as much Brains as Body. Mighty droll to hear the Quartett, with each Singer in Turn holding the Voice on the word "Io," called for three Times, and the Singers each Time ſpinning "Io" out longer, whereat great Laughter; and the Performers laughing as much as the Audience. Wonderfull how ſtill all the Houſe was while Sontag was a ſinging of "Deh! vieni non tardar," and the Bravas and Clapping of Hands when me had ended; and what did as much as any Thing pleaſe me in her Singing was to hear how ſhe did ſtick to the Text, and not, like a vulgar ſilly Prima Donna, disfigure noble Muſique by ridiculous Flouriſhes. The Houſe extraordinary full, though the Seaſon over; and to compare the fine Foreheads and Faces of an Audience come to hear good Muſique with the inſignificant Looks of mere common Opera-Goers! Methinks I could never hear Figaro often enough; the Overture being ſuch pretty Fiddling, and all the Muſique ſo beautiful, and heavenly almoſt, with ſeveral of the Airs as innocent and angelicall as Hymns; but to think that all theſe Pearls are ſtrung on ſo vile a Thread; the Intrigues and Trickery between a Count and Counteſs, with a Waiting-Woman, a Page, and a Lackey: a Story that do ſeem to have been hatched in a Servants' Hall! The Ballet after the Opera pretty, and a Scene of Skating on the Ice, very natural, did end with the Skaters pelting each other with Snowballs, and look pleaſant and cool this hot Weather. Home to Supper, it being late, though, walking up the Haymarket, did ſorely long for ſtewed Oyfters. Telling my Wife of the Opera, did ſpeak of Suſanna' boxing Figaro his Ears, and let out that I could have been glad to have her box mine too, which my Wife did ſay ſhe could do as well if I pleaſed; but I ſaid I had rather not, and ſo, whittling "Non pià andrai" rather ſmall, to Bed.