Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Watford Club perform "Les Cloches de Cornville" at St Albans

Having recently posted a picture of a Watford Choir taken by a local photographer, William Coles, in 1923 I was interested to see from the following news item that another Watford Photographer, Frederick Downer, was singing in opera in 1895:
 St. Albans - County Hall.  -  On Wednesday and Thursday, January 30 and 31, the Watford Club gave performances of Les Cloches de Corneville. The Co. were fortunate In having the services of so capable a comedian as Mr. Harry Buck, who took the part of Gobo in excellent style, being very droll. To this gentleman was also entrusted the duties of stage-manager, and he discharged this part of his work in a first-class manner. Mr. Fred Downer as the Marquis de Corncville looked and sang and spoke his lines remarkably well. He was heard to special advantage in the duets with Germaine, in the charming person of Miss Haig. This young lady took the palm of the evening among the lady performers, her acting being good, and she is possessed of a very sweet voice. Miss Buck as Serpolette was also extremely commendable. Praise must be given to Mr. A. J. Cook for his clever portrayal of the miser Gaspard. In the Ghost scene he was excellent. Mr. Richardson as the Bailie slightly overacted his part; otherwise he was good. Grenloheau was looked after in good style by Mr. R. W. Burge, although his acting did not come up to the level of his singing. The Co. all worked hard, and the choruses were given with plenty of go, and in good time. The splendid costumes and wigs used were supplied by Clarkson. The scenery, painted bv Messrs. Downer, Cottam, and Healy, was very good, especially the third scene in act one, painted b\ the latter gentleman, the Market Place in Corneville. A prettier set has seldom been been on these boards. Mr. J. F Gravcs acted as accompanist, and Mr. A. Cottam as musica d 'rector. A special train was run back to Watford each night.
Can you identify any of the other people involved?

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