Desert Song 1955

NAPIER OPERATIC SOCIETY INC.

presents

Desert Song

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Page 1

NAPIER OPERATIC SOCIETY (INC.)

1955 OFFICERS OF THE SOCIETY

Patron: J. HARRIS, Esq.

President: K. DOUGLAS, Esq.

Vice-President: G. HOUSTON, Esq.

Hon. Secretary and Treasurer: 
R. H. WIMSETT, Esq.     

Hon. Assistant Secretary:
B. GROSSMAN, Esq.

Hon. Auditor:
I. L. PRIME, Esq.

Hon. Solicitor:
W. WILLIS, Esq.

Executive Committee:   Mrs. E. MONRAD, Messrs. PETER COX, S. HENNEY, E. COLLIER, G. HOUSTON, R. ROSS, E. HERNIMAN, R. LAVIN,
C. WHITE.

THE PREVIOUS PRODUCTIONS OF THE SOCIETY

“The Gondoliers”   1908
“The Mikado”   1909
“The Geisha”   1910
“The Runaway Girl”   1911
“A Greek Slave”   1912
“Toreador”   1913
“Miss Hook of Holland”   1914
“The Blue Moon”   1915
“The Geisha”   1921
“A Country Girl”   1923
“Floradora”   1924
“The Arcadians”   1928
“The Sunshine Girl”   1929h
“Our Miss Gibbs”   1930
“Rio Rita”   1938
“The Belle of New York”   1939
“Boots and All”   1940
“Chu Chin Chow”   1954

Last year’s production (“Chu Chin Chow”) was undoubtedly a milestone in the history of the Society. This colossal musical extravaganza had not been attempted by any society other than in the three main cities.

And the Napier Society’s production was equal to, if not better than, the productions of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

It is thus with confidence that we present the difficult musicale “The Desert Song”.

Early History of the Society –

The Society was formed in the 1880’s and there is in the Hawke’s Bay Art Gallery and Museum a programme of the Society’s production of the “Mikado” in March of 1887. The Society also possesses a programme of its production of “Madame Fauvarti” in October, 1892.

Unfortunately, many of the earliest records of the Society were lost in the 1931 earthquake, but the Society can claim to be one of the oldest musical societies in New Zealand.

Page 2

Photos –

Chorus Members as French Legionnaires

Sid El Kar (Ray Dalton) and Riff Tribesmen

Page 3

THE STORY OF “THE DESERT SONG”

The scene of this great Drury Lane success is laid in French Morocco, where the French troops are having trouble with the Riffs and where a continual guerrilla warfare is being waged.

Pierre Birabeau, son of General Birabeau, is serving under a General of a despotic and violent disposition, and some of his needless acts of cruelty to the Riffs excite the pity of Lieutenant Birabeau, who remonstrates with his chief, and his superior so far forgets himself as to strike his junior officer. This determines for Pierre his future conduct, and he decides to devote his life to the stamping out of these unnecessary atrocities, which, in his opinion, are disgracing France.

To this end he pretends that the blow struck by the General has made him stupid – almost half witted – and he is relieved of his commission as an officer. He, however, joins the Riffs as their mysterious leader, and under his disguise quickly becomes known as the Red Shadow.

So it is that he plays a “Poor Pierre” the milksop; at others the brave and dashing “Red Shadow.”

Pierre carries on this chivalrous duplicity without any qualms until General Fontaine dies and the new appointment to the governorship turns  out to be his own father, General Birabeau whilst Captain Paul Fontaine (the son of the late General) is second in command. These two have one object in view, to wit, that of wiping out the Red Shadow.

The lady in the case in Margot Bonvalet, whom Pierre has always secretly adored, but she, tired of her life in a convent, imagines herself in love with Paul Fontaine. She therefore arrives in Morocco and her father wires General Birabeau that as all Paris is talking of her she must marry Paul at once. In the meantime Margot’s romantic aspirations have been fired by the deeds of the mysterious Red Shadow. Pierre in his capacity of the Riff chieftain gives her the desired surprise of being carried off by his desert warrior and conveyed to the palace of his Arab friend Ali Ben Ali. Ali, fearing that the action of the Red Shadow will mean trouble for him with the French offers him the other women if he will but let Margot go free but Pierre coldly refuses the offer and expounds on the difference between Eastern and Western love.

Photos –

Grace Tough as Margot Bonvalet.
Robert Houston as Pierre Birabeau (the Red Shadow).

Ngaire Porter as Azuri.
Dick Prebble as Captain Paul Fontaine.

Page 4

Photos –

Dawn Wright (Clementina) and Bob Wright (Ali Ben Ali)

Bob Ros (Benjamin Kidd) and Rosemary Barton (Susan)

Azuri, a native dancing girl, has discovered Pierre’s secret and from motives of personal jealousy and with great cunning she now leads General Birabeau to the palace of Ali Ben Ali and there brings him face to face with the Red shadow, whom he challenges to fight, but despite the fact that refusal means the loss of his position as leader of the Riffs, Pierre surrenders his sword as he cannot of course fight his own father. He is branded a coward and in accordance with the law of the tribe is driven forth into the desert – without food, his only weapon “a broken sword”.

Margot is taken back to the Governor’s residence with the poignant realisation now full upon her that she indeed loves the Red Shadow.

To the Residency arrives the treacherous Azuri, intoxicated with both drink and triumph to claim her reward. The General, now disgusted with the part he has played in the downfall of the Riff’s champion,  asks her why she is so sure that the Red Shadow would not fight. To his horror the awful knowledge dawns upon him that he has given orders to his soldiers to go out and slay his own son.

The soldiers return to tell him the Red Shadow has been killed and that none other than Pierre has done the killing. On learning the news Margot confesses her love for the Red Shadow and is overjoyed when she at last learns that the half-witted Pierre and the romantic Riff leader were one and the same individual and that, therefore the romance of the desert still lives.

The humour throughout the play is well sustained by one, Benjamin Kidd who is a Paris reporter sent out as war correspondent with his secretary Susan whilst the two lieutenants of the Red Shadow, Sid-el-Kar and Hassi, contribute much to the story, as does Clementina, one of the ladies of the Brass Key from Barcelona.

Page 5

EVA MOORE

Eva Moore, who is the producer of the Napier Society’s 1955 production, “The Desert Song,” is probably one of the best known and most successful producers of amateur musical comedy in New Zealand.

She is one of five sisters of theatrical fame. Carrie Moore, a star both in England and Australia, and Australia’s original “Merry Widow,” is one of the sisters. Edward German wrote the part of Honour in “Tom Jones” for her and her name appears in so many original scores in London that they constitute a record. Lillie Moore, another sister, toured New Zealand with the J. C. Williamson productions of “The Student Prince,” “Desert Song,” “Arsenic and Old Lace,” “The Girl Friend”, and many others.

Eva Moore has played the leading soprano roles in all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, also the “Quaker Girl”, “Merry Widow,”
“Waltz Dream,” “The Geisha” and dozens of others. She has travelled more than half round the world, many times – a thorough coverage of all the playable towns of Australia, then to China, Japan, Manilla, Honolulu and extensive tours of Canada and the U.S.A. In New Zealand she has produced for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin, Blenheim, Nelson, Palmerston North (where she created a record for both amateurs and professionals), Wanganui, New Plymouth and Hamilton.

In 1954 she was responsible for the production “Chu Chin Chow,” and Napier theatre-goers can remember what a success she made of this fabulous show. It is with real pleasure we welcome her back to Napier to produce “The Desert Song.”

This year’s activities include productions for the Wanganui Society (“New Moon”), Masterton Society (“The Desert Song”), Palmerston North Society (“New Moon”)

Photo

JEAN BALLANTYNE

Ballet Mistress, is an Advanced Teacher of the Royal Academy of Dancing, London, and has trained with well-known teachers in England, on the Continent, in Australia and New Zealand. In the course of her dancing career Miss Ballantyne has been closely associated with the Amateur Theatre, and has been responsible for numerous Children’s Recitals. Her Senior Ballet toured the Hawke’s Bay area for the Community Arts Service in 1947.

CEDRIC WHITE

Has directed the musical side of the Society for many years. He was a member of the original “Kiwi” Concert Party and remained in England under a Government Education grant and passed through the Royal Academy of Music. On his return to New Zealand he toured with the J. C. Williamson organisation but eventually settled in Napier, where he is in practice as a Public Accountant. He was Musical Director for the highly successful “Chu Chin Chow” and once again is in charge of the Orchestra for the 1955 production of “The Desert Song.”

Photo

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NAPIER OPERATIC SOCIETY (INC.)

presents

“THE DESERT SONG”

Book and Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein 2nd.  and Frank Mandel.

MUSIC BY SIGMUND ROMBERG.

CAST OF CHARACTERS

(IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE)

SID-EL-KAR (Red Shadow’s Lieutenant)   RAY DALTON
MINDAR (Red Shadow’s Sergeant)   RAY BENNETT
HADJI (A Riff Farmer)   JOHN BOSWELL
NERI (His Wife)   MAIA ALEXANDER
HASSI (Deputy Leader of the Riffs)   REG JOHNSON
PIERRE BIRABEAU (The Red Shadow)   ROBERT HOUSTON
BENJAMIN KIDD (A Reporter)   BOB ROSS
CAPTAIN PAUL FONTAINE (Of the French Foreign Legion)   DICK PREBBLE
LIEUTENANT LA VERGNE (Of the French Foreign Legion)   ARTHUR HOOPER
SERGEANT De BOUSSAC (Of the French Foreign Legion)   VAUGHAN GABITES
AZURI (A Native Dancer)   NGAIRE PORTER
SUSAN (Benjamin’s Secretary)   ROSEMARY BARTON
EDITH (Her Friend)   BETH SWEETAPPLE
MARGOT BONVALET (Guest of the Governor)   GRACE TOUGH
GENERAL BIRABEAU (Provincial Governor)   IAN COX
CLEMENTINA (A Spanish Lady)   DAWN WRIGHT
NOGI (A Slave)   DAVID SWEETAPPLE
ALI-BEN-ALI (Caid of a Riff Tribe)   BOB WRIGHT

Chorus of Riffs, French Soldiers, Soldiers’ Wives and Sweethearts, Spanish Girls

SYNOPSIS OF SCENES

ACT 1

Scene 1 – Retreat of the Red Shadow in the Mountains   (Evening)
Scene 2 – Outside General Birabeau’s House   (The Same Evening)
Scene 3 – A Room in General Birabeau’s House   (A Few Minutes Later)

ACT 2

Scene 1 – The Harem of Ali-Ben-Ali   (Afternoon of the Following Day)
Scene 2 – A Corridor   (A Few Minutes Later)
Scene 3 – The Room of the Silken Couch   (A Few Minutes Later)
Scene 4 – The Edge of the Desert   (An Hour Before Dawn)
Scene 5 – Courtyard of General Birabeau’s House   (Two Days Later)

ORCHESTRA

Musical Director: Cedric White   Piano: Winifred Quarrie

Violins: E. Collier, L. Williams, G. Wade, E. Dunn, D. Hansen, N. J. Brunton, V. Tidy.   Cellos: S. Girvan, S. Milne.   Basses: B. Hansen, D. Smith.   Flutes: E. Hocking, A. Clarke.   Clarinets: P. Blanchette, G. Start.   Bassoon: L. Abbott.   Trumpet: H. F. Vincent.
Trombone: C. Turnbull.   Tympani, Drums and Effects: J. Seaton.

Producer   EVA MOORE

Choreography   JEAN BALLANTYNE

Page 8

NAPIER OPERATIC SOCIETY (INC.)

LADIES OF THE CHORUS –
Margot Ball
Alison Blackbourn
Margaret Brooking
Anne Briasco
Robin Rivett-Carnac
Brenda Campion
Annette Downes
Rosalie Downes
Rose Dasler
Lilian Eddy
Betty Eagle
Annette Evans
Mona Fauchelle
Marion Hitchens
Anne Herniman
Ruth Hooper
Shirley Johnson
Naomi Mooney
Diana Mooney
Marise McDonald
Kerry McDonald
Janet McDonald
Margaret Norman
Rosemary Orton
Gail O’Reilly
Beverley Prebensen
Olga Rean
Dorothy Ross
Betty Rae
Deborah Stuart
Beth Sweetapple
Betty Wetherall
Barbara Welch

GENTLEMEN OF THE CHORUS –
Barry Brebner
Rae Bennett
Jim Brownlie
Cedric Catton
Brian Copeland
Maurice Campbell
Ralph Dauber
Terry Durney
Frank Ennor
Matthew Farrell
Vaughan Gabites
Brian Grossman
John Geary
Joe Hutchinson
Arthur Hooper
Paul Murphy
Alec McClelland
Brian McLeary
John McKinnon
Clarke Nichol
James Paxie
Peter Shirley
David Sweetapple
Noel Tolhurst
Colin Wells
Noel Wilson
Terry White

LADIES OF THE BALLET –
Lynette Rivett-Carnac
Betty Crawford
Heather Bentley
Ruth Hunter
Jennifer Grant
Joan Lambert
Carine Jackson
Dianna Rowell

MUSICAL NUMBERS

ACT 1.

Scene 1 – Prelude and Opening Chorus : “High on a Hill” and “Drinking Song”   Sid-El-Kar and Riffs Chorus
Song : “The Riff Song”   Red Shadow, Sid-El-Kar and Riffs
Reprise : “Hold Bold Men of Morocco”   Sid-El-Kar and Riffs
Finaletto, Scene 1   Red Shadow, Sid-El-Kar and Riffs
Song : “Margot”   Paul and Soldiers

Scene 2 – Song ; “I’ll Be a Buoyant Girl”   Susan and Edith

Scene 3 – Chorus : “Why Did We Marry Soldiers?”   Girls’ Chorus
French Military Marching Song   Margot and Girls
Military Ballet   Ballet
Song: “Romance” … Margot and Girls
Duet: “Then You Will Know”   Margot and Pierre
Trio : “I Want a Kiss”   Margot, Paul and Pierre
Duet: “It”   Susan and Bennie
Duet: “The Desert Song”   Margot and the Red Shadow
Ballet   Azuri and Native Dancing Girls
Finale Act 1   The Company

Page 9

ACT 2.

Scene 1 – Opening Chorus : “My Little Castagnette”   Clementina and Girls
“Song of the Brass Key”   Clementina and Girls
Spanish Dance   Ballet
Reprise: “Give Him the Key”   Clementina and Margot
Duet : “One Good Boy Gone Wrong”   Clementina and Bennie
Concerted Number: “Eastern and Western Love” –
(a) “Let Love Go”   Ali-Ben-Ali
(b) “One Flower In Your Garden”   Sid-El-Kar
(c) “One Alone”   Red Shadow and Chorus of Riffs

Scene 2 – Incidental Music

Scene 3 – “The Sabre Song”   Margot
Finaletto   Margot and the Red Shadow

Scene 4 – “Scena Farewell”   Red Shadow and Chorus of Riffs

Scene 5 – Waltz   The Ballet
Soloists   Lynette Rivett-Carnac, Betty Crawford
Chorus : “All Hail to the General”   Birabeau, Paul, Margot and Girls
Reprise: “It”   Bennie
Finale Act 2   Margot, the Red Shadow and the Company

Photos –

Robert Houston in the Dual Role
The Red Shadow (Pierre Birabeau).

Grace Tough as Margot Bonvalet

Page 10

SPANISH LADIES OF THE CHORUS

Bon Cox as General Birabeau.
Ngaire Porter as Azuri.

Bob Ross as Benjamin Kidd

Page 11

1955 – PRODUCTION PERSONNEL – 1955

THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE OF THE SOCIETY

and

Producer   Eva Moore
Musical Director   Cedric White
Ballet Mistress   Jean Ballantyne
Stage Director   Cedric Wright
Assistant Stage Director   Les Woodfine
Hon. Pianiste   Winifred Quarrie
Hon. Prompt   Ingrid Husheer
Make Up   Bonnie Houston
Lighting Director   Dick Tyler
Chief Mechanic   Ira Owen
Electrical Effects   Jack Isles
Properties   Edwin Brown
Wardrobe   Elizabeth Monrad
Secretary-Treasurer   Rodney Wimsett
Assistant Secretary   Brian T. Grossman
Publicity and Programme   Sid Henney and Ted Herniman

NAPIER OPERATIC SOCIETY (INC.)

CREDITS.

Assistants to Wardrobe Mistress –
Mrs. E. Collier, Mrs. B. Herniman, Mrs. E. H. White, Pat Spriggs, Judith Lambert, Sally Barry, F. Field.

Assistants to Property Director –
T. Billington, W. B. Spence, R. Ingle, L. Fleming, C. Thurston, Miss D. Brown, B. Lord, J. Calnan.

Assistants to Make-up Supervision –
Keith Monaghan, Helen McConochie, Isobel Johnson, Bill Wells.

The Hamilton Operatic Society for Scenery and Costumes.
Murray Roberts and Co., Ltd., for storage space.
The Daily Telegraph Co., Ltd.
The Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune.
Mrs. B. Herniman for teas for cast.
Army Department for rifles and equipment.
Napier Repertory Society for spotlights.
Dereck Alford for scenery repairs.
Captain A. A. Brandon.
R. Cawston for loan of horse.
G. Donghi for loan of donkey.

Page 12

Photos

THE SPANISH BALLET.

Reg Johnson as Hassi, Maia Alexander as Neri, John Boswell as Hadji, Ray Bennett as Mindar.

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Daily Telegraph Print

Original digital file

CoozeL814_DesertSongProgramme.pdf

Business

Napier Operatic Society Inc.

Date published

1955

Format of the original

Booklet

Accession number

814/1959/43370

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