21 AUGUST 1841, Page 15


THE English Opera-house is converted into a court of appeal for in- jured dramatists, from the decision of managers to the judgment of the public. Mr. GEORGE STEPHENS published The Hungarian Daughter as a dramatic poem ; but finding it highly praised for its acting qualities, by the newspapers and magazines, adapted it for the stage under the title of Martinuzzi, or the Patriot, and submitted it last summer to Mr. MACREADY ; who is said to have signified his opinion that it would succeed in the representation : it was, however, returned to the author by the manager of the Haymarket, because there was really no chance of an opening. It was then offered to Covent Garden Theatre, but no notice whatever was taken of more than one applica- tion. Finding all legitimate avenues closed against him, Mr. STEPHENS petitioned the Lord Chamberlain to allow his tragedy to be performed at the English Opera-house ; but his suit was rejected. The only resource left to him was to cut down the five-act play into a burletta in three parts, with songs and music, in order to evade the law which forbids heroes and heroines of tragedy to declaim on any other boards than those of the Patent Theatres, except with the cooperation of vocalists, and to make their exits with an orchestral accompaniment. This is a very absurd regulation, doubtless; but as SHARSPERE is sub- jected to similar treatment on the Surrey side of the Thames, Mr. STEPHENS must be fain to put up with it on the Middlesex side, till a more rational state of things is brought about. To effect this needful re- form is one of the objects of the present speculation ; and whether it succeed or not in vindicating the claims of rejected dramatists, it will tend to overthrow the theatrical monopoly.

The company is a good one ; including Mrs. WARNER, Miss MAY- WOOD, Miss FORTESCUE, and Messrs. Evrox, PHELPS, and SELBY ; with Miss CoiLorr and Mr. MORLEY as vocalists. The long string of pane- gyrics on 'the dramatic merits of the poem, that border the playbill, bespeaks a favourable reception of it from a portion of the press. Captain MARRYAT, too, has entered the field with the light troops ; "an original entertainment in one act," called The Cloak and the Bonnet, by the author of "Peter Simple," being the afterpiece ; in which Mr. MAY WOOD enacts a Scotchman.