THE GREAT THEATRES.
WE have had experience of Mr. WELSH'S industry and ability when' he has desired to operate on the public mind in favour of any of his debutantes, but we were not prepared for so successful a display of his powers in this way as the appearance and tone of the Covent Garden audience manifested on Thursday night. We know that no pains had been spared to conciliate the favour of those who either report their own opinion of what they see and hear, or retail that of others: the attack on the insulted majesty of the Times had been industriously chronicled and indignantly repelled : and we were surprised, on entering the house, "to find only " standing- room " in the pit a quarter of an hour before the curtain drew up, —a novel sight at Covent Garden this year, and a sufficient proof that no inconsiderable exertion had been used to obtain such an audience to witness the debut of a young lady, whose unpretend- ing professional life was told in the three lines which commenced our " Musical Chat" of last week. All this maneuvering, we will honestly confess, had not predisposed us in favour of Mr. WELSH'S pupil ; and, coupling these endeavours to bespeak the favour of the audience, with what we recollected' of her singing at the Oratorios a few years since; we anticipated an appearance far less successful than that which we have now the pleasure to record. _Haldane is a good part for any singer who is really up to it. 'There is as much variety as ARNE was capable of giving, in the style of the different songs ; they are all favourites, and " The Soldier tired" is a trump card for any competent singer to hold. It is a part, too, in which Mr. WELSH is well able to supply that degree of finish which is necessary to insure success. In knowledge of the English school of dramatic music, we Vie him to have few equals. He was cradled in it, and under- stands thoroughlv the tactics of this department of his art. His selection-of Mandane for the debut of his pupil, is a proof that he rightly estimates her capabilities. Miss SHIRREFF'S voice is sweet, rather than powerful ; winning its way to the ear by the richness of its quality and the correctness of its tone, rather than surprising it ,by any wonderful display of volume. We do not mean to indicate that it is ndt amply sufficient to fill Covent Garden Theatre ; on the contrary, we are quite sure every inflexion must have been -distinctly audible at the remotest corners : but it approaches more nearly to the tone and quality of Miss STEPHENS'S voice than that of Mrs. WOOD or MISS INVERARITY. Nor ought we to OX- peet the full and self-possessed development of Miss SHIRREFF'S powers, while going through the fearful ordeal of a " first appear- ance.on any stlge." We exceedingly admired the good taste with which-she went through the whole of her songs : there was very, very little to censure in this respect, and a great deal to praise. Site sang Arne's music, and not her own- or her master's. The beautiful melody " If o'er the cruel tyrant, Love," was more perfectly given than we have heard since the days of Miss STE- eFIENS,—with the exception of one appogiatura, which we would willingly have spared. Mrs. WOOD chooses to interrupt its graceful flow by constant pauses and misplaced roulemens; in Miss SHIR- REFF's hands, every ornament was brought within the time, and the measure preserved, as it ought to be, unbroken. It will be anticipated, from what we have said, that the song in question, " Let not rage,' and the opening duet, were the most successful parts of the cha- racter. The divisions in the bravuras were neatly executed ; and in " The Soldier tired," she sustained the D in alt with perfect ease ; but, of Course, the grandeur, the volume, by which we have• seen an audience taken, as it were, by storm, were wanting. We take Miss SarnauFF's line to be that which Tvliss.SrEpHENs SO long and so delightfully sustained: her success in Polly, for in- stance, will be certain ; and having enjoyed the advantage of early and good training under her former. preeeptors, in addition to the advantages which she at present enjoys, she is, at once, qualified to take a high rank in that profession in which we sincerely wish her a long and prosperous career. The reception of the debutante was flattering, we should say too flattering: the indiscreet zeal of her friends and those of her pre- ceptor was often offensively manifested. The senseless call for " Welsh" and " Shirreff," which proceeded from certain indi- viduals at the close of the opera, ought to have been spared. The audience, very properly, did not respond to this absurd effort ; and Mr. WILSON was quietly allowed to give out the repetition of the opera on Saturday and four nights in the next week. It was an- nounced in the bills, that Mr. WELSH would " preside at the pianoforte," and he did so preside ; but we would suggest to him, that it is not necessary, with the Covent Garden orchestra, to make the pianoforte the prominent instrument. Those who are nightly accustomed to play the music of SPOHR, ROSSINI, and AUBER,- may surely be trusted with that of ARNE without a prompter. Of BRAHAM'S Artabanes it is quite unnecessary to speak. All his wonted spirit and energy were infused into " Thy father, away r". and " Behold on Lethe's dismal strand." WILSON- disappointed us in Arbaces—we think he must have been unwell. HARRIET CAWSE sung the songs in the part of Artaxerxes with excellent taste. Those which belong to Rimenes and Sentira were (con- sidering who had to play the characters) judiciously omitted.