7 JANUARY 1843, Page 13


THE only novelties we have noted this week have been at Covent Garden. Miss RAINFORTH appeared on Tuesday in the character of Sentiramide; a bold attempt, which the result has justified. The com- parison with ADELAIDE KEMBLE was too obvious not to have been -dared ; but evidently in no immodest spirit. In natural qualifications for the part the new aspirant was not without some advantages : in height, in feminine grace, in sweetness of voice, she is better than her model ; but in command of the stage, physical energy, power of voice and artful use of it, and in dramatic force of expression, ADELAIDE KEMBLE was incomparably superior. Yet in all those respect the pupil made an approach to her mistress which astonished even admiring friends. Her personation of the part was less to be called an imitation than the adoption of an idea. It was ADELAIDE KEMBLE'S version ; the mode of expression was copied, even down to the details of gesticu- lation; but, instead of' a servile copy, it appeared rather as if the mind of the artist had been struck with a particular method of expressing an idea that was thoroughly understood, and therefore had appropriated it. Thus, one recognized ADELAIDE KEMBLE in the ghost-scene, and still more in the recriminating duet with Assur; yet the style was more subdued : and in the duet, if there was less of vehement passion, there was not less of dignity. But the most important respect in which Miss RAINFORTH followed her model was in the sustained dramatic ex- pression given to every action and note of the part. It has hitherto been the vice of our English singers, that perhaps with the exception of some " points," they have gone through the music of their part with little more use of histrionic art than was absolutely necessary to get them on and off the stage : the "acting" of the part was mere surplusage, not in the province of a singer, and rather beneath it. The plan was of course fatal to dramatic music. ADELAIDE KEMBLE broke that spell ; and Miss RAINFORTH'S performance of Tuesday night may be regarded as the first fruits of the theatrical revolution. Her performance of Adalgisa had already raised her in the estimation of the critical ; but the gentleness and propriety which distinguished her in that were not sufficiently opposed to her old constrained carriage quite to wean her from it. In Semiramide she may be said to have laid it aside, but little trace of it remaining, and to have adopted what painters would call "her second manner." Whether she will be able to carry out the new method in parts of less mark and force, remains to be seen.

The other principal parts were performed as usual. Mrs. Saaw's ambrosial tones fell as richly as ever on the ear ; while Miss RAIN- FORTH'S conversion to the new school seemed to make the other's lack in energy and carriage more plain than it has yet shown. GIUBELEI sang Rossuafs magnificent traitor, Assur, effectively, and looked it to the full. The audience on this occasion evinced a lively, almost an eager, interest in the drama ; the points of interest told well ; and a not un- discriminating applause cheered on the new actress-singer in her coura- geous enterprise.