10 MARCH 1838, Page 14


A YOREMNEft might arrive at a pretty correct estimate of the musical taste of the English public, from listening to the performance of A USER'S music in The Ambassadress at the St. James's Theatre, and seeing MOZART'S opera The Magic Flute advertised as an afterpiece at Drury Lane-a sort of makeweight to the waning popularity of a new tragedian. He would not need to hear the Lent entertainments at the Adelphi and the St. James's, nor then wonder to see " The Mountain Sylph," " Fra Diavolo," and " Amilie" occupying the place of farce and spectacle in the play-bills. Not but that The Am- bassadress is about as well performed at the St. James's as perhaps it could have bees at Covent Garden or Drury Lane,-making a reason. able abatement for the scale of the orehe,tra ani the scenery; (11 tee it as a current instance of the present state of music on stage ; and as it is likely to remain, until we have a theatre wholly de: voted to opera, and under the management of a competent director having the power RR well as the will to promote its improvement. Though the music of The Ambassadress is more worthy of Ault, than that of the Black Domino, yet, like it, the opera depends so much for its success on the perfect ensemble of the representation, that it it hardly fair to judge of the music separately. Tne story is merely% vehicle for stage-effect and claptrap. A prima donna is offered nut. riage by an Ambassador ; but finding that her admirer has fallen at tilt feet of every popular idol of the day, she wisely rejects his propos,*

i and returns to the stage, from which she had retired in obedience re his wishes. The taking incident of the piece is the representation or the opera-house as seen from the Ambassador's box, and the unexpected appearance of the Ambassadress elect as the substitute for the prire,, donna her successor : but the attempt at scenic illusion fails.

Miss RAINFORTH, as the Amhassadress, looks and sings charmingly; the duet in which she pretends to be ignorant of music, and As SMITH, as the sister of the Ambassador, instructs her, is ingeniously conceived, and capitally executed by both performers. BRAIL01, the Manager, is more at home in the character on the stage, than he seems to be in reality. He is dressed in a crimson velvet frock.eoer with gilt buttons and gold-laced trouser4-a very proper costume fort conjuror, but that is not his character. J. WEBSTER, who playedthe Ambassador, took the audinice by surprise in appearing as a vocalie; and very creditably he acquitted himself in his new capacity: we osly wish the orchestra had been as correct in time and tune as he was.