Curiosities of Music - online book

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Spectacular pantomimes, such as delight the thea­tre-goers at Christmas time in Europe and America, find also a congenial atmosphere in China; a most beautiful one was performed in the presence of the emperor, and Lord Macartney, in 1793. In this representation the object seemed to be, to illustrate upon the stage, the wonders and fertility of the world, or an allegory of the intermarriage of earth and ocean. The earth gave forth in this panto­mime, a large number of its animals, and products; elephants, tigers, dragons, ostriches and eagles, as well as oaks, pines, bamboos, and other speci­mens of vegetation appeared upon the stage; while upon a lower stage, the ocean sent forth whales, dolphins, porpoises, and also vessels, rocks, weeds, sponges, and coral. Each of these crea­tions was true to life, and in many of them were concealed actors who represented the motions and habits of the animals in a manner quite natural. After these products of earth and sea had per­formed several evolutions separately, each division moving in a separate circle, all united and came to the front of the stage, where a farther series of movements was enacted; suddenly the entire mass of actors divided, moving swiftly to the right and left in order to give place to the whale, who seemed a sort of commander in chief. This immense fish then advanced to the front of the stage, opposite the box in which the emperor was seated; on arriving here, he lifted his head and spurted an enormous mass of water, amounting to many barrels full, into the pit of the theatre:

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III