Humphrey Spender photographed a performance of Madame Butterfly at the Grand Theatre, Bolton on Wednesday 22nd September. We can date the photographs by the written observation he made of the matinee.
Observation of Madame Butterfly
Humphrey Spender’s written observation of Madame Butterfly:
H.S. September 22nd
Madame Butterfly Matinee
Wed 2.30 Grand
Small but attentive audience.
Women kept hats and coats on.
A few carried conversations on into introductory music to acts. Two women in front talking about a very bad accident – (young man lost an arm an injured the other terribly but is pulling himself together well). Poor playing by orchestra. Singing quite good but no idea of acting. Scenery suitably Japanese, ex-aggerated. Slit-eyed make up and European idea of tiny steps taken by Japanese women. Coiffure as in Japanese prints. Emphasis on WHITE characters (see plot) obtained by men in white ducks (semi-naval & uniform) and Lews European wife in white cotton dress (pre-war slinky), parasol, white cotton stockings, broad brimmed red hat, white high heeled shoes, hideous horse-like face. Big limbs uncontrolled.
Comments heard were confined to remarks on the sweet, quiet behaviour of child (aged about 3-4). No comments heard about music.
A programme for the performance of Madame Butterfly including a cast list.