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the excellencies, and some of the gayer scenes the imperfections I have ventured to elucidate. In a word I am disposed always to approve, frequently to esteem, and occasionally to admire this lady's exertions in comedy, in which only, in Scotland at least, I have seen her perform.
Both in tragedy and comedy Mrs. Johnson maintains a respectable rank. The lovely Miss Benson promises something; but to attain considerable eminence, her talents require culture and experience, as does her figure, years to be thoroughly formed. To Mrs. Ben. net I can afford but a line, and she has already got it. (By the way she is a pretty tolerable singer). The performer of the old women whose voice appears to possess but two or three notes, is a poor substitute for that excellent and judicious actress, Mrs. Jones. Such are those of the new company whom I can recollect as entitled to notice. On the other performers I shall offer a few observations in your next.
THE ITALIAN OPERA.
We have searcely room to notice Catalini, the new vocal wonder, who is now enrapturing all the world at the King's theatre. Wonderful indeed she is, but perfection she is not. Our opinion of this accomplished singer, is this. Her vocal abilities are unques. tionably of the first order, and on certain notes, her powers are superior to almost any of her predecessors--but that she bears away the palm we deny; her voice, though of prodigious extent, is not uniformly excellent; the upper notes are entirely the produce of art and incessant practice. Of such notes she can never be quite certain ; and being liable to falter, they will occasionally be out of tune. The upper part of the admirable Billington's voice, was perfect: the utmost sweetness, flexibility, and accuracy, were observeable at the very top of her compass.” Madame Catalini has the advantage of a fine person; her action is elegant and expressive, and her recitative given in a very superior style. All the cadenzas and graces, are executed with remarkable neatness and precision : her manner of ascending the cromatic scale by half tones, is truly surprizing, and her skipping the double octave, if we may use the expression, is most adroitly managed; but in the sostenuto, one of the great s’amina of the vocal art, she seldom soars above mediocrity, In this style of singing, Madame Mara was impressive in the highest degree; her intonation was always just and perfect, and she never failed to reach the heart. Her manner of singing serious music can never be forgotten.
On the whole however Madame Catalini produces a most strikingeffect. Her attraction is immense; and the subscribers are much indebted for the spirit shewn by the proprietors in engaging, at an expence which we hear' is vast, so celebrated and extraordinary a singer.
The other novelties of this theatre are Signor Seboni, a tenor singer, whose voice is pleasing, but not sufficiently powerful for so extensive a theatre; his figure is pre-possessing, his deportment easy, and he is a good actor. Madame Perini has a voice of much sweetness ; in the execution of the airs allotted to her, she sheus considerable taste and neatness, and her person and manner are extremely interesting. She cannot fail to be a favourite. ,
OR, MONTHLY REPORT OF
· THOMAS MORTON, Esq. AMONG our living Dramatic Writers Mr. Morton ranks so deservedly high, that we have taken the earliest opportunity of, giving his Portrait a place in our Cabinet, and of accompanying it with a few brief, but authentic, particulars respecting the original.
Thomas Morton, Esq. is a native of Durham : he lost his father in his infancy, but the parental duties were affeetionately undertaken, and conscientiously fulfilled, by his uncle Mr. Maddison, the stock-broker. He was educated at Soho, under Dr. Barrow, and bad for his school-fellow Mr. Holman, who, as well as himself, felt a strong attachment to the drama, encouraged and increased no doubt by the applause which attended their performance in the plays occasionally exhibited in that seminary. The partiality thus early acquired could not be shaken off, for though Mr. Holinan went to college to prepare himself for the .clerical habit, and Morton was entered of Lincoln's Inn, and placed under Mr. Hart of the Temple, to study Coke upon Littleton, both these gentlemen very soon relinquished all thoughts of the mitre and the woolsack, for honours more congenial with their inclinations, and no doubt considérably more within their reach. That they did not leave the substance, however, for the shadow, has been sufficiently proved; for as an actor, if not first, Mr. Holman stands in the very first rank; and, as a writer of plays, Mr. Morton may contest the palm with the proudest of his competitors.
His friend Reynolds, who, like himself, had turned his back upon the law, had succeeded erninently as a Dramatist. In one of the whinsical comedies of this gentlernan, we believe Notoriety, Morton ventured a Song, which Johnstone, in an Irishman whose brogue was inoculated with French, sung with infinite humour and effect. This was his trial of skill. His next piece was Columbus, which proved extremely attractive. Mr.
Thelwall, the Lecturer, had sent to Mr. Harris, some months before the representation of Mr. Morton's piece, an opera called the Incas of Peru, and taxed the author with having “ copied from it, in many places, scene after scene, and incident after incident." This resemblance might well have happened, for Marmontel was the original from which both pieces were derived. Similar charges are frequently made, but seldom substalitiated. Mr. Morton has as much and more reason to apply to Drury-lane for half the emoluments which accrued from the exhibition of Pizarro, because he had dramatized the Loves of Alonzo and Cora before Baron von Kotzebue,
The Children in the Wood appeared at the Haymarket. It is one of the most simple, pathetic, and interesting little dramas which our stage can boast, and will probably always be as popular as the ballad from which it is taken.
We think Zorinski followed next. He was now accused, not of robbing the living but the dead. It was said that he had borrowed a great portion of his play from Gustavus Vasa; but this charge was equally groundless with the former. The few points of resemblance are of a very general nature, and appear to have been inerely accidental. We have seen a recent imitation of Mr. Brooke's tragedy, in the Hero of the North, by Mr. Dimond, which passed without reprehension and almost without notice.
Mr. Morton's other pieces have been produced in the Collowing succession: The Way to get married was first acted on the 10th of Jan. 1795; the Cure for the Heart Ache on the 10th of Jan. 1797 ; Secrets worth knowing on the 11th of Jan. 1796; Speed the Plough on the 8th of Feb. 1800 ; and The School of Reform in Jan. 1805. The Town and Country, now in the height of its attraca tion, is noticed in a subsequent page of this number.