Hallen & Hart played "The Idea" to a very good house at the Lansing last night. "The Idea" has the honor of being the only play on the road with absolutely no plot and absolutely no situations, yet for all that it has a good deal of fun. There is no hero and no heroine, no love, no hate, no villain, no courtship, no marriage, no trouble after marriage, even. There are only very enterprising "little fisher maidens" and a corpulent African and the family of Columbus and the Salvation army. Then there were dancers, dancers who danced white skirt dances and black skirt dances and embellished their dancing with somersaults that made one wonder if such things ought to be. Some of the songs were very funny and rather new. "When the Man in the Moon Goes to Sleep," and "Two Little Girls in Blue," brought down great applause. Mr. J. A. Libby sang well, but with considerable effort. Of course Hallen and Hart were irresistibly funny and Miss Fanny Bloodgood was irresistibly pretty. The company exhibited rather bad taste in introducing "After the Ball." Special mention should hereafter be made of all companies who cling to that archaic ditty. The song is not funny any more, and it is old enough to make the pyramids green with envy. On the whole the play was very good for farce comedy and the title supplied the one thing which the play achingly lacked, an idea.
That the concerts of the Mendelssohn Quintette Club of Boston , under the direction of Mr. Thomas Ryan, are thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated by the people of Lincoln was proven by the large audience which was assembled at the Universalist church last night. Perhaps a word in regard to that organization will not be ont of place. Organized in 1849, its first concert was given in Boston. During the forty-four years since then it has held its place upon the concert stage, Mr. Ryan, to whose energy it owes its continued prosperity, being the only one of the original members who have remained with the club during the entire period.
It has numbered among its first violins such players as Jacbsohn, Listemann and Danreuther, and among its cellists Fries and Hecking . The players last night were all new to the people of Lincoln. They were Mr. Andie Verdier, violin virtuoso and concert master; Mr. Joseph Masacek, violin; Mr. Johan Rovdenburg, solo, flute and viola; Mr. Ludwig W. Hoffmanner, solo, violoncello, and of course Mr. Thomas Ryan, solo clarinette and viola. Miss Lila Jeul , the soprano soloist, will be pleasantly remembered by those who heard her last season. The opening number was the quintette in C. op. 29 by Beethoven . This was brilliantly played, but lacked in precision of attack and general ensemble. The mannerisms of Mr. Verdier, the first violinist, are not pleasant and we could not but wish that he would not make it so apparant that he was the concert master and also a violin virtuoso. This was apparent to both eye and ear throughout the entire evening.
The beautiful theme and variations for quartette by Schubert was delightfully rendered and was heartily applauded. The other numbers for strings were the charming and dainty minuet by Boccherini and an arrangement by Mr. Ryan of the well known trio in G for piano, violin and cello by Haydn. These numbers were both well rendered.
Miss Juel has a smooth, flexible voice of a pleasing quality. She sings understandingly and with the exception of a tendency to push her lower tones uses her voice to good advantage. Her fist song was "With Verdure Clad," From Haydn's "Creation." She gave a good honest rendition of the air, but was heard to better advantage in the Swedish folk song which she sang as an encore. Her second number was "Solfeig," By Edward Grieg , followed by a Spanish love song by De Roda.
The numbers selected by the players were all of a pleasing character and were well received, an encore being demanded after each number.
The fantasie for flute by Demmersemann was most satisfactorily interpreted by Mr. Rordenburg, who made good use of the opportunity to display his technique. We were especially pleased with the solo for violoncello, "Caprice Hongroise," by Dunkler , played by Mr. Hoffmann. His tone was good and he played with accuracy and a brilliancy that was contagious.
That Mr. Ryan was well received and that his clarinette solo, a fantasie of his own composition, was an interesting number it is needless to say.
Mr. Verdier was heard in a fantasie for violin, on a Russian romance, by Vieuxtemps . He plays with a purpose and brilliantly, and his number was among the best on the program, but we must take an exception to an occasional tendency to "scrape."
Mr. Ryan expects next year to be at the head of a musical institution in Augusta, Ga., but will make a number of concert trips at intervals during the season.