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British Musical Theatre   The Belle of Cairo

The Belle of Cairo opened on 10 October 1896 at the Royal Court Theatre with book by Cecil Raleigh and F. Kinsey Peile, and music and lyrics by Peile, who was a former Indian Army officer. It received a mixed critical reception and ran for only seventy-one perfromances. But it was topical, set in Egypt against a background of the war with the dervishes.

Nephtys, 'the belle of Cairo', follows her sweetheart, Sir Gilbert Fane of the 21st Cavalry, to the front disguised as a boy servant. Among the songs is The Gordon Boys, in praise of military traiing for orphans and a grand patriotic number for Fane, An Englishman's Duty, which was well received.

Dramatis Personæ

THE EARL OF BULCESTER Charles Wibrow
LADY MOLLY ROSEMERE
LADY ERMYNTRUDE ROSEMERE
}
}
(his Daughters) {
{
Ethel Earle
Milly Thorne
JAMES PARKER
SUSAN SMITH
}
}
(his Servants) {
{
Arthur Nelstone
Maud Wilmot
COOK'S GUIDE Mr. F. D. Pengelly
MR. STALLABRASS Mr. V. M. Seymour
MAUD STALLABRASS Miss Ricke
MARTHA STALLABRASS Miss Loraine
MARY STALLABRASS Miss Bliss
MR. PATCHING H. V. Surrey
MRS. PATCHING Grace Dudley
LUIGI (Waiter at the Hôtel de France) Mr. Horniman
DUVAL BEY (formerly of Egyptian Civil Service, now keeper of Gambling Saloon) Eugene Mayeur
CAPTAIN SIR GILBERT FANE, Bart. (Egyptian Army) John Peachey
MAJOR TREVOR
LIEUTENANT MARCHMONT
}
}
(25th Hussars, quartered at Cairo) {
{
Philip Leslie
E. W. Tarver
SURGEON CAPTAIN CREE Mr. Roy
ALI IBRAHIM   (A Carpet Merchant) Michael Dwyer
BARBARA   (his Sister-in-Law) Giulia Warwick
NEPHTHYS   (his Daughter) May Yohe

MIDI Files

ACT I   -   A Street in Cairo.

  • No. 1 - Opening Chorus - "Me good donkey boy, rare good donkey boy - try my donkey, quick!  He's a kicker, he's a stayer, he's a flyer, he's on hire..."
  • No. 2 - Trio - Ali, Duval and Fane - "The wisdom of ages, the spoils of the tombs that Ptolemy built by the Nile, the gems of the East, the wealth of its looms..."
  • No. 3 - Song - Barbara - "Long years ago there came to me a gallant cavalier.  A naughty, silly, giddy little puss I was, I fear, a little puss I fear..."
  • No. 4 - Song - Fane - "Oh Nephthys, darling Nephthys, with thy raven hair so long, thine hazel eyes fring'd lashes and thy voice so sweet in song..."
  • No. 5 - Duet - Nephthys and Fane - "Comes it from earth or from Heaven above, the greatest boon to man is love, sweet love.   Love, sweet love is the poets's..."
  • No. 6 - Song - James & Chorus - "When once you leave your native heath, your fireside and your home, you sail away to foreign parts and o'er the sea you roam..."
  • No. 7 - Quintet - Bulcester, Lady Molly and others - "We're three gay things out on a spree, having left our dear relations;  we're all as bright as bright can be..."
  • No. 8 - Duet - Bulcester and Barbara - "When a baby in the cradle, with a porridge bowl and ladle, I was tickelish ... She was tickelish ... In the earliest days..."
  • No. 9 - Quartet - Duval, Molly and Chorus - "Entrez, Mesdames, entrez!  Ici vous trouverez Baccarat, Rouge-et-noir et Roulette!  Entrez, le feu est fait! ..."
  • No. 10 - Song - Fane - "The soldier hears the bugle clear, it sets his pulses leaping;  he bids adieu to lov'd ones dear, and leaves them sadly weeping..."
  • No. 11 - Finale - High Priest and Nephthys - "Allah Akbah! ... It is the solemn hour of pray'r, the sun is setting low.  From minaret the Muezzin calls the faithful..."

ACT II   -   A British Encampment on the Nile.

  • No. 12 - Dervish Chorus and Dance
  • No. 13 - Trio - Lord B. and Daughters - "We've had a very, very busy time in this warm and very enervating clime.  We've travell'd far, with reason and with rhyme..."
  • No. 14 - Song - Nephthys - "By the banks of silv'ry Nile there liv'd a Hoo Poo gay; in among the sugar cane the Hoo Poo sang all day.  Thro' the lentil fields he'd fly,"
  • No. 15 - Song - James - "Oh! I'm sorry that I ever join'd the army in my young and giddy youth; I had visions that the life was sweet and balmy, but I quickly learnt..."
  • No. 16 - Chorus of Soldiers - "We're going to draw our rations, and we do so ev'ry day;  the 'taters, meat, and groceries, just in the usual way..."
  • No. 17 - Dance
  • No. 18 - Song - Lady Molly and Chorus - "In a quiet little village, not very far away, there liv'd a pretty maiden just as sweet as flow'rs of May, and ev'rybody said..."
  • No. 19 - Song - Nephthys - "Far away in dear old England a happy home now stands, founded by a noble hero and raised by willing hands.  The aim and object..."
  • No. 20 - Song - Lord Bulcester - "A maiden to the city came who had a pleasant smile - she was such a timid little thing;  she had but little money and her dress..."
  • No. 21 - Song - Barbara - "In happy days of yore, when quite a baby child, well can I remember the song my mother sang, as sitting by my cot my sorrows..."
  • No. 22 - Finale - "We're three gay things out on a spree, having left our dear relations;  we're all as bright as bright can be, striving after new sensations..."

External Link
Vocal Score at the Internet Archive

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