Le Bal Masqué

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Le Bal Masqué ("The masked ball") is a comic opera[1] by Arthur Henry Ward (1883–1959)[2], with music by Henry Vernon.

Not to be confused with a "side-splitting entertainment" called The Bal Masqué (Sloppy Sam) (Anon.).

The original text

According to Allardyce Nicoll (1975), this was first performed at the Parkhurst Theatre on 16 May, 1898 and billed as a "new opera" done by the Battersby Juvenile Opera in Eastbourne on 25 May 1898.

The Bal Masqué (Sloppy Sam), which appears to have been an earlier, burlesque-style work, well known among the Garrison Players in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town in the 1860s. F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p. 260) ascribes it to Arthur H. Ward, but this is clearly impossible, since Ward was only born in 1883. However, it may have been a possible source for Ward's comic opera.

Translations and adaptations

A "side-splitting entertainment" known by a variety of names, e.g. The Bal Masqué or Sloppy Sam the Confidential Ticket Collector), The Bal Masqué (Sloppy Sam) or simply The Bal Masqué, this was apparently a Christy style act, well known in Cape Town in the 1860s It is ascribed to Arthur H. Ward by F.C.L. Bosman (1980: p. 260), as the author of Le Bal Masqué, but this is highly unlikely to be true since Ward was only born in 1883. It must have been earlier, burlesque-style work.

See The Bal Masqué (Sloppy Sam)

Performance history in South Africa


Allardyce Nicoll. 1975. A History of English Drama 1660-1900: Late 19th Century Drama 1850-1900 Cambridge University Press[3]

Eastbourne Gazette East Sussex, England, 25 May 1898[4]

F.C.L. Bosman. 1980. Drama en Toneel in Suid-Afrika, Deel II, 1856-1912. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik: pp.260,

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