This one act opera requires three sets, SATBB soloists, mixed chorus, children’s chorus and an orchestra of full string sections, 3 flutes/piccolo, 2 oboes, 1 cor anglais, 2 clarinets, 1 bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 horns, 3 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, harp and percussion. Where possible the full score used for performance by the composer when conducting has been used to identify fragments. This score is indicated by its catalogue number throughout. Where a second check has been necessary this has also been included; in this case the check has been via a vocal and piano score in which not only the usual form is present but which includes rare detailing. The libretto is by the composer.
The one act opera Stella was given at Her Majesty’s Theatre, Melbourne, on 4 and 11 May 1912. Billed as an opera in three scenes, it was directed by Madame Elise Wiedermann and Mr Harry Hill. The composer conducted. Signor Rebottars was Chorus Master and the cast consisted of:
Stella (Soprano)—Rosina Buckman
Dr Kirke (Tenor)—Richard Hawley
Mostyn Chamley (Bass)—A. Bartleman
Rev. Weldon (Baritone)—Stanley Horwood
Mrs Chase (Mezzo-Soprano)—Marg. Murdoch.
The programme clearly sets the place of action as: ‘Australia.’ Fifteen performances were given in London at the Palladium from 8 June 1914.
Scene 1: In the house of the widowed Mrs Chase her child lies ill, attended by Dr Noel Kirke who is in love with the child’s nurse, Stella. A friend of Mrs Chase, Mostyn Chamley, mayor of the town and President of the Social Purity Society, visits the house which Stella and Kirke who are there conferring over the treatment of the child. Chamley recognises Stella as the girl whom he eloped with ten years before but whom he has since deserted. Chamley, now married with a family and a position to protect, hints at assistance for Stella in return for her silence. Stella treats the offer with contempt but Chamley broods over the power he feels she has over him. The Rector, Rev. F Weldon, finds Chamley in Mrs Chase’s house and speaks to him about the dislike of the Jewish Kirke’s being called in to attend Mrs Chase’s son. Kirke has dismissed the nurse sent by the Rector and substituted Stella. For a member of his congregation therefore Kirke had in fact substituted a woman the Rector regarded as of bad repute.
Like Chamley, he had recognised her as the girl who had run off to have an affair with a man who abandoned her some time later. At the time, the Rector recalls, Chamley was on holiday with the Weldons. The Rector intends to tell Mrs Chase, a member of the Social Purity Society, that Kirke has placed this ‘wicked woman’ in her household and that it can bode no good. Chamley tries to change his mind, saying that to get another nurse at short notice would be difficult. The Rector gives in. Mrs Chase enters and arranges for a meeting of the Society to be held in her house that night, as is usual, and induces Chamley to bring his new hymn for performance.
Scene 2: In the garden of Kirke’s house Stella meets the doctor in order to collect the child’s medicine. She recalls how, by Kirke’s kindness, she has been able to find work as a nurse for some time past. She announces that this happy time must now end but refuses to tell Kirke why. In order to keep her with him Kirke proposes marriage. Stella refuses. Kirke asks is it because she does not love him. Stella bursts into tears. They are interrupted by a manservant who brings the child’s medicine. Kirke gives it to Stella, warning her that it is poisonous if wrongly taken and tells her he will see her later that evening to hear her reply to his proposal. She leaves.
Scene 3: An open scene shows the ti-tree bush, the garden, verandah and lit windows of Mrs Chase’s house where she is welcoming the members of the Social Purity Society. Plcnickers pass in the ti-tree to a moonlight picnic and the strains of a waltz (known as the Stella waltz) are heard. Stella passes sadly into the house as the Rector and Chamley enter. The Rector still intends to tell Mrs Chase of Stella’s past and as Noel enters confronts him. But Kirke says he dismissed the old nurse because she drank. The Rector implies Stella is no better and Kirke demands he explain himself as he is speaking of the woman he has asked to be his wife. Kirke goes into the garden. The Rector and Chamley heatedly discuss the need to tell Mrs Chase the truth while that good lady comes onto the verandah, sees Noel there below and sings of her desire to see a match between Stella and the doctor. Stella comes out, hearing Kirke’s voice, and watches, unseen from among the garden trees. These various threads lead to a Quintet. Mrs Chase leads Kirke off. As the Rector goes to enter the house he comes face to face with Stella. They recognize one another but the Rector passes without greeting her. Agitatedly Stella goes to Chamley and asks if the Rector really knows all. Chamley says he does and that he, the Rector, will tell Mrs Chase as soon as the Society Meeting is over.
Stella considers. She cannot stay and bring dishonour to Kirke, nor leave with her name tarnished in his eyes. Chamley offers to help her. Before she can reply the window near them opens noisily and the Rector is heard announcing Chamley will address the meeting on ‘The Necessity of Pure Ideals in Our Home Life’ and that later Chamley’s new hymn will be sung. Chamley staggers wildly into the house protesting it is all a hideous nightmare. Stella drinks the child’s medicine in a suicide attempt as she hears Kirke coming. He finds her in a state of distress. She tells him of her past. Kirke breaks into an impassioned and generous declaration of sympathy for her. He still thinks her merely distraught as she sinks into his arms, dying, as the voices of the Social Purity Society rise in Chamley’s hymn. General consternation and hysteria break out as first Kirke screams, then the others rush out and realise Stella is dead.
- M-H 1/6-1—A full score
A full score of the opera Stella. Off white linen bound. Composer’s autograph. Possibly used only as a reference score. 40cm x 50cm x 2.5cm. Black inked score. Second recto inscribed ‘Stella. Opera in three Scenes by G.W.L. Marshall-Hall.’
Third recto is inscribed ‘Persons of the drama –
NOEL KIRKE. Tenor. A young physician.
MOSTYN CHAMLEY. Basso cantante. Major; and President of the local ‘Social Purity Society’; a former lover of Stella.
THE REV. WELDON. Baritone. Rector of the Parish.
STELLA WINTON. Soprano. Nurse to Mrs Chase’s sick child.
MRS CHASE. Mezzo soprano. A lady friend of the Mayor, and Rector; in whose house the members of the S.P.S. meet.
MUTE CHARACTERS. Servant to Mrs Chase. Manservant to Noel. The sick child of Mrs Chase.
Chorus of Picknickers; and of The Committee of the ‘Social Purity Society.’
Fourth recto shows pencil sketches of the stage set abstracts for Scenes 1, 2 and 3. These are inscribed over: ‘Place of the action: A seaside town in Australia. Time: Present Day (1909). Scene I. A room in the house of Mrs Chase. Scene II The garden of Dr Kirke’s house. Scene III. Garden and verandah of Mrs Chase’s house, with Bush-country, and sea-scape.’ The fifth recto is blank. The instrumentation consists of strings, 3 flutes, piccolo, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 bassoons, 4 French horns. 2 trumpets, 3 trombones, tuba, harp, kettledrum, bass drum, cymbals, gong, side drum and triangle.
The score consists of 176 score paper pages, all but six occupied. One blank endpage. Pagination occurs sporadically throughout but is not useful for general identification. The last occupied page of the score paper area is footnoted: ‘Finished in the tail of Halley’s Comet. May 12. 1910. 1.30 am. G.W.L. Marshall-Hall..’ This is in M-H’s hand.
30-stave score paper employed. No imprint. Black inked. Scene identification occurs at: Scene 1 at Cue 1—a room in the house of Mrs Chase; Scene 2 at Cue 7 after 6 bars; Scene 3 at Cue 22; Scene 4 at cue 35; Scene 5 at Cue 40b; Scene 6 at cue 49—a garden of Dr Kirke’s house; Scene 7 at cue 72, bar 16, at the Sostenuto marking—a verandah of Mrs Chase’s house; Scene 8 at cue 92 at ‘The ill you cause is worse than that you cure’; Scene 9 at cue 117 at ‘How can I live so wounded in his thoughts.’ No Scene 10 occurs in this score. The contradiction of the forepage specification of only three scenes is apparent on examination of the score paper pages.
- M-H 1/6-2—A second full score
A full score of the opera Stella. Calf bound. Possibly a performance score. 27.2cm x 35.3cm x 3cm. Black inked score. Inscribed in black on the spine: ‘Stella. Full Score.’ First recto inscribed ‘Stella. Opera in One Act by G.W.L. Marshall-Hall.’ In black ink. At the foot of the page is pencilled ‘Copyright.’ Second recto inscribed ‘Prof. Marshall-Hall Melbourne Victoria Australia. London address: c/o Messrs SCHULZ-CURTIS and POWELL. 44 Regent St. London. W. England.’ Eighth recto inscribed with case and scene list. 355 paginations of occupied score paper and three blank pages. 24-stave paper imprinted ‘B & H. Nr 14. C.’ with the Breitkopf & Härtel emblem. Running time is indicated as non-cumulative, sectionalised minutes in M-H’s hand throughout.
- M-H 1/6-3—A piano and vocal score
A piano and vocal score of Stella. Calf binding. Pages measure 30.5cm x 24cm. 265 paginations. Black inked score. First recto inscribed ‘Elkins’ (in pencil) then ‘‘Stella.’ Opera in One Act written and composed by G.W.L. Marshall-Hall. Melbourne, Feb. 1910. (1909: Dec. 23–Feb. 4: 1910)’ inked. The end pagination, p.265, gives an Index of ten scenes:
1—Mrs Chase and Noel. Noel alone
2—Noel and Stella.
3—Stella and Chamley
4—Chamley alone. Chamley and Rector
5—Mrs Chase, Rector, and Chamley (Trio)
6—Entr’ Acte. Stella and Noel
7—Picknickers. Stella alone.
8—Rector, Chamley, and Noel. Afterwards Mrs Chase and Stella (Quintett)
9—Stella and Chamley. Stella alone.
10—Noel and Stella. Ensemble.
A list of the cast follows together with a description of the place of action. This includes the following relationship key between the original three scenes and sets and the larger number of interior vocal and instrumental scenes:
‘Scenes 1-5—A room in the house of Mrs Chase.
Scene 6—A garden attached to Dr Kirke’s house.
Scenes 7-10—Before Mrs Chase’s house.’
These scenes occur within this score at:
Scene 2—p.14 at ‘Good Morning nurse’ (Noel)
Scene 3—p.41 at ‘Excuse me, is Mrs Chase in?’ (Chamley)
Scene 4—p.54 at the interlude and ‘I thought the past being past’ (Chamley
Scene 5—p.63 at ‘I fear I’m late, a strange experience’ (Rector)
Scene 6—p.76 at introduction and ‘I’m glad to see you’ (Mrs Chase). A red inked 6 is superimposed here over a black inked 5 for the scene number, thus confusing the divisions. However Scene 7 holds the roman numerals VI plus VII at p.97 at the actual set change: ‘A garden attached to Dr Kirke’s house’ and the entry ‘I saw you from my window’ (Noel) thus establishing the validity of Scene 6 commencing as the Index of the scenes at p.265 states.
Scene 7 (VII used) is left unchanged at p.133 and is marked clearly at the set change: ‘The verandah of Mrs Chase’s house.’
Scene 8—p.157 at ‘The ill you cause is worse than that you cure’ (Chamley).
Scene 9—p.208 at the introduction to Stella’s entry at the direction: ‘Stella rushes up to Chamley and plucks him agitatedly by the sleeve.’
Scene 10—p.230 at the key change (to D-flat) and time change (to 9/8), and the entry: ‘Stella! You are suffering, you are ill’ (Noel).
12-stave score paper imprinted ‘Musette No.1. Manuscript Music Paper.’ The inked words of the libretto in the vocal parts is paralleled in German. Directions are in English and German, in pencil.
- M-H 1/6-4—A second piano and vocal score
A piano and vocal score of Stella. Bound in off-white thick linen. Pages measure 25cm x 27cm Black inked score. 196 paginations with two blank pages of score paper. Seven front endpages. Front cover has printed lettering: ‘STELLA.’ First recto inscribed ‘Miss Buckman’ pencilled over another name. There is also a barely visible address: ‘Her Majesty’s Theatre Sydney.’ In pencil: ‘Mr A. Levey. 406 Humboldt Bank building. Frisco. Cal. U.S.A.’
Second recto inscribed’ ‘Stella Opera in one Act by G.W.L. Marshall-Hall.’ (Black ink). At the base of the page: ‘G.W.L. Marshall-Hall, 1 Creswick St Hawthorn, Melbourne.’ The third recto holds a pencilled diagram of ‘Mrs Chase’s room’ under the heading ‘Scene I, II, III, IV, V’ in pencil. The fourth recto holds a diagram for Scene VI. The sixth recto is inscribed with cast and scene lists but divides the three set-scenes into ten interior scenes, not nine as is generally the case in associated scores and parts for Stella. This page is in a hand differing from the preceding pages. The sixth verso is inscribed ‘N.B. The stage action is all changed. Take no notice of pencillings.’ In M-H’s hand. The frontpage and sixth recto and verso therefore differ but the remaining front endpages appear to be all in M-H’s hand. The markings on the score itself also appear to be in the composer’s hand.
12-stave score paper imprinted ‘B & H. Nr l. C.6.09’ with emblem as before. Purple and red pencil markings (for tempo and other conductor’s markings) occur throughout. Some overscoring. Cuts indicated at pp.38-42, 49-61, 75-79, 100-112, 188-89. At p.23 the cut is marked: ‘Cut in British Countries to $.’ Though the sixth recto indicates a Scene 10, the score does not hold a Scene 10. The Scenes are marked:
Scene III—p.32, corresponds to those of M‑H l/6‑3.
However Scene V—p.59, begins at Mrs Chase’s entry: ‘I’m glad to see you’ and the reply ‘Dear Mrs Chase, the Social Purity Society, you know’ (Rector).
Scene VI—p.76, begins at the change of scenery—A garden attached to Dr Kirke’s house. A long introduction leads to Noel’s entry: ‘I saw you from my window’ and the reply ‘How kind you are’ (Stella).
Scene VII—p.110, begins at the change of scenery: The Verandah of Mrs Chase’s house and entry of children’s chorus followed by Stella’s entry: ‘Tired nature sleeps.’
Scene VIII—p.121, corresponds with M-H 1/6-3.
Scene IX—p.164, begins at Stella’s entry: ‘How can I live so wounded in his thoughts.’
- M-H 1/6-5—Sections of a piano and vocal score
Sections of a piano and vocal score of Stella. All identification is taken from M-H 1/6-2.
M-H 1/6-5: 1-1. Scene 4 of Stella. 20 paginations of score paper. 12 staves imprinted ‘Musette No.1 Manuscript Music Paper.’ Pasted together at the left edge.
M-H 1/6-5: 1-2. Scene 4 of Stella. Fragment. Once the end page of M-H 1/6-5: 1-1. An alternative ending of the vocal trio and the following orchestral interlude’s opening from Scene 4, p.126, cue 48 of M-H 1/6-2.
M-H 1/6-5: 2. Scene 6 of Stella. 4 pages of 12-stave score paper. No imprint. Marked: ‘Noel’s Cavatina in Stella. Scene 6, before the last pause of the introduction’ in M-H’s hand.
M-H 1/6-5: 3. Scene 7 of Stella. 4 pages of 12-stave score paper imprinted ‘Bell Brand No.2a’ with bell emblem. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 Scene 7. Chorus of children, youths and girls, from the 4th bar of p.223 to the end of p 229. with an unidentified 4 lines headed: ‘No 2 (di.’
M-H 1/6-5: 4. Scene 7 of Stella. 20 pages (i.e. 10 leaves) of score paper of 12 staves. No imprint. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 pp.189-231.
M-H 1/6-5: 5. Parts for 2 bassoons. Physically part of the artifact, not a misplaced article. Corresponds with M-H 1/6-2 Scene 6 (cues 70, 71, 72), Scene 7 (from before cue 75 to 91), Scene 8 (cues 92 to 148). 20 irregular paginations 12-stave score paper imprinted ‘B & H. Nr1.C.6.09’ with emblem.
M-H 1/6-5: 6. Scene 8 of Stella. The vocal quintet corresponding to M-H 1/6-2, pp.246 (from the change of key and Stella’s entry) to p.265. 16 pages paginated in pencil 27 to 42. 12-stave score paper imprinted ‘Musette No.1 Score paper.’
M-H 1/6-5: 7. Scene 8 of Stella. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 pp 233-355 (i.e. the end of the opera). 66 pages (33 leaves) of 12-stave score paper without imprint. The pencilled markings at I (Score 9) and M (Scene 10), and again at Mm, are not consistent with the full score which does not have a Scene 9 or 10 marked. These markings of the section are in blue pencil and in M-H’s hand.
M-H 1/6-5: 8. Fragment of Stella. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2, the last bar of p.211 and from bars of p.212. A single leaf of 12-stave score paper. No imprint. Contains 5 bars of a vocal and piano section with the words: ‘other Happy, Happy, radiant worlds!’
M-H 1/6-5: 9-1. Scene 9 of Stella. So marked. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2, p.289 at cue 117 to bar one of p.296. Vocal part: Stella. 4 pages of 12-stave score paper imprinted ‘Bell Brand No.3a’ with bell emblem.
M-H 1/6-5: 9-2. Fragment of a vocal and piano section of Stella, continuing M-H 1/6-5:9-1. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2, p.296 (bar 2-3) to p.301 (bar 3), i.e. part of the final scene from midway in cue 121 to the end of cue 124. Vocal parts for Stella and Noel in the poison scene.
M-H 1/6-5: 9-3. Scene 10 of Stella. First verso headed in pencil: ‘Part of Last Act.’ In another hand: ‘Scene 10.’ Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2, third last bar p.301 to bar 2, p.337, from cue 125 to cue 142, i.e. the end of the section to the Furioso and change of key. 24 pages (12 leaves) of 12-stave score paper imprinted ‘Musette No.1. Manuscript Music Paper.’ This takes up M-H 1/6-5:9-2 after a lapse of 6 bars.
M-H 1/6-5: 10. Fragments of a vocal and piano score of Stella. Originally one artifact. There are 32 leaves (64 pages) of score paper of halved paper originally of 30 staves but roughly cut to 15 staves of compressed full score paper 38cm x 13.75cm. This score has been, at one time, edge-taped into sections with white masking tape. Much of this is still intact. The group of fragments thus separated do not appear to have ever been bound as a single entity. There is some pagination running 1 to 48 at which point in the 64 pages the pencilled numbers cease. Thus M-H 1/6-5:10 denotes the group of fragments. Individual parts are given the suffix -1 to -6.
M-H 1/6-5: 10-1. pp.1-7 of M-H 1/6-5:10. Corresponds to Scene 1 of Stella of M-H 1/6-2 from p.1 to the end of the score at p.18 bar 2.
M-H 1/6-5: 10-2. pp.9–17 of M-H 1/6-5:10. Together with 3 pages not numbered. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 at Scene 5 of Stella from cue 40 (b) where the scene commences to its end at p.129, cue 48. These pages are folded together, not bound.
M-H 1/6-5: 10-3. pp.19-29 of M-H 1/6-5:10. These pages are not numbered on the recto. Headed in pencil: ‘Scene 8. Quintetto.’ Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 Scene 8 of Stella, cue 97, bar 4, p.243 to the end of bar 2, p.271. This occupies up to p.28 (implied recto) of this fragment. Pages 29-30 hold music headed: ‘Scene 9 (Finale)’ blue pencilled. Corresponds to all but one bar of p.348 from the 2nd bar of cue 146 at the Molto lento to the end of the opera at p.355 of M-H 1/6-2. This scene is in an altered form from that of the full score. Signed at the verso of p.29 with Marshall-Hall’s initials: ‘G.W.L. M-H.’
M-H 1/6-5: 10-4. pp.21-26 and pp 43-48 of M-H 1/6-5: 10. Paginated in pencil. Headed: ‘Scene 8’ in blue pencil. Corresponds to Scene 8 of Stella in M-H 1/6-2, p.232 cue 92 to p.245, 2nd last bar of cue 98. A gap then occurs. Page 43 of the fragment picks up the scene at the third bar of p.271 of the full score and runs to the end of bar one, p.292, cue 119, at the stretto marking within the scene.
M-H 1/6-5: 10-5. 21 pages (11 leaves), unnumbered. Headed: ‘Scene 9–10.’ Continues M-H 1/6-5:10-4. Corresponds to M-H 1/6-2 bar 2, p.292 at cue 119 to the end of bar one, p.348 cue 146 at the Molto lento marking where the fragment breaks off within the scene.
M-H 1/6-5: 10-6. The back page of M-H 1/6-5:10-6. Detached. Blank. Holds the words: ‘Mrs Chase’ in blue pencil. The full score M-H 1/6-2 contains only eight scenes. Thus this vocal and piano fragment falls within Scene 8. However, it corresponds more accurately for the additional scene marks with M-H 1/6-3 at p.107 (Scene 9) and p.230 (Scene 10).
- M-H 1/6-6—Orchestral parts
M-H 1/6-6: 1-34. Orchestral parts of Stella. Present are: 3 first violin parts, 4 second violin, 2 viola, 3 violoncello, 2 double bass, 1 first and second flute, 1 third flute and piccolo, 1 first and second oboe, 1 English horn, 1 first and second clarinet, 1 bass clarinet, 1 first and second bassoon, 1 first and second horn, 1 third and fourth horn, 1 first and second trumpet, 1 first and second trombone, 1 third trombone and tuba, 1 harp, 1 kettledrum, 1 bass drum, cymbals, gong, side drum and triangle. 1 abridged version of first and second horn, 2 abridged versions of first and second trumpets, 1 abridged version of tuba, 1 abridged version of percussion.
- M-H 1/6-7—Libretti
M-H 1/6-7: 1
Libretto of Stella. Typed copy in purple. 25 paginations. White paper sewn heavily 20cm x 32.75cm. Front cover pencilled over with London addresses and a timetable. Text shows many deletions in pencil. Pp.22-24 pinned together. Cuts indicate concern to reduce running time. Possibly a copy used for the London production.
M-H 1/6-7: 2
Light Plot Stella. Last Act. So designated on first page. 7 leaves of exercise paper blue rules on one side only and in red and black inks in capitals. Describes additional stage business for the Last Act of Stella. Last page inscribed. ‘Please return to Mr Harry Hill 406 Collins St. Melbourne.’
M-H 1/6-7: 3
A hand written libretto of Stella in a black covered exercise book with red edged pages 18.5cm x 24.25m x 0.75cm. Unpaginated. 41 leaves out of 64 occupied. Black ink and blue pencil with numbers and additions consisting of stage directions in plain pencil. Only the additions appear to be in the composer’s hand.