ANNE ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH

ANNE ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH
ALL MATERIAL ON THIS SITE IS MY COPYRIGHT. DO NOT COPY IT FOR ANY PURPOSE WHATSOEVER WITHOUT OBTAINING MY PERMISSION! Webster Booth (tenor - 1902-1984) and Anne Ziegler (soprano - 1910-2003) were best known in Britain as duettists on the Variety circuit from 1940 to 1955. During that time they rose rapidly to fame and were frequently heard and seen on radio, records, television, film and stage. Besides this Variety Act, Webster Booth was one of the foremost tenors of his generation and continued to sing in numerous oratorios throughout his career on the Variety circuit. The Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler Yahoo group is for those who remember them from the days of their success in the UK and South Africa, and for others discovering them for the first time. In the group there is a discussion forum and access to rare recordings and photographs featuring them as duettists and soloists.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

TOUR OF NEW ZEALAND & AUSTRALIA (1948)

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Pamela Davies, who collaborated with me in writing Do You Remember Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth? at the same time as my own book, Sweethearts of Song: A Personal Memoir of Anne Ziegler & Webster Booth was published by LULU ) was given a scrapbook of Australian and New Zealand press cuttings related to Anne and Webster's tour there  in 1948. Here is the list she compiled for Clare Gleeson, who wrote a book about the Charles Begg company that arranged their  tour of New Zealand. With the aid of this list Clare was able to find some of the
original articles in the New Zealand Newspaper Archive and  kindly
sent me copies of a few of these.



New Zealand list compiled by
Mrs Pamela Davies,
Pershore,
England.

On the trip to Australia aboard the maiden voyage of the Imperial Star the ship called at various South African ports, so Anne and Webster managed to do two broadcasts each in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. They picked up the ship again in Durban to sail on to Melbourne to meet their Australian accompanist from Adelaide, Clarence Black. Unfortunately their regular accompanist, Charles Forwood, was not in the best of health at this time, so chose not to travel with them on the tour.

     Clarence Black studied piano and organ at the Elder Conservatorium of Music, Adelaide. When he graduated he became the organist at the Regent Theatre and gave organ recitals each Sunday afternoon. In 1951 he accompanied Peter Dawson (aged 69, but undiminished in voice and personality by advancing age) on his concert tour of Australia.

Broadcasting in Johannesburg.



Arrival in New Zealand 1948 








Preliminary articles,
some excessively laudatory (and not always accurate) designed to whet NZ audiences' appetites




Timaru Herald/10/2/48
Wanganui Herald/11/2/48
NZ Truth 5/5/48 + photo, leaving Liverpool
New
Zealand
Truth
5 May
1948
WORLD
FAME
:  Attractive looking pair Ann Ziegler and her
husband Webster Booth are known by their voices in every home possessing a
radio. New Zealanders will shortly have the opportunity of seeing them in the
flesh, for they are already headed for a tour of the Dominion. They are about
to set sail from Liverpool with South Africa as
their first port of call.

Dominion (Wellington)/19/5/48
The Dominion
19 May
1948
TWO
ENGLISH SINGERS DUE NEXT MONTH
Webster Booth and Anne Ziegler shortly due in
New Zealand
will make their first appearance at the Town Hall on June 1 and 2. These two
stars who have achieved popularity through their contributions to light opera, musical
comedy, screen and radio entertainment are assured of a warm welcome in this
country as apart from their value as entertainers there is always a certain
curiosity as to their personalities.


     Booth after leaving school was a clerk in a firm of Birmingham accountants.  Before this he had sung in the choir of
Lincoln Cathedral.  His pleasing alto
voice changed to tenor and after seeing the possibilities at the professional
stage he applied for an audition, was given one and passed through the ranks as
a tenor in England
and Canada.


     Miss Ziegler has been known to the public since
early childhood.  She actually gave a
recital in London
while still in her teens*.
At one stage she was one of the best known of
principal “boys” in pantomime in the provinces and crossed the Atlantic to play a leading part in the musical comedy Virginia.
*This section is completely inaccurate. She was not known to the public in her childhood and gave a singing recital at the Wigmore Hall, London when she was twenty-three years of age.
Webster went on to oratorio
under Dr Malcolm Sargent with the Huddersfield Choir and the Liverpool
Philharmonic Orchestra. His career has been almost meteoric.

NZ Tablet 26/5/48 + Laughing
Lady
photo
Otago Daily Times/26/5/48 + Laughing Lady photo
Otago Daily Times
26 May
1948

SINGING
DUO
TOUR OF
NEW ZEALAND
ANNE
ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER BOOTH
Two of the most popular British singers, Anne
Ziegler and Webster Booth, are to make a tour of New Zealand in the near future.
Established favourites with a world audience through the medium of their
broadcasts and recordings, they are also well known on the British stage and
have made appearances in several films, the most recent of which The Laughing Lady has still to be
released in this country. Although ranked high as singers of more serious
musical forms both artists are equally well known in the realm of musical
comedy.
Their partnership
commenced with the film version of Faust and
their recent stage successes have included a revival of The Vagabond King and a new musical Sweet Yesterday. Oratorio, opera and the concert platform have all
been covered by this versatile duo.

NZ Listener 28.5.48 +photo
Nelson Mail 29.5.48+Laughing Lady photo
Oamaru Mail/31.5.48 +Laughing Lady photo
Auckland Herald/29/5/48
Arrival from Sydney
Weekly News/2/6/48+Photo of arrival in
Auckland, + list of towns to be visited: Nelson, New Plymouth, Palmerston
North, Wanganui, Hastings, Napier, Gisborne, Rotorua, Hamilton, Whangarei,
Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill, Gore, Oamaru, Christchurch, Blenheim, Cold Lakes
district

B Articles and crits
on their concerts




Newspaper
Dated
Date
and place of concert
Southern
Cross (Wellington)


2/6/48
Concert
in Town Hall the previous night, and another that night (1st,2nd June)
Dominion (Wellington)

Wellington Town Hall
2/6/48
Concert in Town Hall
the previous night, and another that night (1st, 2nd June)
The Dominion
2 June 1948
Last Night’s Audience
Were Enthralled
Finally Tonight
TOWN HALL 8PM
THIS IS
YOUR LAST OPPORTUNITY
TO HEAR
WEBSTER
BOOTH
(Tenor)
And
ANNE
ZIEGLER
(Soprano)
England’s King and Queen
OF SONG
With
CLARENCE BLACK
At the Piano
Ballads and Operatic Arias blend-
Ed with Gems from Musical
Comedy by Artists who “sing and
act superbly” and who bring to
the Concert Platform the romance
and glamour of the Stage and
Screen.
RESERVES STILL AVAILABLE
At Begg’s Today,
8/- and 6/- plus Tax
Also DAY SALES AT 8/- plus Tax,
And at the Town Hall tonight
From 7pm
Direction: Begg’s Celebrity Artists Co.

Evening
Post
2/6/48
Concert in Town Hall the previous night,
and another that night (1st,2nd June)
(1st,2nd June)
Evening Post
2 June 1948
ENGLISH
SINGERS
DOMINION
OPENING CONCERT
A reception as enthusiastic as any seen
recently in the Town Hall was accorded the English singers Anne Ziegler and
Webster Booth, and the Australian pianist Clarence Black when they opened a
tour of the Dominion last night.  A
large audience was present.
The programme,
though light in its nature, took added significance and depth from the high
standard of the singers, who showed that they have not been acknowledged as
experts in the field of musical comedy and light opera for nothing.  Their performance was superb, and owed its
quality as much to the personality of the artists as to their singing.
Mr Booth has a voice with a range and power
which is a rarity indeed for tenors.
His control and inflexion were perfect, even in the extreme registers
of his range.  Miss Ziegler revealed
herself to be a soprano of high quality.
Her voice was not that of the usual operatic soprano.  At no time did she lose any control over
her voice, even in the highest registers, and just as important, at no time
did her articulation appear to be any effort to her.
Although good
individually, the singers reached the heights of achievement in their
duets.  Their perfect co-operation is
perhaps the secret of their success. This co-operation extended further than
time or tone into the more difficult field of mood.  There was always a sympathy which led to a
most entrancing result in the music.
This quality was most noticeable in the singers’ signature tune Only a Rose from The Vagabond King a lovely melody which was perhaps as well known
as anything else on the programme. The traditional duet The Keys of Heaven was a remarkably good performance and gained
its success from the charm and personality of Miss Ziegler and the insouciant
humour of Mr Booth. Other singers might have managed the rest of the
programme but it was The Keys of Heaven
which showed that these came from the top rank of entertainers.
Miss Ziegler’s best
solo was Huntingdon Woodman’s song A
Birthday
. Mr Booth’s solos served to impress one further with the quality
of his voice and his powers of expression.
Mr Black, who
showed himself to be a very good accompanist, also played a number of piano
items.
A further concert
will be given tonight
.

Dominion
(Wellington)
3/6/48
Re cocktail party the previous day, given
at 33 Club in their honour attended by WB alone; AZ “indisposed”.
The Dominion
3 June 1948
Anne
Ziegler Taken Ill : Last Night’s Concert Postponed
Because of the sudden illness of Anne
Ziegler the Webster Booth-Anne Ziegler concert did not take place last night.
Practically every seat in the Town Hall was
filled when Mr C A Rendle representing the promoters announced the
postponement.
Miss Ziegler became
ill between 5 and 6 pm.
At first it was
hoped that the sickness would prove to be a passing one and even the doctor
in attendance thought that such might be the case, but after 7pm it was seen that Miss Ziegler
was still suffering, and in no condition to make a public appearance.  In these circumstances there was no option
but to cancel the concert.
Those present were
informed that it was hoped the concert would be held on Saturday night next,
and all tickets and reserves would be good for that date.  The audience took the announcement in good
part.
This arrangement
has been made possible by the cancellation of the Nelson concert.

Southland
Daily News
Southland
Daily Times
5/6/48
An introductory article.
 Evening Post (Wellington)
7/6/48
Re
second Wellington
concert on Saturday night in the
Town Hall.
Evening Post
7 June 1948
CAPTIVATING
PAIR
Anne
Ziegler and Webster Booth
Of all the celebrity artists to visit New
Zealand over the past few years possibly none have had the captivating stage
manner so typical of the English singers Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth.  At their second Wellington concert presented in the Town
Hall on Saturday night, this popular couple shared all their songs with the
audience rather than sung to them. Their unselfconscious miming and acting throughout both solos and duets
won for them a staunch following among even the more staid concertgoers
accustomed to the dignified impersonality of other artists.
They opened the
programme with the duet Stay, Frederick
Stay
from The Pirates of Penzance
(Sullivan) in which their voices blended perfectly.  There was not one false note among their
choice of numbers, every item being of the type for which they are best
known. Solos and duets were both received enthusiastically by the audience,
but it was in the duets that they were accorded the greatest storm of
applause.
One of the most
popular duets was Deep in My Heart
(from The Student Prince) and We’ll Gather Lilacs (from Novello’s Perchance to Dream) as an encore was
another success. Their duo programme included The Love Duet (Madame
Butterfly
), Coward’s I’ll See You
Again
, Life Begins Anew (Sweet Yesterday) and Laugh at Life from their latest film The Laughing Lady. A medley of ballads
which warmed the hearts of older members of the audience comprised Until (Sanderson), Love’s Old Sweet Song (Molloy) I Hear You Calling Me (Marshall) and Two Little Words (Brahe).
Miss Ziegler’s first solo was her own
arrangement Strauss’s Tales from the
Vienna Woods
which was superbly sung and she also sang One Fine Day from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly.
Webster Booth sang The English Rose (German) his recording of which is considered
one of his best, The Lord’s Prayer
and Break of Day from the film Waltz Time.
As a climax to their programme and by
popular request the two artists presented their own arrangement of the
traditional Keys of Heaven. They
burlesqued it delightfully and the audience loved it. 
As accompanist Clarence Black was
sympathetic and never intrusive and his solo items proved so popular that he
was recalled to play several encores. 

Nelson
Evening Mail


Nelson School of Music
8/6/48
At
the School of Music, last night.
Wanganui
Chronicle
10/6/48
Re
booking for the forthcoming concert.
Taranaki
Daily News
Taranaki
Herald
11/6/48
11/6/48
Opera
House, New Plymouth last night.
Opera
House, New Plymouth last night.
Manawatu
Evening


 Standard

Palmerston North Opera House
14/6/48
Palmerston North Opera House on Saturday night. Their second and
final concert in Palmerston North to be on
Tuesday evening
.
Manawatu
Daily Times
14/6/48
PN Opera House on Saturday night. Their second and final concert in PN to be on Tuesday evening.
Wanganui
Herald
Wanganui
Chronicle


Wanganui Opera House
15/6/48
15/6/48
Wanganui Opera House last night.
Wanganui Opera House last night.
Hawkes Bay Herald Tribune, Hastings
18/6/48
Municipal
Theatre, Hastings
last night. To appear in Napier tomorrow night.
Daily
Telegraph, Napier


Napier Municipal Theatre
21/6/48
Napier
Municipal Theatre on Saturday night.
Gisborne
Herald
21/6/48
Re talk given today by WB to members of Gisborne Rotary Club, where he
complained about the lack of back-stage heating in NZ theatres.
Gisborne
Herald
22/6/48
Gisborne
Opera House last night.
Rotorua
Post
Rotorua
Post
24/6/48

24/6/48


Municipal Theatre, Rotorua last night.

Interview given by WB today. The eleventh concert of their tour, the first concert with
back-stage heating at Municipal Theatre, Rotorua.
Waikatu
Times, Hamilton

25/6/48
Theatre
Royal, Hamilton,
last night.
Northern
Advocate,


 Whangarei




Town Hall
29/6/48
Whangarei Town Hall, last night.
Auckland Star
30/6/48
Town
Hall, last evening.
Auckland Herald




AucklandTown Hall
30/6/48
Town
Hall last night, the first of two Auckland concerts.
Auckland Star
2/7/48
Town Hall last evening.
Timaru
Herald





Theatre Royal, Timaru
6/7/48
Theatre Royal, Timaru, last night.
Invercargill

Civic Theatre, Invercargill
6/7/48
Re great demand for tickets for recital on
Wednesday, July 14th at Civic Theatre: followed by one at St James Theatre,
Gore on Thursday July 15th.
Otago
Daily Times
7/7/48
Arrived Dunedin yesterday,
an interview on their arrival, and photo of AZ&WB in their hotel lounge.
  


Evening
Star, Dunedin


Town Hall, Dunedin


7/7/48
Another interview this morning apparently when WB&AZ were at the Town Hall,
inspecting the stage.
Otago
Daily Times
8/7/48
Otago Daily Times
8 July 1948
COMMUNITY
SING
A special attraction at the Sing to be held
tomorrow in the Strand Theatre in aid of the Food for Britain
campaign will be Mr Clarence Black, pianist and accompanist for Anne Ziegler
and Webster Booth.  Donations may be
sent to Mr J F Himburg, Charles Begg, who with Mr A J Pettitt will assist Mr
M P Desmoulins to lead the singing.

Town
Hall last night (Dunedin)
Otago Daily Times
8 July 1948
CHARMING
VOICES
ANNE
ZIEGLER AND WEBSTER
BOOTH
EXCELLENT
COLLABORATION

On the concert stage Anne Ziegler and
Webster Booth are a law unto themselves.
Their programme at the Town Hall last night could hardly be described
as a vocal recital for their stage technique was a combination of musical
comedy and film art. That it had charm and musical qualities was undeniable,
for the large audience was attentive and enthusiastic throughout. Anne
Ziegler has a pleasant soprano voice which she used without effort, or
forcing and she moves about the stage with an easy grace and charm born of
habit.
Webster Booth has a
fine tenor voice with excellent quality and carrying power in his high
register and in his singing of The
Flower Song
from Carmen and The English Rose from Merrie England:


FLOWER SONG (CARMEN) he gave a glimpse of
what he might do with such a voice had he chosen a more serious musical
career.
Anne Ziegler’s most
serious contribution was They Call Me
Mimi
from La Bohème. It was,
however in the duets that the audience found their greatest pleasure. The
collaboration was excellent and though I found their gestures and movements
on the stage somewhat meaningless there was a sophisticated charm about their
deportment that disarmed criticism. They chatted informally, made jokes with
a local flavor and took the audience into their confidence. The response was
all that could be expected and the artists frequently expressed their
gratitude for the reception they received.
The pianist, Mr
Clarence Black, was a sympathetic accompanist even to lending a hand with
dramatic gestures in the duet The Keys
of Heaven:
 


KEYS OF HEAVEN 

He also played two groups of solos with competence and musical
feeling.

Evening
Star, Dunedin
8.7.48
Town Hall last night (Dunedin)
Invercargill
7/7/48
Article on demand for tickets for “next
Wednesday night’s concert”.
Otago
Daily Times
9/7/48
Town Hall (Dunedin) last night
Otago Daily Times
9 July 1948
FINAL
PERFORMANCE
OVERSEAS
SINGERS
AUDIENCE
CAPTIVATED

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth captivated
the large audience in their appearance at the Town Hall last night.  Once again their duets revealed their
greatest audience appeal and their musical comedy numbers, in particular,
were received with a spontaneous and enthusiastic applause which compelled
them to return to the stage again and again.
The Love Duet from Puccini’s Butterfly was their most delightful number in the first half of
the programme, the pure tenor and pleasing soprano voices blending perfectly.
In One Fine Day after the interval
Anne Ziegler again thrilled the listeners. To finish their programme the
artist sang a medley of popular ballads. This started a clamour for encores
which engaged the singers for some 15 minutes longer than the scheduled
programme and the audience persisted in its attempts to recall them even
after they had prepared to leave.
The pianist,
Clarence Black, again proved a sympathetic accompanist and a talented solo
performer.
.
Evening
Star, Dunedin
9/7/48
Town
Hall (Dunedin)
last night.
The
Southend Times
15/7/48
Civic
Theatre last night
Southland
News
15/7/48
Civic
Theatre last night (part of concert
broadcast by 4YZ)
Nataura
Ensign
16/7/48
St
James Theatre last night at Gore.
Christchurch Press
22/7/48
Civic
Theatre last evening with 2 further
concerts “tonight and tomorrow night”.
Dominium,
Wellington
29/7/48
at
Wellington Town Hall “farewell recital”.
Evening
Post
29/7/48
Re
signing autographs for a good cause and handing over a sizeable cheque at
their final concert last night.




New Zealand song recorded by Anne and Webster  in 1948:




TOUR OF AUSTRALIA

Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth were received in Australia with just as much enthusiasm as in New Zealand. Clarence Black, the Australian pianist from Adelaide was their accompanist in Australia. They were guests of honour at countless civic and mayoral receptions throughout the country and Tasmania. Unfortunately Anne lost a valuable diamond ring worth £900 in their suite of Hotel Australia, Sydney. The police were called in and someone sifted through the bags of the vacuum cleaners, but I am not sure whether this ring was ever found.  There were several newspaper photographs of Anne and Webster looking (in vain) for this ring.




Anne and Webster go through their music for one of their Australian performances.




Sydney Town Hall




One of the criticisms in a Sydney newspaper read as follows:




"CONCERT OF SHY KISSES, RAPT GAZES

Love was comprehensively examined in the second programme given by the English singers, Anne Ziegler and Webster Booth, at the Town Hall on Saturday night.

It was a programme of pretty bon-bons, the musical equivalents of pink ribbons and silver paper and St Valentine cards.

     The audience was delighted. One difference between this sort of concert and a concert of serious music is that the audience listening to serious music is always deep in frowns and scowls and anguish of soul. The audience for these singers is all smiles - dreamy smiles, sentimental smiles, bitter-sweet smiles, nostalgic smiles. The singers make love sound as if it is made up entirely of honey and roses.

     While most Australian critics agreed that their concerts were well-received and every auditorium was filled to capacity, they felt that the lighter show music was more suitable to their light voices than the operatic excerpts and solos. 

     Mr Booth and Miss Ziegler, in their duets, gazed raptly upon each other, held hands, dated about in conventional operetta poses, and with all sang so sweetly that it seemed inevitable that a pink little Cupid should leap up from the piano and fire silver arrows at them.

ROSE FOR USHER



Miss Ziegler, who looked as pretty as a portrait, even went to far as to present an usher with a red, red rose and to bless his prosaic life with a shy, shy kiss when he brought her the first beautiful bouquet of flowers. Yet he slunk away from this enviable moment of rapture, as though unaware of a moment in paradise.

     The voices are not outstanding, but they are better than most that have been heard in Australian musical comedy and operetta for some years. The singers know how to control the sweet natural tone in a way that will extract the last drop of sentimental unction from it.

    Notable illustrations of this were their duets - Stay Frederick, Stay from The Pirate of Penzance, the waggishly comic presentation of The Keys of Heaven and the medley of ballads which included Until, Love's Old Sweet Song and I Hear You Calling Me.

    Clarence Black, their accompanist, played several well-worn solos in the certain knowledge that his choice of items would make his audience sigh with pleasure."




Webster and Anne meet the mayor of Adelaide's daughter, Barbara McLeay at a civic reception in their honour:






Webster offers Anne a savoury at another mayoral reception.










A less favourable Sydney criticism.



Anne and Webster arrived back in the UK after seven months away, on board The Strathaird on their tenth wedding anniversary, 5 November, just in time to do a broadcast on In Town Tonight.




Their film The Laughing Lady opened in Australia shortly after they left the country. Unfortunately Australian critics were almost universal in their scathing comments about this film. It occurred to me that after being acclaimed and treated like Royalty on their extended tour of New Zealand and Australia in 1948, only ten years later they were living in South Africa in very much reduced circumstances.




Jeannie C©

May 2011




Bibliography

Booth, W, Ziegler, A, Duet, Stanley Paul, 1951

Davies, P, List of New Zealand cuttings (1948)

NATIONAL LIBRARY OF AUSTRALIA

New Zealand Newspaper Archive










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