Will Countess get her first love back?
IN this week’s Memory Lane feature we look back at a selection of photographs from a show performed by Rawtenstall Amateur operatic Society in 1953.
Viktoria and her Hussar tells the story of a Hungarian countess who remarries as she believes that her husband has been killed during the war - only for him to turn up alive. It was performed at the Public Hall, Haslingden, from Monday to Saturday, March 9 to 14, at 7.15pm, with a matinee on the Saturday at 2.30pm.
The show opens in Siberia in the aftermath of the First World War, where Stefan Koltay has been sentenced to death for being a counterrevolutionary.
In the Japanese garden of the American Embassy in Tokyo, celebrations are being held for the impending wedding of Count Ferry Hegedüs, brother to Countess Viktoria and Lia San.
The happiness of this event is contrasted with sadness as Viktoria and her husband, Ambassador John Cunlight, are posted to St Petersburg.
Stefan arrives at the embassy and tells the ambassador that he is a Hungarian citizen who has escaped imprisonment in Siberia and is seeking diplomatic protection.
As his wife is Hungarian, ambassador Cunlight readily agrees, but what he does not know is that Viktoria and Stefan had married before the war.
When Viktoria and her husband go to St Petersburg, Stefan and his batman Janzci go with them. Although Janzci is homesick, Stefan says he will only return if Viktoria comes with him.
Viktoria reveals that Stefan was listed as being killed in the war when his regiment was wiped out in battle - hence why she married another.
It is obvious that she still loves him, but when the Russians enter the embassy he has to leave without her to avoid capture.
The play then moves on, to a year down the line, when the grape harvest is being celebrated in the village of Doroszma.
There is an age-old custom that on the day of the wine festival there shall be three weddings.
One will be Janzci and his love Riquette, another will be Ferry and Lia San (Japanese marriages are not recognised in Doroszma, so they must marry again) and Viktoria will form the first half of the third couple - but will it be renewal of her marriage to Cunlight or will she wed Stefan?
Our pictures show, clockwise from top left, the dancers in the show, Riquette and Janzci played by A Hadfield and J Heyworth, Lia San and Ferry played by A Jordan and JS Landless, a scene titled ‘applying make up’ and finally (bottom left) the cover of the souvenir programme.
If these pictures bring back memories or you have any of your own to share, please get in touch with the newsdesk. Many thanks to all our regular nostalgia contributors.