John Lazar

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John Lazar
Born(1801-12-01)1 December 1801
Edinburgh, Scotland
Died8 June 1879(1879-06-08) (aged 77)
Occupation(s)Actor, politician, jeweller

John Lazar (1 December 1801 − 8 June 1879) was an actor and theatre manager in Australia. He was Mayor of Adelaide from 1855 to 1858.

Contents

History

Lazar was born in Edinburgh, a son of Abraham Lazar, stockbroker, and his wife Rachel née Lazarus, [1] and may have been brought up in London. He had considerable stage experience in England, and there is no reason to doubt advertisements which reported him playing at Covent Garden and Drury Lane. [2]

Lazar, his wife Julia, née Solomon, and their seven children emigrated to Sydney aboard Lady Macnaghten , giving his occupation as tailor. The ship had an outbreak of typhus on board, resulting in the death of around 60 passengers including three of the Lazar children, [3] and some four weeks were to elapse in quarantine before they reached Sydney on 14 April 1837. [4] He immediately joined Mrs. Barnet Levy (or Levey)'s Theatre Royal company, his first appearance being as Shylock on 18 May 1837. He was well received by both the audience (in part no doubt out of sympathy as a passenger on that voyage) and critics. [5] He served as manager of the Theatre Royal until it was closed perfunctorily by the new owner, Joseph Wyatt, on 24 March 1838, [6] He was then engaged at the new Royal Victoria Theatre on Pitt Street as actor [7] and stage-manager until the end of 1840, [8] when he was engaged to appear in Adelaide at the newly completed Queen's Theatre.

In Adelaide

The theatre opened on 11 January 1841 with Lazar playing Othello. [9] He had in Sydney been praised for his Shylock, but his Othello was criticised on account of his Cockney Jewish accent and his lisp, [10] and Adelaide reviewers were parsimonious in their praise. [11] Lazar took over management of the Queen's Theatre, taking a lease from late July 1841 [12] but after months of losing money dismissed his company and converted the seating to something more appropriate to public meetings. [13] He did not renew the lease.

Back to Sydney

The supremacy of the "Victoria" in Sydney was challenged by Joseph Simmons and his (Royal) City Theatre on Market Street, which opened in March 1843. Lazar returned to Sydney that same month aboard the brig Dorset to resume management of the old theatre, [14] which took effect the following May. [15] He left in 1844 following a dispute with owner Joseph Knight, returned in 1845 when Knight sold his interest in the theatre, and left again in December 1846. [16]

In Adelaide again

In 1848 Lazar returned to Adelaide, now prosperous thanks largely to the valuable copper discoveries at Burra and elsewhere, and became associated with George Selth Coppin, who had established the New Queen's Theatre in a building adjoining the old Queen's Theatre. Lazar and Coppin then remodeled the old theatre, which they reopened as the Royal Victoria Theatre (no connection with the previous theatre of the same name) on 23 December 1850. [17]

This period marked the climax of his theatrical career, achieving a greater degree of popularity than he had enjoyed previously; he even received praise as a comedian. [18] Lazar's involvement in the theatre lessened. He established a jeweller's and silversmith's business in Hindley Street, Adelaide, and became involved in civic affairs. He was elected Alderman for the Gawler ward of the Adelaide City Council in December 1853, [19] filling the vacancy left by the resignation of Alderman J. M. Solomon. He was mayor of Adelaide from 1855 to 1858, and stood for re-election as Alderman in December 1859 but was defeated by Councillor Cox. [20] He was also involved with the Adelaide Jewish community, and a founding member of the Adelaide Hebrew congregation, and sang Kol Nidrei at their first Yom Kippur service in 1848. [3]

In 1853 Lazar and Coppin built the 400-seat Port Theatre in Port Adelaide, next to Coppin's White Horse Cellar.

Later life

In 1863 he emigrated to New Zealand where he was appointed Town Clerk in Dunedin. He became Town Clerk in Hokitika in 1866. [21] [22] He was also promoted to Country Treasurer and then Provincial Treasurer. He was active in the local Jewish community and synagogue and the Freemasons. [23] He died there on 8 June 1879 and is buried in the Hokitika Cemetery. [3] [24]

Personal

Lazar's grave in Hokitika Cemetery, 2021 John Lazar grave, Hokitika Cemetry NZ (LCM20210321).jpg
Lazar's grave in Hokitika Cemetery, 2021

Lazar married Julia Solomon (c. 1806 – 26 December 1880), daughter of London furriers, in London on 2 November 1825. [3] Although Lazar was to work closely with Emanuel and Vaiben Solomon in Adelaide, there is no reason to believe she was related to them. Their surviving children (Mary, Lazarus, and Priscilla died en route to Sydney) were:

Lazar died in Hokitika, New Zealand on 8 June 1879. His portrait in oils is held at the Freemasons' Hall, Adelaide. [1] Julia died at her mother's home "Oeta", Queen Street (formerly Piper Street), Woollahra, New South Wales on 26 December 1889. [29]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 G. L. Fischer, 'Lazar, John (1801–1879)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/lazar-john-2341/text3051, published first in hardcopy 1967, accessed online 18 June 2017.
  2. "Classified Advertising". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser . Vol. XXXV, no. 1344. New South Wales, Australia. 18 May 1837. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Edinburgh to Australia: The Story of John Lazar" (PDF). Edinburgh Star. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  4. "The Lady McNaughton — the Fever Ship". The Sydney Monitor . Vol. XII, no. 1021. New South Wales, Australia. 14 April 1837. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  5. "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser . Vol. XXXV, no. 1345. New South Wales, Australia. 20 May 1837. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Ship News". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser . Vol. XXXVI, no. 3097. New South Wales, Australia. 27 March 1838. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia. The name "Theatre Royal" would lie dormant in Sydney until 1875, when it would be used for the rebuilt Prince of Wales Theatre in Castlereagh Street, managed by Lazar's son Samuel Lazar.
  7. "The New Theatre". The Sydney Herald . Vol. VIII, no. 670. New South Wales, Australia. 29 March 1838. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  8. "Royal Victoria Theatre". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser . Vol. XXXVIII, no. 4785. New South Wales, Australia. 26 November 1840. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia. The Royal Victoria Theatre would survive until October 1875, to be resuscitated briefly in 1877 with Lazar's son Samuel as lessee/manager.
  9. "Advertising". Southern Australian . Vol. IV, no. 171. South Australia. 8 January 1841. p. 2. Retrieved 17 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  10. 1 2 "Mr. Lazar". The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser . Vol. XXXV, no. 1348. New South Wales, Australia. 27 May 1837. p. 2. Retrieved 17 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  11. "The Queen's Theatre". Adelaide Chronicle and South Australian Literary Record . Vol. II, no. LVIII. South Australia. 13 January 1841. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  12. "Mr. Lazar's "At Home"". Adelaide Chronicle and South Australian Literary Record . Vol. II, no. LXXXIV. South Australia. 14 July 1841. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  13. "Theatricals in Adelaide". Southern Australian . Vol. IV, no. 237. South Australia. 27 August 1841. p. 2. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  14. "Theatricals". The Australian . Vol. X, no. 1241. New South Wales, Australia. 15 March 1843. p. 2. Retrieved 19 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  15. "Theatricals". The Australian . Vol. X, no. 1271. New South Wales, Australia. 24 May 1843. p. 2. Retrieved 19 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  16. "Local Intelligence". The Australian . Vol. III, no. 585. New South Wales, Australia. 22 December 1846. p. 3. Retrieved 19 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  17. "The Theatre". South Australian Register . Adelaide: National Library of Australia. 24 December 1850. p. 3. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  18. "Death of Mr. John Lazar". The South Australian Advertiser . South Australia. 11 June 1879. p. 4. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  19. "Election of Gawler Ward". Adelaide Times . Vol. VII, no. 1046. South Australia. 15 December 1853. p. 3. Retrieved 17 June 2017 via National Library of Australia. Hindmarsh, Gawler, Grey and Robe wards were named for Governors of SA, and bore no relationship to suburbs or towns of the same name.
  20. "The Municipal Elections". The South Australian Advertiser . Vol. II, no. 435. South Australia. 2 December 1859. p. 3. Retrieved 17 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  21. Read, Peter J; Rooney, Mary; West Coast Historical Museum (1999). Enter the crypt: a brief look at some of the famous and not so famous residents of Hokitika's Seaview Cemetery. Hokitika, N.Z.: West Coast Historical Museum. p. 11. ISBN   978-0-473-05854-8. OCLC   154673040.
  22. Paul Gerald Rose (2009). Ngati Hebrews: Stories of the first Jewish settlers in New Zealand. Wellington: PRMB Books. ISBN   978-1-877513-49-7. Wikidata   Q114843512.
  23. Goldman, Lazarus Morris (1958). "A Ghost Synagogue". The History of the Jews in New Zealand. Wellington: Reed. pp. 111–112 via NZETC.
  24. THE LATE MR. JOHN LAZAR. West Coast Times, Issue 3184, 11 June 1879. Papers Past, National Library of New Zealand. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
  25. "Local News". South Australian Gazette and Mining Journal . Vol. VI, no. 376. South Australia. 14 November 1850. p. 3. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  26. 1 2 "Death of Sam Lazar". Evening News . No. 5159. New South Wales, Australia. 15 November 1883. p. 2. Retrieved 19 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  27. "Family Notices". The Sydney Morning Herald . No. 27, 643. New South Wales, Australia. 10 August 1926. p. 8. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  28. "Family Notices". The Sydney Morning Herald . No. 14, 914. New South Wales, Australia. 12 January 1886. p. 1. Retrieved 18 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
  29. "Family Notices". The Sydney Morning Herald . No. 13, 335. New South Wales, Australia. 27 December 1880. p. 1. Retrieved 19 June 2017 via National Library of Australia.
Political offices
Preceded by Mayor of the Corporation of Adelaide
1855–1858
Succeeded by