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money by the Government, as is the case in many other countries; and Sig. Verdi, however much we may admire his music, could never hope to receive in London anything like the myriads of roubles which the Emperor of Russia gives him, simply as an honorarium, for having written La Forza del Destino for the Opera of St.Petersburgh. Nor do we imagine that Sig. Verdi attaches any undue importance to such pecuniary trifles. But he probably expected to find the Commissioners of the "Great Exhibition" endowed by Providence with sense, and with some capacity for appreciating art and the intentions of artists. We are sorry for his sake, as the most popular composer in Europe, and for our own as Englishmen, and the compatriots of those disreputable Commissioners, to find that in both these very natural expectations he has been entirely deceived.
FRENCH audiences have emphatically more faith, or more endurance, than English audiences. No opera or drama is too long for them, provided it is good. They seem never to grow weary of what they like, and are as eager to applaud at the end of the most interminable performance as at the commencement. The British public, on the other hand, are soon wearied with even what they most admire; the most excellent entertainment can only please them for a certain time, and the stimulant of novelty is necessitated. This remarkable difference in the susceptibilities of the two nations was in all probability understood by Rossini, Meyerbeer, and other composers for the Grand Opera of Paris. Undoubtedly an acquaintance with English feelings and English tastes would have prevented the authors of Guillaume Tell and the Huguenots, had they projected these great works for the London instead of the Parisian stage, from being so profuse and exuberant. But they knew for whom they were writing, and perhaps never dreamt of concentrating their ideas or employing the pruning knife. The worst of this, to the real admirer of Rossini and Meyerbeer, is that the masterpieces of these composers can never be heard in their integrity in this country. It is simply impossible. No English audience would sit out an opera, under any condition, if it lasted five hours; and Guillaume Tell, the Prophets, or the Huguenots, if executed according to the score, would consume that time at least in the representation. It therefore follows, strictly speaking, that the amateurs of London are unable to judge of any one of these works as an effort of art. The management of the theatre where it is produced is obliged to cut down each opera to four hours' performance, and even then it is considered by the public too long. No care or reverential feeling can hinder the director from committing, what the composer no doubt would call, an act of vandalism or a sacrilege. Something must be curtailed, something omitted; and in every act of interference, and in every mollification, an injury is inflicted. A great work of art like Guillaume Tell cannot be meddled with with impunity. As abridgement is imperatively demanded, and as abridgement implies injustice, it seems difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile the wishes of the public with the respect due to the chef-d'eeuvre of a master.
In the production of Guillaume Tell at the Royal Italian Opera it was found necessary to leave out some of the music. "We cannot say the nicest judgment has been exhibited in the omissions and curtailments. We think, for instance, that the ballet music, both in the first and third acts, has been too unscrupulously dealt with, and that the necessity for such wholesale excision might have been avoided by not having recourse to repetitions. The cuts made in the finale to the first act are perhaps more objectionable, inasmuch as
they destroy the symmetry and form of a great and perfect work of art. It has been more than once suggested that, as some sacrifice was called for in presenting Rossini's magnificent opera to the English public, it would be better to omit the entire of the fourth act, and preserve the music of the first three acts intact. This proposition, we are aware, would be utterly scouted by the audiences of the Grand Op6ra of Paris, who cannot dissociate Guillaume Tell from the air of Arnold, " Suivez moi," and the " ut de poitrine" of the reigning tenor of the theatre. In England, we think, our audiences would willingly dispense with the tenor display, however exciting and energetic, and the high chest C, even though Signor Tamberlik himself were the exponent, provided all the omitted ballet-music was restored and the first finale given without curtailing. We have an idea, too, that the opera would be heard with far greater pleasure and satisfaction if the second and third acts were made to change places, and the performance to finish with the swearing of the Cantons. As the libretto is of the slightest consequence, no harm would be done by this arrangement, and the story would not suffer in the least. In fact, after the conflict between the soldiers and peasantry in the scene in the market-place, in the third act, the whole of the second act would follow naturally and consistent; there would be no difficulty in supposing Tell to have escaped from his guards, when the meeting of the Cantons and the swearing of the oath would be events of course. The best of all reasons for this arrangement, however, is, that after the tremendous "Oath of Liberty" the mind is left no room for further musical sensation. From such an Alpine height of transport it must needs descend.
Mr. Wm. Vincent Wallace.—Our musical friends will learn with much pleasure that Mr. Wallace is recovering from his late dangerous and severe illness. His medical advisers having recommended change of air, he left London on Saturday for Brighton, to remain a few weeks.
M. Ascher, whose pianoforte compositions are so well known, will make his debut in London as a pianist at Mad. Puzzi's concert.
Musical Chat From Paris.—" We have now arrived at that season of the year when the artistic world, including dancers, singers, and pianoforte players, are taking flight. We have, however, a few arrivals, amongst whom is an American young lady, Miss Philipi, who, as a contralto, has been creating a considerable sensation in Madrid. We have also amongst as the composer and pianoforte player, Mr. Brinley Richards, whose compositions, as a rare exception, are being published in Paris by a musical establishment, which has been led to introduce Mr. Richard's compositions to the monde musicale here in consequence of their popularity in Germany."—Paris Cor. of the Morning Post.
Mrs. Merest's Musical Soirees.—The first of a series of three Soirees given by Mrs. Merest, formerly so well known as Miss Maria B. Hawes, came off on Wednesday, at her residence, under the patronage of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Her Royal Highness the Princess Mary, &c. Mrs. Merest was assisted by Miss Eleanora Wilkinson, Mad. Weiss, Herr Reichardt, Messrs. Carter, Dyson , and Whitehousc, vocalists; and Miss Cecilia Summcrhaycs (pianoforte) and Mad. R. S. Pratten (guitar), instrumentalists. Mrs. Merest sang "He was despised," "O rest in the Lord," and a ballad of her own composition—"I heard thy fate without a tear,"—besides the trio " Lift thine eyes," taking part in " When the winds breathe soft," "By Celia's Arbour," and "Blow, gentle gales," the quartet, "Cast thy burden," from Elijah, and Winter's trio, "Mi lasic, O Madic." Mrs. Merest sang most artistically, and in all her efforts, especially in the air from Elijah, was warmly applauded. Mad. Weiss, who had but just recovered from an attack of illness, sang "Hear ye, Israel," from Elijah, in addition to her share in the concerted pieces, and appeared in complete possession of her fine voice. Herr Reichardt gave Mrs. Merest's ballad to Lord Byron's words, " There be none of beauty's daughters," with so much grace and expression as to obtain a unanimous and wellmerited "encore." The ballad and the singing were alike admired. Miss Cecilia Summcrhaycs played Beethoven's Sonata Pathetique extremely well, and Mad. Pratten proved herself an accomplished mistress of the guitar in two pieces arranged by herself. The room was very full. i
THE MUSIC AT THE INTERNATIONAL EXHIBITION.
Notwithstanding the many difficulties that seemed to stand in the way, the music—" special music" (to employ the language of the commis\ sioners; as if the music of Handel was unspecial, and as if unspecial meant anything at all)—for the opening of the International Exhibition has turned out a decided success. On Tuesday morning a grand rehearsal of the instrumental portion took place in Exeter Hall. The-place usually devoted to the orchestra was filled to the roof by a distinguished company. The large gallery was also crowded with visitors. The orchestra—consisting of 148 violins, 50 violas, 45 violoncellos, 45 doublebasses, 6 piccolos, 10 flutes, 10 ohms, 10 clarinets, 12 bassoons, 12 horns, 6 cornets, 6 trumpets, 9 trombones, 3 ophicleides, 4 serpents, 4 bomberdons, 4 euphoniums, 12 side drums, 3 sets of kettledrums, including those (together with the gigantic "big drum ") manufactured for the Handel Festival—408 in all—was stationed in the area. The first piece tried was M. Meyerbeer's grand overture, the illustrious composer himself (who, on being recognised, was greeted by the whole assembly, singers, players, and audience, with prolonged and enthusiastic cheers) superintcnding*its rehearsal, and Mr. Costa wielding the " baton." The overture was played through twice; and long before the first performance had come to a conclusion, the conviction must have been unanimous that so magnificent a body of instrumentalists on so unprecedented a numerical scale had never been heard till now. M. Meyerbeer himself, whose suggestions to the conductor were "few and far between," appeared fairly taken by surprise at hearing his elaborate composition so marvellously executed "at first sight" When the overture had been once gone through, Lord Granville rose and addressed a complimentary speech to M. Meyerbeer, thanking him, in the name of the Queen and the Royal Commissioners, for having lent the aid of his distinguished talent towards enhancing the lustre of our International Exhibition, and for the production of a work so calculated in every way to do honour to the occasion. M Meyerbeer also, in a short and modest speech, expressed his sense of the efficient manner in which his composition had been executed a prima vista, by so vast an assembly of players. The orchestral accompaniments to Professor Bennett's Ode were then rehearsed, under the direction of M. Stanton, whose delicate and not very enviable position was thoroughly appreciated. No foreigner who has made this country his home has ever conducted himself more uniformly well than this French gentleman; and the hearty plaudits that greeted him on entering the orchestra were neither more nor less than a testimony to the unanimous good opinion he has earned among us. The overture of M. Auber—in which the wit and gaiety of the brilliant nation he so worthily represents in his musical capacity seem to be embodied—followed the accompaniments to Professor Bennett's Ode, and, the slow movement (for brass instruments) excepted—which appeared, however, to need more supervision than anything else—was twice gone through under the direction of Mr. Costa. The accompaniments to the " Hallelujah " and "Amen" choruses (joined together, by the way, in a manner, that would have astonished Handel himself, had he been present), and those to the National Anthem, were last rehearsed; immediately after which the company, orchestra and all, dispersed. A more interesting ceremony in its way was probably never witnessed; a more splendid orchestra, as we have hinted, was never heard.
In the evening of Tuesday, between 7 and 8 o'clock, the International Exhibition Chorus (about 520 to a part—in all little short of 2,500 singers) assembled in the same hall, which they so completely filled that, except in the gallery and side balconies, there would have been no room for visitors, had any been invited. The Conductors, MM. Costa and Sainton, were stationed on a platform in the centre of the area, nearest the orchestra. Nothing but the choral music was tried, and the only accompaniment was on the organ, at which Mr. Brownsmith, of the Sacred Harmonic Society, presided. First wo had the National Anthem, the melody of which was sung alternately by the different sections of the chorus (sopranos, tenors, &c.) in unison, till at last the familiar strains burst forth in ample harmony. What has been said of the orchestra, in alluding to the morning rehearsal, applies to the chorus with even stronger emphasis. The deputations from the Sacred Harmonic Society, appointed to select the most competent singers from the various country districts, have performed their difficult task with remarkable judgment. If the chorus of Tuesday evening is to be the nucleus of the Handel Festival chorus at the Crystal Palace, all the prodigies yet achieved at those gigantic exhibitions will be far excelled. We remember no such chorus. The National Anthem is, of course, child's play to practised amateurs; but the unfamiliar harmonies of Professor Bennett's Ode—a work in every sense new and original— offered a severer test. When we say that, with but few stops (and those generally occurring at the pauses between the different movements), it was sung at this first rehearsal from end to end with the utmost smooth
ness and precision, some idea may be formed of the excellence of the choral force which the Sacred Harmonic Society had succeeded in bringing together on this great occasion. Nevertheless, M. Sainton went through the Ode a second time, and as a matter of course, with proportionately good results. Of the " Hallelujah " and " Amen," which were to follow (under Mr. Costa's guidance), we need say nothing. Both conductors were welcomed with reiterated plaudits from the whole multitude of singers, the reception accorded to M. Sainton amounting to little short of what, in the glowing and occasionally fantastic language of musicians, is termed an "ovation."
The second rehearsal, which took place on Wednesday morning in the gigantic building where the musical performance was to be held on the following day, passed off with entire success. All the music, vocal and instrumental, was tried (under the direction of Mr. Costa and M. Sainton); and the acoustical qualifications of the International Exhibition building were put to proof. That they might turn out favourable was heartily to be desired. No ingenuity and no labour had been spared to insure success. The arrangements for this grand ceremony, the structure and position of the colossal orchestra erected under the eastern dome, and the expedients invented for aiding and enhancing the general effect of the music having been already more than once described, it is unnecessary to enter into further details. The coup (Tail presented by the orchestra, filled to the extremities by a vast host of singers and players, was scarcely inferior t > .hat at the Handel Festival in the Crystal Palace. Mr. Costa, with h is accustomed military punctuality, was at his post to the second. At ten minutes after noon (the appointed hour for commencement), the chorus and orchestra being stationed in their allotted places, and (thanks to the well-known expedition and business habits of Messrs. Peck and Horton) the music-parts being distributed to all who had a claim to them, the rehearsal was inaugurated with "God save the Queen." As soon as M. Meyerbeer was observed seated near the Duchess of Cambridge, applause broke out from all sides, and the great composer was compelled to rise and acknowledge the honour that was paid him. His Grand Overture was then rehearsed twice, under the vigorous direction of Mr. Costa, who was evidently determined to obtain, as nearly as possible, a faultless execution of this remarkable composition. The next piece was Professor Stcrndale Bennett's Ode. This was, of course, under the direction of M. Sainton, who, on appearing in the orchestra, was welcomed with reiterated cheers—a just tribute, under the circumstances, as none can deny. After the Ode had been gone through once, a general cry for " Bennett " was raised, and the Professor, at length making his appearance, was led into the orchestra by M. Sainton. The greeting he received was such as he will possibly never forget. We remember nothing more hearty, nothing more spontaneous. There was one universal burst of cheering, accompanied by waving of hats and handkerchiefs, the thousand ladies of the chorus being conspicuous in their manifestations of enthusiasm, which was as prolonged as it was deafening. About the extraordinary popularity of Professor Bennett, if there had ever been a doubt, this would have dispelled it. The Ode was twice rehearsed. M. Auber's splendid overture was then performed (under Mr. Costa's direction), and so admirably that it was thought quite unnecessary to try it again; the "Hallelujah" and "Amen " choruses from The Messiah followed; and the whole concluded with a repetition of the National Anthem. The "effect " of the music, under such exceptional conditions as are furnished by the peculiar conformation of the International Exhibition Palace, was far better than had been anticipated. That the vibration was excessive may readily be understood, and that this militated against the exact transmission of details, leaving an impression of unique grandeur rather than of finished and delicate execution, may as readily be believed. Slow progressions of choral harmony—such as abound in the Ode of Professor Bennett, sonorous passages of orchestral combination, unaccompanied by anything in the shape of intricate contrivance, of which there are many striking examples in M. Meyerbeer's composition; and broad melodious phrases exhibited in tho higher register of the violins— instances of which are multiplied in the overtures both of Meyerbeer and Aubcr—sounded clearest, best, and most intelligible. On the other hand, rapid movements and extreme "fortissimo " passages were drowned in reverberation, and, consequently, were more or less difficult to appreciate. That important influence, however, would doubtless be exercised by the enormous crowd which was likely to invade the precints of the Palace on the following morning, was generally felt; and —as Exeter Hall, St. James's Hall, and most especially the Crystal Palace, have shown—there is no better medium for the concentration of musical sounds than the resistance offered by a densely packed multitude. One thing is certain—viz., that those who looked for massive grandeur and excessive brilliancy in the musical performance of Wednesday would be satisfied to their heartVcontent.]
The ceremonial-music on Thursday was a triumphant success. As was expected, the enormous crowd of people exercised a salutary influence in checking and concentrating the body of sound. In the verses of the National Anthem, which should have preceded the address delivered by Lord Granville (but were really sunjr while he was delivering it at the other end of the building), and the procession up the nave to the eastern dome, the women's voices came upon the ear with a clear and silvery tone that was eminently musical and delightful. In the responses with full chorus and orchestra, it is true, the reverberation might be described as excessive, if placed in comparison with what it would be in an ordinary concert hall, on howover large a scale; but this drawback, which all musicians knew to be inevitable, was condoned in a great measure by a peculiar mellowness, softening the asperity of the louder instruments, and by a certain indefinable grandeur to which it were vain to seek a parallel, except at tho Handel Festival in the Crystal Palace. But the National Anthem to English ears sounds gratefully and well under any conditions, always accepting those to which it is occasionally submitted at our Italian Opera Houses. The real test, both of chorus and orchestra, was to come.
The "special musical performances" commenced with the magnificent piece which, under tho name of" Ouvcrture en forme de raarchc," the most celebrated composer now living, and still incessantly anil busily engaged in tho pursuit of fame, has contributed to our great industrial festival. Though perhaps, on the whole, not more carefully executed, or with more precision, than at the rehearsal on Wednesday, the effect of the overture was, for obvious reasons, at least thrice as great; and this roust have been admitted by M. Meyerbeer himself, not the least remarkable personage among the brilliant assemblage near the eastern dome. Tho " Triumphal March," with which it opens, played as it was by the giant-orchestra of picked musicians and first-class amateurs, would have roused the ardour of ever so phlegmatic and unwilling a hero. The "clang" of tho wind instruments, imposing and superb, nevertheless, allowed the " strings" high and low, to speak out and be heard. The richly developed melody of the "trio "—where the army of violins sounded as a single fiddle, with such close precision were they handled, while tho bright touches which the master has laid on so delicately in the "wind" parts brought out the leading theme in all the stronger prominence—was felt us an exquisite relief, the war-marche on its re-appearance seeming to have gathered two-fold pomp and splendour. The Marche JReligieuse was played to absolute perfection. At the end—where the sounds die away into ''pianissimo" the violins dwelling upon the highest notes of tho register had an effect quite novel and delicious. Notwithstanding the rapid pace at which Mr. Costa took tho last movement—the "Quick March" (or "Pas Redouble ")—its crisp and lively theme assailed the ear with marked and singular distinctness. In the exciting passage of "crescendo" — which accumulates force at every step, until the proudly defiant air of "Rule Britannia" proclaims the triumphant climax, the shrill tones of the piccolo, the serried roll of the kettlo drums, and tho penetrating notes of the clarion deciding the martial character of the ensemble—the happy device by which tho composer gradually announces the advent of our naval Song of Victory came out almost as emphatically, and with as much point, as at the first rehearsal in Exeter Hall. Such, at least, was our own impression from tho south-eastern gallery. The fugue, too, of which " Rule Britannia" constitutes the leading subject—amid all its elaborate contrivances [of counterpoint, ingeniously distributed among the various instruments—was just as clear; and the coda, where the host of fiddles, screaming, as it were, for predominance, strive with continually augmenting power to drown the familiar phrases of that noble melody—but vainly, inasmuch as it is heard in nil sorts of unexpected places, vigorous and invincible as when it first bursts forth— wound up with brilliancy a performance that, even regardless of tho exceptional conditions under which it took place, was one of the grandest we remember, and which must assuredly have satisfied M. Meyerbeer.
Mr. Costa now yielded the baton to M. Sainton, but remained in the orchestra near the conductor's place, while that gentleman directed the performance of the Ode which our Poet Laureate and our Cambridge Professor of Music conjointly furnished for this memorable occasion. The new composition of Professor Stcrndale Bennett loses nothing by closer familiarity. The admirable verses of Mr. Tennyson could hardly have been wedded to music in a more kindred spirit. The execution of the work was happily all that conld have been wished. The opening
"Uplift a thouiand voices full and sweet,
tne appropriate thank-offering at this important festival was sung
with remarkable decision, and a justness of intonation that never
seemed to waver. The effect of the trumpets, giving out the melody of the corale in unison with tho upper voices, was extremely solemn and impressive. The next movement, in tho minor key—
"O silent father of our kings to be, Mourned in this golden hour of jubilee,
For this, for all, we weep our thanks to thee!"
—must have made its way to tho hearts of all the vast assembly. Had an illustrious lady, whose gentle rule is one of the dearest privileges of this great country, been present at this performance, she could hardly fail to have been moved by a passage in which poet and musician have vied with each other in giving forcible expression to a sentiment that is unanimous among us. We know of nothing more pathetic than the treatment of tho last line, where the words " We weop" are reiterated, in touching and plaintive harmony, as though the asseveration could not be made too often. Here the power of embodying deep feeling possessed by music is strikingly exemplified. Mr. Tennyson was happy in being associated with a musician able to appreciate a thought which in delicacy he himself has rarely surpassed, and, moreover, to give it ample and sympathetic expression. The members of the chorus, too, seemed to enter into the sentiment both of poetry and music, and delivered the passage from beginning to end as if they thoroughly felt its significance. The enumeration of the wonders of the Palace, which comes next, was not quite so satisfactory, although ono part of it (and that the most melodious and graceful)—
"And shapes and hues of Art divina." Ac. —was irreproachable. [Tho choral recitative a la Mendelssohn (" And is the goal so far away ?"); the reference to the opening corale—
"Oh ye, the wise who think, the wise who reign," and the whole of the final chorus—in which the composer borrows the theme of the corale, to extend and develope it into a movement of sustained beauty and interest, as melodiously flowing as it is full of sentiment—offered no point for criticism. A marked impression was created by the passage in unison to the words—
"Breaking their mailed fleets and armed towers,
And ruling by obeying nature's powers."
—one of the most original and impressive in the Ode. The orchestra' accompaniments were beyond reproach; and indeed the general execution of Professor Bennett's unaffectedly beautiful work was creditable to all concerned—in an equal degree to singers, players, and conductors.
The overture of M. Auber wound up the "special music " with extraordinary spirit. Mr. Costa (who alter tho Ode resumed his position at the head of the orchestra) directed the performance with his wonted energy; and certainly had tho renowned French musician been present he would have found little to complain of. The slow movement, for cornets and trombones, was almost as clear in its details as if the performance had taken place in the Hanover Square Rooms or St. James's Hall. The tones of the brass instruments, softened and mellowed, indeed, by the vastness of the arena over which they were compelled to travel, had a peculiarly charming effect. The March, so broad, vigorous, and inspiriting; the beautiful phrase of melody for the violins, which contrasts with it so gracefully; the stirring ritornelle, with its trills in the acute register of tho first riddles, and its quaint "pizzicato" for the rest of tho stringed instruments; and, lastly, the gay and animated coda, which officiates as "pas redouble"'—in a work not only brilliant as a whole, but piquant and lively in every part, the composition of which by one something more than an octogenarian is a feat without parallel
were, one and all, brought out with remarkable point and clearness.
Nothing could have been written better calculated to occupy the place assigned to this very capital overture, or to leave that sense of unalloyed and pleasurable enjoymeut which it is so frequent a privilege of M. Auber's music to create. "To him, as to M. Meyerbeer and^Professor Sterndale Bennett"—says the Times—" the thanks of Her Majesty's Commissioners in particular and of the public generally are due. Never were tasks gratuitously undertaken accomplished more worthily, or with a more evident desire to show that the labour, though gratuitous, was one of love. From Professor Bennett, as an Englishman, this was to be expected as a matter of course; but from the distinguished foreigners with whom he had the honour to be associated, although it was pretty sure we should get nothing indifferent, we had scarcely a right to look for compositions so far above the ordinary mark as to encourage a belief that they may be destinod to a place among the lasting products of genius."
How Handel's mighty choral hymns—the "Hallelujah" and "Amen" from the Messiah — which coming directly after the prayer of the Bishop of London, formed a portion of the religious ceremony, towered above everything else in sublimity, it is almost superfluous to relate. The multitudinous shouts of praise and glorification; the tremendous declarations of faith, in those most impressive and wonderful of choral unisons—"For the Lord God omnipotent rcigneth," and "He shall reign for ever and ever," the reiteration of the attributes and dignities of the "Almighty," where the voices, soaring upwards, scale by scale, convey an idea of limitless aspiration, in the "Hallelujah j" and the astonishing grandeur of the "Amen,"—an instance of power accummulating and advancing through successive stages up to an overwhelming climax, unparalleled in choral music — made their accustomed impression, edifying and delighting all hearers in an equal measure. That they were superbly delivered will be at once believed. With an orchestra and chorus of such unusual magnitude and unprecedented efficiency, this could hardly fail to be the case. Why, however, they should be joined together at the expense of the "Hallelujah," upon which imperishable masterpiece profane hands have been laid, to fit it to the emergency, it is difficult to say. The two choruses, which belong to different parts of the oratorio, have nothing in common but their sublimity. Moreover, being bothg both in the same key of D, they could have followed each other in due course, without either being cut and maimed j or if this was found impracticable, one of the two should have been dispensed with.
After the "Amen" the National Anthem was again sung, and with this the music to the religious part of the ceremony came to a conclusion. The Duke of Cambridge then rose, and in a loud voice said, by command of the Queen, I now declare the Exhibition open." The trumpets of the Life Guards saluted the announcement with a prolonged fanfare, and the crowd echoed it back with a cheer, which was taken up and speedily spread from one end of the building to the other.
The Sacred Harmonic Society, with Mr. Bowley as presiding chief, have done their work admirably. A more striking example of what may be effected in a short space of time by well-planned measures, strict discipline, and unwearied industry could hardly be cited. How much of the general result is due to the skill and energy of Mr. Costa may be well imagined, and for him and Mr. Sainton, who aided him so efficiently, no praise could be excessive. The arrangements for the orchestra were perfect. The mere task of bringing so many singers and players together without tho slightest disturbance was one of no small difficulty; but all this was achieved with military exactitude; while the labours of the 150 stewards, under the able and diligent superintendence of Mr. Simms, were performed with a regularity, promptitude, and courtesy which can hardly be over-estimated. Thus, and thus only—as the directors of tho Sacred Harmonic Society and the managers of the Handel Festival are well aware —can such colossal schemes be undertaken with any chance of success. In Mr. Costa, happily, they have a musical conductor whose instinct of order is as lively as their own.
HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE.
The season was inaugurated on Saturday night with complete success. Mr. J. H. Mapleson, the new lessee, did well to open his campaign with the opera which he was Inst year the first to introduce to the English public, during his brief season at the Lyceum.
The general performance of Saturday night we can praise with little reserve. In the first place, however, we must pay a tribute to the appearance of the house, the famous amber curtains to each tier of boxes investing the theatre with a rich and handsome appearance, while the approaches are carpeted. The cast was almost the same as at the Lyceum. It would be impossible to find more capable representatives of Amalia and Riccardo than Mile. Tictjcns and Sig. Giuglini. The prima donna does not appear in the first act ; but when she first walked on the stage, in the scene of the sorceress's cave, she was received with loud applause; and her voice, her singing, and her dramatic energy, completely enraptured the audience. The singing of Mile. Tietjcns in the duet with Riccardo on the place of Execution, as well as in the succeeding trio, contributed even more to the success of the third aet than her version of the less interesting solo. Sig. Giuglini, who does not give the least intimation of his recent illness, sang the tenor solo of the charming quintet, "E scherzo cd e folli" — one of the best concerted pieces written by Verdi — with such spirit and entrain as to win an enthusiastic encore. Sig. Giuglini shows nnmistakeable signs of improvement as an actor. Of the new barytone, Sig. Giraldoni, we can only report at present that his voice is rather powerful than clear or musical, and that his style of singing is more remarkable for expression than for delicacy or finish. He was not encoded in the favourite ballad "Sci tu che maccliiar. The part of Oscar, the page, was entrusted to Mile. Dario, a new comer, of whom we may speak another time. M. Gassier and Sig. Bossi were both singularly effective as the two conspirators; and Mad. Lemaire was careful as ever in her part of the sorceress. The orchestra, consisting of at least seventy performers, was remarkably efficient, under the direction of Sig. Arditi, and we may name the
chorus without animadversion. The scenery and mise-en-scene were effective, if not magnificent—one scene, that in the third act, where the moon is shown under a cloud, mirabile diclu, being new and beautiful— and the general performance augurs well for the success of the new venture. At the conclusion of the opera, the National Anthem was sung, the solos by Mile. Tictjens and Mad. Lemaire, the house, with its rows of clustering beauties, presenting a truly imposing aspect.
On Tuesday the Hallo in Maschera was repeated; and on Thursday Rossini's Semiramide was produced for the Sisters Marchisio, who made their first appearance on the stage in England. A new bass, Signor Lateral, also made his first appearance, and M. Gassier sustained the part of Assnr. Of this performance we have not room to speak at length in this number, and must therefore reserve particulars. We may, however, state in advance, that the "Sisters Marchisio " achieved a brilliant success; that they were recalled after each act, and feted, at the end, with bouquets, laurel-wreaths, &C. M Gassier's Assur, too, may be named as admirable, both in acting and singing.
ROYAL ITALIAN OPERA,
The Prophet was repeated on Saturday and Tuesday. The cast is the same as last season, comprising Mad. Csillag, as Fides; Mad. Rudersdorff, Bertha; Jean of Leyden, Signor Tamberlik ; Oberthal, Signor Tagliafico; and three anabaptists, Signers Neri-Baraldi and Polonini and M. Zelger.
M. Meyerbeer, who has arrived in London for the purpose of hearing his new march-overture, written for the Exhibition, must surely be gratified to find his operas in such favour with the fastidious audiences of Covcnt Garden. Four consecutive evenings, indeed, have been occupied with two works, Le Prophete and Vinorah, by the greatest of now living and active composers, and the very contrast between these two operas, each a perfect masterpiece in its way, testifies to the wide scope of English appreciation of music, as well as to the extraordinary versatility of the gifted composer. But the characteristic beauties both of the grand historical tragedy and of the elegant idyll that we have named, are so thoroughly well known that we need attempt no new parallel between them.
Meyerbeer's Dinorah, was given on Monday night for the first time this season, and introduced Sig. Gardont in his original character of Corentino. The cast was, we believe, identical with that when the opera was first produced, and included Mad. Miolan-Carvalho, as Dinorah; M. Faure, as Hoel; Mad. Nanticr-Didice, as the female, and Sig. Neri-Baraldi, as the male goatherd. Sig. Gardoni made his first appearance these two years, and received tho welcome due to his abilities. Sig. Gardoni made his first appearance in England in 1847—the Jenny Lind epoch — at Her Majesty's Theatre, and was then very young. His voice now appears in as good condition as when first we heard him. This is to be attributed to an excellent method — the true Italian method — and to the fact that he has never sung in any of the grand French operas. That Sig. Gardoni sings the part of the halfwitted piper in Dinorah to perfection no one will deny, nor that he shows greater vocal skill in the music of Meyerbeer than in that of Rossini. His forte lies in the sentimental line, and his voice, in its sympathetic quality, seems to have been intended by nature for love essays. MM. Miolan-Carvalho has made her reputation in England in the character of Dinorah. Dinorah, in fact, is her cheval de bataiUe. M. Faure's Hoel was as masterly as ever, nor did he ever sing the music more admirably. The house was not full, but it was an "extra " night, and the Easter holidays were not quite over.
fetters to It (Ebitor.
THE ENGLISH OPERA ASSOCIATION (LIMITED). Sir,—In reply to the letter which appeared in the Musical World last Saturday, signed John Bull, I beg to inform the writer and the public that the English Opera Association is increasing in wealth and strength daily, and that the prospectus will be shortly issued. The shares already taken amount to some thousands of pounds. The list of shareholders embraces the names of a great many of the most eminent composers and artists in the United Kingdom, and may be seen at their office daily. The directors have been anxious not to appear before the public without first being assured of success. They do not feel themselves justified in taking Drury Lane or any other theatre for only three or four months, and then having to relinquish it ; their great anxiety is to establish a permanent house for English Opera. — I am, Sir, yours faithfully,
Martin Cawood (Secretary).
April 24, 69 Regent Street.
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