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and stairs are broad and commodious. The whole place was decorated for the occasion with fragrant flowers. Over the proscenium are the names of Auber, Halevy, Meyerbeer and Adam, and round the amphitheatre encircling the house, those of Herold, Mehul, Gluck, Mozart, Weber, Boieldieu and Rossini. In order to test the acoustic qualities of the new buildings, the band of the Garde de Paris performed in the Cirque Imperial the overtures to Guillaume Tell and Masaniello. At the Theatre Lyrique, M. Pasdeloup and his band got up a concert, at which they played the overture to Oberon; a chorus from Halevy's Jaguarita; a march and chorus from Preciosa, and the wedding-march from A Midsummer-Night s Dream. The instrumental music sounded well, as did, also, the singing of M. Carron, a tenor, fresh from the Conservatory, where he had carried off the first prize.
Whether the position of the theatre, its architectural and scenic arrangements, its large size and rich decorations, will eventually attract the public, is a question which time alone can decide. In such a building the public may possibly feel "small," Parisian managers having never thought of prescribing a special costume for theatre-goers. Hitherto, the play-houses have been erected for the public; in future the public may have to suit itself to the play-houses. Meanwhile Paris is the Eldorado of "provincials," and as the theatres essentially belong to the "lions" of this Paradise, the elite of the population of all France will fill the theatres, if only to show that they are the elite.
It is difficult, indeed, to imagine anything more beautiful than the interior of the new Theatre Lyrique. The light is thrown, by means of an enormous reflector, through the colossal glass dome into the audience part of the house and upon the stage, while the process of combustion, which goes on without, serves as a means of ventilation, bringing fresh air through a canal from the Quai de la Seine. The vestibule is twentyfive metres long and six wide. Most of the staircases lead out of it; others, however, conduct from two side halls to the best places. The saloon, on the first floor, forms a promenade twenty-five metres in length and six in breadth, with five large windows and a balcony looking upon the square. At each end there is a conversation-room, with sofas and conveniences of every kind. Above, on the second story, is a gallery for smokersl Cigars legalised in a Paris theatre! The house holds 1,500 persons. The decorations consist of sculpture, and mouldings in white and gold. The boxes on the first and second tiers are fitted up as saloon boxes.
WHEN, ten years ago, we * asserted, on various occasions, that Wagner's style, far from being a step in advance, was, on the contrary, a relapse to the style of Lully, and the latter's psalm-like manner — of which fact the inspection of Lully's scores in the library of the Conservatory, Paris, had afforded us the obvious proof—our opinion, like very much else that is new at the present day, was but little heeded. Now, however, in W. H. Riehl's Cultur-Studien, we read the following elaboration of the same idea:—
"To adopt the language of philologists, Lully is not a 'school-author.' "We can learn but little form from him, unless we teach ourselves from his dry harmonies how we ought not to harmonise. On the other hand, however, no one who has not studied Lully can fully appreciate the historical greatness of Gluck. Lully is the Richard Wagner of the eighteenth century. His Alceste is, as he himself designates it, a 'trage'die raise en
* And, by the way, our German contemporary, the Niederheinische Musik-Zeitung.
musique,' but not an opera j it is not connected by airs, duets, concerted pieces, &c, but by continuous scenes. Lully does not sing, he simply declaims. The whole is a constant olMigato recitative, varied by occasional melodic fragments and a few choruses. I say all this of Lully j it might be supposed, however, that I said it of Wagner. It applies to both. Only the marches introduced here and there are real music, and become popular in Lully's works — and in Wagner's. In many places, Lully is amazingly great and true in dramatic expression, just like Wagner; he then relapses into the fearful monotony of endless recited dialogue, exactly like Wagner. The choruses are simple, and bear the stamp of solemn dignity, some times reminding us, even in certain passages of the harmony, of the lofty church-hymns of the old Italians. The same, by no means small praise, cannot be denied to many of Wagner's choruses. Lully sacrifices musical architecture to dramatic expression; he has touches of melodies but no melody. Lully or Wagner?—We find, consequently, in Lully, a disjointed, fragmentary, restless whole, which would necessarily have produced a confused, wearying impression, if the most refined contrasts in the scenes, and the magnificent manner in which his operas were placed on the stage — all the resources of Elysium and Erebus being (literally) called into requisition for Alceste at least (and for Tannhaiiser) — had not come to the assistance of the hearer's fancy. Lully and Wagner are weak as musicians; stronger as tone-poets; but strongest of all as stage-managers.
"It was precisely this formlessness of Lully's operas which was annihilated by Gluck, while, at the same time, the endeavour to attain dramatic effect was adopted and further developed. In the form of his compositions, Gluck resembles the good old Italian musicians much more than Lully, and Wagner reminds us much more vividly of Lully than of Gluck. If our musicians would but devote a little more zeal to their historical studies, they might then perceive that, after all, it cannot be so great a step in advance to jump back, after the lapse of nearly a century, from Gluck's style, so wonderfully developed in the interval, to a form of opera corresponding to that of Lully. Oat of very zeal for progress, a man may become reactionary."
What will our American cousins say to the foregoing? (" O questa e bella, che ti paressc ancho haver ragionc.'")
Iiakoveh Square Rooms.—Mr. Leonard Walker, the young and talented barytone singer, gave his first concert on Monday evening at the above rooms, and was assisted in the vocal department by Mile. Florence Lancia, Mad. Gordon, Mile. Georgi, Mile. Montebella, Miss Alice Dodd, Miss Lamartine, the Misses Hiles, Messrs. George Ferren, Fabian, and Sig. Ciabatta; and in the instrumental by Mr. Aguilar, Herr Emile Berger and Master Fox, pianoforte, Herr Oberthur, harp, and Mr. B. Wells, flute. Mr. Walker contented himself with a single solo, but that was the famous "Largo al factotum," which he sang with such vocal fluency, and so much power and humour, as to gain for him an uproarious encore. Mr. Walker's other performances comprised Randegger's trio "I naviganti," with Mile. Montebella and Mr. George Perren; Fioravanti's "Singing lesson " with Miss Hiles; and the duo "Mira di accerba lagrime," from the Trovatore. The last, above all, was admirably sung, and unanimously encored. Among the many good things in a good concert, we would specify Miss Hiles's "Ernani inviolami;" Mile. Georgi's "Fensa alia patria;" Mile. Lancia's "Care Campagne;" the duet, "Oh! glorious age of chivalry," from Mr. Howard Glover's operetta Once too Often, by the Miss Hiles; together with Herr Obcrthur's harp solo, transcription of " Thou art too near, and yet so far," played by the composer; flute solo by Mr. Wells, encored; and pianoforte solo, "Les Echos des Londres," played by Herr Emile Berger, and also encored. The room was crowded.
Ryde (Isle of Wight).—Mrs. Merest (late Miss Maria B. Hawes) having announced a series of four "vocal recitals" in the Victoria Rooms, the first took place on Tuesday evening last, and was very fashionably attended. Mrs. Merest sang with mnsicianly skill, among other favourite pieces, the contralto airs from Elijah (it was announced in the programme that " the contralto part of this oratorio was composed expressly for her ")—" If with all your hearts," and " O rest in the Lord." Miss Millar was the only other vocalist, and assisted Mrs. Merest in several duets, and sang, as well, several solos. Mr. Hiles opened the concert with a pianoforte arrangement of motivos from Handel's MessiaJi. Mr. Emile Berger was the solo pianist His transcriptions of " A sympathising heart," from Howard Glover's opera of Ruy Bias, and Balfe's ballad, "Fresh as a rose" (rendered so popular by the singing of Sims Reeves), were received with great favour, and his fantasia, "Les Echos do Londres," was enthusiastically redemanded. Mrs. Merest deserves the thanks of the "Islanders" for giving them so entertaining a concert.
ROYAL ITALIAN OPERA.
Mabahiklio was repeated on Saturday night, and received with even greater favour than on the Thursday previous. That Auber's great work — one of the most genuine examples of the lyric drama of our times—will resume the high place it formerly occupied in the repertory of Covent Garden, and rival the Huguenots, the Prophete, Robert le Diable, and Guillaume Tell in its attractive dominion over the masses, there can hardly, we think, be a doubt. What it was at the old theatre, in 1849, when Mr. Delafield first produced it, with a splendour and completeness never before witnessed and never since forgotten, it has every chance of being again, under the direction of Mr. Gyc. The mechanical resources of the new edifice are even more extensive, while Mr. Costa's orchestra and chorus maintain their never yet disputed supremacy ; the scenic department, represented by Mr. W. Beverley, with the valuable cooperation of Messrs. Grieve, Tclbin, and others, is reviving the glories of the " Stnnficld " epoch, and the " stage-business," superintended by Mr. A. Harris, exhibiting a discipline and general efficiency almost unprecedented. Our readers are well aware that as a mere spectacle, no less than as a consummate exhibition of musical art, the opera of Masaniello yields in moving and varied interest to no contemporary production. The music alone, however, illustrating, as it does, with glowing enthusiasm and picturesque details, one of the most stirring incidents in the annals of an intellectual, gifted and magnanimous nation, for centuries split into fragments, and continually the prey of one or other encroaching power, hated in proportion to the length of its tenure and the severity of its despotism, would suffice to immortalize the work. How such graphic description, such forcible and animated colouring, such truthful and characteristic portraiture, in short, through the abstract medium of sound, could have occurred to the brain and accommodated itself easily to the pen of a musician who never visited the scenes he describes, has always been, and must always remain, a puzzle to those who do not believe that genius, being of no country, can travel at caprice, through the boundless realms of the imagination without the intervention of a passport. Shakspeare never saw Verona and Mantua, Scott was never at Liege; yet one wrote Borneo and Juliet, the other Quentin Durward; and so Auber, who, since his brief sojourn in England, before he adopted music as a profession, has never once quitted France, gave Masaniello to the world, it composition, as thoroughly Neapolitan ns La Bottega del Caffe of Goldoni is Venetian. But in Masaniello, as in the grand French operas of Rossini and Meyerbeer, the accessories to the musical effect are multifarious. A revolutionary episode thrilling with sensation-points ; a dramatic loccale admitting of—nay, demanding—the most vivid exertions of the painter's skill; and a mise-en-scine open to the utmost variety of pictorial arrangement that ingenuity can devise, are all not only appropriate but indispensable. To these circumstances, perhaps, almost as much as to its gorgeous musical dress, is the enduring popularity of Masaniello to be traced.
Our readers need labour under no apprehension that we are about to entertain them with a careful analysis of the plot and music of so renowned an opera. Happily during upwards of thirty years the hero of Masaniello has been a familiar figure, while the tunes of Masaniello have been familiar strains, to the theatre-going public of this country — where at first, in a mutilated shape (for which the late Messrs. Barham Livius and T. Cooke were responsible), it was tolerated, and now, in its integrity (or as nearly so as the convenience of Mr. Costa will permit), it is admired, and acknowledged as an imperishable masterpiece. Nor need the task of commenting on the performance at Covent Garden absorb more than a few sentences. Strikingly well as one or two of the chief characters are impersonated, it is chiefly as an ensemble, in which everyone concerned claims consideration, that the Masaniello of the hour can be unreservedly eulogized. The overture alone — so magnificently played that to call for a repetition seems to be a unanimous impulse on the part of the audience —is enough to keep up the spirits of a true amateur for an entire evening. Then the concerted pieces, and the grand finales (one at the conclusion of each of the five acts — the last most elaborate of all) are executed for the greater part so superbly, by orchestra, chorus and principals, as to offer very rare points for criticism, very many for unqualified approval. All this wealth of musical effect, moreover, is set off to admiration by what passes on the stage. Each of the five conspicuous scenes into which the opera is divided forms a tableau of the liveliest description. Seems painters and stage director, ballet-master and costumier, have, with equal felicity, availed themselves of the variegated tints and images of
Neapolitan existence,^ where bright and gleaming colours look a
thousand times brighter under the influence of a cloudless sky, and where the humblest and most every-day objects assume an aspect bordering more or less nearly on the picturesque. In the first scene — "the Gardens of the Viceroy" — the festival for the approaching nuptials of Alphonso and Elvira is represented with becoming pomp. The ballet, including the Guaracha and Bolert, two of the most delicious of Auber's pieces de danse, is here all that could be wished, the latter — with the characteristic incident of the shawls, in the use of which Mlle. Esper, principal, displays both grace and facility — being especially attractive. Scene 2 — "in the Environs of Portici" (or, perhaps, rather of Amalfi) — is one of the happiest efforts of Mr. Beverley's pencil. We have seen nothing more natural, nothing more beautiful. Here, again, the stage action is in keeping. The groupings of the fishermen, engaged in their busy avocations, are contrived with an eye to pictorial symmetry that appears to have allowed nothing to escape ; while the banding together of the revolutionists, at the instigation of Masaniello, their under-toned conferences, their dance and chorus of feigned merriment, as the plan of action is being agreed upon by the chiefs of tho patriots, and the climax, in which these opposite elements of dramatic action are simultaneously combined, could hardly be surpassed in graphic vividness of effect. The conclusion of this tableau — where Masaniello takes leave of Fcnclla, and the various characters slowly disperse, to the accompaniment of soft music that seems to die away into the distance, like the receding landscape in a journey — must be witnessed to be appreciated. Scene 3 — ,; the Market Place" — is another felicitous manifestation of the painter's skill, excelling even the well-remembered tableau oflS49. Here we have the animated business of the market (somewhat tamed down, however, by a silly and meaningless curtailment in the opening chorus); the irresistible spirit of the Tarantella, which we never remember so thoroughly conveyed j the attempted seizure of Fcnclla; the quarrel between the soldiers and the people; the angry outburst of the revolt j the impressive prayer, and ultimate victory of Masaniello and his associates — the whole done to perfection, and presenting a stage-picture for which, in vigorously sustained movement, scarcely a precedent could be cited. In the fourth tableau, the crowning scenic incident is the recognition and triumph of Masaniello, to which the episode of Pietro and his fellow conspirators presents a gloomy but exciting contrast; in the last the eruption of Vesuvius — the scene admirably painted by (we believe) Messrs. Grieve and Tclbin, and the catastrophe arranged with marvellous effect — offering a scenic illusion worthy to climax so magnificent a spectacle.
Siguor Mario was the original Masaniello in 1849, when the work was brought out in its Italian dress. He was followed (in the same year) by Signor Salvi, who did not create a remarkably strong impression. In 1850 Signor Tamberlik undertook the part — on the occasion of his first appearance before an English audience— and maintained it, with unvarying success, up to the time when the destruction of the old theatre involved the music, scenery, and "properties " of Masaniello, and [so many other grand operas, in one common fate. Why Signor Tamberlik should now secede and Signor Mario take his place, is no business of ours. Enough that both have qualifications not to be denied, and on account of which either would have been unanimously welcomed as the Masaniello of the revival. That Signor Mario's voice is what it was thirteen years ago it would be folly to pretend ; and that even in singing the music of Auber as at present he is compelled to take liberties to which the composer might naturally object, and which would have been inexcusable, because unnecessary, in 1849, must be evident to anyone competent to judge and inclined to be candid. Nevertheless, allowing for this and other comparative defects, which we need not stop to examine, it is doubtful whether a more admirable impersonation of the character of the patriot of Portici than that of Signor Mario has ever on the whole been witnessed. As an histrionic portraiture it is natural, vigorous, and picturesque — interesting everywhere, and iu some parts, as, for instance, the scene of the madness, for which Auber has, found music touching and expressive in proportion—inimitable. The fresh and genial barcarole in Masaniello's first scene, the heavenly air in which he invokes the aid of "Sleep" on behalf of Fenella, and the solo where, in the midst of his triumph, the suddenly aggrandized fisherman expresses the deep regret he feels at quitting for ever the abode of his youth and innocence, are—with the exception of tho situation we have named — the most striking points in Signor Mario's performance. These, indeed, reach the height of ideal expression. Many other fine touches might be noticed, but enough has been adduced to show that, whatever physical shortcomings may occasionally interfere with otherwise perfect execution, the accomplished artist more than atones for in those places where he can fully command hie resources and give way without restraint to the impulse from within. Signor Graziani sings the capital barcarole allotted to Pietro in the last act, — | which seems out of sorts with the treacherous act he has just committed, j in administering poison to his heroic chief — extremely well; but in the revolutionary duet with Masaniello (unaccountably and absurdly curtailed), and in other parts of the music, he sadly wants vigour, while his dramatic delineation of the character is throughout pale, if not, indeed, lifeless. Mile. Battu does her utmost with the not very interesting part of Elvira, and would sing the cavatina (Act I.) even better were she to adhere more closely to the text of Auber, which it is difficult to alter and embellish to advantage. Her best point is in the petition to Fenella (Act IV.), to which she imparts unmistakeable feeling. Signor Neri-Baraldi is probably as good an Alphonso as could bo persuaded to undertake the character. A cheerful or energetic Alphonso would be an innovation as pleasant as unanticipated. Signor Polonini is the most effective Borella we remember; and the other small parts are adequately filled. Last not least, the Fenella of Mile. Salvioni shows in that clever lady an aptitude for something beyond the mere agile exhibition of choreographic art. It is thoughtful and expressive to a degree, and in more than one point evinces real dramatic sensibility. The scene in which she intercedes with Masaniello for the lives of Alphonso and Elvira is as truthful and touching as it is graceful, the countenance conveying as much as — nay, more than the pantomimic gestures, eloquent as they undoubtedly are. About the band and chorus,'conducted by Mr. Costa, we have said enough.
On Monday Guillaume Tell (terribly maimed ami mutilated), for the last appearance of Sig. Tamberlik; ou Tuesday Masaniello. with Mile. Dottini (vice Mile. Battu) as Elvira; on Wednesday La Sonnambuta; on Thursday Masaniello; and last night (for the benefit of Mile. Patti), the Barbiere (ending with the "Lesson "-scene), the "Shadow "-scene from Dinorah, and the "Skating "-scene from the Prophite. To-night Masaniello, the last night of the season, our review of which will be found underneath.
Resume Of The Season. The prospectus for the season 1862 was issued at the latter end of March. One special novelty only was announced—Donizetti's Don Sebastien—which.we need not say, was not given. This was unusual. The programme of the Royal Italian Opera has been generally but too liberal in its promises, and the management seldom leaves its pledges unredeemed. The Figlia del Reggimento was also set down to be produced, for the first time, at the Royal Italian Opera; but this work, too, we need not say, was not forthcoming. The director, however, made ample amends for his seeming breach of faith, by the production of Masaniello, which did not appear in the prospectus, and which the public would naturally prefer to Donizetti's two operas, although one was new to the theatre, and one a particular favourite. Other operas were announced, which could not be given in consequence of the illness of Signor Ronconi, such as Elisir d'Amore and Fra Diacolo.
The season, on the whole, was less of a " starring " season than any previous one at the Royal Italian Opera. The place vacated by Mad. Grisi was not attempted to be filled up, even with Mad. Csillag and Mad. Penco in the theatre. For the first time, those apparently evergreen popularities of the repertory. Norma and Lucrezia Borgia, were shelved, and Don Giovanni, Guillaume Tell, and the Barbiere substituted — and with a success that must have surprised Mr. Costa himself. In fact, the masterpieces of Mozart and Rossini proved the real triumphs of the season, and each of them was given ten or a dozen times, thereby proving, beyond all question, that good music was more than ever prized at the Opera. But if Mad. Grist's place, as a grand dramatic singer, was not supplied, the vacuum she left as a public favourite was soon filled up. Mile. Adelina Patti, whose career last year was so remarkable, was even more admired and feted, aud proved by far the most attractive feature of the performances. A more genuine and unmade snccess, indeed, was never achieved, and the management must own itself indebted to the young artist for the brilliant manner in whichshc carried them throughthe season. There was good cause for the increased favouritism shown to Mile. Patti. Her vocal powers had indicated decided improvement, and the new parts she sustained showed newer means and larger accomplishments. Bnt why attempt to account for admiration for what is novel, talented, spontaneous, and charming? Mile. Patti became the pet of the public at the Opera, and is likely to maintain that enviable position for many years, judging from her youth, her talents, and her enthusiasm.
The names of two now prima donnas lent an interest to the prospectus; they were Mile. Gordosa and Mile. Marie Battu—the former unknown, the hitter recommended by certaiu accomplishments at the Italian Opera in Paris. A third " first lady," not alluded to in the programme, also appeared, and is more likely to be heard of in conjunction with the future doings of the Royal Italian Opera than either of her
fair co-rivals. This was Mile. Antonietta Fricci, of whom more anon. The remaining female singers were all "old hands," Mesdames Csillag, Penco, Nantier-Didiee, RudersdorfF, and Tagliafico; also another unannounced debutante. Mile. Dottini, who filled Mile. Battu's place in Masaniello, and that of Mad. Miolan-Carvalho in Guillaume Tell, is entitled to a word of recognition. Sig. Delle-Sedie, whom Mr. Mapleson brought out last year at the Lyceum in the Ballo in Maschera, was added to the list of barytones; and two new names, Sigs. Nanni and Capponi, appeared among the basses.
The campaign opened on Tuesday, April the 8th, with Guillaume Tell, the cast being the same as last year. It was repeated on the Thursday and Saturday. On Tuesday, the 15th, the Trovatore was given with Mile. Gordosa as Leonora and Mr. Santley as the Count di Luna. The popular English barytone was engaged to fill the place of Signor Graziani, who could not arrive in London iu time. Mr. Santley made a great bit. The lady was not so fortunate. Mile. Gordosa, who is English, had been a pupil of the Royal Academy of Music, aud was sent to Italy to study singing. Her maiden name is Botibol.
La Favorita, although Leonora is one of Mad. Csillag's most powerful impersonations, could not have fared so well by aid of that accomplished artist and Signor Neri-Baraldi, as with Mad. Grisi and Signor Mario. The new basso, Signor Nanni, who played Baldassarc, was found a tolerable, if not a first-rate, singer. The Trovatore and the Favorita were both repeated, meeting, however, with no extraordinary favour. On Thursday, the 24th, the Prophite was produced, with Mad. Csillag as Fides, and Signor Turaberlik as Jean of Leyden — two admirably sustained parts, which contributed materially to the success of the opera, one of the most complete and splendid productions of the Royal Italian Opera. The Prophite was played three times in succession. On Monday, the 28th — the first extra-extra night — Dinorah was given, introducing Signor Gardoni in his original character of Corentino, Mad. Miolan-Carvalho being of course Dinorah, and M. Faure, Hoel.
On Monday, May 5th, Mile. Patti made her rentree in the Sotinambula. Her reception was uproarious. It was generally remarked that her voice had gained in strength and volume, and that her execution, without losing any of its former brilliancy, had become more finished. Signor Gardoni was Elvino. Verdi's Ballo in Maschera was the occasion of the re-appearance of Signor Mario, always an event at the Royal Italian Opera, which took place on Tuesday, the 6th. Signor Delle-Sedie made his first appearance at the Royal Italian Opera in Renato, a part, judging from the effect produced both in Paris and London, he seems to have made entirely his own. Mad. Csillag was substituted for Mad. Penco in the part of Amelia, Mad. Didiee played Ulrica, and Mad. Miolan-Carvalho Oscar. Mile. Salvioni, the graceful and fascinating danseuse, who had won so much favour last year when she first joined the company at Covent Garden, danced in the masquerade scene.
// Barbiere was given on Saturday, the 10th, with Sig. Mario as Almaviva, Sig. Delle-Sedie as Figaro, Sig. Ciampi as Doctor Bartolo, and Mile. Patti as Rosin a, her first appearance in the character in Loudon. The acting of the youthful prima donna was full of grace and piquancy, and her singing remarkable for its brilliancy and point. Severe critics, however, took exceptions to the liberties taken with the text, and prouounced the fair artist's performance more "A la rossignol" than "A la Rossini!" Sig. Mario was as incomparable as ever in the Count; Sig. Delle-Sedie intelligent if not humorous in Figaro; and Sig. Ciampi vociferous if not unctuous in Bartolo.
The Monday following gave Don Giovanni with a cast identical with that of last year, with the exception of Signor Ciampi being substituted for Signor Ronconi in the part of Masetto—no improvement certainly. It had now transpired that Signor Ronconi had undergone a serious surgical operation, and would not be able to appear during the entire season.
Rigoletto without Signor Ronconi would a priori seem a simple expenditure of time and means. Nevertheless, such faith had the director in Signor Dellc-Scdie's tragic capabilities, that he would fain afford him an opportunity of exhibiting his powers in one of the most difficult characters in the lyric drama. The jester of Signor Della-Sedie was an artistic and earnest performance, but did not tend to remove the tremendous impression left by his predecessor. On Tuesday the 27th Martha was produced, with Mad. Penco, Mad. Didiee, Signors Mario, Delle-Sedie and Tagliafico. On Saturday the 31st, the Huguenots was produced with a new Valentine, Mile. Antonietta Fricci. Of the fair debutante's antecedents nothing was known in this country. She created little sensation at the first performance, but improved after a few nights, and seemed gradually working her way into public favour. Mile. Fricci has undoubted natural gifts which may, we think, be turned to the best account. The cast of the Huguenots, in other respects, was the same as last year, including Mesdames Miolan-Carvalho and Didiee, Signors Mario, Tagliafieo, MM. Faure and Zelger. On Monday, Jane 1st, the Traviata was given, with Mlle. Patti, Signors Gardoni and Delle-Sedie. Lucia di Lammermoor was performed on Saturday the 7th, and introduced Herr Wachtel in the part of Edgardo. This gentleman has a voice of great capability, but is sadly in want of schooling. Mile. Patti's exquisite singing and acting in Lucy were all but lost by close approximation to such laboured and rugged art. On Tuesday, the 17th, Mile. Marie Battu made her first appearance in this country, as Gilda in Rigoletto. The young lady was terribly frightened, and could not do herself justice on that occasion. Judging from subsequent performances, we are enabled to pronounce Mile. Marie Battu a singer of promise rather than accomplishment. She has youth and no mean natural gifts in her favour.
The great event of the season —at least, that looked forward to with greatest interest and curiosity — was the revival of Robert le Diable, which took place on Thursday, the 19th. The principal characters were allotted to Mesdames Penco and Miolan-Carvalho, Signors Tamberlik and Neri-Baraldi, Herr Formes, and Mile. Salvioni. The magnificence and splendour of the mise-en-scene, the costliness and variety of the costumes, and the numbers employed, make Robert le Diable one of the grandest spectacular displays produced at the Royal Italian Opera. The performance was given three times in succession. On Tuesday, July 1st, Signor Graziani made his first appearance thjs season as Enrico in Lucia —a character not entirely suited to him. He was received with loud applause.
On the 5th, Saturday, Martha was repeated, with two changes in the distribution of parts, Mile. Patti for Mad. Penco in Lady Henrietta, and Sig. Graziani for Sig. Delle-Sedie in Plunket. Mile. Patti read the part differently from Mad. Penco, making it far more interesting, and sang the air '• The last rose of summer" with an effect not easy to describe. Don Pasquale, revived on Saturday, June 12th, introduced Mile. Patti as Norina, her first essay in the part, and her success was indisputable. Sig. Delle-Sedie was favourably heard in Dr. Malatesta, and Sig. Ciampi unfavourably seen in Don Pasquale. Sig. Mario's Ernesto exhibited all the old attractions of—we need not say how many years since. On Saturday the 22nd, the Trovatore, with Mlle. Antonietta Fricci as Leonora, in the room of Mile. Gordosa, a manifest improvement, and Sig. Graziani in place of Sig. Delle-Sedie as the Count di Luna, whereby the popular air "II balen " was doubly recommended to the audience. On the following Tuesday Mile. Fricci played Alice in Robert le Diable, with Mile. Marie Battu as the Princess.
Of the production of Dinorah, for Mile. Patti, which took place on Tuesday, August the 5th, and of Masaniello, which camo off on Thursday, the 7th, so much has been said recently, that nothing further is required here than to state that the former revealed a new talent in the young artist, and that the latter rivals in splendour and completeness Robert le Diable and the Prophite.
Last night Mile. Patti's benefit took place, when the scene of the "Shadow Song," from Dinorah, was given, with tho Barbiere, stopt short at the lesson scene, and the Pas rles Patineurs from the Prophite. The house was crowded in every part, and the heroine of the evening recalled frequently and applauded tumultuously.
To-night the 6eason will be brought to a termination with Masaniello.
HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE. The cheap nights go on swimmingly, and we aro promised another week of them. On Saturday Don Giovanni; on Monday Robert le Diable; on Tuesday the Huguenots; on Thursday Norma—such has been the programme of the week. To-night (first time) Martha, and the new (long-promised) cantata from the pen of Sig. Giuglini.
MENDELSSOHN'S SONGS WITHOUT WORDS.
To describe the music of Mendelssohn, or Chopin, or any true poetcomposer, seems a work of despair. As well try to describe the fragrance of mignonette, or the flavour of a poach, or tell what thoughts compose the charm of the most evanescent and delicious reverie, which knows no reason for itself, and seems to have no aim, although one moment of it weighs more in the memory than weeks of ordinary consciousness. It is exquisitely refined, delicate, dreamy, mystical ; yet simple, strong and clear. It takes you within the borders of the marvellous, only to make you feel more at home ; it reveals a certain peculiar and very pure sphere of existence, to which the soul seems perfectly native, and which we wonder wo have not cultivated more. It is to the every day life of the mind, what plunging into the watery
element is to the body; the same slight shudder and the same fine delight and sense of wholesome, purifying change.
No. I. (Book I.) A gentle, streamy movement in 4-4 time marked Andante con moto, and in the warm key of E major, seems like a hymn of gratitude ; the heart so full, so innocent, so constant, in its own tranquil musings unconscionsly overflowing with an ecstatic feeling of the unspeakable love that pervades all things. It seems the cool of a soft summer evening. The air and the bass, uniform and stately in their movement, form such counterpoint with each other, as the crystal sky with the dark earth below it, while the even arpeggio of the accompaniment between is like the flow of the bright air.
No. 2. Andante expressivo, in 3-8 measure, in the key of A minor, is a quaint, pensive, melancholy strain — that sort of sweet melancholy which is a luxury to itself, and beautiful to beholders. The melody is very simple. (The motive, for the first four measures, is found almost identical in one of the violin sonatas, if we remember rightly, of Sebastian Bach.) The harmony, which has a melody of its own, is curiously managed, and defies the careless player to anticipate a bar of it. The whole is so subdued and sober, that many an one will play it through several times before its beauty begins to grow upon him, as it infallibly must in the end.
No. 3. Molto Allegro e vivace, 6-8 measure, and in A major, seems to have caught and continued the strain of the first movement in Beethoven's sublime Seventh Symphony. The key and rhythm are the same, that peculiar Orphic rhythm, as some one called it, which seems to pervade the universe and carry all things on with it. There is an undying fire of aspiration in it, free from all insane restlessness and impotent impetuosity, wisely reconciled without any loss of force to the severe rhythm of the universe, to unslumbering obedience, brighter and more vigorous than youth's truant enterprise.
The next is brief, and like a broad and ample chorus; a solemn cheerful utterance of a wholesome common sentiment; the grand confession of faith of a true-hearted company, who trust the universe and trust each other, and do not have to try to be religious. It is also in A major, and in common time. Our readers by this time will suspect, without inquiring whether he be Jew, Catholic, Lutheran or Rationalist, that this good Felix Mendelssohn is a religious man, and that his art is holy occupation which the world could not spare.
No. 5 is in the relative minor of the last key, 6-4 measure, and marked Piano Agitato. It is full of passion, intense but not noisy. It is the most difficult piece in this collection, woven together with the cunning science of a Bach, and requires that each part in the harmony should be carefully individualised.
The set closes with one of those dreamy "Gondola songs," which we have already described.
J. S. Dwiqht.
Verdi has a curious factotum of a servant, who knows every bar of music his master has written, from Ernani and Nabuco to La Forza del Destino. He is familiarly known as "Verdi's shadow." He has two horses which he calls Rigoletto and Trovatore. He it is who has taught the peasants on Verdi's estate near Bnsseto to sing the operatic choruses, so that they welcome their padrone with the Lombardi chorus, — 11 Oh ! Signore, d&l tetto patio."
This servant's conversation is half made up of scraps from the librettos of the Verdi operas. In St. Petersburg, last winter, he besought his master to hurry back to Italy, or he (the servant) would die with cold—
H Gran Dio I mortr ti giovane;" and when the time was appointed to go, sang the air of Elvira—
"Viola o tempo," &c. Once Verdi nearly frightened him to death by appearing A la ghost wrapped up in a white sheet; and when he tore off the disguise and disclosed his identity, the frightened servant could only express himself, with Leonora in the new scene of Trovatore —
"Sei tu dal Ciel diiceio,
New York Evening Post
Ulster Hall, Belfast. — (From our own Correspondent.) — The following programme was performed on the organ at the Ulster nail, by Mr. J. R. Edeson, on the occasion of the Flower Show held there, and gave great satisfaction to an immense crowd of people. Handel's "The horse and his rider," and Bach's difficult fugue in G minor, were played in a masterly manner, and deserve especial commendation. The new organ being built for the Hall by Hill is almost ready for erection; but as no announcement of the inaugural Festival is yet made, what are the directors about ? — YOUR Own Correspondent. —Morning Performance: 1. Wedding March, Mendelssohn; 2. Andante in A, Hesse; 3. Prelude and fugue, A minor, J. S. Bach j 4. Adagio, Op. 34, Mozart; 5. Operatic selection ; 6. Chorus, "The horse and his rider," Handel; 7. March, Le Prophete, Meyerbeer; 8. Overture. Evening Performance: 1. Motett, "Splendente Te Deus," Mozart; 2. Allegretto, "Hymn of Praise," Mendelssohn; 3. Concerto in B flat, Handel; 4. Operatic selection; 5. Fugue, G minor, J. S. Bach; 6. Andante from 1st Symphony, Beethoven; 7. March, Athalie, Mendelssohn; 8. Overture, Masaniello, Auber.
SKETCHES OF ARTISTIC LIFE.
That which renders artists most ridiculous is generally precisely that which renders them most happy. Can there be a more happy mortal than a young composer, poet, or painter, who looks upon his production as a wonder? Whoever tries to persuade him of the contrary is, in his eyes, a fool. It is true that a man must possess confidence in himself, otherwise he would undertake nothing. In his mature age, the artist becomes reasonable; his illusions mostly vanish. He no longer overrates himself; he feels in the full possession of his powers, and has enjoyed such frequent opportunities of employing them, that it is not very well possible for him to deceive himself in this respect. Still he always cherishes the hope of doing something better than he has done, and of discovering in himself fresh treasures. Napoleon said at the Moscow : "That is not my battle yet!" Gluck might have said the same thing to himself, in his 60th year, before he had written Armide ; and Carl Maria von Weber, in his S6th, before he brought out Her Freischiitz, Euryanthe, and Oberon.
Men who have gained for themselves a high position in any particular branch of art, frequently suffer from a peculiar weakness. This consists in their believing that they have missed their true vocation, and that nature intended them for something different and better. They devote themselves, with especial delight, to some other art, in which they are naturally condemned to lasting mediocrity. Thus Gretry (born in 1771 at Liege) fancied he was a great philosopher! He had written a work: What toe have been. What we are, and What we shall be. This, in his opinion, was far superior to his finest scores. With the most ingenious self-complacency, he gives in Vol. I. of his Mtmoires, ou Essai sur la Musique, 1789, an account of various events in his life. Whenever the conversation turned upon his sculptures, Canova would fetch a freshly-bedaubed tablet, and exhibit it with a smile of paternal pride. Girardet valued his wretched verses far more highly than his magnificent pictures. David regretted having spent his life in painting; he ought, he believed, to have studied diplomacy, being intended by nature to change the politics of the two hemispheres. Such a David might, now-a-days, have become a Goliath. The examples of this mania are so numerous, and present themselves under such a variety of forms, that we have endeavoured to discover the reason of it. Our researches have led us to the following result. In that act, by which he has gained his reputation, the artist sees everything and understands everything; he measures all the resources it offers, and, at the same time, all the difficulties, and the latter are of such a kind that they obstruct even the flight of genius, so that, consequently, it never attains its ideal. Hence the despondency which overpowers the master, while other men are applauding him. It is precisely because the artist adopts a high standard that he is dissatisfied with himself, feeling, as he does, in how much he is deficient. In an art, however, for which he has no true vocation, in which there is no ideal floating before his mind, he finds everything easy; he is contented, therefore, with devoting less trouble to his task, and thinks all the more highly of himself. With respect to the act for which he is not intended by nature, a great man is not even on an equality with the mass; he stands beneath them, and, the lower he stands, the higher is his opinion of his own ability. Were this not the case, how were it possible, out of the millions of the human race, for the composers and virtuosos, whom we may count by thousands, to live in the false belief that each one of them is, by his vocation, a Gluck, a Beethoven, a Paganini, or a Liszt!
The stage especially is the home of the delusions of egotism. Selfdelusion drives most persons on the stage, and keeps them there, when they ought to leave it. Men deceive themselves with regard to physical qualifications and material circumstances, even more than with regard to purely intellectual things, for which there is no criterion save that of
* Translated from the Berliner Musikzeitung expressly for the Musical Wobld,
the mind. One man thinks himself handsome, and is as ugly as night; another fancies himself young, and has a face full of wrinkles. Possessed of a voice like a duck's, or a raven's, a third is intoxicated with the charms of his singing, or rather howling. This seems almost incredible, but proofs are to be found in the first theatre we enter. Let anyone go behind the scenes of an opera house, and observe the slavish throng of flatterers, who flock around a celebrated singer, male or female; let him listen to the praise with which he or she is overwhelmed on leaving the stage, no matter how he or she may have sung! Whether the prima donna or the first tenor happen to be in good voice or not, it is always the same eulogistic hymn, the same unisono of superlatives: "Bravissimo!" "Divine!" "Excellent!" "What talent!" "What a gem!" "What a wonder!" "What a phenomenon I" "I am still perfectly entranced!" "Just feel how my heart is beating!" "Look at the tears in my eyes!" Bnt the public has remained cold, icy cold, and the claquers alone have applauded; at any rate, it often happens that the audience is dissatisfied, while these false and deceptive triumphs are being celebrated behind the scenes. How can an artist resist the influence of the atmosphere surrounding him? How can he avoid at least regarding himself as a favoured, supernatural being, and sitting enthroned at the council-table of the Gods, when, every evening, so many simple-minded mortals erect an Olympus for him, and place him on it with their own hands?
Let us descend from the highest to the lowest grade in the dramatic hierarchy. Under the tatters of the poorest figurante; under the wellworn, old-fashioned dress-coat of the most wretched chorister; in the prompter's box, we again meet with self-delusion and its deceptions. Were we obliged to give every example we know of this, a book would not suffice; we will restrict ourselves to one. Once upon a time, there was (as is so often the case) a singer, weak in voice and intellect, who took it into his head that he ought no longer to hide his light under a bushel, but air his screeching voice at one of the theatres of the capital. He pays a visit to an operatic manager, who, in consequence of the intercession of a patron, consents to listen to him. After having done so, the manager says to the patron; "Your protege is good for nothing, tell him so." The patron says to the would-be vocalist: "In this theatre there are situations of two sorts; those of the one belong to artists with salaries ranging from 1,200 to 1,500 thalers each, but for these you are not fitted; as general utility, or stop-gap, you would receive 300 thalers, but all the places of this kind are filled up." The same evening, the patron receives a note to the following effect; "My dear N. N., I have reflected upon your proposal. As there is no place of 300 thalers vacant, I have resolved on taking one with 1,500 thalers, more especially as I shall enjoy the opportunity of practising and improving myself in my profession."
The stage abounds in such originals—such victims of self-delusion— which, next to the cholera, may be considered as the disease which carij^- off more victims than any other.
SONGS FOR MUSIC.
(Dedicated to the "Welsh Orpheus.")
D. 8. Lewis yw'n dewis Lywydd,—ac
Gor-uthr enwog, gywir athronydd—yw
(Dedicated to the "Welsh Apollo.")
Yr Ifor Hael gyfrifent—yn un mawr— l ,
Mae hwnw mewn monwent;
Oud welo'n llawn o dalent,
Ail hwn gawn yn Mlaenau Gwent.
At rywiog blant yr awen,— chwydda'i serch
Vienna.—According to report, Herr Ferdinand Luib, a writer on musical subjects, has just completed a comprehensive biography of Schubert.