Oldalképek
PDF

do, but by no means refined, province. But now, as a singer! That simple, large, unornamented style, which seeks its whole effect through tone, expression, accent—that style in which she had delivered Handel's works particularly—she seemed to have renounced, not, one might trust her, from the wish to conciliate the fashion, which had just then begun to offer any price to a delivery extremely fluent, richly ornamented, and wrought into supernneness of detail, but Decause she was conscious that her voice no longer had the strength and the sonority to execute that earlier style of singing satisfactorily. That voice, in fact, was rather weak, but it was still strong enough for our hall, which holds, at the most, eight hundred persons, and is excellent in its acoustic structure, and as she was capable of the finest and gentlest diminuendos down to the softest whisper, and still remained distinctly audible ; as she could still give, with complete equality as to power and volume, the always wide compass of her tones, from B to thrice-marked 1), her feebleness was only noticed with regret by those who had before known her in the fullness of her strength. Nor did the veiled quality of her voice (as musicians say), which had once taken the place of its once clear silver ring, injure her at all with others, but only lent to the softer passages a peculiar, milder charm.*

With such a voice, and in the above-named extremely fluent manner, perfectly polished to every fineness of expression or adornment, she sang as we have never heard the like till Madame Catalani. The latter, to be sure, had greater power, though in a far smaller compass of tones. To make the most of all that still remained at her disposal, according to her own fancy, her own taste and rich experience, Gertrude had prudently selected compositions of a somewhat undecided character and quite simple accompaniment. For instance, she produced a long and figurative aria by Andreozzi, and a smaller one, which her companion, Herr Florio, had, in the etymological sense of the word, " composed"—in which he came in too with the lifeless tones of his flute obbligato, and Gertrude, with equal skill and amiability, blended her voice wonderfully with those tones. Finally she gave the principal scena and aria of Zenobia, from Anfossi's opera of that name. In this we could recognize her exceedingly noble and finished delivery of recitative: but in the aria, towards the end, her physical strength did not hold out.

From us she went to Berlin. Here too she found both universal sympathy and several old friends. The old Friedrich Nicolai, especially, a zealous friend of music from of old, busied himself many ways for her advantage. He renewed his youth in lengthy remin-scences of the good times, when the Mara and the AUr/cmeine Deutsche Bibliothek had found so many friends and venerators. Gertrude's concerts were crowded to excess, and richly profitable. But there was one thing which her friends should not have asked of her, or she should not have granted: but Nicolai, as he then was,— if ho had once a notion in his head, ho never desisted— by continually returning to the same spot, made his way through, as a continual dropping of rain will wear through a stone. He wanted her, in fact, to take the first soprano part in a solemn performance of Uamler and Graun's Tod Jesu, and, by all means, to sing "The Heavenly Prophets" as she had done more than thirty years before. She filially consented and sang; but her success was not, nor could it bs, remarkable. Setting aside the fact that the airs in this work, products of the taste of the period about 1750 (the choruses, and essentially the recitatives, stand above all temporary tastes) could not, in the wholly changed direction of these modern times, satisfy longer those who had formerly found perfect satisfaction in them, and who now imagined that it would be the same thing now, pi-ovided they were only properly delivered; setting asitle this fact, the Mara now possessed only in the smallest degree the qualities wherewith she had transported audiences by these songs in her youth, and what she still possessed she could not and ought not to have used here, if she would not profane the hallowed and venerable; besides, she pronounced German now as they pronounced it more than thirty years ago, and in a manner that

• Does this recall the Bontag of 1853?

was now considered common. Then thetfe were hearers who are not accustomed in such cases to ask Why or wherefore, but who simply give themselves up to the impression as a whole, and in no small perplexity ; there were friends in despair, and there were newspaper critics, puzzled to find terms in which they could, as far as possible, harmonize the present feeling with the opinion that had been long established. In Vienna, where the public had not known the Gertrude of the past, and where they were accustomed then, as now, to confer a high prize on those excellencies, commonly summed up in the word virtuosity, even at the expense of what is higher and more intellectual— in Vienna she was brilliantly received and, as everywhere else, richly remunerated.

In 1804 she went to St. Petersburgh, and in the following year to Moscow: in both capitals she found the same favour, the same good fortune, that she had everywhere before. To this was added the particular good-will of some of the greatest houses, in which music was esteemed not as desirable and useful, but as indispensable to their intellectual life; and even many a peculiarity of the mode of life there pleased Gertrude remarkably. Then she resolved to spend the rest of her days in the old and spacious capital of the Czars. Thoughtful, clear, and firm, as she had always been in what concerned her art, she now determined to appear no more in public, but merely to sing by invitation in noble private houses; nothing in the large and aspiring style, but pieces suited to her present strength, and in which by her well-adapted mode of delivery, and finished execution, she could still show herself an admirable artist. Besides this, she gave instruction in singing to young ladies.

Approaching now her sixtieth year,andfreedfrom certain weaknesses of passion and of purposeless ala>ido7i, she began at length to grow more thoughtful and firm in matters not pertaining to her art. There was no Florio now to quarrel with her always large income; she made provision for her long-accustomed comforts, against the day when age and incapacity awaited. In about six or seven years she had gained enough to purchase herself a house in Moscow, and, soon afterwards, a pleasant country seat outside the city; besides investing a considerable capital in a respectable mercantile house. She lived very well contented, and thought this quiet way of life secured to her for the remainder of her days. But fortune played the trick on her, which it has played on every one, to whose skirts it has long clung unappreciated: namely, the trick of suddenly deserting one, just at the very moment when he begins to need it most, to prize its gifts the best, and to feel the most painfully conscious of its absence. Napoleon With his armies was approaching Moscow. Whoever could, was obliged to flee; and all the arrangements for facilitating the flight of so many thousands, were, in order to surprise the enemy and prevent counter-movements, made so short a time before the outbreak of the general calamity, that most of the fugitives, in the bewildering confusion, saved barely anything excepting their lives. Of these was Gertrude. Napoleon and his hosts retreated; she came back; her house was burned down, the merchant announced his insolvency; the noble and wealthy families did not return to the desolate ruins of the city; nobody was in need of a suiger or a music-teacher; she had nothing left but to wander on, and no man asked if it were with a bleeding heart.

Here, then, she was, as if at the completion of a wide circuit, standing again almost at the very point where she had stood half a century before: poor and homeless, without counsel, without help. But as the child did then, so now the aged lady found sympathetic friends, and help, at-least, for present necessities. She went into the Germano-llussian provinces; and especially in hospitable, music-loving Livonia, did she find a favourable reception. She lived, partly at Bevel, partly in the country, as an inmate in several respectable families, which shared with her what fortune had vouchsafed to them ; and this was done in friendliest good-will. She in turn instructed the daughters in singing, and entertained the social circles by her own delivery of pieces suited to her present strength. Thus she lived through four yoars, according to her own confession, very pleasantly, and for the most part more contented than before, when she was heaped with fame and money. But age longs after independence, and has need of a secured repose. She tried to prepare this for herself in the two places where she formerly had teen universally known, and for some time at home; she travelled (in 1819) to Berlin and London, but she did not accomplish her end. Returning to Germany, she tried the same experiment in her native city, Casael. Here she was received with marked distinction, both on the part of the Electress and of the entire public; but even in the city of her birth she was not successful in the end for which she came. She resolved on a return to Livonia and to the position she had left before her last journey, a continuation of which had been promised her by several respectable families that had grown clear to her; and there she resided until her eightieth year, 1830.

Madame Mara died at Revel, on the 20th of January, 1833, in the 84th year of her age. A little while before her death, she received from Goethe a poem upon the anniversary of her birth.

So oozes away the rich life of the greatest German singer, like the rich waters of the greatest German river; and since a description of Madame Mara, like a description of the Rhine, admits of no conclusion ;-we will add, by way of termination, what Ernst Platner, her renowned old friend in Leipsic, said when she had taken her leave of us in 1803. "It has given me great pleasure," said he, "to see her again; but I would gladly have renounced the pleasure, and been reconciled if, ten years ago, after the most perfect rendering of the music of one of Handel's oratorios, she had suddenly died; fur I know of nothing more depressing and more dreary than a really significant person who outlives himself." And even Plainer had to experience the same fate, in superabundant measure, himself.

REACTIONARY LETTERS*

No. 1.

Ttie world is a magic lantern. Time, who exhibits it, nevor leaves off crying: "Appear! Vanish!" Formerly, Mozart was entitled the "Divine;" at present he is called the "Child!" A similar fato is shared by Beethoven, the "Erroneous j" Gluek, the " Weakheaded"— who passed by the gates of the sanctuary without seeking admission] Spohr, the"Ridiculous"—so denominated for having been bold enough to compose symphonies ] Rossini, the "Warbler;" Auber, the "Thief |" Meyerbeer, the "Jew"—because Hebrew verbs have but two tenses and no future; Spontini, the "Empty, Worthless," etc. These men have appeared and vanished. Such, at least, is the opinion of those who take up their position with Wagner, looking down from the height they have successfully surmounted, and, like fiery lovers or great orators, only experience the u-int of a hearing, but dispense with any kind of reply. But, just as the Goddess of Reason in France was obliged to make room again for the Saints, both little and great, the reign of these gentlemen may not, perhaps last very long, and Time may soon exclaim: "You have increased the crowd and shouted lustily; 'Viva la liberta!' we need no more counterpoint, no more rules of harmony, no more management of the voice, and, above all, no more melody.1 You have fulfilled your task! Return to your original nothingness! Vanish!"

Melody!—ay, that is the real casus belli. Tliere lived at Dresden, when I was studying music there, a tall individual with a yellow coat and an expression of pain in his countenance, who desired to be a composer, and wag only deficient in one thing—melody. The poor man applied to many persons for advice, but no one could help him. Thereupon he continued to grow more and more melancholy, and, whenever a new composer came to Dresden, he would sell the last thing he had, pay a visit to him, and beg for lessons, und r the impression that the stranger would be able to teach him what others could not. In this manner, he was in turn a pupil of Uber, Aghte, Murlachi, M. von Weber, etc. Nothing, however, availed him. How he would have welcomed Kuhler'a Melodie der Bprache, had it then been published! At last, he devoted his attention to arranging music, and adapting national melodies, a task in which he displayed considerable talent. He was, however, too modest to sit as critic upon the Works of those whoso shoes, as an artist, he was not worthy to tie, for he well knew what Sulzer (in the article "Criticism," in his Theory of the Fine Arts) had required, more than a hundred years previously, of a man "who publicly judges works and takes upon himself to correct both composer and artist."

* Reactionary Letter*, by E. Sobolewski, collected and reprinted from the OstjpreuMkche Zeituny, Konigsberg

This is exactly tho cams belli which has occasioned the present revolution in the musical world. A revolution always throws a number of individuals out of their proper sphere, and causes social chaos. Wagner—at least, so he is Understood by those standing upon the point they have surmounted—has declared that melody is no tanger wanted and is the ruin of opera. Poor deluded creatures! Wagner is obliged to hold his sides for laughter, because he has never sought anything so eagerly as melody, and in the very passages where he is effective and good, he is so, merely by the aid of melody. In fact, lie pushes his enthusiasm for melody so far, that when he cannot find a suitable one, as for instance, in the Bridal Chorus in Lohengrin, he immediately has recourse to Meyerbeer's Robert, and uses both the form and character of the chorus in the second act ot that opera, almost too conspicuously. Wagner himself talks a great deal concerning melody, in the first part of his book, Opera and Drama, more in sensations than thoughts, and in a peculiarly musical, intellectual, and fantastically obscure fashion. He asserts that nations produced melody, properly so called, in the natural course of things, and independently of their own will, as man is produced by procreation. He goes on to say, that Grecian art contemplated man merely from the external point of view, while Christianity, on the contrary, adopting an anatomical process, opened the internal, shapeless organisation, repulsive to the view, and, in seeking for the soul, killed the body; thus presenting us with death instead of life. Then comes a little history, telling us how harmony developed it«elf independently, through tho music of tho church, taking the rhythm from dancing, etc. What confusion! All our music of the present day is sprung from the Christian religion. Wo know of no national melody written before tho period in question, and if there is such a one, it is wholly unintelligible to us. What is not based upon the musical system established by the Christian cliureh, we comprehend as little as the natural songs of the lark and nightingale, because those birds do not emit their notes according to the rules of the musical system to which we are accustomed. Moreover, harmony sprang from the combination of melodies, in which tho composer endeavoured to infuse greater variety, by introducing between tho plain-song (tenor) another voice (descant), and afterwards discovered one that lay beneath the tenor (bass), not adding one above the tenor (alt) until a subsequent period. It is quite evident that for several voices to accord with one another, they must have a certain equality of motion; but to say that, in order to effect this, they borrowed tin ir measure from a dance, is a very bold assertion. It is upon those selfsame old Christian songs that our present system of modulation is founded. The choruses sang the motive alternately in Tonic and Dominant (tonic Bnd fifth.) Such was the principal rule of modulation for every kind of composition; from its simplicity it is so still, and such it will always remain. It is, however, an error to say that no melody then existed. In old as well as modern music, it is only a more hearty, nobler kind of melody—unattainable by and incomprehensible to many musicians who are used to the present weak and nerveless style—which, with all due respect for Wagner, I must say he, also, worships. I am personally acquainted with Wagner. He is a man of great talent. As, however, ho never enjoyed a really fundamental musical education, he is not capable of understanding the profound and mighty inspirations of a Sebastian Bach or Handel, and still less ablo to discover one in the works of I'alestrina. A person conversant with modern music only, who suddenly hears something by these old masters, cannot make out a singlo verse (like many a talented musician of the present day), and, if ho is sincere, can say nothing but "No melody! antiquated, pedantic stuff!"* Wagner wishes to create the melody from the text itself. What good composer, may I inquire, ever did otherwise? Ho would not allow nny useless repetitions. Quito right. Schulze, a pupil of Bamberger, laid down the same principle in 1760, when he said: "Such a strange mixture of greatness and littleness, of the beautiful and insipid, prevails in opera, that I am embarrassed what to say on the subject." Finally, theso letters are not directed against Wagner, nor against those few clever men, at whose head stands Liszt, who by the discussion of various points, and especially by Wagner's music, expect to advance and penetrate more deeply into art, but against those loud talkers who have absolutely nothing in them, aud only confuse the public with their fantastic notions;

* It is very amusing when musicians of this stamp have the auda • city to produce works by these old masters, who employed even letters which they do not understand. That, under such circumstances, even when the singers devote their whole attention to their task, and exert themselves to the utmost, people should "understand nothing" is natural.

PAEIS.

(From our own Correspondent.)

I Informed yon in my last that negotiations were in progress which would probably result in the return of Mad. Stoltz to the Opera, and which would smooth over the difficulties between herself and the direction. I rejoice to say that my information was correct, and that the diplomatic efforts which were made to ensure an alliance between two great powers have not been in vain. A more thorough artiste than Bosina Stoltz does not exist. She possesses the true sacred fire, and, unendowed with any beauty of feature,* can, by the force of genius, sway the feelings and passions of her audience as much as any actress on the lyric stage. She made her rentrie on Friday, the 5th, in her favourite part of Leonora, in La Favorite, was enormously applauded on her appearance and during the performance, and electrified the audience by her singing and acting in the final duet. Would that she could impart some of her energy to Signor Neri-Beraldi, the tenor, who made his debut at the 6rand-Op6ra in the part of Fernand. He had already sung, with small success, the part of Roderigue, in Otello, at the Italian Opera ; but he is utterly unsuited for a part of such importance as Fernand. His voice is small and thin, his style raw and unformed, his acting devoid of energy and character. He speaks French very imperfectly, and with a strong accent, and was put into the part as a make-shift for Gardoni, exhausted by his efforts in Masaniello. Meanwhile the charming voice of Sophie Cruvelli is silent to the public, as she and the greater part of the company work night and day at rehearsals of Sig. V erdi's new opera, Les VSpres Siciliennes, which will be performed towards the end of the month.

As we have now begun a new year, and there is not a single novelty requiring attention, it may not be amiss to take a review of the musical events in Paris during the year just expired. At the Opera, Mdlle. Sophie Cruvelli made her dibut in the Huguenots, with a success which increased on each successive performance. Nothing could exceed the enthusiasm which greeted this, the youngest and most accomplished Valentine that ever appeared on the Parisian or any other stage. Since Mdlle. Cruvelli first performed in the Huguenots, the receipts have equalled anything previously known in the annals of the Grand-Opera of Paris. She alone sings the music as written by Meyerbeer; she alone is the young and trusting girl, the faithful wife, the fond and impassioned lover. If she had but Mario for Raoul, we should have witnessed such a performance as was unknown to French opera. The other parts in which Mdlle. Cruvelli appeared were Julie in La Vestale, and Alice in Robert le Diable. Mad. Stoltz made her rentrie in La Favorite, and will probably continue to sing Leonora until Meyerbeer's return to Paris, when she will make her first appearance as Fides, in Li Prophite, which she has so thoroughly studied, and of which, acccording to all accounts, she has completely made herself mistress. LaNonneSanglantevtas the one original opera produced during the season, and over that unhappy lady let us draw a veil which future generations are not likely to lift. La Muette de Portici with Gardoni, Cerito, Massol, and Pouilley; and La Yestale, with Sophie Cruvelli, already mentioned, were also among the operas revived this season. Madame Fortuni made a successful dibut in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Mdlle. Carlotina Bosati, as usual, was charming, fresh, graceful, and fascinating in the ballet of Jovita (music by M. Labarre). The list is meagre, and, excepting Sophie Cruvelli and Madame Stoltz, no artiste has created any great degree of enthusiasm. Let us hope that in the approaching year more will be done, and I feel sure that now the helm is in the experienced hands of Monsieur Crosnier, intelligence, application, aud care will not be wanting.

The Opera-Comique has had two great successes in the past year: the production of Meyerbeer's comic masterpiece, VEtoile du Nord, and the revival of Lc Pre aux Clercs. Few would

• Our correspondent ig difficult to please. Mad. Stoltz has always been renowned for the beauty and regularity of her features, and, we think, with good reason. ...

have imagined that Meyerbeer could write a comic opera; fewer still that, when written, that opera should be so gjay, lively, sparkling, and brilliant as the Star of the North.—Caroline Duprez has advanced wonderfully in public estimation, and deserves the success which has attended her. efforts. Herold's Pri aux Clercs is a treat to all lovers of good music; and M. Perrin showed his usual tact and good sense in reviving so charming an opera. It was admirably interpreted by Madame Miolan and her fellow artists, and has brought almost as much money to the Opera Comique as L'Etoile du Nord itself. La Fiancie du Diable, Les Trovatilles, L'Opera du Camp, and Les Sabots de la Marquise— operettas—served as agreeable levers de rideau on the nights that the greater works were performed.

The Italian Opera has added to Mosilames Frezzolini and Bosio, a most valuable artist in Madame Borghi-Mamo. She has appeared successively in Semiramide, Matilda di Shabran, Le Tre Nozze, and II Trovatore, and has been successful in all, but particularly in the last. H Trovatore, the sole novelty produced at this house during the season, has also been the sole success; it has already been performed eight times, and to very full houses. The money was sadly wanted, and Siguor Ragani deserves some compensation for all his losses. I hear that Mr. Gye intends to commence his season with II Trovatore at Covent Garden, and that he has engaged Biucarde, Borghi-Mamo, and Frezzolini to sing the music in London.

The Th6atre-Lyrique was in a dangerous condition at the death of its director, Monsieur Seveste, which occurred early in the year. Several persons desired to succeed him, but the difficulty was to obtain one who could re-engage Madame Marie Cabel; that charming singer, who was the sole support of the theatre, being released from her engagement by the death of M. Seveste, and having large offers to sing in the more fashionable regions of the Boulevard, was determined to accept them. However, M. Perrin, director of the Op6ra-Comique,having succeeded to the vacant throne at the Theatre-Lyrique, induced Mad. Cabel to remain, on condition of engaging her at the Opera-Comique for next season. The new operas produced at this establishment, and all more or less successful, have been Le Bijou Perdu, and Le Mvletier de Tolide, of M. Adolphe Adam (" of the Institute ")— La Promise of M. Clapisson (" of the Institute")—and Le Billet de Marguerite of M. Gevaert (" not of the Institute"). The last-named work, by a clever and rising young Belgian composer, introduced Mad. Deligne-Lauters (also a Belgian) to the French public. Remarkably young, with a pleasing face, and a delicious mezzo-soprano voice, Mad. Lauters has always acted and sung with intelligence, energy, and taste: possessing a voice, which for compass and quality has been rarely excelled on the French stage, she wanted style and finish in her singing—she has, however, studied hard to improve at each successive representation. I have no hesitation in asserting that Mad. Lauters will, in the course of two or three years, occupy a high rank on the lyric stage of Paris. The Schahabahan II., Le Roman de la Rose, and Mattre Wolfram (by M. Ernst Beyer), all original works, have also been produced during the past season, and nave been well received, without exception. Weber's Der FreischiUz (under its accepted title of Robin des Bois) is in active rehearsal, and will be ready early next week. I congratulate M. Perrin on the success of his two establishments. It is difficult to say which of them most attracts the public; but were I to point to a well-managed house, whose orchestra, principals, chorus, and decorators are all what they should be, I would direct my finger to the Opera-Comique ; and if that did not exist, I should with equal confidence turn to the Theatre-Lyrique.

All the theatres are doing well, Paris is full, and the Emperor, Empress, and Court are frequently seen in public That great actor, and extraordinary man, Frederic Lemaltre, who has lately returned from a tour in Russia, Germany, and Belgium, where he has added fresh laurels to his undying fame, has been engaged at the Ambigu-Comique, and made his debut in Paillasse. Such is his success, that no place can be obtained which is not taken three or four days in advance. He possesses the same power as ever over his audience, and moves them to mirth and laughter, to tear* aud sobs, with the same facility as thirty years ago. He has lost his teeth, and his articulation is indistinct, but" even in his ashes live their wonted fires," and, looking on that great master of his art, I cannot but feel what pigmies his successors are in comparison; and that when he leaves the stage there will be none to fill his vacant place. At the Odeon, we are fast approaching the hundredth performance of La Conscience, so well written by M. Alexandre Dumas, so well acted by M. Laferridre. Its success has been unceasing, and the continuous performance has never been interrupted, save during M. LaferriiSre's short illness. A comedy, in five acts, by MM. Durantin and Baymond Deslandes, is in rehearsal, and will be produced whenever La Conscience ceases to draw. M. Barridre's comedy of Lea Parisiens has changed the Vaudeville from sadness to mirth, from empty benches to crammed houses. The success is deserved, for the comedy is witty, brilliant, and sparkling—although very hard upon the good Parisians themselves—and the acting is extremely good. M. Felix in particular deserves great praise for his admirable performance of Desjenaix.

P.S. (January 11).—On Monday, the long-promised new ballet, entitled La Fonti, was produced with great splendour and entire success at the Opera. The ballet is the work of the well-known M. Mazilliar, the music by M. Labarre, the harp-player and exconductor at the Opera-Oomique. I have seldom seen a ballet more applauded, though I may have seen ballets more deserving of applause. The Emperor and Empress were present, and the house was crowded by a brilliant assembly. The heroine of the ballet, La Fonti, is a celebrated dancer; and the divertissement of Flor? et Zephyr, is one of the most striking scenes in the performance. The professional adventures of La Fonti, her amours with a certain Count Monteleone, as fickle and faithless as attractive, her ultimate triumph as a dancer at Florence, and her union with her first lover, Carlino, premier danseur, form the incidents of the plot. The scenery, dresses, and decorations are magnificent, and Madamoiselle Bosati, the heroine of the ballet, of whose performance I will tell you more in my next, achieved her greatest triumph on the opera boards, both as mime and danseuse. She has to appear in several costumes, and in each successive one looked more charming and fascinating than in that which preceded it. Among the subordinate danseuses Mdlle.Forli, whom you may remember in London, was most successful. The male parts were played by the evergreen Petipa, and a young dancer named M6rante, who produced a most favourable impression by the spirited, natural, and original manner in which he acted the part of Carlino. The success of the ballet was never for a moment doubtful, and the Emperor and Empress frequently applauded. La Fonti will, I think, be a real lift for the opera, of which, by the way, it stood greatly in need.

In consequence of a slight indisposition of Madlle. Bachel, M. Scribe's long-expected play, La Czarinc, will not be produced at the Theatre-Francais, as was anticipated, during the present week. Its postponement, however, will only be for a short time.

Contributions for the gallant Allied Army at the Crimea seem to be as much in vogue here as in London. The Italian Qpera, the Gymnase, and the Palais-Boyal have announced a performance for the 15th instant, in which the principal artists of all three companies will combine. It will take place at the Italian theatre, and the receipts will be devoted to the object above named.

Mb. "W. T. Best has been appointed organist of St. Martin'sin-the-Fields.

Music In The Provinces.—A concert party, consisting of the following artists, has just returned from a successful tour in the South and West of England. The singers were the Misses Brougham, and Messrs. Augustus Braham and Henri Drayton. The instrumentalists consisted of Messrs. T. Harper, Frederick Chatterton, and George Case. The pieces, which attracted most attention, were " Brighter than the Stars," (the quartett from Bigoletto), "The Cousins'" duet, "Sound an Alarm," and Mr. Hobbs's new song," What will they say in England 1" sung by Mr. Drayton.

FOREIGN.

Boston, Dec. 18,1854.—(From a Correspondent.)—The English Opera troupe, consisting of Miss Louisa Pyne and sister, and Messrs. Harrison and Borrani, has just concluded an engagement at the Boston Theatre. They have appeared in the Crown Diamonds, La Sonnambula, Fra Diavolo, Bohemian Oirl, Maritana, and the Beggar's Opera.

Miss Louisa Pyne has enchanted us all. This charming singer has made an impression here which will be lasting. Her sweet, pure voice, and her brilliant execution, have made her extremely popular. All agree that we have hail few cantatrices here who cau compare with her. Her greatest triumph has been her Amina in La Sonnambula. Miss Louisa Pyne's execution is astonishing. In the violin variations of Bode, which she introduces in the Crown Diamonds, she exhibits marvellous skill; and in the finale of La Sonnambula she is as remarkable. In personal appearance she is very prepossessing—she is not beautiful—mais elle est si gentitte. It is said that she strongly resembles the Queen. Miss Pyne (the elder) supports her sister well, and is especially commendable for her modest manner— never endeavouring to force herself forward, or make her part more prominent than is warranted by the scene.

Of the operas performed by this troupe, the Crown Diamonds and Maritana have been the most successful. The first time the Beggars' Opera was produced, it drew an immense audience; the second time it was played to empty seats. This opera— which is in fact no opera at all, but a comedy with songs—affords little opportunity for the display of Miss Pyne's powers, and was apparently brought out solely for Mr. Harrison.

Grisi and Mario are now singing to crowded houses at the Academy in New York; the people having at length awakened to a sense of their folly in permitting these two great artists to perform almost unheard as they have heretofore done. They are expected here about the first of January.

Leipzic.—The yearly public examination of the pupils belonging to the Music Academy, took place in November, at the Gewandhaus. The programme was composed of music of the highest order, and the examination embraced composition, solo singing, and pianoforte solo. Each pupil performed his part in a manner which did honour both to the teachers and the institution. It was founded in the year 1843 by Dr. Mendelssohn Bartholdy, and affords a source of study for every branch of classical music. The number of pupils at present amount to near one hundred, from different parts of Europe. There are among them five from England and three from America. Miss Stabbach has finished her engagement here. Her performance has given, on the whole, universal satisfaction. She is at present in Bremen.—On the 10th instant commenced the first of the yearly Abonnement-Quartets in the Gewandhaus. The star of the evening was Miss Arabella Goddard from London. She played the B flat major (Op. 97) trio from Beethoven in a masterly manner, also a praludium and fuge from Bach, and a "Song without Words from Mendelssohn, in a tasteful and brilliant style. She is engaged to perform at the Gewandhaus Concerts.

Milan, 6th January, 1855.—(From our own Correspondent.)— The Theatre Alia Scala was opened on the evening of the 26th ult., with the opera-seria Marco Visconti, the libretto by Sig. D. Bolognese. The scene takes place in Lombardy, in 1329. The music is by the Maestro Petrella. The success was but mediocre. There are several pieces in the opera which entitle the composer to all the honours that were awarded to him, both upon the present occasion, and in many other theatres in which this work has been previously represented. The cavatina of the prima donna, the aria of the tenor, the duetto for the soprano and baritone, and the finale of the second act are generally considered the best pieces of the opera. The last scene of the last act is not all that might be wished for in an opera-seria. Signora Albertini (Bice) has a powerful voice, but not of the most agreeable quality, particularly in the upper register. The part she had to represent was rather an ungrateful one; nevertheless, she obtained much applause. The tenor, Signor Mirate (Ottorino Visconti) was warmly received and applauded for the artistic manner in which he sang. His voice has lost somewhat of its freshness, still he is a good singer; as an actor, he is wanting in animation* The baritone, Signor Ferri (Marco Visconti), is an artist o decided merit. His voice is not one of the strongest, but the skilful manner in which he manages it, obtained for him repeated marks of favour from the audience. The composer, Signor Petrella, was honoured with four or five calls in conjunction with the artists. With the successive representations the music has been more favourably received. The ballet, Le Figlie delta Guerra, was a complete fiasco. The great theatre, with its six tiers of boxes filled with the elite of the city, presented on the opening night one of the most brilliant sights imaginable. The house was literally crowded from the floor to the ceiling with a vast and magnificent assemblage, numbering, I should think, not less than five thousand! On the evening of the 31st ultimo, Linda di Chamounix was represented; the principal parts were sustained by the Millies. Hensler and Bregazzi, and the Signors Pasi, Monari, and Benedetto Laura. Mdlle. Hensler, as a debutante,vraa most generously received by the public. Her voice, one of the weakest ever heard, is not suitable for a large theatre. It is, however, flexible and sympathetic. Mdlle. Hensler executed some of the light passages with taste. Mdlle. Bregazzi (Pierotto) has a voice sufliciently strong, but is greatly deficient in the knowledge of her art. Her singing, is one continued strain upon the voice, and entirely without accent. Signor Pasi (Carlo) is a tenor of mezzo-carottere. He sustained his part creditably, and was occasionally applauded. The bassi Monari, and Benedetto Laura, were both so incompetent to sustain their respective parts, that I was surprised how such artists could have been engaged for such a theatre. The general execution of this opera has been considered a failure. It Trovatore will be given in a few days. Afterwards are expected the new operas—Ines, by Signor Chiaramonte, and LeDue Regine, by Signor Muzio; both of which have been expressly written for the Scala. Mercadante's Vestale is also spoken of as being in preparation. This evening, Jan. 6th, Olema la Schiava, a new ballet by Priora, will be produced. At the Theatre Carcano, Lucrezia Borgia—the principal parts sustained by the prima donna, Signora Melada; the contralto, Signora Gibbs; and the tenor, Signor Miserocchi— opened the carnival season on the 26th ult., with but indifferent success. The second representation proved a fiasco. Ernani was produced for the second opera, supported by the prima donna Signora Donati, and the Signori Biondi and Ferrari. This, also, proved a failure. On the 5th inst., La Donna Bianca d'Avenelle, libretto by Signor G. Rossi, music by the Maestro C. Gallieri, was given, interpreted by the Signora Cominotti, and the Signori Biondi and Ferrari. It would be unjust to criticise the new work until the execution is improved. Several calls were given for the composer during the representation of the first part of the opera.

Bremen.—On Tuesday, the 22nd instant, a concert was given here which proved unusually attractive. More than eight hundred persons—among them most of the fashionables and musical amateurs of the place—were present. Miss Arabella Goddard, the young English pianist, constituted the chief point of attraction. Her success was decided and unequivocal. The Bremen audience, generally so cold, received her after each performance with the loudest cheers and the most animated applause. Miss Goddard played Mendelssohn's concerto in G minor, and Thalberg's fantasia on airs from Most in Egitto. Both created a furore, and both were enthusiastically encored. Miss Goddard repeated the last movement of the concerto with even encreased effect; and after the Mose fantasia, executed some minor pieces, with which the audience seemed hardly less astonished and delighted than at her previous performances. The fair pianist was again recalled, and literally overwhelmed with acclamations and bravos. So great an excitement has not been created in Bremen for many years.

Berlin.{From our own Correspondent)—There is such a dearth of musical news, this week, that I almost fear what I have to tell you will scarcely be worth the money it will cost for postage. Perhaps, however, I may as well write, if it is merely to inform you that I am still in the land of the living, and that the principal event of musical interest is the return of Madlle. Agnes Biiry, who will shortly make her dibut as Amina,

in La Sonnambula. She has selected Lucia di Lammermoor for her second appearance. When I add that the King has, in token of his satisfaction of the energy and excellent judgment displayed by Herr von Hiilsen, in the management of the Royal Opera-house, presented that gentleman with an elegant ivory stick, on one side of which is his Majesty's name in red enamel, and the black eagle on a silver field on the other, while a silver lyre with golden strings surmounts the top, I have exhausted my budget of news. Vale I

Vienna.{From our own Correspondent).—At the Imperial Opera-house, a lady of the name of Ernst-Kaiser appeared last week as Alice in Robert le Diable. Her voice is completely worn out, and very sharp and disagreeable in the upper notes. She failed most signally. M. Vieuxtemps has given a concert, in the Imperial Redoutensaal for the benefit of the Asylum for the Blind. The concert was announced to commence with Mendelssohn's overture to Ruy Bias, but Weber's overture to Oberon was eventually substituted*. M.Vieuxtemps played his concerto in D major, so popular here last year, especially the introduzione and adagio religioso, and also performed, for the first time in Vienna, a new andante expressivo and rondo of his own composition. The celebrated artist was greatly applauded. Herr Steger sang an air from Sig. Verdi's Trovatore, and Madlle. Cornet one from Bellini's Puritani. The room was very well filled. The fourth Quartet Concert took place the same evening. The programme included a quartet by Haydn in B major, Beethoven's most charming Sonata in C minor, for pianoforte and violin, and a quintet in B major by Mozart. The last piece had never been heard in Vienna, and excited the greatest curiosity. The audience, especially the professional portion of it, was delighted beyond expression. M. Vieuxtemps gave a second concert in the Saal der Musikfreunde. The programme was highly attractive, consisting of a quartet in E major, by Haydn; one in G major, by Mozart ; and one in C major, by Beethoven. The other concerts given in the course of the week were that of the Wiener Mannergesang-Verein, and that of the blind mandoline virtuoso, Vailati. The latter was but poorly attended.

Hamburgh.—Mdlle. Augusta Geisthard has appeared successfully as Giralda in the opera of that name.

Wiesbaden.—M. Meyerbeer's Etoile du Nord and Mr. Balfe's Bohemian Qirl are in rehearsal, and will shortly be produced. Die Entfiihrung aus dem Serail has been revived and given great satisfaction.

Coburq.—His Royal Highness the reigning Duke has made Mad. Jenny Lutzer-Dingelstedt a present of a most valuable bracelet. It is ornamented with a portrait of His Royal Highness set in a ground of dark blue enamel, surrounded by eight large diamonds of the first water.

Frankfort-on-the-maine.—Mdlle. Marie Cruvelli sang the part of Fides in Meyerbeer's ProphUe, for the benefit of Herr Auerbach, and was most enthusiastically applauded for her excellent performance, considered both in a dramatic and musical point of view.

Amsterdam.—Mad. von Marra has prolonged her engagement, and will appear shortly in M. Meyerbeer's Etoile du Nora, which will bo produced expressly for her. The manager, Herr de Vries, has gone to Paris to obtain designs for the scenery and dresses.

St.petersbitrgh.—Donizetti'sPofo'Mfohas been very favourably received. M. Meyerbeer's Prophete has been given under the title of Tlie Siege of Ghent, Mad. Tedesco sustaining the part of Fides, and Sig. Tamberlik that of Jean de Leyde. The so-called "Academies," consisting of scenes from various operas, are very popular, and draw great houses. Madlle. Marai has made a great " hit."

Cologne.—The opera company have returned from Antwerp, and recommenced their regular performances. Don Juan, I Montecchi e Capuletti, and Lucrezia Borgia have been given. Madlle. Wille, from the Conservatory at Paris, made her first appearance as Romeo. The Brothers Wieniawski passed through this city last Tuesday, on their way to Brussels, whence they proceed to play at Hanover.

Dresden.—Mdlle. Ney has appeared in Herr Marschner's

« ElőzőTovább »