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MR. E. T. SMITH AND HIS MANAGEMENT.
(From the Morning Post.)
Nearly four months ago Mr. Smith startled the town by the publication of a prospectus adorned by such an array of celebrated names, and so rich in brilliant and attractive promises, that not a few of those initiated in the mysteries of operatic management thought the new director must be possessed by the demon of romance, or that desire and achievement, intention and accomplishment, had become so completely mixed up in his mind as to appear to him one and the same thing. In other words, the fulfilment of all Mr. Smith's splendid promises was considered by many to be a downright impossibility. A vast theatre was to be redecorated. At least two grand operas (Rossini's Semiramidc, and Weber's Oberon), both requiring extensive and costly scenic illustration, were to be magnificently placed upon a stage notoriously the most inconvenient to be found in any large theatre: and which, when the prospectus for the past season appeared, was destitute of almost every requisite mechanical appliance, and altogether out of working order. The old dilapidated concertroom, long the abode of spiders, rats, and mice, and "such small deer," was to be converted into a "bijou theatre," while a company of celebrated singers and dancers, so numerous that it was difficult to see how they could all be brought forward in a manner worthy of their artistic positions, further increased the swelling announcement. Then we were to have such admirable conductors as Mr. Benedict and Signor Arditi, such principal violins as Herr Molique and Mr. Blagrove, a first-rate band, and a first-rate chorus. Many, as we have said, doubted the possibility of all this being duly accomplished; and yet the old house was altered much for the better, and redecorated in a very splendid and costly manner in time for the opening night (April 10). The "bijou theatre" was finished about the middle of the season, though it has not yet been publicly used. The two promised operas have been given with all the scenic effect which could reasonably be looked for in such a locality, and the following artistes have appeared:—Vocalists—Mile. Titiens, Mad. Borghi-Mamo, Mile. Piccolomini, Mad. Lotti della Santa, Mad. Marie Cabel, Mile. Brunetti, Mad. Lemaire, Mile. Vaneri, Mile. Louise Michal, and Mad. Alboni; Signor Giuglin', Signor Vialetti, Signor Belart, Signor Everardi, Signor Aldighieri, Signor Gassier, Signor Corsi, Signor Ciampi, Signor Sebastiano Ronconi, Signor Castclli, Herr Steger, and Signor Mongini. Dancers—Mile. Pocchini, Mile. Cucchi, Mile. Morlacchi, Mile. Pasquale, Mile. Amalia Ferraris, M. Durand, M. Chapuy, &c.
For the^most part then the director was enabled to keep faith with the public, the only shortcomings being in the orchestral and choral departments; serious failings, certainly, though by no means irremediable. Mr. Smith has himself, with laudable frankness, publicly made allusion to the weak points of his establishment, and in acknowledging the necessity of a reformation, promises to do his best to accomplish it, at the same time warning his supporters that the task is fraught with difficulties. These difficulties are not so great as Mr. Smith (who probably knows but little of such matters) has perhaps been taught to believe. It were preposterous to suppose that a vast city like London can only yield a sufficiently large number of orchestral performers to furnish one first-rate band. Plenty of capital instrumentalists, whether English or foreign, are always to be had in the metropolis; but the power of selection should be in competent hands, and remuneration to the executants must be enough to attract efficient professors, and make it worth their while to attend rehearsah, without which a satisfactory ensemble is not to be looked for. There is no reason why the fact should not be publicly stated that the salaries of orchestral performers are, for the most part, very low— shamefully so, indeed, when compared with the enormous sums paid to singers. There is no instrument that it takes not time and pains to learn, not to speak of that Heaven-born genius which the instrumentalist—if he really excel in his vocation—must possess in at least an equal degree with the singer. The vocal and histrionic arts doubtless require also long and assiduous study; but surely it will be seen that the rewards are out of all proportion when it is shown that where the celebrated singer receives £80 per night, the equally celebrated player gets, under the hap
piest circumstances, £5—more frequently £8, £2, or eTea leu. These are the highest terms paid, we believe, at a certain great lyric establishment, the distinctive character and permanent sue. cess of which are, in a large degree, ascribnble to the attractions of the magnificent orchestra. With such remuneration the professors are satisfied. Everything is in the hands of a respected conductor. Rehearsals are duly attended, and the results are always most honourable and valuable to the management. Bat elsewhere is it not otherwise? Are the members of Mr. Smith's band equally well remunerated? Do they duly attend rehearsals? Is the engagement and management of them entrusted to one or two conductors who must necessarily be responsible to the public for the public acts of those under, or supposed to be under, their control? We can answer these questions unhesitatingly in the negative, and must consequently conclude that until the system of last season be "reformed altogether," the new brightness which Mr. Smith has thrown about Her Majesty's Theatre will remain heavily clouded. It is not, of course, probable that a manager who is ready to pay £1,000 per month to certain artists, and has proved himself willing and able on so many occasions to risk large sums in catering for the public, would suddenly be seized with a fit of parsimony directly the question of fiddles, oboes, clarionets, &c. came under his consideration. Far more credible is it that Mr. Smith did what he was advised to do in this respect—that he wished to do the best possible, but, being ill-advised, committed errors, which he will have leisure to repent of and atone for between this and next season. Our counsel may be given in a few words. Let Mr. Smith, first of all, employ a thoroughly competent person to select orchestral performers, and ]»y those performers enough to ensure their punctual attendance (under a penalty) at every necessary rehearsal. Let the same plan be put in force with respect to the chorus, and wc will answer for the result. Here, however, our objections arc at an end. If all the new performers, introduced experimentally of course by Mr. E. T. Smith, did not turn out valuable acquisitions, we do not sec that any blame can attach to the director, unless the public have aright to consider him less fallible than any other theatrical manager. — ■ <——
Madame Jullien's Benefit.—It is gratifying to find that the English public have not forgotten the man who did so much for the advancement of his art and the cultivation of the musxal taste of the age, for we cannot but think that a very large portion of the 15,000 persons who were at the Surrey Gardens on Tuesday evening were influenced by the desire of doing some good for the widow of one who was deservedly the most popular, as he was the most talented of caterers for the amusement, and let us also add the elevation, of his patrons. Fortunately the weather was favourable, and consequently those who could not obtain room m the large hall, which was crammed to suffocation, were not inconvenienced by having to remain in the open air, and listen to t» strains of the performers, mellowed by the distance which in this instance might have "lent enchantment," if not "to the view," at least to something else, for the heat and the crowding must have been positively awful to those in the area of the buildingit was bad enough in .the first circle, where standing room was just as much at a premium as everywhere else. Of course we cannot be expected to notice in detail a programme which nambered some thirty-five pieces, and lasted from half-past six until— well, we cannot say when, for we certainly did not stay it all out. The entertainment wasdivided into four parts—the first orchestral, conducted by Mr. Alfred Mellon and Prince Galitzin (whose Surprise Polka was encored by the way), comprising the overture to Semiramide, one movement of Mendelssohn's A minor srmphony, Jullien's Warsaw Varsoviana and Last Waltz-tbe latter for the first time of performance, and every way worthy the reputation of its lamented composer, the air charming »■» eminently danxante. The second and third parts entirely vocal, embraced a variety of songs, ballads, &c, all of which »«* received with a greater or less degree of noisy cnthusi""1 100 closely bordering upon turbulence to be pleasant. Tndeed the exuberance which seems to be so strong a characteristic of a transpontine audience was at times so very fully developed as to threaten to interrupt the progress of the concert altogether. >ct that anybody seemed to have the slightest idea of what they wanted, beyond an insane desire for displaying their strength of lung and vigour of arm. Painfully embarrassing it must have been to some of the more nervous of the vocalists, and in one or two instances the effects were distressing alike to singers and the more rational portion of the hearers. Miss Kate Ranoe, Mile. Enrichctta Camille, Mile. Brunetti, Miss Poole, Miss Palmer, Mrs. Weiss, Mad. Louisa Vinning, Mile. Parepa, Mad. Alboni, M. Gassier, Mr. Weiss, Mr. Patcy, and Mr. Sims Reeves, with the Vocal Association conducted by Mr. Benedict, contributed some of their most popular pieces, of which it is sufficient to say that Mad. Alboni's superb rendering of the aria "Ah! quel giorno" from Semiramide, was encored, and the tyrollenne from Belly, "In questo scinplice," substituted; that the brindisi "II segreto" evoked a furore, and was repeated with if possible greater effect, the fair artiste retiring amidst the waving of hats and handkerchiefs, and a perfect uproar of delight. Of course Mr. Sims Reeves was compelled to repeat his songs " They say that all things change," by Vincent Wallace, and Balfe's "1 love you"—which latter bids fair to become one of the most favourite songs of the day. Nor were these the only encores of the evening, "I dreamt that I dwelt in marble halls,"' by Mile. Parepa, being given a second time, and "Barney O'Hea," by Miss Poole, redemanded, in lieu of which we had "Wapping Old Stairs." Besides these we must especially mention Miss Kate Ranoe's very intelligent and expressive reading of Ilerr Reichardt's popular song, "Thou art so near and yet so far." Of the fourth part of the concert, in which the bands of the Grenadier, Coldstream, and Scots Fusilier Guards were announced to appear, we can say nothing, but have no doubt that Jullien's English and British Army Quadrilles afforded as much delight as they used when conducted by their composer, and the Last Waltz repeated to the gratification of the multitude, who seemed to evince no desire to quit the "gay and festive scene and halls of dazzling light."
CAN PARIS PAY ITS ARTISTS?*
The Revue et Oazette des Theatres quoted, in its number of Thursday last, a portion of the article published by us on the London theatres, and in which we directed attention to the excellence of the lyrical companies at Covent Garden and Her Majesty's, where it is not uncommon to see artists of the firstclass consent to undertake secondary parts, while at Paris the same artists would evince less alacrity for such acts of complaisance, however precious those acts may be for obtaining a more brilliant performance of the masterpieces of the classical as well as the modern repertory. Our contemporary, who had already stated this fact, which a recent opportunity enabled us to corroborate de auditu, appends the following reflections to our remarks :—
"Paris will never be so fortunate as to be able to offer the public that assemblage, in one and the same work, of first-rate artists which must be the dream of all those who know how to appreciate a masterpiece. Is it not a certain fact that such a superior manner of rendering the secondary parts must throw upon the masterpiece additional light, and impart perfectly new value to details which mediocrity leaves in the shade?
"To what causes is to be attributed this accidental superiority of London over Paris? Why do the artists whom Paris has reared do on the other side of the Channel things which it would be impossible to make them do on this? Why can the London theatres have entire companies composed of first-rate artists, like an army in which each soldier should possess the value of a colonel? Why? To these questions we believe there is only one answer, and that is: London can pay and Paris cannot."
AVe deny in toto this assertion; it is our conviction that Paris can pay, relatively speaking, quite as well as London, only we must add that London knows better how to pay, and how to obtain a higher return for its money than Paris. Our neighbours, again, possess greater talent in speculation; they do not buy a pig in a poke; they travel themselves, or get others to travel for
* From the Europe Artiste of the 22nd ult.
them, in order to procure certain information as to the merit of the various artists. When the latter are once engaged, they are obliged to renounce their caprices, their exacting demands, and all idea of embarrassing the management; the performers must no more be backward in their duty than the treasurer in his, and it is thus that theatrical enterprises become profitable.
In Paris, negotiations are opened with a superior artist at the last moment, and, naturally, he speculates on the need there is of his assistance; as in nearly every case he is called upon to support unaided the responsibility of a piece, he is the more intractable with the management the more indispensable he feels himself to be; so that managers become the subordinates of the persons they have engaged, which is the contrary to what it ought to be in sound logic.
It is said that in London the aristocracy does not care for expense; high Parisian society also can be generous, wben it has sufficient reasons for manifesting its liberality; but, to speak the truth, we think it does not enjoy too many occasions of doing so. Now, connoisseurs in artistic banquets cannot consider a table properly served when it boasts of only one and the same dish, and Paris is generally restricted to this cougruity of repast. If, in a theatre with opera and ballet, there is a first tenor, we shall have to regret the absence of the prim i donna; if there is a superior barytone, the contralto will be wanting; in the choreographic department, the first danseuse will absorb everything, and all the rest will be left to chance, without any attention being devoted to that completeness of ensemble, and that artistic result which should be attained. Among us, therefore, with that good taste which is generally acknowledged, with the intelligence necessary for doing things well, and with numberless resources, we find only incomplete companies, which, from their very incompleteness, are incapable of producing a piece in such a manner as to show it off to the best advantage. This is not the fault of the public; it is the fault of the managers, who do not set about their work with sufficient earnestness; people among us have a habit of being contented with something merely approximative; they^ are prodigal in one particular and miserly in all the rest; what is wanting is that good sound cense which should preside over a better distribution of our disposable forces; for things to be different, and for the comparison to be always to our advantage, we should only have to will it; but, whether from presumption or from carelessness, we do not know how to will, aud thus we arrive at the results we have pointed out.
To speak only of the Opera, people assert it could never pretend to compete in magnificence with the English managers, who may with impunity, it is added, increase their expenses in order to augment their profits in the same proportion. This reasoning is not, perhaps, correct. As we have said, we were present at Italian operatic performances in London; neither Covent Garden nor Her Majesty's display more magnificence, we do not say munificence, than our Academic Imperiale de Musique. Only, on beginning his season, Mr. Gye knows to within a poun the sums he has to receive, aud, allowing for his profit, the sums he cau spend. He harmonises his budget, and does nothing at hazard; an example we recommend for adoption by our first lyric theatre. It has been thought right to refer to the precarious situation of a speculative manager, who, after having attracted public attention to the theatre he managed, was obliged to retire a few months since on account of the positive losses he incurred. AVe do not think the example selected is a good one. M. Carvalho— for he is the person alluded to — overstepped, at the Theatre Lyrique, the limits to which, by his patent, he was restricted. Certainly we are obliged to him, as an artist, for the performances he presented to the public; but we do not award him, as a manager and a commercial individuality, the same meed of praise. He attempted more than he was obliged to attempt, and more than was asked of him. He entered into competition with the Opdra and the Opera Comique simultaneously, and such was not the position Government had allotted him, and charged him to maintain. He necessarily, therefore, arrived at the result, materially to be regretted, which has been mentioned, and to which he advanced almost consciously, we believe. If it be said that it would have been just to have furnished him with the means of retrieving his losses, we agree ( but he must not be put in comparison with what is done in London, particularly at the Italian Opera, because the situation is not at all the same, and because there is not the slightest logical or rational connection between the two cases.
We now come to the liberty of fixing the prices. This is an entirely special question, and, as far as we are concerned, we should have no objection to its being settled as our contemporary desires. Our readers know that we have always been partisans of everything which could extend the circle of liberty within which theatrical industry moves. Now we should not offer any opposition to a system which permitted a trader in Paris or the departments to sell his goods at the value he thought fit to put upon them; but it strikes us that, in this particular, the discussion is going from the ground which it appeared at first to have selected, and that it is not by coursing two hares at once that we can hope to catch one.
Consequently, we maintain what we said in the first lines of this article j we reply to the question thus put: Can Paris pay its artists as well as London can pay them f Yes, most certainly. Can it demand the same services of them? Yes. Does it render their life more easv and their reputation greater? Yes again. Therefore, the position of an artist in France is in no way inferior to that he is able to obtain in England.
At present, let every manager be allowed to fix the prices of admission as he pleases; we can see no objection, nay, we even think that if he has a right to do this, he may advance his own interests, those of the public, and those of all true artists simultaneously. As matters are carried on now-a-days, we confess we are in no way surprised at the indifference of the spectators, while the reduced, or insufficient prices, which form one cause of complaint, are, but too frequently, superior to the quality of the dramatic merchandise offered for sale. For some time post, however, the class-papers and the superior authorities have been considering the modifications required in the present mode of managing theatrical enterprise; a great number of useful observations have already been evoked, and we cannot believe they will be entirely without effect. As a matter of course, the persons interested will be brought to leave the domain of theoretical discussion, and proceed to practical experiment, and we have great faith in what has already been done. We rejoice, therefore, that the few lines we wrote on our return from London produced, from the Gazette des Theatres, the article to which we have replied. On this occasion, as on every other, we have found the journal edited by our friend Denis ready to maintain the cause of progress, a cause to which, like him, we have devoted the little experience, and, most certainly, all the energies we possess.
ScRArs From Abroad.—(From various sources.)—Signor and Signora Tiberini have proceeded to fulfil an engagement at Trieste. Signor Fancani, who is engaged for next March by M. Calzado, has also left Paris. He will spend a week at Aix-la-Chapelle, whence he will proceed to Naples, where he is engaged for the
present. Signor P. P. Boccomini, one of the principal members
of Mad. Ristori's company, has died at Amsterdam. The management of the Riccardi Theatre at Bergamo has been confided, for the duration of the fair, to the Brothers Marzi, who will give performances of opera buffo and ballet. Some papers have spread the report that the management of the Theatres Royal, Naples, would perhaps pass, ere long, into the hands of Malvezzi, the tenor. Signor Lorenzoni and Signora Gavetti Reggiani have been engaged for next autumn at the Communal Theatre of Bologna,
the former as first dancer, and the latter as prima donna. The
Neopolitan journal II Diorama has changed its title, and is now called VItalia. Among the recent engagements for Constantinople may be mentioned those of Signor A. Bianchi, first tenor; Fiorini, bass; Mattioli, buffo; and Signora Galli, prima donna
assoluta. Signor Masini, first bass, is at present in Milan,
whence he will soon return to St. Petersburgh, where he is engaged for the fourth time. M. H. Montplaisir is engaged as
ballet master for the Carneval of 1860-G1 at the Carlo Felice Theatre, Genoa. The fresh choreographic work produced will be entitled Benvenuto Cellini, on which the management will spare
no expense. Verdi's Trovatore is being given simultaneously it Gerbino and the Alfieri Theatre, Turin.—The vocal and instrqmental concert of the pupils at the Milan Conservatory took place
on the 8th July. The opening of the Valle Theatre, at Rome,
for the summer season was to have taken place on the 30th June, with the Masnadieri. After the last rehearsal, however, Coin the tenor fell ill. The part of Carlo was immediately given to the other tenor of the establishment, Signor Gianini, and the opening fixed for the 3rd July, but, at the first general rehearsal, Signor Gianini was compelled, by an intestinal attack, to take to his bed. On this, application was made to Signor Negrini, whohappened to be still at Rome, and that gentleman appeared in the part on the 7th ult.; Signora Teresa Armelini was the prima dowu.
Mile. Sarotta is engaged at the Orientc Theatre, Madrid.—
Signoras Pancani, Negrini, Colctti; Signoras Staffenone, VeraLorini, and Mile. Boschetti, premiere danseuse, arc engaged at the San Carlo, Naples.
LINES FOR MUSIC *
My mother tongue, how dear thy tone,
With all my life how bound;
Thou teachest this proud neck to bow,
As might a mother's arm;
And hush'd is all alarm.
Again I feel a little child;
The vain world fades from sight.
I feel thy healing might.
Onco more my grandsiro bids me kneel;
Come, child, thy prayer say,
Once more what 'tis to pray.
From deep within my spirit calls,
My heart pours forth its pain.
And all seems well again.
My mother tongue, so right, so sound,
Of God thou break'st the fear,"
A prayer in mine ear.
No music seems to me so fine,
Nor nightingale's love call;
Adown these cheeks to fall.
MISS ANNA WHITTY.
Our renders will perhaps recollect that at Mr. Benedict's annua/ concert, in St. James's Hall, in 1859, Miss Anna Whitty, a young lady the daughter of the editor and proprietor of the Liverpool Journal and Liverpool Daily Post, created a most decided sensation by the admirable style in which she sang "Bel raggio" from Se?niramide, displaying in her vocalisation a refined and cultivated style, and a voice of most charming sweetness and brilliancy. Though Miss Anna Whitty has only once sung in England, she has for several years been pursuing a most prosperous career in Central and Northern Italy, in spite of the political troubles of that region, and the Florentine, Milanese, and Livoraesepapws lately received by us give most glowing accounts of Miss Wnitty's operatic performances.
The Buon Gusto of Florence says, "Anna Whitty is a yoanf and fair daughter of England, who has made Italy a second country, and Italian art a passion and a religion. Distinguished for education, manners, instruction, and talent, she perfected her vocal powers in Florence, under a first-rate master; her studies were not of that superficial order which the greater part of the singers of the present day pass through. She rendered herseli
The words of this song are copyright.
familiar with the works of our best composers, and preferred, with the instinct of good taste, the classical creations of our immortal maestri. Mile. Whitty has by this gained the gratitude of our land of song—it is for this she merits renown and honour. She made her debut at the Theatre-Royal Pagliano, at Florence, some three years ago, having previously held the post of prima donna at Malta, for two seasons. From that moment her career was assured, and each theatre where she appeared was for her a new field of glory, where she obtained fresh and enviable triumphs. Those who have not heard this artiste will ask us—what are the gifts she possesses, and what are the powers that have enabled her to call forth the enthusiasm of the most critical audiences? The reply is easy; but before we decipher the letter itself, let us first examine the envelope. Mile. Whitty has a commanding presence and a pleasing countenance. As we have said before, her manners and deportment on the stage are eminently noble and distinguished. Her voice is not robust, but is rich and full in tone, with an excellent suavity and sweetness, of great compass, most flexible, and, above all, most sympathetic, being of that timbre that does not besiege but descends to the heart, filling the soul with the various emotions of tenderness and melancholy. Added to this is her rare tritto and perfection of method, her extraordinary agility with which she overcomes the most difficult passages, performing them spontaneously, and without an effort; her singing is an embroidery; difficulties become for her a mere plaything — a pastime. Mile. Whitty, as a "lyric actress," is capable of interpreting any work; but it is in classical compositions, particularly those of Rossini, in which she most excels, and for which she seems specially created; it is in these chefs (Tceuvre her genius developes itself, where her trillo is most displayed. For her _ there must be obstacles, difficulties, and then she is seen gliding, flying, playing among a million of notes the most complicated and perilous, with the same rapidity, ease, and security, as the butterfly frolics among flowers. Added to this trillo, the grace, the charm that accompanies it, producing an ensemble that almost reaches perfection. Mile. Whitty's powers as an actress equal those she possesses as a singer. Her gestures are as graceful as they are moderate; each movement betrays intelligence and refinement. She never forgets the part she represents, becoming herself embodied in the character she interprets. As we have said in a former number, Mile. Whitty must ever become the delight of whatever public and the ornament of whatever theatre she may appear at. She is at present at Leghorn, where, according to her custom, she excites that critical public to the highest enthusiasm, the theatre resounding with acclamations at every morceau she executes. In honouring this artiste we honour Italian art, of which she is so faithful an interpreter. Such is the admiration—such is the esteem we publicly offer to the distinguished merit of Anna Whitty."
The Scintille of Milan, speaking of the performance of La Cenerentola, says, "It is needless to tell you that Mile. Whitty, in the principal part, was immense; and, in fact, it would be difficult to find a singer of the present day who can with so much ability execute the difficult music of Rossini, and who joins to the most perfect intonation the rarest talent and musical knowledge. It is impossible to say in what particular morceaux she was especially applauded, being almost equally so throughout the whole opera; but in the famous rondo, 'Non piu. mesta,' she touched the very sublimity of art."
The Leghorn correspondent of the Milan Oazetta dei Toatri is equally enthusiastic:—" I thought the lovely music, 'Cenerentola,' old, out of fashion! I was decidedly in the wrong. And do you know to whom I owe my conversion? To Mile. Anna Whitty, the charming artiste, who seems to have been created on purpose to sing the melodies of our immortal Rossini. Her voice is pure, sympathetic; her agility marvellous, and her method perfect. They encored the rondo, and the public, delighted with the youthful cantatrice, demanded a third repetition of the classical morceau. Eight times at least was Mile. Whitty recalled before the curtain."
Making all allowances for the exaggerated style of Italian enthusiasm, we have reason to believe that Miss AVhitty is an artiste of whom we may, as Englishmen, be proud, and we hope soon she wiH have an opportunity of administering to the pleasures of her own countrymen and countrywomen.
THE DRAMATIC COLLEGE.
(From the Daily Telegraph.)
There is a sort of affliction to which human nature is liable, and which Gray used to call The White Melancholy. The patient never laughs or dances, but is in a perpetnal state of satisfaction with himself. This, we are bound to think, is the state into which some of our moralists have fallen. The world is offensive to them, but, to do them justice, they are highly condescending to the world. Both, therefore, get on better than might have been expected. But now and then an affair turns up beyond the endurance of charity itself ; and snch'a business, as certain persons assume, was the late festival at the Crystal Palace in aid of the Royal Dramatic College Fund. We had originally imagined that the day passed off balmily and genially enough, that the fun was excellent and the fraud enticing, that the lady stall-keepers were so many living fascinations, and the gentlemen who lent their aid better levellers than any Jacobins on record. But it seems that the whole matter was a public perfidy, and that society is to blame for having smiled in presence of a sham which the genus Mawworm is resolved henceforward never more to tolerate. The great community whidh reads newspapers and pays attention to passing events will probably ask to what on earth we are alluding.
Who has said, or written, or suggested a word against the Dramatic Fancy Fair? No one, we allow, who is likely to command more than a " class" audience, and yet the impeachment has been delivered, and the actresses who exerted themselves so pleasantly and benevolently are exhorted to kiss the rod. A contemporary, which assumes the functions of "the accredited organ of dramatic morals"—whatever that may mean—has untied its Motor's bundles and knouts tho entire theatrical profession roundly. Wc do not believe that the smart will be very sevcro or that the green-room population will turn pale under this eminently righteous censure; but is there, in reality, a syllable of truth in the charge thus flung at random against the promoters of a most praiseworthy movement? The Dramatic College Festival at the Crystal Palace was, in fact, an event which very agreeably illustrated the relations at present existing between the theatrical profession and society at large. The barriers have been broken down ; the Mawworms are now exceptional beings; it is known and acknowledged by all, except the bigoted and stupid, that many a true English lady and English gentleman treads the stage. This result having been attained, what possible objection was there to a mingling of actors, actresses, and the best classes of the public at Sydenham in order to assist in the development of a great philanthropic purpose?
The Dramatic College, wo are told, issued begging advertisements. Does not every hospital, every asylum, every shelter of the widow and the fatherless, every charitable institution in the kingdom do the same? But, it is added, the public were asked for contributions to the stalls of nrticles to be sold for the benefit of the fund. Was there anything unusual in that? It has been done over and over again, and might be done for the Brompton Consumption Hospital, the Soldiers' Daughters' Home, tho Hospital for Epileptic and Paralytic Patients, and the highest ladies in the land have set the example. Now, however, we reach the centre of bitterness and opprobium. The world, it is complained, was invited to see "actresses with their rouge off." And pray where is the sin which is denounced in these withering terms? Are actresses never to wear the costume or appear in the characters of ordinary ladies? Must they bo shut up for ever in the enchanted palace of the drama, amid mock diamonds, paint, and spangles? Are they to be blamed because, volunteering to assist in obtaining relief for their less fortunate brethren and sisters, they were affable on a day of | general pleasantry — because they smiled and gossipped—because they were, as they cannot help being, graceful and fascinating? Of this we are sure, that never was a public festival more creditably conducted, and that the ladies who took part in it did honour to themselves and their profession. Still, there are other accusations in store. The actresses, we learn, charged exhorbitant prices for trumpery. Did the most ardent disciple of economy go to the Crystal Palace with the view of making a bargain? Did he expect to buy a serviceable pair of slippers for one shilling and tenpence, or a good sound mustard-pot, eloctro-platod, and get change for half-a-crown? If so, he misunderstood the nature of the fete, which was not an auction, but an opportunity for benevolence to display itself cordially, and without that austere ostentation which is recommended by our new censors of the stage. Give money with a black-gloved hand, but hand it over to an honorary treasurer instead of placing it happily in the palm of a handsome missionary who, presiding at a stall, accords you a baby's shoe and one farthing's worth of ultra tooth-powder in reward of your guinea. This is extortion, Bayeth the assailant, who probably went to buy and not to give; but therein lies the mistake.
It is perfectly right to sneer. To sneer is a privilege of the age. Without it we might all be sceptics. Therefore we have no quarrel with any one for asking why actors and actresses should busy themselves in obtaining funds for the maintenance of a Dramatic College. All we question is the sanity of the protest. Why, who in the world should busy themselves, if not actors and actresses? Men of letters largely aid in supporting the Literary Fuud ; our naval and military charities are mainly dependant on the donations of officers ; indeed, the principle of almost every similar institution is at bottom that of a mutual providence society. The licensed victuallers, the bootmakers, the newsvendors, have their asylums and almshouses, their sick funds and pensions, each class subscribing from its own purse, and obtaining from the public whatever assistance it may be disposed to render. The promoters of the Dramatic College have followed in this respect the universal example.
But what did the ladies and gentlemen contribute out of their own pockets ? we are asked. The subscription list tells us nil we have a right to know. What is it to us, or to anyone, whether the actresses who presided at the Crystal Palace stalls purchased the bugles, laces, toys, trinkets, and other fanciful frippery they sold to benevolent buyers? We have no doubt that the ladies in question bore their full share of the burden, although it would be sheer impertinence to speak more] of their charity than they have chosen to speak themselves. Of course, from the dignified and White Melancholy point of view, we might concur in thinking that one gentleman did not look very tragic as the guardian of Aunt Sally, and that another did not prove himself a genuine Cagliostro in his Cave of Mystery. We may admit that Cockshy is inconsistent with pathos, and that to sell snuff-boxes and penknives from a tray is not precisely High Art. But cui bono t Cannot we wear a mask of laughter over our good intentions? Why be angry with a broad grin if it helps to assuage a pang or to dry a tear? Wo have our peculiar national customs of raising funds in aid of benevolent objects. Now it is a sermon, and then a concert j to-day the bishop preaches, and to-morrow the comedian jests. Thiswcck the highest ladies of the land dispense vouchers, and next the actress steps forth into the real world, in a true spirit of sisterhood and mercy, to benefit those who have passed out of her bright though unreal world upon the dim border-lands of death, the poverty, the neglect, the disappointments of old age. Let us welcome her at her excellent work. She can be a good fairy in real life no less than behind the footlights. Her evil day, perhaps, may come, but come when it may she can never regret that, in the full harvest time of her prosperity, she assisted in succouring the poor
and humble of her own profession. It was her duty—she fulfilled it well
and she may pass on, fancy free, notwithstanding the volunteer censures, which will not detract in the public mind one iota from her good intentions, nor injure in the slightest degree the admirable purpose she so materially assisted.
The Wobcester Festival.—If nothing else were wanted to indicate the close of the musical season and hegira of the singing birds, the busy note of preparation for the one hundred and thirty-seventh meeting of the three choirs of Worcester, Gloucester, and Hereford, would be sufficient warning of the approach of autumn, which at present seems likely to succeed winter without the customary intervention of spring and summer. The festival at Worcester this year will be a remarkable one, if only from the fact that it is the last time we shall have an opportunity of hearing Mad. Clara Novello, in a place of all others where it tells with the greatest effect—the nave of one of our noble cathedrals. Those whose sole impressions of an oratorio are conlined to Exeter Hall, the Crystal Palace, or any other secular building, can form but little idea of what the Messiah or Elijah is like when performed in a building exclusively devoted to sacred purposes, possessing all the acoustic requirements in the highest perfection, and conveying a host of associations to the mind impossible to realise elsewhere. Who that has once listened to the "Hallelujah" chorus from the Messiah, "Thanks be to God" from Elijah, or any of the massive double choruses in Israel in Egypt, can ever forget the sensation it produced when heard in the grandly solemn and imposing vaulted area of the cathedrals of the three choirs. Nor is it in the choruses alone that this is felt. The solos are no less telling; and to hear Mad. Novello's voice in "Hear ye Israel," "Let the bright seraphim," "Rejoice greatly," or Mr. Sims Reeves in "Thou shalt break them," "Then shall the righteous," "Sound an alarm," or any other of the famous airs, is alone worth a journey to the meeting of the choirs. But of this more anon, when the 11th, 12th, 13th, and 14th of September are over, and we have once more the opportunity of
recording onr opinion of the three choirs in general, and Worcester in particular.
The forthcoming festival at Worcester is marked by a deviation from the regular routine which has for so many years been observed at these gatherings. It has been the custom to commence at 11 o'clock on the Tuesday morning with a full service, embracing the Dettingen Te Deutrt, two anthems, and a Bermon on behalf of the Charity, for it must be borne in mind that it is only the surplus of receipts over expenses (for which latter the stewards are responsible) that can benefit the widows and orphans of the three dioceses, and as there is generally a deficit, the Charity would receive nothing were it not for the voluntary contributions at the doors, which ordinarily amount to from £900 to £1000. The sermon will not be omitted this time, but the service will begin on Tuesday morning at half-past 8 o'clock, and be performed by the three choirs alone, without the aid of the "stars," who are reserved for the oratorios. As there will be no charge for admission, and the service is repeated each morning, the most captious will have no cause to grumble at the arrangement. The first part of the Creation, and the whole of Mendelssohn's St. Paul, will be given on Tuesday. ' On Wednesday Spohr's Last Judgment, and a selection from Judas Maccabms. On Thursday Elijah, and on Friday The Messiah. Such is the morning scheme. The evening concerts ©ffer one novelty, a cantata by N. W. Gade, which is to be heard for the first time, entitled The Erl King's Daughter, Mesdames Rudersdorff and Sainton-Dolby, and Mr. Weiss sustaining the principal parts, with a chorus of Elfin Maidens. The May Queen ofProfessor Sterndalc Bennett inaugurates the Tuesday evening, and with Mad. Novello, Mr. Sims Reeves, Miss M. Wells, and Mr. Weiss, will doubtless afford as much delight as everywhere else on its performance. The principal instrumental displays are Beethoven's symphony in D (No. 2), Weber's overture to the Ruler of the Spirits, and the overture to William Tell, a flute solo by Mr. R. S. Pratten, Mendelssohn's violin concerto by M. Sainton, and a fantasia by Mr. H. Blagrove. A novelty to Worcester will also be added in the shape of a selection from Mr. Vincent Wallace's opera, Lvrhnt, Mile. Parepa, Mr. Sims Reeves, Mad. Weiss, Miss M. Wells, Messrs. Montem Smith and Weiss, lending their services to give it due effect. The remainder of the evening programmes is made up of the usual material, with all of which the London concert goer is but too familiar, and marked by the one fault which seems inseparable from all provincial meetings, whether of the ahoirs or the manufacturing districts—excessive length. However, we sunose the managers understand the taste of the supporters, who esire quantity rather than quality, and if it only pays we have nothing to do but to wish the meeting success.
THE NINE O'CLOCK BELL.
It is a beautiful custom which prevails'' in many towns" and villages in New England,—this ringing of the church bells at the good wholesome hour of nine o'clock in the evening. It is an observance, too, sanctioned by time-honoured usage,—handed down to us by our puritan fathers,—redolent of antiquity, and of those good old days when people went to rest betimes, slept soundly and sweetly upon hard beds, and arose with the sun, or the larks, if you please. There is to us something inexpressibly pleasant in this ringing of the bells at nine o'clock, and we never pass a night in a strange village, but we feel more at home in it —more tranquil and fitted for repose, if we chance to hear at the usual time some faithful sentiment in a neighbouring steeple, sending forth its evening chime. There is more than we think in the power of early associations. We never forget the mellow tones of the church bell which graced the belfry of the village church in our native hamlet. Its cadences will ever and anon sound in our ears all our lives long, though many dreary miles of land or sea make a gulf between us and our early home.
Who has not some particular bell in his memory, which to his boyish eyes seemed the largest bell upon earth? What an interest it had in his eyes! How he watched with eagerness for its ringing, and with what a feeling of curiosity, mingled with awe, he mounted, for the first time, the rickety staircase, wound his way up through the unfurnished garret, and stood face to fit*