Oldalképek
PDF

great deal to do with the matter; for, with the enormous sums spent at the Royal Italian Opera on the getting up of any new work taken in hand, it is utterly impossible to bring out more than about one a year. The tailors', carpenters', and painters' bills for the Prophete (for instance) must have been sufficiently large to make Mr. Gye feel somenatural hesitation about producing the Sicilian Vespers. The production of a grand opera in the style of the Academie-Impenale (of which the Royal Italian Opera is in many respects a copy) may be attended with enormous success, but two such triumphs in one season would be the theatre's ruin. If our managers could afford it, they might spend a million on the mise en scene of every opera they represented, and we would not complain. Splendid decorations do not injure an opera very much; they distract the attention from the music for a little w hile, but are soon forgotten. The evil becomes serious, however, when so much money is lavished on the production of one immense spectacular opera that no other new opera can be given the same season. Moreover, the director, to get back the capital he has invested in it, must continue running his expensive show-piece for such a number of nights that it wearies mere lovers of music. Thus, who was not tired last season of Martha, which was tiresome enough when it was brought out at the Royal Italian Opera three years ago, and which in "supers" and stage finery, must have cost more than would have been needed for the production of three Italian operas, full of beautiful music. There is some trouble, we are aware, in finding new Italian operas just now; but one would like to hear the latest composed by Verdi, if only from curiosity; and it is a curiosity, which, under a reasonable system of management, might easily be gratified. Besides, an old opera by Rossini is always better than a new one by Flotow.

We owe this love for spectacular pieces to the absurd mania for imitating the French, with which our stage has been afflicted, more or less, ever since Charles the Second's reign. In Handel's time we could not establish an Italian opera without giving it the stupid title of " Academy," merely because the French (whose opera just then was in a contemptible condition) had blunderingly given that name to their national lyrical theatre, of which the patent, as we explained in a previous article, was originally granted for an academie* in the sense of accademia or concert. At present everything that is good enough for the Parisians (whose Opera has always been one third a dancing booth and one third a panorama) is thought good enough for us; and the effect of reproducing the costly mise en scene of their favourite works as fast (which is not very fast) as they happen to be brought out, is to render it impossible for our operatic managers to give as many "novelties" as amateurs of music have a right to expect.

We hope the directors of our English operas will not fall into the mistake (which it will be easy and pleasant to avoid), of spending enormous sums of money upon the decoration of their pieces, otherwise there will soon be an end to two new operas a season, or five in two seasons, which is the number given by the Pyne and Harrison management at Covent Garden. Compare this with the number of new works produced at the Royal Italian Opera which is certainly one of the very first lyrical theatres in Europe, but which appears to us to sacrifice a great deal too much to spectacle. Its last new Italian opera, the Traviata, was brought out in 1857, and since the opening of the new

• The Americana of the present day, as ingenious as the English of 1720 call Uuir principal Opera Home at New York the Academy of Music.

theatre in 1858, we have had Martha, Dinorah, and Orfeo. That is to say, at a great Italian theatre, one opera by an Italian composer, two by Germans, and one by a Germanised Russian, in four years. However, we welcome the production of the thoroughly beautiful and comparatively inexpensive Orfeo as a good sign. When the present fails us we must go back to the past; and if Mr. Gye wishes to gain our unqualified approbation he will give us more Orfm and fewer Marthas.

>

ELSEWHERE will be found "a rhapsody" (appropriately styled) on the Ninth Symphony (the Choral) of Beethoven. The pen of the writer, Mr. "Aries leFise Vascher," must hav$ been dipped in sunbeams. We envy him his faculty of composition, which appertains to the "streamy-beamy" style; but we dispute his facts. It is plain from the assertions of Schindler, which have a more solid basis than mere conjecture, as well as from the internal evidence of the work itself, that the introduction of Schiller's Ode to Joy into the Ninth (whereby it became the Choral) Symphony)was an afterthought of the composer. Schiller's fine poem is governed by one idea and purpose. The spirit of happiness, joy, universal brotherhood, and love pervades every line of it It includes no sombre thoughts whatever. The poet never has occasion to Bay, in allusion to his own work, "But away with these tones; let us have something more joyful." Beethoven merely inserted the words because he was conscious that the predominant qualities of his first three movements were not those of an "Ode to joy."

There is much more real joy and calm happiness in his Eighth Symphony (F major), in the Pastorale, and in a portion of the Seventh (A major), than in the exclusively instrumental movements of the Ninth. The first parts of this, like many other compositions of the same hand, are simply an eloquent expression of the deep and varied emotions by which the writer's soul was agitated. They are noble, magnificent pieces of music; so wonderful, indeed, and gigantic in their proportions—so vast in their designas to create the necessity for something unusually grand and colossal as a worthy climax to the whole. It was then, probably, when Beethoven, oppressed with the great difficulty of the task he had set himself, was reflecting upon the best means] of accomplishing it, that he conceived the happy idea of introducing Schiller's ode, which, with vocal 6olos and choruses, could scarcely fail to give a novel and extraordinary grand character to the movement, such, ni fact, as would render it thoroughly fit to crown the magnificent work. This is our conjecture; but we offer it with submission, and are ready to give it up when we see good cause. We can discover in this symphony no general desiq* which points to Schiller's Ode to Joy. There is no one in a constant and gradual state of development throughout; but the workings of the human heart, in alternate joy and sorrow, in all its mysterious forebodings, bright imaginings, and dark despondencies, appeal irresistibly in eTfI7 bar to our warmest sympathies.

The New Philharmonic Society, like Moses and Warren, formerly kept a poet — an ajsthetical and critical pM whose business it was to explain, in touching language, tie occult beauties of great works, and to instruct the audience when and why they should applaud. His inspired lucubrations appeared in a little book, with a pretty and perfectly appropriate green cover. This production was industriously circulated amongst the thousands who thronged Exeter Hall to hear the new society's admirable concerts, and must, perforce, have exercised considerable influence over the minds of all who could not, or would not, think for themselves; and these, a3 a matter of course, constituted the majority. That the little green book's opinions were not lightly estimated, was sufficiently proved by the fact that its commentary upon the "Ninth Symphony" was reprinted verbatim, as an original article, in the columns of one of our leading morning contemporaries. There was in this odd lucubration so much of the same kind of "steamy-beamy" element which distinguishes the "rhapsody of Mr. "Aries le Fise Vascher," that we are forced into a sudden remembrance of what we should otherwise inevitably have forgotten. Mr. Vascher's "Rhapsody" is indeed a wonderful ebullition of mysterious poetry, and replete with a peculiar kind of truth "utterly at variance" with received ideas, and which, while common-place people do not profess to understand, it is still nevertheless permitted to admire.

"The sublime edict of Pythagoras" looks remarkably well in print, and has an overwhelming sound; and we hope that we can appreciate that kind of joy which comes "like an appalling voice, speaking in thunder from Heaven," even though it may frighten us out of our senses. We also know the value of such grim mirth as finds vent in violent ebullitions and wild manifestations, in minor modes and broken rhythm. We have even felt inclined to associate this with the proceedings of operatic devils (who always, for some unaccountable reason, sing and dance with horrid glee whenever they get upon the stage), or the ravings of despair, rather than with an ode to true joy, breathing pure happiness and universal love. But the eloquence of our great "Aestheticker" coupled with "the sublime edict of Pythagoras," is too much for us, and, though unable (perhaps disinclined) to be corroborative, we will venture no uncourtly antagonistic opinion. The reasoning of Mr. "Aries le Fise Vascher" is quite equal to his imagination; nay, the very construction of his sentences carries with it a certain sort of conviction, whilst a thick stream of inscrutable poetry gushes from each well-selected word.

Is not the logic truly marvellous which shows us that Beethoven considered extreme joy a fitting theme for the loftiest poetical treatment, because it enabled him to employ the minor mode, protracted cadences, &c? Are not the passages, also, very fine wherein the writer tells us that, whatever may be the merits of Schiller's poem, its triumph consists in its having originated a great musical work—and speaks of the measure of joy being so unlimited, and "of our being in love with the whole world," and inclined to caress every living and inanimate thing (tigers, serpents, polecats, and putrefactions included), "whilst all objects seem to be robed with a splendour born of delight, and emanating like rays from ourselves?" Ordinary folk might imagine that if Schiller's poem contained every possible beauty, its author's greatest triumph would be found in his own work, rather than in Beethoven's music, they might also fail to discover with nicety the various degrees or limits of the unlimited; they might object to hug polecats, caress cobras, or kiss hyenas, whatever their state of happiness, or however bright "the rays emanating from themselves to robe objects with splendour." But, as we said before, this commentary is to be admired rather than understood by ungifted minds; and we must not set a thing down as bad, simply because it baffles our reason. We should be humble, and reflect that the fault may be in our own obtusity, made still more dense and rigid by stiff-neckednees.

Pbtipaoe or WlNCHELSEA.

"1TB. BENEDICT'S Undine, one of the interesting novelties ixl at the recent Norwich Festival, belongs to a style of art totally different from that which is exemplified in Herr Moliflue's Abraham, but is no less admirable in its way. Here we have the genial spirit and picturesque orchestral colouring, the light fancy and dramatic purpose which distinguish the best works of the so-called romantic school of which Weber was the head, if not the founder. La Motte Fouqud's story of Undine, which is the subject of Hoffmann's opera (so highly praised by Weber and Dr. Marx) has been slightly altered by Mr. John Oxenford, the author of Mr. Benedict's libretto; for Bertalda is here supposed to be a lady of rank, and not, as in La Motte Fouque"s tale, the daughter of a fisherman. This change has been made to gain a more complete contrast between the two female characters. Mr. Oxenford's version of the legend is, then, as follows: — Undine, a water spirit, has left her home and her companions on account of her love for Hildebrand, lord of a castle on the banks of the Danube. Kuhleborn, the principal kinsman of Undine, disapproves of this attachment, suspecting that tho mortal lover will prove unfaithful. Nor are his suspicions ill founded, for Hildebrand no sooner returns to his castle than, regardless of Undine, he espouses a lady named Bertalda. To avenge the wrong thus done to his race, Kuhleborn summons all the spirits of the waters, who destroy the castle and its owner, while the gentle Undine bewails the fate of her unfaithful lover.

After a picturesque and spirited overture in F minor and major, in which Mr. Benedict's genius as an orchestral writer is most strikingly exemplified, the "lyrical legend" (for so the authors term it) opens with a very ethereal and poeticallyconceived chorus of water spirits in D minor for female voices only, the words of which, by Mr. John Oxenford (whose libretto is indeed throughout a master-piece), we cannot refrain from quoting: —

"Female Spirits.

"Undine, Undine,
Sad without thee have we been.
Why hast thou left us, sister fair,
To dwell beneath a chilly sky?
We miss tho glance of thy light blue eye,
Wc miss the flash of thy golden hair;
The foamy waves as they roll along,
Mingle a sigh with their ceaseless song,
They call theo back, Undine."

This is followed by a spirited and vigorous bass solo in G minor for Kuhleborn — " Love, aj tyrant on the earth "— appropriately deep in colour and wild in character, bearing, moreover, the genuine stamp of the German romantic school from first to last. Mr. Benedict is particularly happy in music of that description. After a repetition of the opening chorus comes a full chorus in the key of D major, charmingly fresh, and joyous in expression : —

"Storms may lash the waves to foam,
Scatt'ring death and terror round,
Bat we scarcely hear the sound
In our tranquil home,"

sing the water-spirits, male and female, to most appropriate music. We have described the above-named pieces separately; but it must be understood that they are all connected, and form together one symmetrical whole. This is succeeded by a recitative for Hildebrand and Undine, leading to a sparkling, sportive, and charmingly tuneful song and chorus in E flat (with harp, obbligato), in which Undine first reveals to her lover that she is a spirit, in the following lines :—

"Ukdinb.

"Mark the waves that rippling play
Crown'd with silver light,
On each crest of glittering spray

Rides a joyous sprite.
Sportive Nixies yonder pass,
Tripping o'er the liquid glass.

Can'st thou not their form descry?
Know that such a sprite am I;
Wilt thou, dearest, from me fly?"

An exceedingly graceful and purely-voiced trio in A flat, in which the lovers express their mutual passion, and Kiihleborn betrays his suspicions of Hildebrand's constancy, leads to a highly dramatic scena for the tenor voice. The struggles between affection for the mysterious water-spirit, and the ambition of a warrior that can only be gratified by abandoning Undine, struggles which are now racking the bosom of Hildebrand, form the subject matter of the scena. An opening recitative, (accompanied) leads to a sweetly flowing cantabile in B flat, in which Hildebrand dwells fondly upon the happiness he might have enjoyed with Undine. This state of feeling is, however, presently interrupted by the sound of a distant trumpet, heralding the approach of the noble Lady Bertalda, to whom Hildebrand is betrothed. His martial ambition now gains the ascendancy, and the scena terminates with a dashing and vigorous movement, perfectly expressive of the words and situation. It is followed by a melodious and graceful wedding march in G, which will doubtless become highly popular in its arranged form for the pianoforte.

The march is succeeded by a joyous and brilliant wedding chorus in E flat. Then come in immediate succession a highly effective aria in two movements for Bertalda, in the somewhat unusual key of B major, expressive of the lady's happiness and exultation, and a pretty little love duet in G major, for Bertalda and Hildebrand. Undine now comes to warn the happy pair, and her willingness to renounce Hildebrand if he will renounce Bertalda. Undine is agitated by the strife between love and pride within her breast, the haughty Bertalda affects to treat the strange intruder with scorn, Hildebrand is struggling between love and duty, while Kiihleborn vows vengeance for the insult offered to his race. All these conflicting emotions are most truthfully and excitingly expressed in a powerfully written and thoroughly dramatic quartet in G minor; but even this is surpassed by the deeply poetical and picturesque finale in which Kiihleborn invokes the aid of the water-spirits to destroy the faithless Hildebrand, his bride, his kinsmen, and the voice of Undine is heard faintly in the distance, after the destruction of Hildebrand's castle, mourning for her mortal lover.

The following are the admirable words of this scena; and when we state that Mr. Benedict has done ample justice to them, we believe that higher praise could scarcely be given :—

"Kuhl.

"Attend ye kindred spirits to my call,
Chieftains of the countless waters,
x A mortal wrongs the fairest of your daughters,
And by his guilt insults you all.

"Ciiorus.

"We hear thy call—we hear thy call,
Through valley, mountain, grot, and hall

"kuhl.

"Naiads who sport in the restless waves,
Bising in hosts from your coral caves;
Sirens who warble a song so sweet,
Ye are charg'd by man with his own deceit;
Tritons who bid the ocean cell,'
Echo the note of your sounding shell;
Nixies who from your wild hair fling
Sparkling drops of the crystal spring;
Spirits, who hurl from the beetling rock.
Torrents that fall with tremendous shock.
Wonders of beauty, monsters of fear,
Hear me—hear.

"Chorus.
"We hear—we hear.
Called by thy voice we are gath'ring near.
"Chorus With Kuhl.
"Leap on the bank, rush from the spring.
Death from the mountains in torrents fling,
Smite the turret, batter the wall,
Lcvell'd with dust be the ancient hall,
Shatter the trees, scatter the corn,
Till the land is made a waste forlorn,

Without a trace,
That man has known it as a dwelling-place.

"Undine.

(Solo.) "Bright green earth, farewell, farewell.
Now I seek my distant cell,
There, beneath the waters deep,
O'er my short-lived joys to weep,
For in death I may not sleep.
Thou art happier far than I,
Dearest—would that I could die!"

On the whole, this cantata is eminently calculated to raise Mr. Benedict's reputation as a composer.

THE "NO. IX."
(a Rhapsody.)

Beethoven had long cherished the idea of giving a musical expression to Schiller's Ode to Joy, a poem which, in glowing and harmonious numbers, apostrophises Hope and Faith, inculcates a belief in the good, preaches the doctrine of universal brotherhood, and typifies the beauties of nature. Such a poem was just the one to impress Beethoven, and it won his entire admiration. But whatever its intrinsic merits, its great triumph—its greatest triumph—was that of having indirectly originated one of the noblest inspirations of the human mind. Beethoven not only availed himself of a portion of the verses, which he set to music as a finale to his colossal symphony, but gave the world his own notions of the subject, in three instrumental movements of surpassing beauty and grandeur. The first of these, in D minor, allegro non troppo, is the longest single movement known. Its style is passionate and sublime. Poetically regarded, it is an attempt to suggest, by musical sounds, that vague and indefinable feeling which accompanies unbounded joy, when the heart, overflowing with exultation—when, from some happy circumstance, the very sense of being is a delight that cannot be restrained—when the measure of joy is so unlimited that we are in love with the whole world, and feel inclined to caress every animate or inanimate thing, when all the objects around us seem robed with a splendour not their own—a splendour emanating like rays from ourselves, and born of the delight that overwhelms us. In joy, as in sadness, when the heart is overstocked, the first desire is to impart to others what we feel; for the sublime edict of Pythagoras applies to both, and men must neither exult nor despair alone. Beethoven's development of this feeling is utterly at variance with the commonplaces that pass for truth; the prevalence of the minor mode, the mysterious character of many of the passages, the alternations of calm and violent ebullitions, the broken and varied rhythm, the long-protracted cadence, and the overpowering magnificence of the climaxes, demonstrate that Beethoven contemplated the extreme manifestation of the passion of joy as a subject for the loftiest aesthetical development. The knowledge he possessed of all the resources of the orchestra enabled him to double the intensity and endow with stronger contrast the fitful changes of expression with which this movement abounds. The crescendos are so artfully managed that they* appear to be continually accumulating power until the full orchestra peals out in the fortissimos. The return to the theme is appalling as a voice from heaven speaking in thunder. The enormous difficulties of this movement are dreadfully perplexing to the players, and should never be attempted without careful rehearsal. To expect it to go satisfactorily without would be preposterous. The scherzo, also the longest movement of its kind ever written, is in the same key as the allegro, D minor; but the striking opposition of character obviates the monotony that would otherwise accrue. The style of this scherzo is playful and fantastic, and exhibits the same passion of joy, but a less wild manifestation of it. In the second bar occurs a curious development of a phrase in three-bar rhythm. The trio, by its flowing character, the alteration of rhythm from three to four, and the peculiarity of its instrumentation, offers a beautiful contrast to the scherzo. The adagio, the third and last of the instrumental movements, and of a different character from either, suggests a state of calm and unruffled happiness, in which joy and all the passions are at rest. The tender key of B flat lends itself easily to the soft delineations of orchestral colour, and of these Beethoven has made prodigious employment The stream of melody is almost voluptuous, in the sinuosity of its outline, and the smooth unbrokenness of its measure. Nothing can be more soothing, beautiful, and tuneful. The finale, in which the chorus and solo voices are introduced, opens with a kind of recitative for the orchestra, where the violoncellos and basses officiate, so to speak, as the voice part. This conducts to a melody—allegro, in D minor—executed in unison by the same instruments, subsequently treated in three parts, and ultimately in full harmony for the whole orchestra. A recitative for a solo bass voice introduces a quartet and chorus in D, of which this melody constitutes the subject. A movement it la marcia, in B flat, 6-8 time, with triangle and side-drums, forms the subject of a tenor solo, which is afterwards developed as a full chorus : this is further elaborated through a masterly instrumental movement in the fugued style. The chorus in D is then resumed fortissimo, with a variation of florid passages in triplets for the orchestra. A chorus, maestoso, in G intervening between this and the second resumption of the chorus, is diversified by other devices of counterpoint and instrumental combination. Two choruses, in which the same words are treated with accumulating brilliancy, conclude this movement and the symphony. —aries Le Fise Vaschbr.

Buns School, St. John's Wood.—The pupils of this useful Institution gave an interesting Concert on Monday last, under the direction of their musical professor, Mr. Edwin Barnes. The programme included works of the highest class, among which we specially noticed organ solos by Haydn, Mendelssohn, Rinck, Handel, with choruses from Judas Maccabeus, Mr. Coata's Eli, and other works. The performance reflected great credit both upon the pupils and their instructor.

[ocr errors]

Royal English Ofeba.—The winter campaign may be said to have commenced in reality. Miss Louisa Pyne and Mr. W. Harrison have been the first to blow the trumpet at Covent Garden. Dr. Wylde blew a faint blast at St. James's Hall a few nights after, and Mr. E. T. Smith on Monday next is expected to blow trumpets enough, his own included, to batter down the walls of Jericho. The managers of the Royal English Opera have this year displayed extraordinary forbearance in issuing no prospectus, when perhaps it was never more needed, seeing that for the first time since they attempted to establish a national opera, five years since, they have encountered a bona fide opposition. Even the bills and advertisements state no more than that Mr. Balfe has written a new opera, and that "various novelties are in preparation." This unusual reticence on the part of the management implies great dependence on present resources. No doubt a continuous success for Lurline is anticipated, and a revival of SataneUa is looked forward to with confidence. Miss Louisa Pyne and Mr. W. Harrison are very tories in their administration. They are opposed to all change, and like to keep an opera as long as possible before the public, as thinking that an old friend is better than a new one. Unhappily this is the age of reformation, and the desire for novelty is supreme. In the good old days of Bunn and the Bohemian Oirl at Drury Lane, the run of a hundred nights for an opera was considered necessary to a genuine success. These tory days are gone, and managers now must move with the times and be swayed by the feelings of the people. The success of Lurline last season was incontestable';* but even that admirable opera nowadays cannot expect to obtain a never-ending career, and run like works produced under the Bunn dynasty. if Miss Louisa Pyne ana Mr. Harrison attempt it, we think they will do so at their cost.

The season opened on Monday night. Lurline was the opera. The cast has undergone important changes from last season. Miss Leffler has been substituted for Miss Pilling in the part of Ghiva; Mr. Henry Wharton for Mr. Santley in that of the River King; Miss Albertazzi for Miss Fanny Cruise in that of Liba; and Mr. Grattan Kelly for Mr. George Honey in the Baron Truenfels. Miss Leffler (daughter to the late popular baritone, Mr. Adam Leffler) is a great improvement, in voice and singing, on Miss Pilling. Her voice is a mezzo soprano of charming quality, sufficiently powerful, and produced without the least effort. Her singing proves the good style and method of her masters, Signor Scliira and Mr. Frank Mori. Miss Leffler made a decided hit, and created quite a sensation in the ballad " Troubadour enchanting," which was loudly and unanimously encored. An apathetic manner, listless even for the sacred concert-room, will doubtless vanish with experience. At present she is a very novice to the boards, and appears to have been taught nothing whatsoever. In the small part of Liba, Miss Albertazzi (daughter, if we mistake not, to the favourite singer, Mad. Albertazzi) displayed a nice voice and much feeling, and will no doubt be an acquisition. Mr. Henry Wharton has a high baritone of fair quality, and sings well in tune. He wants power and style. His most satisfactory performance was the air, " The nectar cup may yield delight," in which he was encored. Mr. Grattan Kelly is no improvement at all on Mr. George Honey, either as singer or actor. He does not appear to have appreciated the part of the Baron as intended by the poet. In addition to Ghiva's song and the Rhine King's air, encores were awarded to the drinking-song, "Take this cup of sparkling wine," sun? by Miss Louisa Pyne and chorus; to the ballad, " My home! my heart's first home! by Mr. Harrison; and to the unaccom

Eanied quartette, " Tho' the world with transports bless me," by liss Louisa Pyne, Miss Albertazzi, Mr. Henry Wharton, and Mr. Corri.

The general performance was admirable, the band under Mr. Alfred Melton's direction exhibiting their usual excellence. The overture was splendidly executed and loudly applauded. Of Miss Louisa Pyne and Mr. Harrison it is enough to state that they were in their best voice, and sang in their best manner. They were recalled separately at the end of the first act, and received with thunders of applause. After the opera the national anthem was sung. Lurline has been played every night during the week.

Heb Majesty's Theatre.—The season for English and Italian opera commences on Monday next. Mr. E. T. Smith has issued a prospectus almost as important and longitudinous as that presented last season for the Italian Opera proper. For the first time we believe at any theatre in this country two distinct series of operas in different languages will be given. The English lead the van and will inaugurate the season on Monday with a new romantic opera, entitled Robin Hood, the music composed by Mr. G. A. Macfarren, the libretto by Mr. John Oxenford. Could anything look more promising? If Mr. Macfarren and Mr. Oxenford do not produce between them a first-rate work, the public will be disappointed. Moreover, Mr. E. T. Smith has spared neither pains nor expense to ensure the new opera a success. The artists who will appear in it are Mad. LemmcnsSherrington, Mad. Lemaire, Mr. Santley, Mr. Parkinson, and Mr. Sims Reeves. Mad. Sherrington, we believe, is not quite a novice to the boards, having performed some years ago at one of the Belgian theatres. Of her vocal capabilities we need not speak in this place. Mr. Reeves, we are told, has a part that suits him admirably, histrionically and vocally. This is an essential matter, and we have no doubt that both poet and musician had our great tenor in their mind's eye when they put pen to paper. On Wednesday the Trovatore will be given in Italian with Mile. Titiens, Mad. Lemaire, Signors Giuglini,, Vialetti, Soldi, Mercurial! &c.

The list of names is much more formidable for the English than the Italian Opera. To the artists just mentioned we may add, among the sopranos, Miss Parepa, Mile. Jenny Bauer, and Miss Allesandri (from the principal theatres in Spain and Italy; her first appearance in this country); among the contraltos, Miss Laura Baxter and Miss Fanny Huddart; among the tenors, Mr. Swift, Mr. George Perren, and Mr. Terrott; and among the basses, Mr. Rosenthal, Mi-. J. E. Patey, Mr. Bartleman, and Herr Hermanns. Mr. Charles Halle' is the conductor, and Mr. H. Blagrove leader of the band.

The undertaking is curious and important, and may prove hazardous. We think it somewhat bold in Mr. Smith, after securing so capital an English company—one indeed, which almost insures success a priori—to engage an Italian company to interfere with that success. Mr. Sims Reeves, no doubt, is a powerful attraction, and he has a public of his own who will not be moved from him by any Italian allurements. But we cannot hide from ourselves the fact that an immense temptation is proffered to the public in being afforded the means of hearing Mile. Titiens and Signor Giuglini at play-house prices. We nope that two audiences may be found for both operas; but we are inclined to think, taking all things into consideration, that the odds is in favour of the Italian.

i

Miss Josephine Gocgenheim.—This young actress, from the United States, whose services Mad. Celeste lias secured for the Lyceum Theatre, and of whom report speaks in the highest terms, will make her debut next Monday in a comedy, by Dion Bourcicault, Esq., entitled The Irish Heiress. Although not a native of the States, Miss Gougenheiin's professional career commenced on the American stage, where, at a very early age, she took the highest rank as an actress of leading comedy, both of the modern and the old school. _ Her range is, however, not limited to this higher region, and in domestic humour and pathos she follows in the footsteps of Mrs. Keeley, as in the more refined heroines she emulates the sprightly graces and impulsive vivacity of Mrs. Nisbitt, adding to them, however, a greater power of dramatic expression. If half what the native critics say of this young lady's abilities be true the American stage will have returned in her person a very large instalment of the talent they have so long borrowed from ours.

The Sisters Maechisio.—Two young candidates for lyric honours, named respectively Carlotta and Barbara Marchisio, recently made their debut at the Grand Opera of Paris in Rossini's Semiramide, as the Babylonian Queen and Arsace. The opera has been frequently repeated, and the success of the new artists chronicled by the entire press. At the first representations indeed, the impression they made was but partial, owing to their extreme timidity, more especially that of the soprano, Mile. Carlotta, whose nervousness amounted to positive terror. A few performances, however, restored self-possession to both ladies, and the flattering rumours from Italy that heralded their advent to the French capital were more than confirmed by their subsequent performances. Although the voice of each debutante is spoken of in high terms of praise, and the artistic powers of both universally lauded, it is the ensemble singing of the sisters above all that seems to excite astonishment and delight. Even on the first night of their appearance when, as we have said, both were under the dominion of fright, their duo singing elicited the moBt rapturous praise from all the critics. "The sisters Marchisio," wrote the Menestrel, in allusion to the first performance of Semiramide, "Jwere satisfied with singing the music of Rossini, in a manner so unctuous, so communicative, that the auditors felt spell-bound, and at the end the enthusiastic bis came from all mouths at the same time. Such was the effect of the adorable jduo of the third act. The fact is that at a given moment the two voices of the sisters Marchisio are governed but by one soul, by one sentiment. For a long time we have heard nothing so completely harmonious, so full of an indefinable charm; and this alone, we repeat, would suffice to gain for them a high reputation, independent of any special vocal qualities." The sisters Marchisio, we understand, arc about to pay a visit to England. We shall be happy to corroborate the unqualified eulogies bestowed on them by the Menestrel and other Parisian journals.

—•—

Leeds, Oct, 4.—(From our otvn Correspondent.) — Professor Bennett has accepted the offer of the Committee to become conductor of the Leeds Festival in 1861. I believe I am right in stating that the celebrated Professor is engaged in the composition of an oratorio to be produced for the first time on that occasion. "Such a work," says the Leeds Express, "from the pen of our gifted countryman, would be hailed with great satisfaction by all lovers of good music, and would draw hither connoisseurs from every part of England."—The members and friends of the Leeds Madrigal Society celebrated its tenth anniversary in Bullivant's Refreshment Rooms at the Leeds Town Hall on Tuesday evening last. George Young, Esq. (honorary treasurer), presided, the vice-chairmen being Mr. Cooke and Mr. Burras, two of the oldest members of the society.—The Leeds Town Hall Concert Society inaugurated their winter season last Wednesday evening with one of the most brilliant and successful concerts ever given in Leeds. The singers were, Mile. Titiens, Signor Giuglini, Signor Valsovani, and Signor Vialetti. Signor Giuglini's first song, from Martha, "M' appari," was rendered with impassioned energy and expression, and with a voice of unequalled purity. An encore was insisted on. Mile. Titiens followed in a vocal waltz, by Signor Arditi, in which she displayed the most brilliant execution and a magnificent, clear, ringing soprano voice. This was also re-demanded and resung. In "The Last Rose of Summer," nothing could possibly excel the pathos and heart-stirring tones with which this simple ballad was delivered by Mile. Titiens, who pronounces English with great accuracy for a foreigner. The applause which followed was almost deafening. Signor Giuglini was equally successful in the ballad " Tu m' ami" (" When other lips"), and,Deing encored, sang the serenade from Rigoletto, "Le donna e mobille. At the commencement of each part Mr. Spark played a solo on the grand organ. Signor Vialetti sang the drinking song from Martha, and was unanimously encored. The concert closed with the celebrated "Miserere," from Trovatore, with both organ and piano accompaniments, and constituted an admirable finish to a very superior concert.

« ElőzőTovább »