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[MUSIC AND THEATRES IN PARIS.

{From our own Correspondent.')

[Parii, Oct 4.

Nbws of all sorts is scant this week. The most prominent item is the assurance, which is very commonly promulgated and believed in, that Meyerbeer's long-talked-of Africaine is at last about to be drawn from her long captivity in the escritoire of her illustrious progenitor and proprietor. She is to be made over, after the horrors of that middle passage, a rehearsal, to be a possession of the world at large, or rather, she is to be emancipated and become a free citizeness of every civilised community, on the stage of the Imperial Opera in Paris. The name under which this opera has been so long talked of is not, however, to be retained. Meyerbeer invariably rebaptises his productions on giving them to the world. It is to be entitled, say the gossips, Vasco di Gama. The motive which has led the composer to consent at last to the production of his work, the composition of which is said to have preceded that of Le Prophete, is, that in the existing company, under the direction of M. Alphonse Rover, for the first time has presented itself that combination of talents and attributes, which the master judges necessary to give entire fulfilment to his intentions. The simultaneous engagement of Mad. Tedesco and of M. Niemann, the tenor, has brought about this tardy determination. M. Alphonse Rover has engaged M. Morelli, the baritone, who is to play Wolfram in Taunhaiiser; but he is to sing in Ouillaume Tell first, in which, it is said, he appears to great advantage.

The rehearsals of the Pardon de Ploermel have commenced at the Opera Comique. It is said that the air which Meyerbeer composed for the second act, and which Mad. Nantier Didice sang when Dinorah was produced at Covent Garden, will be introduced on its revival here. Mile. Darcier is to be entrusted with it. This young lady u the niece of the actress Mile. Darcier, now retired from the stage, and become Mad. Mamiguard. Before appearing in Le Pardon she will make her debut in Le Pre aux Clercs. I mentioned to you last week a disagreement which had taken place between M. Ernest Reger, the composer of Maitre Wolfram, and the manager of the Theatre Lyrique, who, finding himself trammelled with the previous engagement of his predecessor to produce a new opera by this composer at the opening of the season, had first got the day of production postponed by consent, and then sought to free himself from all definite terms on the subject. An action was threatened, which would most certainly have issued in an award of damages to the injured authors of the work. A better result has been obtained, however, by amicable negotiations. The opera, which is entitled Let Ruines de Baalbec,Yi\\\ be shortly produced without the intervention of any legal process whatever. 1\xe'_Bouffes Parisiennes is in a vein of wondrous good fortune. The twenty first performances of Orphee aux Enfers, revived this season, have brought in a clear receipt of 40,060 fr. (1,600/.), or about 80/. per night.

The Italian Opera opened on Tuesday night with La Sonnambuln. Mile. Mane Battu and MM. Gardoni and Angelini were the principal artists. Next week I will tell you at length about the doings at this establishment.

At the theatres, at least those of the higher class, there has been nothing new, except a little comedy in one act, called Une Tasse de The, produced at the Vaudeville by MM. Mitter and Derby. I have not seen it yet, but it is said to abound in comic situations, and to be very well acted by St. Germain and Mile. Marquet.

At the Varietes a new drama, in three acts, is shortly forthcoming. Meanwhile La Fille du Diable has been revived. A thorough-bred melodrama of the fine old stock has sprung up at the Anibigu. It is entitled La Maison du Pont Noire Dame, and is divided into five acts and six tableaux. The authors are MM. Theodore Barriere and H. de Kock.

It appears that the intelligence I communicated not long since to your readers of Mr. Lumley having taken the Theatre du Cirqus in Brussels for a series of operatic performances by Italian artiste is without foundation. The ex-manager disposes of the destinies of many artists whose professional horoscopes are studded with laurel crowns and sheaves of banque notes, and he is besieged, it would seem, with applications from all quarters to transfer his

interest in them, but that he is prepared to incur the risks of management does not appear. By the way, an anecdote which has gone the round of the papers concerning some enthusiastic demonstration elicited by Jenny Lind at Stockholm, reminds one of the skilful manipulation with which Mr. Lumley was wont to work up and lash into fury the popular curiosity about this retired divinity. The students of the Swedish capital, in their eagerness to shower down their good wishes on the departing nightingale, upset a boat into which a party of them had got. Soused over ears, the ardour of their admiration was nevertheless unquenched, and, clinging to the upturned keel, they still gurgled forth their farewell chorus amidst the regurgitated liquid they had involuntarily swallowed. What a puff would this have been for the sails of the impresario when Jenny sailed among his crewl What a tempest of second-hand enthusiasm would Prospero have conjured out of it with the firmly-grasped wand of the free and independent British press! Alas 1 all is over now. Miranda is married to Ferdinand, Caliban is dead in a distant land; Ariel has bartered her new-given liberty to a magician of inferior glamour; and Prospero has buried his wand and books five fathoms deep under the Lord Chancellor's woolsack, and wanders on the continent under the conventional and colourless guise of rentier. As for the " oft-vext Bermoothes," if Trinculo and Stephano are not masters over it, yet merry doings and high jinks are there, and as usual the "air is filled with sweet sounds that give delight and hurt not," so far as the public are concerned.

Oct. 10.

The long-promised revival of Le'Prophete at the Grand Opera is again put off, and with it the reappearance of Mad. Tedesco. The cause of this fresh procrastination is the illness of Mile. Hamakers. Last Saturday the The&tre Lyrique gave a representation extraordinaire, or, as we should say, a benefit in favour of the funds of the Association des Artistes et Musiciens. The performances consisted of the opera Les Rosiires, a comedy from the Gymnase, entitled Une Partee de Piquet, and a musical interlude contributed by the military band under the direction of M. Mohr. The rehearsals of the Vol (TAndorre are nearly brought to a close, and the opera will be produced this week. M. Retz, the manager, has just engaged a pupil of the Conservatoire, Mile. Baretti, for three years.

There is still but little doing at the theatres. At the Odeon a new comedy has been produced from the pen of M. Galoppc d'Ouquaire, entitled Les Vertueux de Province. The author has aimed at conveying a moral, but avoided being dull in so doing, a feat not always accomplished by modern playwrights when making the same attempt. Dalila has been revived at the Vaudeville, and at the Varietes a new piece, entitled Ce qui plait aux Hommes is announced, in which Miles. Lejars and Marie Gamier are to make their first appearance. The Palais Royal has put forth two new one-act pieces, La Famille de VHorloger and Un gros Mot. The latter by MM. Labriche and Dumoustier, has turned out the most successful of the two, and Ravel is fitted in it with a character in which his original and fantastic humour finds full scope.

The series of Rossini's musical evenings at home at his villa in Passy has been brought to a close, the venerable bard and his lady having returned to their winter quarters in the Chaussee d'Antin. The baritone, Signor Delia Siede, who sang with so much success in Rossini's and Mad. Orpila's salons, has returned to Berlin, where he is engaged for the Italian Opera there during the ensuing season. It is said that he is to return to Paris in March next, when he will appear in public.

Thalberg is at present in Paris. He is going to London, and thence to Germany, to look after family affairs. Another virtuoso of celebrity, M. Vieuxtemps, is reported to have bid adieu to the wandering life of an artist, and in proof of this it is alleged that he has purchased a house at Frankfort. The German papers announce the death of M. Horzalka, a pianist and composer. Among his best works are mentioned a song called The Miller and his Child, the words of which were by Ranpach, and another, The Waces of the Sea, by Grillpazer. He was sixty-two.

The approaching marriage of Mile. Virginie Ferni, the female violinist, is spoken of, to a merchant of Nice, to whom she has been affianced since her tenth year. She will thereupon retire into private life.

LETTERS FROM ADOLPHE NOURRIT TO
FERDINAND HILLER.

Tub letters which, during the last few years of his life, Adolphe Nourrit wrote to Ferdinand Hiller,* are the purest reflex of the most secret emotions and inward struggles which agitated, and at length brake, the great artist's heart—they are the outpourings of a noble soul, gradually consumed in the name of ambition and a passionate love for art, and laid open without the slightest reserve to the gaze of an intimate friend.

For the better comprehension of these letters, we will first

Iwesent our readers with a few of the principal events in Nourrit's ife, our authority being the excellent article by F. Halevy, "Adolphe Nourrit," in the Revue Cotemporaine for May and June, 1860.

Adolphe Nourrit was born on the 3rd March, 1802, at Montpelier. His father, Louis Nourrit, then only 22 years of use, possessed a fine tenor voice. He went to Paris, and entered the Conservatory. He was patronised by Muhul, and received instruction from Garat. In the year 1805, he appeared as Rinaldo in Gluck's opera of Armida. He remained at the Grand Opera. Not feeling any real passion for his art, in addition to exercising his talent as a singer, he traded in jewels, of which he was a good judge. His sole object was a quiet life and a certain income. He sent his son to the college of Sainte-Barbe, and afterwards placed him in a house of business. Adolphe became a good aocountant, and when just seventeen, obtained a situation in the offices of a life insurance company. By .his intelligence and industry, by the beauty of his writing and figures, and by his correctness in calculation, Adolphe gave the greatest satisfaction to his employers. His father was delighted, and he himself perfectly contented with his condition.

Suddenly, after his voice had fully changed, there was developed in him the germ, till then completely unsuspected, of a highly harmonious, pleasing, and yet powerful tenor, inclining to a barytone, and at the same time there awoke within his breast a strong love, slumbering up to that moment, for the art. Garat fostered both, calming the apprehension his father felt at the young clerk's resolution to devote himself to music, and on the 1st September, 1821, Adolphe made his first appearance as Pyhdes in Gluck's Iphigenia. His success was such as to decide his future career.

He now shared with his father all the tenor parts, and the name of Nourrit soon became universally famous, but to the public it represented only Adolphe. On the 9th October, 1826, at the first performance of Rossini's Siege of Corinth, father and son sang together, the former taking the part of Cleomenes, and the latter that of Neocles. Nourrit senior then retired and resided in the country, near Paris, but did not long enjoy the repose for which he had yearned. He died, still young, in 1831.

Every one knows how brilliant was Adolphe Nourrit's career at the Grand Opera in Paris. He reigned there as undisputed first dramatic singer, without a rival. His performances as Masaniello, Count Ory, Arnold, in Quillaume Tell, Eleazar, and Raoul were wonderful; in all these characters he displayed his great creative talent. It is not so generally known that he was, also, the author of two ballets, La Sylphide for Taglioni, and La Tempele (taken only in part from Shakspeare) for Fanny Elsler, the latter produced on the 15th September, 1834.

The last character Nourrit " created" at the Grand Opera was that of Stradclla, in Niedermeyer's opera of the same name, on the 3rd March, 1837. The subject of the opera was taken from the well-known anecdote, according to which the bravoes hired to murder Stradclla let their poniards drop from their hands on hearing him sing. This scene, the principal one in Niedermeyer's work, takes place in the church. But Nourrit had long previously made up his mind to break off all connection with the Grand Opera in Paris.

It was on this subject that he wrote as follows, on the 26th October, 1836, to Ferdinand Hiller.f

* From the Niederrheiniiche Musih-Zeitung.

t Wo give this and the following letters in their integrity, because

Things were certainly as Nourrit described them. Duprej came from Italy to Paris with all the advantage of an immense reputation; after long study he had gained in Italy that in which he had been previously deficient—but for which he was afterwards distinguished—great power of tone. In addition to this, he was

even the little details in them add to our means of estimating the character of Nourrit, botli as a man and an artist.—Ed. Niedtrrheinucke Mutik-Zeitung.

"My dear Friend,—In the first place, receive my thanks fur your welcome letter ; I had heard of your indisposition and awaited wilh impatience the news of your recovery. You are now quite well again, and about to pass the winter agreeably in the bosom of roar familr, with a contented heart and spirit, engaged in pursuits which you like, and under circumstances which render you happy. I am delighted at this, though 1 am sorry at losing you; but we ought to love our friends for their own sake, and judge their happiness by their own standard.

"I have a great deal to tell you—a great deal—which will greatly surprise you ; but we will take everything in due order, especially as I can begin with a gratifying piece of intelligence.

"My wife has been safely confined of a girl, who is lively and well j the event took place twelve days ago, and both mother and child are going on admirably. A great many persons made a wry face at the news of the arrival of a fifth little girl! We, however, receive with joy what God gives us, and offer him our thanks. May the little creature bo like her sisters; may she be worthy her mother; if she is, we arc sure there will be one more good woman in the world. There is a chance that our children's children will be better than wc are. Hallelujah!

*' But now—what I have to tell you, at present, is of an important and serious nature, and will, perhaps, affect you painfully. But I can at once quiet you ; everything you are about to hear has been done solely out of consideration for my repose, my happiucss, and, before all, my family.

"I leave the Opera and retire from'tho stage. Listen to the reasons which have induced me to do so.

"The management of the Opera has engaged Dnprcz, who, for some years past, has occupied the first place among the tenors of Italy, lie naturally could not be contented with the second place in Paris: my position must therefore have been changed in order to make one for him. At first, I willingly and cheerfully consented to this, and, indeed, believed that I should, by a rivalry which would spur me on to fresh exertions, advance the interests of my art. But I too soon remarked the uneasiness of my family, as well as the apprehension of my friends, and my peace of mind was at an end! I have, too, had opportunities of convincing myself that I needed peace of mind to satisfy the demands of my art, that every care or anxiety is prejudicial to me, and that, in a word, I am not a man for rivalry.

T„u After reflecting maturely on my new position, I perceived that my future would not resemble my past life j that since the circumstances which favoured my development no longer existed, I could not foresee to what ordeals I should still be subjected, both as a man and an artist; as I cannot bo more than the former, it is clear that I can gain nothing in a conflict in which my opponent has nothing to lose. Besides, you already know that it was always my intention to retire early; early enough to devote myself to other pursuits. I have six children, and ai long as I live, I will work.

"I am very well aware that I shall not find another career so brilliant, and consequently so profitable, as my present one j but in font or five years I should, under all circumstances, be obliged to give it np, and if I do so now I shall gain four years for my future.

"My engagement with the Opera ends in March; I shall give my farewell performance, take my pension—to which I am entitled tyaix* teen years'service—aud close with a tour through the departments, which will bring mc in more in twelve or eighteen months than I could save in four years at the Opera.

• I shall then crawl like a snail into my shell, sing Hiller, Schubert, and all my dear German masters for my amusement, and devote myself to those studies to which I have always looked forward. It is true that I do not yet know in what form the fruits of my labour will be displayed, but when I once know what I want to know, when I have achieved for myself a higher valuo personally, it is impossible for me not to male my abilities available for the bonefit of my family.

"I assure you, however, beforehand, that I shall busy myself only with art. Whatever you may think of my determination, believe me that I am not taking any rash and foolish step ; I have sought the advice of all my friends, and did not decide until after a family council.

"I can assure you that since my resolution has been immutably fixed, tranquillity has returned to my house ; my mother is happier, mf more fortunate than Nourrit, in having had from his youth received a thorough musical education, and was then a most accomplished singer. Donizetti had written for him the part of Edgardo in Lucia di Lammermoor.

Nourrit's voice had certainly suffered somewhat; as far back as 1830 he had strained it too much in the days of the Revolution, on the stage and in other public places j and, at the period of which we are treating, his mental excitement, moreover, was not advantageous to the exercise of his ai t. But worse than all was the fact that this excitement cast a gloom over him, rendering him suspicious of others and unjust to himself. At one of his last performances of Masaniello, he remarked Duprez, of whose return to Paris (for after signing his engagement with the opera, Duprez had again proceeded to Italv} he was not aware, in a box with the manager of the opera. He instantly fancied they had both come to criticise his performance. His mental agitation scarcely allowed him to play out the first act; in the following acts, Lafond was obliged to take his place.

After the resolution which he took a short time subsequently, he really became, as he says in his letter, calmer; he sang the part of Stradella in March, and carefully and zealously prepared for his farewell appearance.

This took place on the 1st of April, 1837. He first played in the second act of Armida. The house was crammed to the ceiling, and the audience were indefatigable in showering upon him the marks of their approbation from beginning to end.

He began his tour by proceeding through Belgium and France. The success he everywhere met with led him astray; his resolve to devote himself to some other occupation was forgotten; the demon of the stage again seized on and carried him away. Nourrit determined to go to Italy, and replace at the San Carlo the man who had replaced him at the Opera in Paris.

While performing at Marseilles, he was seized with sudden hoarseness in the third act of the opera; pale, and with a look of despair, he left the stage. Two of his most intimate friends hurried round behind the scenes and found him in a state bordering on madness. He did not recognise them. With difficulty they placed him in an arm-chair, where he sat exhausted and without consciousness. Next morning, one of them went to Bee him. "How are you now, my dear Nourrit," he inquired. "Very bad," replied Nourrit, "I have not slept, aud have wept a great deal; this very moment I was collecting all my moral energies to arm myself against evil thoughts. Life is becoming insupportable to me; but I know my duty. I have dear friends, a wife and children, whom I love, and for whom I must preserve myself—and I believe in an eternal life. With such thoughts a man can obtain the mastery over himself. I fear, however, for my reason—if I lose that for a single instant, it is all over with me. Last night, here in this chair, did I pray to God for courage and strength, and read this holy book." The book was The Imitation of Christ.

The consequence of this attack was that he fell seriously ill, and was obliged to return to Paris. In the bosom of his family he recovered his health, and busied himself at the Conservatory of Music. But he did not persevere; his plan of going to Italy had become a fixed idea, and his unlucky star enticed him onward.

He set out in the spring of 1838. He stopped for some time in

wife calmer, and my sister fell round my neck with joy on hearing my decision.

"I have never striven to obtain great wealth; as, however, I have fire daughters to provide for, I wish to place my retirement from the stage in such a light before the world ns to command as much respect and consideration as possible. My present position is, on this account, especially favourable to me. AM who love me approve of my intention ; your approbation alone is wanting. I trust that you will not make me wait for it long, and that you will permit me to reckon on it beforehand.

"Farewell, my dear friend; if my reasons do not convince you, do not be in a hurry with your answer, for I am certain that in the end you will agree with my views.

"Yours with all my heart,

"ad. Noubmt."

Milan, where he frequently charmed the most distinguished society by his singing at Rossini's, and proceeded, by the way of Venice, Florence, ana Rome, to Naples.

On the 7th April, 1838, he wrote as follows to Ferdinand Hiller :—

"I trust, my dear friend, that since wo bade each other farewell at Naples, you have sometimes thought of mc; if not, you are an ungrateful man, for I have thought often, very often, of you. I havo always looked back with delight to the pleasant week which wc spent together in Venice, and remembered what a beneficial effect your company had upon mc

"I have not written to you before, because I wanted to wait for the termination of the business which Rossini took in hand for me, previous to my departure from Milan. We were not able to come to any arrangement with the manager of La Scala; we should soon have agreed about money matters (you already know that money was never the principal consideration with me), but he could not give me the guarantee I required for my first appearance, and, in addition to this, the presence of Donzclli, who is engaged for the autumn and carnival season, would have rendered my position a difficult one. Mcrelli must have a tenore sjogato, and that is not in my way. I thanked Rossini, therefore, for the trouble he had taken, and broke off the negotiation with the Milan management. For other reasons I am not sorry, however, that the engagement came to nothing. At the time of the Emperor's coronation as King in Milan, every one will be more taken up with the public festivals and ceremonies than with the theatre, and you know how important for mc is the impression produced by my first appearance in Italy. I am not, on this account, the less resolved to follow up my Italian career ; on the contrary; every step I take in this country enlists me the moro in its favour, and 1 have a greater desire than ever to settle here and endeavour to regain the rank I held in Paris. The task is not an easy one, but it is that very reason which excites me.

■ When we arc not contented with doing things by halves, we often strike on more than one rock of which we had no suspicion, and frequently overcome one obstacle merely to perceive another which we have to conquer with a fresh effort of our energy.

"It would not, however, havo been worth while to give up so brilliant n position as that which I enjoyed, to leave my home, to care nothing for the fatigues of a long journey, and to bear the grief of parting and absence, if such sacrifices were to be made for something easily obtainable. No, by my troth I What I want is difficult to effect, and it is for this I want to effect it. A man does not lay aside the habits of fivc-and-twenty years in a fortnight, change his nature, or transform [himself from a Frenchman into an Italian. Yet I most accomplish this, and I am working at it, from morning till evening, witli courage and delight. It makes mo eighteen years younger to begin my career afresh, nay, to be obliged to go through a new course of musical and vocal instruction; but, instead of costing me an effort, this state of studentship gives mc pleasure. I do not shirk making myself very little in order to become greater; I stoop down, and take a spring, in order to rise as high as possible. Naples is an excellent place for mc to gain the Italian accent, and get into the Italian ways; then again, if I must still remain separated for any length of time from my family, Naples is the place which offers the most healthy diversion, without taking into consideration the fact that the air cures sick singers, and must, consequently, be extremely beneficial to those who are well. Besides this, the people are very kind to me. Barbaja insists on my coming out here in Guillaume Tell, and I am only waiting till I have sung enough in Italian in order to be no longer obliged to sing in French; this is not a joke; the two manners and the two methods are so different, that, in my opinion, no one can sing both just as it suits his fancy. Donizetti supports me with his talpnt and with the influence his position gives him. His advice is excellent, and I already feel how beneficial it is to me. He treats mc as a friend and as an artist, paying me no compliments and suffering no fault to pass unobserved j I sing with him every evening. He corrects mo in every turn which smacks of the French style, in every sound which does not agree with the laws of Italian intonation, and, thanks to his frankness, and talent as a singing-master, I hope that, in a month or two, I shall not be recognisable. I shall not be satisfied with people's saying, 'He sings in Italian very well for a Frenchman ;' I mean them to say, 'Any one would tako him for an Italian.' These arc lofty pretensions, are they not?

"Adieu, my dear friend ; think of me and write to say how far yon have got on with your opera. I remain the whole summer in Naples. My address, &c.

"Ad. Nodbbit."

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BELLISLE'S MARCH.

Sir,—Returning lately in one of the mail steamers from Brazil, some of our passengers were Welsh emigrants, who had been wrecked on that coast, and were on their wayhome to England. On the calm evenings they entertained us with singing as part songs their national melodies. Amongst these was the air of which 1 enclose my own reminiscences. My recollection of it is most imperfect, but it will be sufficient to enable any of your readers to recognise it who happen to know the original, which, to my mind, is one of the most beautiful national melodies extant.

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I have searched the music shops of London, and consulted all ordinary collections of Welsh melodies; but I have hitherto failed to discover any air resembling the one I send you. I myself, and I think all musical people to whom the air is unknown, will be glad if any of your correspondents can say what the air is, and where it is to be found. The Welshmen informed me that the English name was "Bellisle's March." They gave me also the Welsh name, but this I cannot remember. I can only recollect that the burden of the Welsh words related to a goose and a gander, which appeared to me a sorry subject for so pathetic a melody. Pimlico, Sept. 26th. J. G.

QUERY?

Sib,—Do you think, say in a few years, that we shall get through an English festival without being obliged to call in Mesdamcs " this" and Signors "that," not because they sing better,or have better voices, simply because they are not English? Now, at the Worcester festival ihcy got on Well—at least it was supposed they did—and had not even a foreign conductor to put them right. Now, Mr. Editor, how ■was it done, and KOI it true that more cash for the charity was taken than for some years past 1 Now, is it not a pity that we do not help our own people, nut that I dislike the foreign artists? On the contrary, 1 like them in this Italian season, and enjoy an Italian opera as much as an English one; but we ought not to be obliged to have them all the

year round. Now, poor Mr. Smith at Her Majesty's cannot get on without making it half and half. Wuy do our poor English singers pat np with it?

This is from one that loves music, and hears all she can afford to pay for. I should have sent this before, but I could not find out if you were an Englishman or not; and glad enough I was to find that prince of papers was edited by an Englishman. I have posted this in London, that you might be sure to get it, and put it in your paper for the good of the singers.

A TO A?—OR C TO C? Sir,—Having seen the account of the presentation of a tevenoctave piano to Dr. Miller in the Musical World, will any of your readers inform me, through the same source, whether the compass is from A to A or C to C? The latter would be preferable, and I find they are, with the little makers, creeping into stock; and, as a natural consequence, the larger makers must follow suit.

Your obedient servant,

PlAKO.

MEYERBEER, &c]
Br C. L. G.

Three Dinorahs! The first at the Theatre de l'Opera Comiqoe in Paris, on the 4th of April, 1859; the second at the Royal Italian Opera, Covent Garden, on the 26th of July, 1859; and the third at the Royal English Opera, Covent Garden, on the 3rd of October, 1859. Three successes in French, Italian, and English, within six mouths! Three remarkable displays of executive skill, by artists of three countries! Who is the mighty magician whose potent spells have so fascinated and charmed such varied audiences as those assembled in London and Paris? Whose musie is this that has so penetrated into the deepest recesses of the soul? Who is the musician whose privilege it is thus to bring nationalities together within one sympathetic and united circle—the domain of the lyric drama? Who has established this bond of union between two capitals on the neutral ground of art influence? Can any hesitation exist as to the composer whose works alone can account for the affinity? It is scarcely necessary to repeat here the name of Meyerbeer; it must at once suggest itself. He is now the master of the lyric world. He has revolutionised the lyric drama, as much as Beethoven revolutionised the symphony. "Let Meyerbeer," wrote in 1811 his friend and fellow-student Weber, "only go forth in the paths of art, exercising the perseverance, assiduity, and discretion so manifest in him hitherto, and in his genius we may prophesy a rich ripe fruit." Weber's prophecy has been fulfilled; but even he could not have anticipated the extent to which Meyerbeer's invention and imagination have progressed. In his career there has been no finality. Germany gave him theory and technicalities, Italy inspired him, and France consolidated the transformations in his school and style, destined to produce the masterpieces which the entire world now claims as the triumphs of lyric art. It has been a work of time with Meyerbeer. His blanks were drawn in the springtide of life; his prizes have become more valuable as he has advanced to the winter of his days. He is now in his sixty-sixth year, for he was born in Berlin in 1794, and yet musical Europe is anxiously waiting for his next grand opera, convinced that the culminating point in his career has not yet been reached, and that even another phasis of development may be expected from his ever-enduring fancy, matured judgment, and inexhaustible resources. With Meyerbeer music is both a faith and a mission. He looks upon the past as a mere apprenticeship—a beacon for the future—an incentive to go on—to ameliorate, to refine, and to purify. With this innate persuasion, he will not trust to chance and the chapter of accidents. He scorns to trade on his name—to presume on his popularity. He must have his artists; he must prepare his public. He must be sure of his venture; he will not risk a reverse. A failure would kill him—he never could survive a defeat. His sensitiveness is the result of conscientiousness; hence his exactions from executive skill, his delays, his hesitations. Before the vessel is launched he will modify the form, alter the details. He has begun with a cockboat sometimes—he has left off with the construction of a ship of the line. Nothing will he neglect to accomplish a great end; the most minute details will not escape his vigilant eye, for with him it is not the ear alone which makes the opera. M. Henri Blaze de Bury, in his admirable article, De VEsprit du Temps apropos de Musiqne, has cleverly pointed out that Meyerbeer has gone beyond thorough bass and double counterpoint in his new system. It is not with him a succession of ordinary and commonplace sensations—a mere tune-grinder; but, like Beethoven, it is a regeneration of musical forms in design, colouring, orchestration, and combination—novel elements of effects and ensemble—ideas well expressed by M. de Bury as "extra musical." On these points we have something to^urge, and for this reason, namely, that Meyerbeer has exercised on the lyric drama of this country a most powerful influence. To him do we owe the vitality of the Royal Italian Opera, which, happily for art progress, has survived feud and fire; and to the eventual triumph of this enterprise, under Mr. Gye's courageous and clever combinations, are we indebted for the establishment of an English opera-house, under the able direction of Miss Louisa Pyne and Mr. Harrison, which bids fair to realise what has been so long a dream—a national opera on a permanent basis. To appreciate accurately the great strides art has made in this country, it will be necessary to go back for half a century, to follow rapidly the brilliant career of Meyerbeer abroad, and to show how at last his works have brought about such important changes at home.

It is fortunate for art that Meyerbeer had rich parents. His father was Beer the banker; his brothers were William Beer, the celebrated astronomer, and Michael Beer, the author of the tragedies Paria and Struensee. Giacomo Meyer Beer adopted the two latter names as one—hence he has been known as Meyerbeer. His musical gifts manifested themselves from earliest childhood. At five years of age he improvised on the pianoforte; at six he played at amateur concerts; at nine he performed in public; the Musical Gazette of Leipzic criticising him not merely for his manipulation, but also for the elegance of his style. The pianist Clementi became his master, as also Bernard Anselm Weber, leader of the Berlin opera orchestra. Struck by a fugue in eight parts, written by Meyerbeer at fifteen years of age, the Abbe Vogler accepted him as a fellow-pupil with Winter, Bitter, Carl Maria Von Weber, &c. After a musical tour with his teacher, Meyerbeer, at seventeen years of age, was appointed composer to the court of Darmstadt. Religious music seems to have been his earliest predilection. He composed two oratorios, Qod and Nature for Darmstadt and Berlin, and Jepthah's Daughter for Munich. Both works were comparative failures, if such terms can be applied to the reception of compositions by a youth of eighteen. Dry scholastic forms—the fruit, no doubt of the drilling by the contrapuntist Vogler—were the characteristics of Meyerbeer's earliest attempts at writing. On his pliant mind every novelty and style made an impression. Thus, at Vienna, he became as much enamoured with the charm of Hummel's pianoforte playing, as he had been previously impressed with the dignity of dementi's style. He practised for nine months, and then created such a sensation that Moscheles assured Fetis the historian, Meyerbeer might have become one of the greatest pianists of the age. It is a happy circumstance that his attention was turned from his pianoforte pursuit. He was not successful in his first opera, Abimeleck; or, the Two Caliphs, produced at Vienna when be was nineteen: although Weber subsequently tried it at Prague, and it met with great favour. It was at the advice of Salieri that Meyerbeer left Germany for Italy, to study the mechanism of the human voice. At Venice he heard Rossini's Tancredi, which converted him at once to the Italian style. Rossini little contemplated, at that period, he would write William Tell for the Grand Opera in Paris, and that his style would undergo as great a transformation as that of Meyerbeer. Les extremes se touchent. The two great composers are firm and fast friends. On a fine sunny day on the Boulevards—and when is there not one in that charming rendezvous ?—Rossini and Meyerbeer are seen walking and chatting together; the former, with his never-ceasing vivacity, rallying perhaps his fidgetty companion on his overanxiety to secure an unexceptionable execution of a new work on bis excelsior principle. Let us, however, leave the laughing philosophical musician, and his sedate, serious, and uncompromising brother in art, and return to Italy. Meyerbeer's contact with Rossini caused the production at Padua, in 1818, of a semi-serio

opera, called Bomilda e Costanza, written especially for the celebrated but ill-looking contralto, Mad. Pisaroni, a cantatrice not altogether forgotten in this country. The work gave an immediate status to the composer amongst the Italians, confirmed by his subsequent works, Samiramide Riconosciuta and Emma di Resburgo, the former written for Carolina Bassi at Turin, in 1819, and the the latter for Venice, in 1820. Emma di Resburgo came into collision, the same season, with Rossini's Eduardo e Christina—Berlin versus Pesaro—but Emma stood the shock; nay, more, she left the Lagunes for the Rhine, and the Germans hailed her with the same delight as the Italians, to the great disgust of Weber, who was always strongly opposed to the Italian style, and "pitched " into his fellow-pupil without remorse. Weber lived long enough, however, to recognise the peculiar direction which the genius of Meyerbeer was taking; although the death, in London, of the gifted composer of Der Freyschutz and Oberon took place in 1826. Passing over a manuscript opera, La Porte de Brandebourg, written in 1821, for Berlin, but never performed, it was in the following year that Margherita cTAnjou was brought out by Meyerbeer, at the Scala, in Milan, a work which went the round of Europe. Levasseur, the French basso, who was so identified afterwards with Meyerbeer's operas in Paris, sang in the Margherita. In 1823, L'Esule di Oranata appeared in Milan, Pisaroni and Lablache being the leading interpreters, a duo between them in the second act creating unbounded enthusiasm. Meyerbeer then visited Rome, and wrote an opera for Carolina Bassi, Almansor; but, owing to her illness, it remains in the composer's portfolio. After a brief return to Germany, he went again to Venice, and at the close of December, 1824 (not 1825, as erroneously recorded by Fetis), the Crociato in Egitto was first represented, the libretto by Rossi. The principal parts were sustained by the famed Veluti, Crivelli, Bianchi, and Mad. Merio Lalande, the mother of Mile. Meric, the contralto, married to one of Lablache's sons. The Crociato was the second stage in the development of Meyerbeer's genius. His individuality commenced to be a tangible reality. The Crociato had the same effect on musical Europe as Weber's Der Freyschutz. After Venice, it was at Trieste that the magical success of the new style was indicated. Nothing was heard on the shores of Illyria, Etruria, and Adria, but the airs of the Crociato. Signor Villa was the contralto, but he was far inferior to Veluti; Signora Canzi, and Signora Carolina Bassi, soprani; Signor Tacchinardi, tenor ;" and Signor Bianchi was the basso. There was a torchlight procession and a military demonstration in honour of the composer. We dwell on these details, for the Crociato was our first impression of Meyerbeer's music. We cannot forget that it was to the late Mr. Ayrton, a scholar and a gentleman, an admirable critic, and a classic manager, this country is indebted for the introduction of the Crociato; the same Mr. Ayrton, be it never forgotten, who, in the palmy days of the King's Theatre (the Italian Opera), first produced Mozart's Don Giovanni in England. Veluti was engaged for his original part, being thirty years since a Musico had appeared at the Opera House. Veluti took great pains with the Crociato, and he trained for their respective characters Mad. Caradori Allan and Mile. Garcia (Malibran), Mad. Castelli, Curioni, Crivelli, and Remorini. It is related in Ebers' book that the event was regarded with such interest, that the late Duke of Wellington had a large dinner party at Apsley House, the amateurs of distinction present afterwards going in a body to applaud the Crociato, which ran to the end of the season, producing for ten successive representations immense receipts. Such was Meyerbeer's first introduction in England, and for years his music was known in our concert rooms by the gleanings from the Crociato, amongst which is the captivating canzonette and terzetto, " Giovinetto Cavalier," sung at the last Royal Academy concert in July, in honour of the composer, who sat beside the lamented founder of the institution, the good and generous patron of art, the friend of artists, the late Earl of Westmoreland. The revival of this work has been recently promised at the Italian Opera in Paris, although it was not so successful when first brought there, in 1826, as in Italy and England—Rossini's star being then in the ascendant in the French capital. The Crociato, to our minds, would bear resuscitation here. Our reminiscences of this work are those of very youthful amateurship ; but we are still impressed with its melodious flow of ideas, and the fire and animation of its concerted

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