Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

U'l. JAMES'S HALL.—MR. J. F. BARNETTS

KJ GRAND CONCERT, next Thursday E«nlng, May 22, 1862.

Vocalists: Mad. Lbmmbns-siiebbington, Mad. Wbisb, Mad. Lai'ra Baxter; Mr. Lewis Thomas, and Mr. W. H. Weiss: the Orpheus Glee Union.

Instrumentalists: Violins, Herr B. Moliqui and Htrr A. Pollitieb; Viola, M. Gorraix; Violoncello, M. Paque j rianoforte, Mr. John Francis Barnett; Accompaiiyist, Mr. J. 0. Callcott.

To commence at 8 o'clock. Sofa and Balcony Stalls. 10s. 6d.; Reset-red Seats. 5s.; Balcony, 3s.; Area and Gallery, Is. Tobe had at Cock, Hutchlnss & Co, 63 New Bond Street; the principal Musicsellers ; at Mr. Austin's Ticket Office, 28 Piccadilly; and of Mr. Barnett, 21 Brecknock Crescent, Camden Road, N.W.

MISS BILLING begs to announce that her MATINEE MUSIC ALE will take place at 16 GroSTenor Street (by the kind permission of Messrs. Collard), on TUESDAY next, May 20, at3 o'clock.

Vocalists: Miss Eleonora Wilkinson and Miss Billing Signor Solieri, Signor Vantini, and Herr Former.

Instrumentalists: Pianoforte, Miss Madilina Cronin, R.A.M., and Mr. COSINI; Violin, Mr. Nicholas Mori; Violoncello, Signor Pezzb. Conductors: Mr. Benedict and Herr Wilhelm Ganz.

Reserved Seats, 10s. 6d.; Tickets, 7s. 6d. May be obtained at Mr. Robert W. Ollivier's Music Warehouse, 19 Old Bond Street, \v , and of Miss Billing, 1 Nottingham Place, Regent's Park, N.W.

MISS FANNY CORFIELD begs to announce that her MORNING CONCERT will take place at 16 GROSVENOR STREET (by kind permission of Messrs. Collard) on Wednesday, May 26, at half-past three o'clock. Vocalists: Mad. Gvrrhabblla and Miss Eleonoha Wilkinson. Instrumentalists: Herr Molique, M. Pacjue and Miss Fanny Corfibld. Conductor, Mr. A. O'leary. Single Tickets, Half-a-Gulnea; Family Tickets (to admit three), One'Guinea, to be had of Miss F. Corfleld, 29 Burton Street, Eaton Square, and of Cock, Hutchings * Co., 63 New Bond Street.

to announce her

on Wednesday, May

[ocr errors]

R. DEACON'S THIRD AND LAST SEANCE of

_ CLASSICAL INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC will take place on Monday, May 26, at 16 Grosvenor Street, W. (by permission of Messrs. Collard), commencing at 3 o'clock.

Executants: Violin, M. Sainton and Mr. Carrodus; Viola, Mr. H. Webb; Violoncello, Sig. Pezzb; Pianoforte, Mr. Deacon.

Tickets. Half-a.Guinea each ; to admit three. One Guinea. To be had of Mr. U. W. Ollivler, 19 Old Bond Street,; or of Mr.„Deacon, 72 Welbeck Street, Cavendish Square, W.

THE BACH SOCIETY will give a Performance at St. James's Hall, on Saturday Evening, )l iv 24, commencing at 8 o'clock, of J. .SEBASTIAN BACH'S " GROSSE PASSIONS-MUSIK," under the direction of Professor Stbrndalb Bennett.

Principal vocal performers already engaged: Miss Banks, Miss Martin, and Mad. Sainton-dolbt; Mr. Sims Reeves, Mr. Wallwobth, and Mr. Weiss. Organist, Mr. E. J. Hopkins.

Tickets—Sofa Stall6, 7s.; JBnlcony Stalls, 5s.; Reserved Area, 5s.; Balcony (unreserved), 3s.; Back Area and Gallery, 2s. To be had of Messrs. Cock, Hutchings

6 Co. (late Leader & Cock), 63 New Bond Street; Mr. Austin, St. James's Half; and at all the principal Music Warehouses.

HERR OBERTHUR begs to announce that his MORNING CONCERT will take place at the Hanover Square Rooms, on Thursday, May 22.

Vocalists: Miss sum , Miss Stabbacii, Miss Billing, Miss FisHER.and Signor Ciabatta.

Instrumentalists: Signor Regondi, Mr. Lazarus, Herr Janma, M. FAgtB.and Herr Oberthub.

Conductors; Messrs. Aquilar, G. Lake, and W. Carter.

Tickets, 10s. 6d. and 7s. fid., at the principal Musicsellers; or of Herr Oberthur,

7 Talbot Terrace, Westbourne Park, W.

MISS LASCELLES begs to announce that her MATINEE MUSICALE will take place on Friday, May 23, at 24 Belgrave Square (by the kind permission of the most Hon. the Marchioness of Downshlre).

Vocalists: Mad. Glerrahhlla, Miss Lascklle*, Mad. Louisa Vinning, Mr. Tennant, Sig. Ciabatta, and Sig. Burdini.

Instrumentalists: Pianoforte, Messrs. J. Benedict and Francesco Berger; Violin, Herr Becker; Violoncello, M. Paque; Harp, Mr. Bolbyne Reeves. Conductors : Herr W. Ganz, Mr. Harold Thomas, and Mr. G. Lake. Tickets, Hulf-a-Guinea each, may be obtained of Mr. Robt. W. Ollivler, 19 Old Bond Street, W.; and of Miss LasceJles, 8 York Street, Portman Square, W.

s

T. JAMES'S HALL.—SPECIAL NOTICE.—DIS

TRBSS IN LANCASHIRE.—By the kind permission of J. H. Mapleson, Esq., the following artists of Her Majesty's Thratre will assist at the GRAND CONCERT to he aiven hy the Vocal Association, on Friday Evening, May 23 :—

Mile Tbebelli and Mad Lemmrb, Sig. Aemanui and Sig, Gassier; also Ml»c. Ida GlLUESa, Milt Acvas Bury, Mile. Geohgi, and Herr Theodore Formes.

Pianoforte M. F.. Auull.AR, who will perform a new Trio for Pianoforte, Violin, and Violoncello.' Violin, M. Holmbs. Violoncello. M. Pauie. Duet, Vloliu and Violoncello "Les Frdres Muslck" (from the Conservatoire Bruxelles). Choir of sou Voices. Accompanyist, Herr Wilhei.m Ganz Conductor, M. Benedict.

Sofa Stalls, 10s. Gd.; Balcony Stalls, 5s.; Reserve Area, 3s.; admission, Is. At Mr. Austin's Ticket Office, 28 Piccadilly.

MADAME LOUISA VINNING b
MATINEE MUSICALE at the Hanover Square
M, at 3 o'clock.

Artistes: Vocal—Mad. Louisa Vinning and Miss Ada Jackron, Mad. Lacsls Baxtbe and Miss Lascbllbb; Messrs. YYlLBYE Cooper, Allan Irving and Santlbty

Instrumentalists: Miss Jane Jackson, cf Clifton (Pianoforte), Messrs. Sainton and Paque.

Conductors: Messrs. J. Benedict, Geo. Lake, and Fbancbsco Bergee.

Tickets, 10s. fid. and 7s. Gd.; of Mad. Vlnning, 13 Hanover Villas, Ladbroke Notting Hill, W.; of the principal Music Warehouses; and at the Rooms.

ME. APTOMMAS'S HARP RECITAL on the following Tuesdays, May 27, June 10, 24, and July 8. The following Artists will assist:—

Vocalists: Mile. Parepa, Mad. Florence Lancia. Mad. Lauka Baxter, Messent, Miss Ransporo; Mr. Swift, Sig. Fortuna, Mr. Allan Irving, Mr. I Walker.

Piano: Herr Kuiib, Mr. Charles Salahan,.Mr. G.A. Osborne, Mr. Arthur Napoleon; Organ, Herr Engel; VIoloncelloJMr. George Collins; Violin, Mr. H. Weist Hill; Harp, Mr. John Thomas, Herr Oberthur. Mr. Aptommas.

ConductorsM. Benedict, Herr Wilhelm .game, M. Emilb Bbrgbb, M. FranCesco Berger, Sig. Campana.

At the recital of Tuesday, May 27, Mr. Aptommas will play Spohr's sonata for Harp and Violin, with several morceaux by Zanetti, Godeproid, and John Thomas.

To commence, on each occasion,at 3 o'clock. Tickets, 10s. (Id. and 7s.; Three Ticket* for one Recital, 15s.

]\/rRS. JOHN MACFARREN'S MATINfiE of Piano

J.t1 forte Music at the Hanover Square Rooms. THIS DAY, May 17, to com

mence at 3 o'clock.

Programme Trio for Piano, Clarionet and Cello, Beethoven. Sonata Duo In B

flat, for Piano and Cello, Mendelssohn. Sonata in E flat, for Piano and Violin, Beethoven. Piano Solos of Paradies, Sterndale Bennett and Carl Mayer. Violin Solo, ■' Trille du Diable," Tartinl. Vocal Pieces of Mozart, Macfarren and Blumenthal. Executants:—Mrs. John Macfarbbn, Herr Joachim, Signor Piatti, Mr. Lasahi «, Mad. Guhrrabblla, Mr. Santley and Mr. Walter Macfarren, 15 Albert Street, Gloucester Gate, N.W.

THE ROYAL SOCIETY OF FEMALE MUSICIANS, established 1839, for the relief of Its distressed members. Patroness: Her Most Gracious Majesty the QUE&W. On THURSDAY EVEKING, May 22, at Che Hanover Square Rooms, will be performed, for the senefiC t>f thst InititutfOn, a CONCERT of Vocal and Instrumental Music.

Vocal Performers: Mad. Ribder, Mile. Agnes Bust, and Mad. Guerrabblla, Bliss Poole, Miss Eliza Hughes, Miss Martin, Miss Steele, and Mad. Sainton-dolby; Mr. Wilbyb Cooper, Mr. Allan Irving, and Mr. Weiss.

Instrumentalist: Pianoforte, Mr. Charles.halle. The kind.assistance of other eminent Artists is expected. Conductors: Mr. Benhuict and Mr. Francesco Berger. The Concert will <

mence at 8 o'clock precisely.

Reserved Seats, Half-a-Guinea; Unreserved Seats, 7s.; Family Tickets (to admit four), One Guinea.

J. W. HOLLAND, Sec.,il3 Macclesfield Street, Sofao.

MLLE. CAROLINE VALENTIN has the honour to announce her MATINEE MUSICALE on MONDAY, June 2, at the Hanover Square Rooms, at 3 o'clock precisely.

Artists already engaged: Miss Banks, Mad. Nit A Norrie, Miss Lascelles srod Mr. George Perren; M. Sainton, and M. Paque. Conductor: Herr Wilhelm Ganz.

Tickets, 10s. 6d ; Reserved Seats, 15s.: of Messrs. Ashdown & Parry, 18 Hanover Square; Duncan Davison & Co., 244 Regent Street; of Mile. Valentin, 6 Duke Street, Manchester Square; and at the Rooms.

PHILHARMONIC SOCIETY. —FIFTH CONCERT, MONDAY, May 19.

Sinfonia in E flat, Mozart; Concerto Violoncello, Herr Davidhopf, of the Conservatoire, Leipsic (his first appearance In England); Overture, "Isles of Fingal," Mendelssohn; Sinfonia Pastorale, Beethoven; Fantasia Oboe, M. Lavigne; Overture, "Anacreon," Cherubini.

Vocal performers, Miss Louisa Pynb and Signor Bbllbtti.

Conductor, Professor Istbkndale Bennett.

Single Tickets, 15e. each. To be had of Messrs. Addison, Hollier& Lucas,'210 Regent Street, W.

[ocr errors]

R. LINDSAY SLOPER'S TWO PERFORMANCES

of PIANOFORTE MUSIC (interspersed with Vocal Music), on Thursday Afternoons, May 22 and June b, 1862, at St. James's II.ill. To commence at 3 o'clock. Vocalists: Miss Banks, Miss Roberttnr Henderson, Mr. TenNAnt, and Mr.

Santley.

'.Mr. Lindsay Sloper will be assisted by Mr. Crables Halle and Mr. Stpphpn
Heller, Herr Joachim and M. Sainton.
At the Pianoforte, Mr. Benedict and Mr. Harold Thomas.

Subscription Tickets for Reserved Seats, 1!». each; Tickets tor Single Performance, 10s. 6d. To be had of Mr. Lindsay Sloper, 70 Cambridge Terrace, Hyde Fart, W.; and of all the principal Musicsellers.

rR. CHARLES HALLE'S BEETHOVEN RECITALS,

M1

JJljL at St. James's Hall. Mr. Charles Halle begs to announce that he will repeat his BEETHOVEN RECITALS, in the large room of St. James's Hall, on the Afternoons of the subjoined dates, Friday, May 23, Friday, May 30, Friday, June 6, Friday. June 13, Friday, June 20. Saturday, June 28, Friday! July 4, Friday, July 11. To commence each day at 3 o'clock precisely.

Prices of admission: Sofa Stalls, numbered and reserved, 2/. 2s. for the Series; 10s. fid. Single Ticket; Balcony, U. 1 Is. Gd. for the Series ; 7s. Single Ticket; Unreserved Seats, 1/. for the Series; 3s. Single Ticket.

Subscriptions received at Chappell & Co.'s, 50 New Bond Street; and at all the principal Musicsellers.

MUSIC IN BERLIN.

(From our own Correspondent.)

At last I have really got something new to tell you concerning the Royal Opera House and its management; I shall not be compelled, on the present occasion, to employ the brilliancy of my talent and the vast resources of my style,* in chronicling simply tho I-do-not-know-how-manyetA representation of Le Prophete, or the periodical revival of Spontini's Fernand Cartel. We have actually had an operatic novelty, and that novelty is Actaa, das Madchen von Korinth, " a grand opera in four acts, the words by Julius Eodenberg, and the music by Jean Bott." Why the composer, who is as good a German as ever ate " Sauerkraut," drank "Lagerbier," or smoked the mild " Knaster " so popular among the tant wit pen phlegmatic sons of Fatherland, should call himself "Jean" instead of "Johann " is something I do not feel capable of deciding. I suppose it must be attributed to that very prevalent but, to me, incomprehensible principle, in obedience to which many estimable English professional ladies prefer " Madame" to " Mrs.," and as many worthy Britons of the male sex adopt the title of "Monsieur," "Signor," or * Herr," to that of plain " Mr." "What's in a name ?" inquires the "divine Williams." "A rose," he goes on to observe, " by any other name would smell as sweet." I have no desire to contradict the Swan of Avon, so far, at least, as roses are concerned; but I feel sure that, had he lived in the nineteenth century, he would never have so far committed himself as to extend his maxim from roses and their Ecent, to English artists and their singing—unless, indeed, this assumption of foreign epithets is a piece of humbug—which, considering how generally the practice is adopted, is more than I would dare to assert. However, the whole matter is a mystery, which I will not attempt to unravel.

The subject of Herr "Jean" Bott's new opera, like that of Herr Ferdinand Hiller's Katakomben. produced so successfully a short time since, is laid in the time of the early Christians, and tho following is an outline of the plot. The heroine is a certain Actaa, or Actsea, a young Greek girl, whom Nero has carried off from Corinth to Borne. The two other principal female characters are Agrippina, Nero's mother, and Poppaea Sabina, the lady who so captivated the Emperor that, after having taken her from one of his favourites, Otho, who had previously taken her from her husband, Bufus Crispinns, he married her, his former wife, Octavia, having first been repudiated by him, in order to enable him to do so. It was this same Poppeea who was so anxious to preserve her beauty, that she kept a stud of 500 asses, in whose milk she used to take a bath daily. What a good customer she would have been, by the way, to Mad. Rachel, of face-enamelling celebrity, had the latter only exercised her profession in Rome some 1800 years ago! In the opera, Poppsea uses Actsea as a means of mounting to the Imperial throne, while Agrippina employs her as an agent of her revenge, in order to work the downfall of Nero and Poppasa, Through Agrippina, Actasa discovers that the person she supposes to be merely the plain Roman, Lucius, whom she has followed to Rome as his wife, is no other than the Emperor Nero, who has been starring it through the provinces, somewhat after the style of Tom Saycrs, Heenan, or Jem Mace, at the present day, as a dancer and fencer. Agrippina, whose own life is threatened by her amiable son, seeks to escape, with the young Greek maiden, on board a vessel which she has especially procured for that purpose. But the vessel having been, unknown to her, bored full of holes, as related by Tacitus in the 14th book of his "Annals," sinks, out at sea. Actaja, whom it is necessnry to preserve for the developcmcnt of the story, is the only person saved. She is obligingly flung by the waves on shore, where she is discovered by her old admirer, Agcnor, a Greek sailor, whom she believed killed, in a hand-to-hand encounter with Nero. He was, however, only wounded, and conducts her to his co-religionists, the Christians, in the Catacombs. He tells her that, by embracing the new faith, she will obtain pardon for the sins she has committed, and repose for her soul, which is racked by repentance. Suddenly, the terrible news is brought that the eldest member of their congregation is threatened by Nero with a martyr's death. Acttea is inspired with a determination to save his life. She is acquainted with the prisons of Rome ; she knows the jailors, and swears to loose his chains. Such is the purport of the first three acts.

The fourth and last act opens in the Forum at Rome. We hear the march and chorus which celebrate the nuptials of Nero and Poppaea Sabina. When the marriage procession has disappeared, Actma and Agenor make their appearance. The fair Greek feels her broken heart swell with revenge, on discovering that the hated Sabina is Nero's wife. Conspirators enter, and indulge in some warm curses against the tyrant, a proceeding which I should say, was, at the least, rather ill-judged, considering the public thoroughfare in which it is represented as taking

[ocr errors]

place. However, 1 suppose it is all right, considering that, in operas, the street is not unfrequently selected as the most appropriate spot for the signing of marriage contracts, and other transactions of an especially private nature. I am borne out in my opinion by the conduct of a certain Spanish Legionary, who joins the Conspirators, and brings them the highly gratifying intelligence that Galba, the Boman commander in Spain, is on the march to overthrow the tyrant. Actsea offers to conduct the Conspirators into Nero's golden house, and, snatching the sword from the hand of the Legionary, places herself at their head. The scene now changes to the interior of the house, where Nero is asleep in a magnificent apartment. In his sleep, he sees tho ghosts of those whom he has murdered, as Richard III. does, in his tent on Bosworth field. On his starting from his uncomfortable slumbers, Actsea advances towards him with her drawn sword. Suddenly she hears the chorus of Christians, celebrating the preservation of their brother, who has been so near obtaining the crown of martyrdom. This mollifies her feelings considerably. She flings away her sword, and determines to aid Nero to escape. She is, however, prevented from effecting her purpose by the Conspirators, who rush in, and accuse her of treachery. She falls beneath the sword of the Spanish Legionary, and, as she is dying, the Conspirators discover the corpse of Nero, who has committed suicide.

Such is the plot of the libretto. It contains numerous faults of construction, and is not altogether consistent with what I learned, when a student of Lemprierc, concerning the career of Nero and of those connected with him. It is, however, carefully written, and the verses, though at times rhythmically monotonous, are correct and elegant. In fact, it has been the object of Herr Julius Rodenberg to produce an independent literary work; and, regarding his libretto in this light, he published it some time before it was produced on the stage.

With regard to the music, I do not myself think it likely to obtain a wide-world reputation. Herr Bott has followed too much in the footsteps of Herr Bichard Wagner to find favour in my eyes. Yet he is a musician not devoid of talent, as is proved by numerous lyrical touches, exceedingly well conceived and excellently carried out, and by the instrumentation, which, depending mostly upon the stringed quartets of which Herr Bott is a master, is distinguished for clearness and natural charm. There is a total absence of recitative, after the by no means pleasant or effective model of Herr B. Wagner. Apart from the monotonous impression produced by the drawling kind of psalmody that is made to do duty for recitative, the composer throws away every chance, for no earthly reason, of the fine effect of contrast marking a free and well connected musical composition. The first real piece of recitative is to be found in the last half of the concluding act, and I felt truly grateful to the Spanish Legionary for singing it. It was as refreshing to my wearied ears as the draught of pale ale which, according to a London paper, the Laureate drank after the Exhibition had been opened, must have been to his poetical but parched throat. Although inclined to admire very sincerely the instrumentation, which, like a great deal more, bears unmistakcable signs of a study of the good old school of Spohr, I cannot approve of the vocal music, which is treated as though it were purely instrumental, and constituted an integral part of the orchestra, from which consequently it never stands out so as to produce a separate effect of its own. The choruses are mostly distinguished for the homophonous style in which they are written, and which tends to annihilate their vocal effect.

The opera commences without an overture. Instead of this, we have merely a short instrumental introduction, leading up to a chorus with no peculiar characteristic features of its own. Then comes Nero's first air, "O sich das Meer im Abendgold," which is tolerably effective. This is followed by a number of more musical phrases until we arrive at the concerted piece in B flat major, "Nun wohl, Fortuna will ich prcisen," of which I shall say nothing, either for or against. We next have the scene transported to Corinth, and commencing with a march and chorus in A major, to which is added, in pleasing contrast, some well-written ballot music (F major, S). Agenor's first air is in A flat major, and written in the school of melodies patronised by Spohr and Wagner. Some little time subsequently, we have a duet between Actsea and Agenor, principally remarkable for a fine passage sung by the former of the two personages, and for its dramatic conclusion. The second act commences with a passionate air of Sabina, which possesses a certain degree of merit. Less effective is a concerted piece in E, "Mag mcin Herz erst brechen," winch, in direct opposition to the sense of the words, is treated in ordinary dance-rhythm. A pathetic march in B major ushers in the second scene, followed by a pretty, light dancechorus (B minor, |), which, unfortunately, loses a great portion of its charm by too frequent repetition in the course of the act. The only other pieces worthy of particular notice in this act arc the duet between Agrippina and Actaea, and Sabina's description of the descent to Hades, The third act is the best in the whole opera, and was warmly applauded, especially the finale. The fourth act opens with a march in t) major, after Spontini, and is followed by a long and superfluous ballet in G major, f. The scene of the Conspirators, and that of Nero's dream, are bo:h very spirited, although not equal to the music of the preceding act. Not to spin out my notice too much, I will content myself with saying that, although Herr Bott cannot be said to have been unsuccessful in this his first attempt, I think he has chosen a subject beyond his strength, and that he would have had cause for self-congratulation had he selected one which did not soar quite so high. But no one ever produced a chef(Tauvre on first appearing before the public. Herr Bott has shown that he possesses fair musical talent; practice may developc it so as to enable hiin to take a good position among the operatic composers of the day.

The part of the heroine was confided to Mad. Harriers-Wippern, who devoted her best energies to it. But it is a part not adapted to her, and, in order to be effective, she was frequently exaggerated. Mile, do Ahna sang and played the demoniacal Sabina with appropriate fire and spirit, for which she deserved all the more praise, as the character is not calculated to enlist the sympathies of the public. The same may be asserted of Herr Betz, who represented Nero. Herr Theodor Formes made the best of the part of Agenor, but it afforded him scarcely any opportunity of distinguishing himself. The subordinate personages were satisfactorily impersonated by Mad. Botticher, Herren Salomon, Fricke, and Bost. The orchestra did not execute its task with its accustomed "virtuosity," probably from want of sufficient rehearsals, although the composer conducted in person. The dances were graceful and well arranged, while the dresses and sccuery did infinite credit to the management.

I repeat, that I do not fancy that Actiia will enjoy a very long run, though, as I have hinted, it is not without promise of better things in future from its composer. As a proof that I am not too severe in my opinion, allow me to quote that of a well-known critic here (Herr Naumanu), who says :—

"Without possessing Richard Wagner's talents, Herr Bott has attempted to throw oft' his production after the fashion adopted by that gentleman, and composed on, from word to word, and from bar to bar. In this way he spins out his opera through four long acts, sinking, at times, to a complete absence of aught in the shape of an idea. Under these circumstances, he has altogether dispensed with an overture. Two or three bars of a flat introduction lead up to a chorus of Romans landing with Nero. This, like all the other male choruses in the opera, bears the stamp to all ordinary "Lieder-Tafel" choruses, without the slightest approach to local characterisation, or historical colouring. Nero then sings a sort of song, reminding us of the modern sent mental effusions of Kucken and Proch, and, as it is repeated three times in the course of the opera, exhibiting very clearly the paucity of ideas under which the composer labours, since even here, when the plan of the opera demanded something striking, he has failed to display a single thought nt all independent, appropriate, or interesting.

6/." The festive scene at Corinth is treated in the ballet style, to far better specimens of which we are accustomed by our own Court-composer, Hertel, as well as by the Parisian composers of this kind of music; and we must bear in mind that we are beholding dances on the classic soil of Greece.

"Agenor is an insufferably vapid modern lover, who informs us, in phrases already heard a thousand times, and really consisting of mere final cadenzas, of his feelings for Actsea, and only once rising to anything resembling a musical idea, at the words, ,'bei kiihlem Sterngeflimmer.' But even here, the soft-sighing Celadon, who dares not soar far beyond the limits of the tonic and dominant, becomes in the long run wearisome.

"At the dramatic conclusions of the acts, the composer, in total helplessness, has recourse to the ugliest and most impracticable progressions of the vocal parts, and to the most noisy instrumental expedients, without, for one moment, rising to real dramatic life, only possible by a musical characterisation of the personages of the drama.

"The principal theme in the scene of the Imperial gardens, in the second act, we would scarcely allow in an ordinary composer of dances, and, consequently, much less in the present instance. The music rises a little, but only when compared to itself, in the scene between Nero, Agrippina and Aetna, and also when Sabina communicates to the Emperor how she has plotted the destruction of the two women. At the lines, 'Dunkel verhiillt das gepiihiliche Kipp; stark ist die Stromung, schwarz sind die Segel; Charon, der Fahrmann, stcuert das Sehift" ('Darkness conceals the dangerous reef; strong is the stream, black are the sails; the ferryman, Charon, steers the ship'), we meet, for the first time, with a really musical success achieved by the composer. On the other hand, he again becomes completely paralysed in the

scene of the meeting between Aetata and Agenor. We have seldom heard music in which such false, because vapidly morbid, sentimentality was made to mask the want of all real feeling.

The grand march, which opens the fourth act, once more enables us to perceive how totally destitute of ideas the composer is. We ought to hear a Roman triumphal march, instead of which we hear only some expressionless music in the most worn-out march rhythm, such as is adopted by dilettanti without talent, who have determined to write a march at any price. The following chorus, for female voices, with ballet, is, with one trifling alteration, note for note, the chorus for female voices, with ballet, in the second act of Spontini's Cortex, and, but for this reminiscence, would be, perhaps, the only number with anything like original local colouring in Herr Bott's work. Indeed, this goes on the whole evening, by means of connecting links of musical mosaic, of two, three, or four bars each. In our opinion, the composer at last worked in the sweat of his brow in order to fill up, in some degree, the gaps still remaining in his opera, so that it might be completed and produced. Wagner, whose principles Herr Bott apparently adopts, offers us, for the unity in form and style, a nnity of feeling, which causes us to forget the absence of the former. In Lohengrin we everywhere feel an atmosphere of German legends and stories. In Herr Bott's work, however, we do not meet Romans and Greeks, but at most the completely used-up phrases of the totally worn-out modern sentimental school. In addition to this, the vocal and instrumental parts, proceeding equally with each other, in the choruses as well as in the more developed pieces, exhibit an almost amateurish education on the part of the composer, as far as regards the treatment of the forms of art. The used-up finales after the tonic, by means of the chord of the dominant seventh, over which the singer's voice sinks languishingly, with its hesitatingly repeated sixth and fifth, down to the fundamental tone of the key, are forced upou us some hundred times in the course of the opera. In other places, without any reason whatever, Wagner's well-known chromatic progressions of sixths and fourths on the fiddles, from the scene of the Vcnusberg in Tannhauser, are introduced, or else reminiscences from Elizabeth's prayer, accompanied by the wood wind instruments, in the third act of the same opera.

"Mad. Harriers-Wippern, Mile, de Ahna, Herr Betz, and Herr Formes represented the principal parts with admirable conscientious ness and powers of endurance. The composer had come over from Meiningen on purpose to conduct his work himself. The very moderate applause was bestowed almost exclusively upon the praiseworthy exertions of the singers, some oftwhom were recalled.

"The getting-up and arranging of the processions and ballets, the rich costumes, and the magnificence and pictorial beauty of the scenery painted by Grossing, left nothing to be desired, confirming the oldestablished reputation enjoyed by our Royal Opera House, of being, in this respect, the first in Germany.".

Before leaving the subject, I must inform you that Actiia, das Mddchen von Corinth, has not yet been repeated, in consequeuee of Mad. Harriers-Wippem's having been so mnch fatigued by the great tax on her powers, the first night the opera was performed, as to be laid up by a serious throat [attack. Herr Bott (" Jean "), Herr Bott (" Jean "), this will never do!

In the way of concerts, I have nothing particular to tell you, except, perhaps, that Passion-week was duly celebrated by the performance of several well-known sacred compositions. Two societies gave Graun's Tod Jesu; the Singacademie, Bach's Mattltiius-Passion; and Stern's Gesangverein, Beethoven's Misaa Solemnis.

Vale.

fetters to t{j« mtox.

«

PIANOFORTE-PLAYING AT THE GREAT EXHIBITION.

Sib,—The Times, a few days since, iu commenting upon the absence of music at the International Exhibition, remarks, "There should be no need of this had the exhibitors done their duty." Will you kindly allow us to explain that so long back as March last this matter engaged our attention, and we addressed the following communication on the subject to Mr. Thompson, the superintendent of arrangement of goods, which elicited the subjoined reply from Mr. Sandford, the secretory: —

"March 10, 1862.

"i'lR,—On the occasion of the Great Exhibition of 1851 we were allowed by Her Majesty's Commissioner! the privilege of placing one of our concert grand pianofortes in the nave of the building for the purposes of public performance on the principal days, and we engaged at our expense pianists ot* great eminence to give a aeries of pianoforte recitals on the instrument, ft will no doubt be In the recollection of the Commissioners that these performances were looked upou with great favour by the public, and, to the lady visitors In particular, proved a source of great attraction and

[blocks in formation]

"Exhibition Buildings, March 21, 18G2.

Gentlemen,—I am directed by Her Majesty's Commissioners to acknowledge the receipt of four letter of the 10 inst,, and to inform you that there is no space in the nave which could be granted to you for the purpose before the opening of the Kxhihi. tion: but your application has been noted, and when the arrangements are somewhat further advanced, I will endeavour toj^meet your wishes, I am, Gentlemen, your obedient servant,

," F. R. SANDFOlin, Secretary.

"Messrs. Collard and Collard."

It will thus be seen that this fruitful source of entertainment to the visitors of the Exhibition had not escaped our notice, or that of Her Majesty's Commissioners, and that we took an early opportunity of anticipating the wishes of the public by placing ourselves in communication with the Executive on the subject. It is due to Mr. Sandford to state that in a subsequent interview with our representative,,he cordially entered into the spirit of our offer, and stated that it was then in contemplation to devote the space under the east and west domes to pianoforte recitals. We have reason also to know that our friends and competitors, the Messrs. Broadwood and Sons, had expressed their willingness to cooperate with us in any arrangement which might receive the sanction of Her Majesty's Commissioners. We, however, entertain no doubt, after the remarks the Times has been pleased to make on the subject, that the visitors to the Exhibition will soon be afforded the much-desired opportunity of hearing some of the leading pianists of the day. Begging your permission to publish this explanation in your influential columns, we have the honour to be, Sir, your very obedient servants,

COLLARD AND COLLARD.

16 Grosvenor-street, Grosvenor-square, May 10.

Sir,— Permit me to raise my feeble voice (tenor) with that of the ** English Musician," your correspondent, in your paper of May 10, and beg that you will, in the case of Costa v. Bennett, tell us all you know. "Speak the truth and," &c. By so doing you will do great and good service, and merit the thanks of many anxious to pursue "tho even tenor of their way."

I enclose my card, and remain, faithfully'yours,

A Lover Of Truth.

MR COSTA AND THE MUSIC AT THE EXHIBITION.

The following is the letter addressed to Mr Costa by Her Majesty's Commissioners, after the opening ceremonial :—

•' Exhibition Building, South Kensington, May i. "Sir,—lam directed by Her Majesty's Commissioners to convey to you their best acknowledgments for the admirable manner in which the musical performances, which contributed so largely to the success of the opening ceremonial, were conducted by you on the 1st of May, and to thank you for all the assistance you have rendered to them in the organisation and arrangement of this part of the Exhibition.

"I have the honour to be, &C.,

F. R. SANDroan, Secretary.

"Michael Costa, Esq."

To the Editor of the " Times." Sir,—"Honour to whom honour is due." My attention having been directed to the letter from the Commissioners' Secretary to Mr. Costa, published in your impression of Saturday, will you kindly permit me, as one of the oldest members of the Sacred Harmonic Society, to give expression in your columns to the very general feeling of discontent and dissatisfaction experienced by that body in connection with this matter? We do not at all object to Mr. Costa's receiving the thanks of the Commissioners— far from it ; but what we feel is, that inasmuch as that gentleman was well paid for his services, and we gave ours gratuitously, if thanks were due anywhere we were entitled to at least a participation in them. Not only has this slight recognition been denied us, but wo were not even furnished, in return for our services — admitted on all hands to have been of some value and to have contributed to the success of the inauguration—with an additional ticket for admission to the ceremony; so that those of us who desired our wives or daughters to be present could not extend to them that usual and legitimate privilege without first becoming purchasers of season tickets.

I am, Sir, your very obedient servant,

Jl'STITIA.

To the Editor of the " Times." Sir,— That the Commissioners are not unmindful of the services rendered by the Sacred Harmonic Society will appear from the follow

ing letter addressed to me on the day following the opening ceremony, a copy of which is at the service of any gentleman who so efficiently assisted me as a steward on that occasion.

I am, Sir, your most obedient servant,
Davis Sins, Superintendent of Stewards.

London, May 13.

International Exhibition, 1862.

"Exhibition Building, South Kensington, W., May 2. "Sir,—I am directed by Her Majesty's Commissioners to express to you the satisfaction they feel with tile admirable manner in which the arrangements intrusted to your management were carried into effect at the opening ceremony on the 1st inst., and to thank you and the stewards for the services you were good enough to render on that occasion.

"I have the honour to be, Sir, your obedient servant,

"F. R. Sandpoho, Secretary. "Davis Sims, Esq., Sacred Harmonic Society, Exeter Hall."

To the Editor of the " Times." Sir,— Permit mc, as a friend of Mr. Costa's, to contradict a statement made by one of the oldest members of the Sacred Harmonic Society, who signs himself "Justitia," in reference to the music at the opening of the Exhibition. The statement is to the effect that Mr. Costa was well paid for his services, Mr. Costa declined any remuneration, although it was offered him by the Commissioners, and acted in the same spirit as that evinced by the members of the Sacred Harmonic Society, contributing his valuable services with a single object at heart —to aid in the success of a great national undertaking. I am, Sir, your obedient servant,

[ocr errors]

HER MAJESTY'S THEATRE.

It was unfortunate for Mad. Guerrabella that on the occasion of her first appearance at Her Majesty's Theatre there should be any disappointment to the public, and more especially so serious a disappointment as the absence from his post of the prima tenore assoluto. Few operas are worse calculated to brave the ordeal of even comparatively inefficient execution than the Puritani of Bellini; and though Signor Bettini, who, with no little gallantry, came forward at a moment's notice in aid of Mad. Guerrabella, is a singer of more than average acquirement, he cannot be accepted as a competent substitute for Signor Giuglini in a part of such conspicuous importance as that of Arturo. A light tenor with a sufficiently agreeable voice, Signer Bettini will doubtless be useful in characters to which his talents are more likely to do credit, and to which, therefore, he may aspire without unreasonable presumption. It would be unjust to Mad. Guerrabella, if, under tho circumstances, we were to criticise her performance, or, indeed, to state anything further than that the audience, sympathising with her position, greeted her efforts with the warmest tokens of encouragement. Happily, the American "prima donna" has not got a reputation to earn, either as a vocalist—which her successes in the concert room can attest—or on the stage, as those who remember her impersonation of Maid Marian, in Mr. Macfarren's Robin Hood, are fully aware. Her Elvira will be more fairly judged when there is an accomplished Arturo to match it—in other words, when tho "sudden indisposition" of Signor Giuglini (of which the house was informed by a printed circular distributed before the rising of the curtain) shall have passed away. "A first appearance npon anew stage," says the Morning Post, "is exciting enough under any circumstances; but when to the anxiety inseparable from it is added the annoyance of an accidental and quite unlooked-for event, such as that of which we have spoken, the embarrassment occasioned may well serve as a reasonable excuse for many shortcomings. Mad. Guerrabella, though her voice was affected by the nervousness under which she obviously laboured, contrived notwithstanding to elicit by her intellectual and sympathetic acting, no less than by her skilful vocalisation, unanimous and very cordial applause from the public. Her execution of the long duet with Giorgio, the polacca, 'Son vergine vezzosn,' the finale to the first act, and the air, 'Qui la voce' (the principal pieces belonging to the part of Elvira), drew forth highly flattering demonstrations, and sufficed to attest Mad. Gnerrabella's ability to do fuller justice to the character under more favourable circumstances." Signor Giraldoni was the Riccardo, Signor Laterza, Giorgio—arcades ambo.

Lucia di Lammermoor was produced on Tuesday evening, for the debut of Sig. Armandi in the part of Edgardo. This gentleman is not wholly a stranger to the English public, having appeared some years since, iu the course of a short operatic season, at Drury Lane Theatre, under the management of Mr. E. T. Smith. A " robust" tenor, in the most literal acceptation of the term, Sig. Armandi sings with an energy that imparts to his performance the semblance, if not the reality, of earnestness, and in phrases where impassioned delivery is required atoms in a great measure for a singular want of refinement. His voice, no doubt, at one time powerful, is now so worn throughout the greater part of its register, that whatever purely musical quality it may originally have possessed is almost irretrievably lost. In his acting Sig. Armandi exhibits precisely the same qualities that characterise his singing; he is emphatic, vigorous, and demonstrative, but devoid of grace and natural ease. Thus his performance generally is without charm. At the same time it must be added that, in the present dearth of operatic tenors, the audience were unanimously eager to welcome the new aspirant, and to hail the advent of a genuine addition to th*very meagre stock. Whether Sig. Armandi's future achievements will justify the reception awarded to him on Tuesday night remains, however, to be seen. He was loudly recalled after the duet in the first act, and enthusiastically applauded in the famous " Maladetto"—the reproach addressed to Lucia after her avowal of the contract which binds her to Arturo. In the third act the impression he created was much less vivid, the admirable "Fra poco," and its sentimentally expressive pendent, " Tu che a Dio spiegasti," compared with the previous scenes, being to some extent a failure. We must add, in fairness (what was not made known to the house), that Sig. Armandi was labouring under the effects of sudden indisposition.

Little need be said of the rest of the performance. The inimitable "soprano" of Mile. Titiens was heard to perfection in the more conspicuous passages of the music allotted to Lucia, and more especially in the mad scene, where her exquisite higher tones went to the hearts of the audience, and invested the ravings of the unhappy bride with a deep and indefinable charm. M. Gassier is beyond all comparison the best Enrico we remember since the earlier days of Ronconi, who in this character (as in a good many others, by the way) has never been surpassed —rarely, if ever, equalled. The other parts were creditably sustained; and the band, under Sig. Arditi, was irreproachable. The improvement in this last-named department merits particular notice. Donizetti's orchestration is masterly, and every prominent" solo" found a thoroughly competent expositor.

The reappearance of the Marchisios—which, after the legitimate success they obtained in Rossini's Semiramide, was looked forward to with interest—took place on Thursday. The Sisters were received with enthusiasm, both in their duets and in their solos. Sig. Bettini was the Idreno, vice Sig. (Mr.) Gualtiero (Walter) Bolton.

Mr. Mapleson is exerting himself actively to vary as much as possible the entertainment of his patrons. A slight but very pretty balletdivertissement, called Diavoletta, with the favourite "danseuse," Mile. Morlacchi, as the agile sprite, has been produced with entire success.

ROYAL ITALIAN OPERA.

The untiring Barbiere exercised its usual attraction on Saturday night, and completely filled the house. This music appeals with equal eloquence to high and low, gratifying the taste of connoisseurs while laying strong hold on the sympathies of the untutored crowd. Genius never spoke with more spontaneity or more directly to the purpose. The charm of such a work is universal, and, so long as a love for the unaffectedly beautiful exists, its popularity can never die out. But the comic masterpiece of Rossini needs no apology; its worth is as unanimously recognised as that of Mozart's Don Juan.

The prominent features of the "cast" on this occasion were the Almaviva and Rosina of Sig. Mario and Mile. Adelina Patti — the most experienced tenor and the most unpractised soprano, the oldest and the youngest, indeed, in their respective departments, on the Italian boards. They were thoroughly well matched. If, while rivalling her accomplished partner in the grace, the brilliancy, and lifelike naturalness of her acting — for we can remember no more finished delineation of the sprightly Spanish ward than hers — Mile. Patti would also strive to follow his example in adhering a little more closely to the musical text, her Rosina would be absolute perfection. But it is vain to hope for this. Mile. Patti may cite the most illustrious of her predecessors, from Malibran and Persian i to the much regretted Angelina Bosio (including Viardot, Gassier, Carvalho, &c, all, in short, except Grisi and Alboni), as warrants for the liberties in which she herself indulges. "Una voce poco (a,"and "Dunqueio son"—the most genial of cavatinas, and the most spirited of comic duos—seem destined to be perpetually used as themes for the exhibition of the singer's skill in the art of embroidery. True, the part of Rosina was originally intended for a contralto j and this in a great measure exonerates sopranos like Bosio or Mile. Patti, who can hardly be expected to sacrifice their chances of applause in favour of what would at the best be a correct and ineffective reading. The secret, nevertheless, is how to reconcile these elaborately contrived "fioriture," which are the rhetoric of florid song, with the real

character of the music thus embellished—the flowing melody of Rossini with all this glittering display of ornament Once hit upon that secret, and objection would be dumb. Excellent in every other respect as was the Rosina of Mile. Patti last season, it has ripened into a still more admirable performance. Every stage of its progress offers some delicate point, some piquant and original trait Her scenes with Bartolo, Figaro and Almaviva have each a distinctive character, each a charm alike peculiar and natural. She can mock and torment the first with just as lively a grace as she can scheme with the second and make love with the last. In short, her impersonation is as finished and artistic as it is thoroughly engaging. Sig. Mario was evidently inspired by his Rosins. He has never played the Count more to the life, never with more vivacity and well-sustained dramatic truth. His delineation was, indeed, a masterpiece from end to end. It was, moreover, one of his rare singing nights, when everything goes well. The serenade in the first scene ("Ecco ridente") at once showed what a vocal treat the audience had to anticipate, and the second serenade, "Io son Lindoro," was just as good; while the duet with Figaro ("All' idea di quel metallo), ane the trio with Rosina and the Barber, terminating with "Zitti Zitti," were neither more nor less than incomparable. Almaviva's pretended inebriety in the grand finale to the first act was (as it seldom fails to be in the hands of Sig. Mario) an exemplification of high-class comedy—humorous, racy, refined, and without a taint of exaggeration.

Sig. Delle Sedie, though in the truest sense an artist, is not well suited to the part of Figaro. We were continually reminded of Renato (Un Ballo in Maschera); and when, in the famous duct of the first act, Figaro recommends Almaviva to simulate drunkenness on entering the domicile of Bartolo, one might imagine that a conspiracy against the life ofRosina's guardian was on the carpet, instead of the promotion of alovematch'with his ward. What little we could catch of" Largo al factotum" was fluently and glibly sung (for that Signor Delle Sedie is a practised adept in the vocal art does not admit of a question); but either Mr. Costa, in deference to the absent and inimitable Ronconi, forbore to subdue the orchestra, or Signor Delle Sedie had not voice enough to make head against so formidable a band of instrumentalists. Many passages were almost inaudible. Of the purely comic humour indispensable to an effective portraiture of the mercurial, unscrupulous, and ready-witted Barber, there was scarcely a vestige. Signor Ciampi'sDr. Bartolo was as careful and as elaborately dry as ever, and M. Tagliafico's Basilio (with a pompous reading of " La Calumnia ") as fantastic and diverting. Of this last it cannot fairly be reported, as of the majority of Basilios for a quarter of a century past, that it was "castor et pratcrea nihil" Mad. Tagliafico was the Bertha.

The opera wasjthoroughly enjoyed — as, indeed, such music, efficiently presented, can never fail to be. Encores were awarded to Mile. Patti in the air of the lesson-scene (the "Echo-song," composed expressly for the late Mad. Sontag by Herr Eckert)—a brilliant exhibition of "bravura"— and to the trio " Zitti, Zitti." At the end of the opera, the "Rosina" and "Almaviva" of theevening were unanimously summoned forward.

On Monday, Don Giovanni was given. The only novelty in the cast was Sig. Ciampi's Masello. To compare Sig. Ciampi with Ronconi would be unfair; for the latter is, as all the world knows, a man of genius, and one of the most versatile actors in Europe. Sig. Ciampi, however, was much applauded in the little air "Ho capito," which is too generally omitted. Mile. Patti, who has established herself in the graces of the English public, carried off the honours of the evening. Her reception was enthusiastic; not only each of her solos, but the duet with M. Faure, was encored, while a large portion of the enormous audience manifested an inclination to hear "Vedrai Carino" a third time. Although Mile. Patti would do well to refrain from interpolating a single note in the music of Don Giovanni, it seems hypercriiical to object to the harmless cadence in "Batti, batti." Iler singing throughout the opera was literally perfect. Her "La ci darem " was a little drama in itself, with such vivid intensity were the conflicting impulses of the rustic beauty expressed. "If," says^the Daily Telegraph, "to follow up the poetical fancy of some German critic, Don Giovanni is intended to typify the restless search for abstract beauty in its highest development of an enthusiast for art, Mile. Patti's Zerlina may be taken as a type of woman's nature, ever engaged in some hopeless attempt to reconcile duty with delight. Never, we imagine, has the struggle between the village maiden's passive affection for her boorish bridegroom and the coquest' admiration for the gallant suitor who has fascinated her with his easy and condescending grace, been so truthfully or so charmingly portrayed. Indeed, we doubt if any impersonation so exquisitely fresh, spontaneous, and natural as Mile. Patti's Zerlina, has ever been witnessed on the operatic stage; and it is in this characteristic, quite irrespectively of the lady's bright voice and faultless singing, that lies the secret of its infinite charm." Mile. Csillag's singing gives importance

« ElőzőTovább »