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قراءة كتاب A Second Book of Operas

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A Second Book of Operas

A Second Book of Operas

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

href="@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected]@[email protected][email protected]#chap12" class="pginternal" tag="{}a">CHAPTER XII


The opera's ancestry, Loti's "Madame Chrysantheme," John Luther Long's story, David Belasco's play, How the failure of "Naughty Anthony" suggested "Madame Butterfly," William Furst and his music, Success of Mr. Belasco's play in New York, The success repeated in London, Brought to the attention of Signor Puccini, Ricordi and Co. and their librettists, "Madama Butterfly" fails in Milan, The first casts in Milan, Brescia, and New York, (footnote) Incidents of the fiasco, Rossini and Puccini, The opera revised, Interruption of the vigil, Story of the opera, et seq.—The hiring of wives in Japan, Experiences of Pierre Loti, Geishas and mousmes, A changed denouement, Messager's opera, "Madame Chrysantheme," The end of Loti's romance, Japanese melodies in the score, Puccini's method and Wagner's, "The Star-Spangled Banner," A tune from "The Mikado," Some of the themes of Puccini and William Furst,



The opera's predecessors, "Guntram," "Feuersnot," "Salome," Oscar Wilde makes a mistaken appeal to France, His necrophilism welcomed by Richard Strauss and Berlin, Conried's efforts to produce "Salome" at the Metropolitan Opera Blouse suppressed, Hammerstein produces the work, "Elektra," Hugo von Hoffmannsthal and Beaumarchais, Strauss and Mozart, Mozart's themes and Strauss's waltzes, Dancing in Vienna at the time of Maria Theresa, First performance of the opera at New York, "Der Rosenkavalier" and "Le Nozze di Figaro," Criticism of the play and its music, et seq.—Use of a melodic phrase from "Die Zauberflote," The language of the libretto, The music, Cast of the first American performance, (footnote)



Story of the play, et seq.—First production of Hummerdinck's opera and cast, Earlier performance of the work as a melodrama, Author and composer, Opera and melodrama in Germany, Wagnerian symbolism and music, "Die Meistersinger" recalled, Hero and Leander, Humperdinck's music,



First performance of Moussorgsky's opera in New York, Participation of the chorus in the tragedy, Imported French enthusiasm, Vocal melody, textual accents and rhythms, Slavicism expressed in an Italian translation, Moussorgsky and Debussy, Political reasons for French enthusiasm, Rimsky-Korsakoff's revision of the score, Russian operas in America, "Nero," "Pique Dame," "Eugene Onegin," Verstoffeky's "Askold's Tomb," The nationalism of "Boris Godounoff," The Kolydda song "Slava" and Beethoven, Lack of the feminine element in the drama, The opera's lack of coherency, Cast of the first American performance,



First performance of "Madame Sans-Gene," A singing Napoleon, Royalties in opera, Henry the Fowler, King Mark, Verdi's Pharaoh, Herod, Boris Godounoff, Macbeth, Gustavus and some mythical kings and dukes, et seq.—Mattheson's "Boris," Peter the Great, Sardou's play and Giordano's opera, Verdi on an operatic Bonaparte, Sardou's characters, "Andrea Chenier," French Rhythms, "Fedora," "Siberia," The historic Chenier, Russian local color, "Schone Minka," "Slava," "Ay ouchnem," French revolutionary airs, "La Marseillaise," "La Carmagnole," "Ca ira,"



The composer's operas first sung in their original tongue in America, First performances of "Le Donne Curiose," "Il Segreto di Susanna," "I Giojelli della Madonna," "L'Amore Medico," Story and music of "Le Donne Curiose," Methods and apparatus of Mozart's day, Wolf-Ferrari's Teutonism, Goldoni paraphrased, Nicolai and Verdi, The German version of "Donne Curiose," Musical motivi in the opera, Rameau's "La Poule," Cast of the first performance in New York, (footnote)—Naples and opera, "I Giojelli della Madonna," et seq.—Erlanger's "Aphrodite," Neapolitan folksongs, Wolf-Ferrari's individuality, His "Vita Nuova," First performance in America of "I Giojelli,"



Whether or not the English owe a grudge to their Lord Chamberlain for depriving them of the pleasure of seeing operas based on Biblical stories I do not know. If they do, the grudge cannot be a deep one, for it is a long time since Biblical operas were in vogue, and in the case of the very few survivals it has been easy to solve the difficulty and salve the conscience of the public censor by the simple device of changing the names of the characters and the scene of action if the works are to be presented on the stage, or omitting scenery, costumes and action and performing them as oratorios. In either case, whenever this has been done, however, it has been the habit of critics to make merry at the expense of my Lord Chamberlain and the puritanicalness of the popular spirit of which he is supposed to be the official embodiment, and to discourse lugubriously and mayhap profoundly on the perversion of composers' purposes and the loss of things essential to the lyric drama.

It may be heretical to say so, but is it not possible that Lord Chamberlain and Critic have both taken too serious a view of the matter? There is a vast amount of admirable material in the Bible (historical, legendary or mythical, as one happens to regard it), which would not necessarily be degraded by dramatic treatment, and which might be made entertaining as well as edifying, as it has been made in the past, by stage representation. Reverence for this material is neither inculcated nor preserved by shifting the scene and throwing a veil over names too transparent to effect a disguise. Moreover, when this is done, there is always danger that the process may involve a sacrifice of the respect to which a work of art is entitled on its merits as such. Gounod, in collaboration with Barbier and Carre, wrote an opera entitled "La Reine de Saba." The plot had nothing to do with the Bible beyond the name of Sheba's Queen and King Solomon. Mr. Farnie, who used to make comic operetta books in London, adapted the French libretto for performance in English and called the opera "Irene." What a title for a grand opera! Why not "Blanche" or "Arabella"? No doubt such a thought flitted through many a careless mind unconscious that an Irene was a Byzantine Empress of the eighth century, who, by her devotion to its tenets, won beatification after death from the Greek Church. The opera failed on the Continent as well as in London, but if it had not been given a comic operetta flavor by its title and association with the name of the excellent Mr. Farnie, would the change in supposed time, place and