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Title: The Standard Operas (12th edition) - Their Plots, Their Music, and Their Composers
Author: Upton, George P. (George Putnam), 1834-1919
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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EDITION)***


THE STANDARD OPERAS

Their Plots, Their Music, and Their Composers

A Handbook

by

GEORGE P. UPTON

Twelfth Edition

Chicago: A. C. McClurg and Company

1897



PREFACE.


The object of the compiler of this Handbook is to present to the
reader a brief but comprehensive sketch of each of the operas
contained in the modern repertory which are likely to be given during
regular seasons. To this end he has consulted the best authorities,
adding to the material thus collected his own observations, and in
each case presented a necessarily brief sketch of the composer, the
story of each opera, the general character of the music, its prominent
scenes and numbers,--the latter in the text most familiar to
opera-goers,--the date of first performances, with a statement of the
original cast wherever it has been possible to obtain it, and such
historical information concerning the opera and its composition as
will be of interest to the reader. The work has been prepared for the
general public rather than for musicians; and with this purpose in
view, technicalities have been avoided as far as possible, the aim
being to give musically uneducated lovers of opera a clear
understanding of the works they are likely to hear, and thus heighten
their enjoyment. In a word, the operas are described rather than
criticised, and the work is presented with as much thoroughness as
seemed possible considering the necessarily brief space allotted to
each. In the preparation of the Handbook, the compiler acknowledges
his indebtedness to Grove's excellent "Dictionary of Music" for dates
and other statistical information; and he has also made free use of
standard musical works in his library for historical events connected
with the performance and composition of the operas. It only remains to
submit this work to opera-goers with the hope that it may add to their
enjoyment and prove a valuable addition to their libraries.--G.P.U.

CHICAGO, August, 1885.



CONTENTS.


AUBER

  FRA DIAVOLO

  MASANIELLO

  THE CROWN DIAMONDS


BALFE

  THE BOHEMIAN GIRL

  THE ROSE OF CASTILE


BEETHOVEN

  FIDELIO


BELLINI

  NORMA

  LA SONNAMBULA

  I PURITANI


BIZET

  CARMEN


BOIELDIEU

  LA DAME BLANCHE


BOITO

  MEPHISTOPHELES


DELIBES

  LAKME


DONIZETTI

  THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT

  LA FAVORITA

  DON PASQUALE

  LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR

  L'ELISIR D'AMORE

  LUCREZIA BORGIA


FLOTOW

  MARTHA

  STRADELLA


GLUCK

  ORPHEUS


GOETZ

  THE TAMING OF THE SHREW


GOLDMARK

  THE QUEEN OF SHEBA

  MERLIN


GOUNOD

  FAUST

  ROMEO AND JULIET

  MIREILLE


HALEVY

  THE JEWESS


HUMPERDINCK

  HANSEL AND GRETEL


LEONCAVALLO

  I PAGLIACCI


MASCAGNI

  CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA


MEYERBEER

  THE HUGUENOTS

  THE STAR OF THE NORTH

  ROBERT THE DEVIL

  DINORAH

  THE PROPHET

  THE AFRICAN


MOZART

  THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO

  DON GIOVANNI

  THE MAGIC FLUTE


ROSSINI

  THE BARBER OF SEVILLE

  SEMIRAMIDE

  WILLIAM TELL


RUBINSTEIN

  NERO


THOMAS

  MIGNON


VERDI

  ERNANI

  RIGOLETTO

  LA TRAVIATA

  IL TROVATORE

  THE MASKED BALL

  AIDA

  OTHELLO

  FALSTAFF


WAGNER

  RIENZI

  THE FLYING DUTCHMAN

  TANNHÄUSER

  LOHENGRIN

  TRISTAN UND ISOLDE

  THE MASTERSINGERS

  THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG

  DAS RHEINGOLD

  DIE WALKÜRE

  SIEGFRIED

  DIE GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG

  PARSIFAL


WALLACE

  MARITANA


WEBER

  DER FREISCHÜTZ

  OBERON

  EURYANTHE


APPENDIX


INDEX



AUBER.

Daniel François Esprit Auber, one of the most prominent
representatives of the opera comique, was born at Caen, in Normandy,
Jan. 29, 1784. He first attracted attention in the musical world by
his songs and ballads, written when a mere boy. Young as he was, they
were great favorites in French and English drawing-rooms, and their
success diverted him from his commercial intentions to that profession
in which he was destined to achieve such popularity. His début was
made as an instrumental composer in his twentieth year, but before he
had reached his thirtieth he was engrossed with operatic composition.
His first two works were unsuccessful; but the third, "La Bergère
Châtelaine," proved the stepping-stone to a career of remarkable
popularity, during which he produced a large number of dramatic works,
which not only secured for him the enthusiastic admiration of the
Parisians, with whom he was always a favorite, but also carried his
name and fame throughout the world, and obtained for him marks of high
distinction from royalty, such as the office of Director of the
Conservatoire from Louis Philippe, and that of Imperial Maître de
Chapelle from Louis Napoleon. He died May 13, 1871, amid the fearful
scenes of the Paris Commune. His best-known operas are: "Masaniello"
(1828); "Fra Diavolo" (1830); "The Bronze Horse" (1835); "The Black
Domino" (1837); "The Crown Diamonds" (1841); and "Zerline"
(1851),--the last-named written for the great contralto, Mme. Alboni.
Of these, "Fra Diavolo," "Masaniello," and "The Crown Diamonds" are as
fresh as ever in their French and Italian settings, though their
finest successes in this country have been made in their English
dress.


FRA DIAVOLO.

"Fra Diavolo," opera comique, in three acts, words by Scribe, was
first produced at the Opera Comique, Paris, Jan. 28, 1830; in English,
at Drury Lane, London, Nov. 3, 1831; in Italian, at the Lyceum,
London, July 9, 1857, for which occasion the spoken dialogue was
converted into accompanied recitative. The composer himself also, in
fitting it for the Italian stage, made some changes in the concerted
music and added several morceaux. The original Italian cast was as
follows:--

  ZERLINA         Mme. BOSIO.
  LADY ALLCASH    Mlle. MARAI.
  FRA DIAVOLO     Sig. GARDINI.
  LORD ALLCASH    Sig. RONCONI.
  BEPPO           Sig. TAGLIAFICO.
  GIACOMO         Sig. ZELGER.

The original of the story of Fra Diavolo is to be found in Lesueur's
opera, "La Caverne," afterwards arranged as a spectacular piece and
produced in Paris in 1808 by Cuvellier and Franconi, and again in
Vienna in 1822 as a spectacle-pantomime, under the title of "The
Robber of the Abruzzi." In Scribe's adaptation the bandit, Fra
Diavolo, encounters an English nobleman and his pretty and susceptible
wife, Lord and Lady Allcash, at the inn of Terracina, kept by Matteo,
whose daughter Zerlina is loved by Lorenzo, a young soldier, on the
eve of starting to capture Fra Diavolo when the action of the opera
begins. In the first scene the English couple enter in great alarm,
having narrowly escaped the robbery of all their valuables by Fra
Diavolo's band. The bandit himself, who has followed them on their
journey in the disguise of a marquis, and has been particularly
attentive to the lady, enters the inn just as Lord Allcash has been
reproving his wife for her familiarity with a stranger. A quarrel
ensues in a duet of a very humorous character ("I don't object"). Upon
the entrance of Fra Diavolo, a quintet ("Oh, Rapture unbounded!")
ensues, which is one of the most effective and admirably harmonized
ensembles Auber has ever written. Fra Diavolo learns the trick by
which they saved the most of their valuables, and, enraged at the
failure of his band, lays his own plan to secure them. In an interview
with Zerlina, she, mistaking him for the Marquis, tells him the story
of Fra Diavolo in a romanza ("On Yonder Rock reclining"), which is so
fresh, vigorous, and full of color, that it has become a favorite the
world over. To further his schemes, Fra Diavolo makes love to Lady
Allcash and sings an exquisitely graceful barcarole to her ("The
Gondolier, fond Passion's Slave"), accompanying himself on the
mandolin. Lord Allcash interrupts the song, and the trio, "Bravi,
Bravi," occurs, which leads up to the finale of the act. Fra Diavolo
eludes the carbineers, who have returned, and they resume their search
for him, leaving him unmolested to perfect his plans for the robbery.

The second act introduces Zerlina in her chamber about to retire. She
first lights Lord and Lady Allcash to their room, a running
conversation occurring between them in a trio ("Let us, I pray, good
Wife, to rest"), which by many good critics has been considered as the
best number in the work. Before Zerlina returns to her chamber, Fra
Diavolo and his companions, Beppo and Giacomo, conceal themselves in a
closet, and, somewhat in violation of dramatic consistency, Fra
Diavolo sings the beautiful serenade, "Young Agnes," which had been
agreed upon as a signal to his comrades that the coast was clear.
Zerlina enters, and after a pretty cavatina ("'Tis to-morrow") and a
prayer, charming for its simplicity ("Oh, Holy Virgin"), retires to
rest. The robbers in attempting to cross her room partially arouse
her. One of them rushes to the bed to stab her, but falls back
awe-stricken as she murmurs her prayer and sinks to rest again. The
trio which marks this scene, sung pianissimo, is quaint and simple and
yet very dramatic. The noise of the carbineers returning outside
interrupts the plan of the robbers. They conceal themselves in the
closet again. Zerlina rises and dresses herself. Lord and Lady Allcash
rush in _en deshabille_ to find out the cause of the uproar. Lorenzo
enters to greet Zerlina, when a sudden noise in the closet disturbs
the company. Fra Diavolo, knowing he will be detected, boldly steps
out into the room and declares that he is there to keep an appointment
with Zerlina. Lorenzo challenges him, and he promises to give him
satisfaction in the morning, and coolly effects his escape. One of his
comrades, however, is captured, and to secure his own liberty agrees
to betray his chief.

The third act introduces Fra Diavolo once more among his native
mountains, and there is the real breath and vigor of the mountain air
in his opening song ("Proudly and wide my Standard flies"), and
rollicking freedom in the rondeau which follows it ("Then since Life
glides so fast away"). He exults in his liberty, and gleefully looks
forward to a meeting with Lord and Lady Allcash, which he anticipates
will redound to his personal profit. His exultation is interrupted by
the entrance of the villagers arrayed in festival attire in honor of
the approaching wedding ceremonies, singing a bright pastoral chorus
("Oh, Holy Virgin! bright and fair"). The finale of the act is
occupied with the development of the scheme between Lorenzo, Beppo,
and Giacomo, to ensnare Fra Diavolo and compass his death; and with
the final tragedy, in which Fra Diavolo meets his doom at the hands of
the carbineers, but not before he has declared Zerlina's innocence.
This finale is strong and very dramatic, and yet at the same time
simple, natural, and unstudied. The opera itself is a universal
favorite, not alone for its naturalness and quiet grace, but for its
bright and even boisterous humor, which is sustained by the typical
English tourist, who was for the first time introduced in opera by
Scribe. The text is full of spirit and gayety, and these qualities are
admirably reflected in the sparkling music of Auber. Not one of the
books which the versatile Scribe has supplied for the opera is more
replete with incident or brighter in humor. How well it was adapted
for musical treatment is shown by the fact that "Fra Diavolo" made
Auber's reputation at the Opera Comique.


MASANIELLO.

"Masaniello," or "La Muette de Portici," a lyric opera in five acts,
words by Scribe and Delavigne, was first produced in Paris, Feb. 29,
1828; in English, at London, May 4, 1829; and in Italian, at London,
March 15, 1849. The original cast included Mme. Damoreau-Cinti as
Elvira, Mlle. Noblet as Fenella, and M. Massol as Pietro. In the
Italian version, Sig. Mario, Mme. Dorus-Gras, and Mlle. Leroux, a
famous mime and dancer, took the principal parts; while in its English
dress, Braham created one of the greatest successes on record, and
established it as the favorite opera of Auber among Englishmen.

The scene of the opera is laid near Naples. The first act opens upon
the festivities attending the nuptials of Alphonso, son of the Duke of
Arcos, and the Princess Elvira. After a chorus of rejoicing, the
latter enters and sings a brilliant cavatina ("O, bel Momento")
expressive of her happiness. In the fourth scene the festivities are
interrupted by the appearance of Fenella, the dumb girl, who implores
the princess to save her from Selva, one of the Duke's officers, who
is seeking to return her to prison, from which she has escaped, and
where she has been confined at the orders of some unknown cavalier who
has been persecuting her. The part of Fenella is of course expressed
by pantomime throughout. The remainder of the act is intensely
dramatic. Elvira promises to protect Fenella, and then, after some
spirited choruses by the soldiers, enters the chapel with Alphonso.
During the ceremony Fenella discovers that he is her betrayer. She
attempts to go in, but is prevented by the soldiers. On the return of
the newly wedded pair Fenella meets Elvira and denounces her husband,
and the scene ends with a genuine Italian finale of excitement.

The second act opens on the sea-shore, and shows the fishermen busy
with their nets and boats. Masaniello, brother of Fenella, enters,
brooding upon the wrongs of the people, and is implored by the
fishermen to cheer them with a song. He replies with the barcarole,
"Piu bello sorse il giorno,"--a lovely melody, which has been the
delight of all tenors. His friend Pietro enters and they join in a
duet ("Sara il morir") of a most vigorous and impassioned character,
expressive of Masaniello's grief for his sister and their mutual
resolution to strike a blow for freedom. At the conclusion of the duet
he beholds Fenella about to throw herself into the sea. He calls to
her and she rushes into his arms and describes to him the story of her
wrongs. He vows revenge, and in a magnificent, martial finale, which
must have been inspired by the revolutionary feeling with which the
whole atmosphere was charged at the time Auber wrote (1828), incites
the fishermen and people to rise in revolt against their tyrannical
oppressors.

In the third act, after a passionate aria ("Il pianto rasciuga") by
Elvira, we are introduced to the market-place, crowded with
market-girls and fishermen disposing of their fruits and fish. After a
lively chorus, a fascinating and genuine Neapolitan tarantelle is
danced. The merry scene speedily changes to one of turmoil and
distress. Selva attempts to arrest Fenella, but the fishermen rescue
her and Masaniello gives the signal for the general uprising. Before
the combat begins, all kneel and sing the celebrated prayer, "Nume del
ciel," taken from one of Auber's early masses, and one of his most
inspired efforts.

The fourth act opens in Masaniello's cottage. He deplores the coming
horrors of the day in a grand aria ("Dio! di me disponesti") which is
very dramatic in its quality. Fenella enters, and after describing the
tumult in the city sinks exhausted with fatigue. As she falls asleep
he sings a slumber song ("Scendi, o sonno dal ciel"), a most exquisite
melody, universally known as "L'Air du Sommeil." It is sung by the
best artists mezzo voce throughout, and when treated in this manner
never fails to impress the hearer with its tenderness and beauty. At
its close Pietro enters and once more rouses Masaniello to revenge by
informing him that Alphonso has escaped. After they leave the cottage,
the latter and Elvira enter and implore protection. Fenella is moved
to mercy, and a concerted number follows in which Masaniello promises
safety and is denounced by Pietro for his weakness. In the finale, the
magistrates and citizens enter, bearing the keys of the town and the
royal insignia, and declare Masaniello king in a chorus of a very
inspiriting and brilliant character.

The last act is very powerful, both dramatically and musically. It
opens in the grounds of the Viceroy's palace, and Vesuvius is seen in
the distance, its smoke portending an eruption. Pietro and companions
enter with wine-cups in their hands, as from a banquet, and the former
sings a barcarole ("Ve' come il vento irato"). At its close other
fishermen enter and excitedly announce that troops are moving against
the people, that Vesuvius is about to burst into flame, and that
Masaniello, their leader, has lost his reason. This is confirmed by
the appearance of the hero in disordered attire, singing music through
which are filtered fragments of the fishermen's songs as they rise in
his disturbed brain. This scene, the third in the act, is one not only
of great power but of exquisite grace and tenderness, and requires an
artist of the highest rank for its proper presentation. Fenella rouses
him from his dejection, and he once more turns and plunges into the
fight, only to be killed by his own comrades. On learning of her
brother's death she unites the hands of Alphonso and Elvira, and then
in despair throws herself into the burning lava of Vesuvius.

"Masaniello" made Auber's fame at the Grand Opera, as "Fra Diavolo"
made it at the Opera Comique. It has no points in common with that or
any other of his works. It is serious throughout, and full of power,
impetuosity, and broad dramatic treatment. Even Richard Wagner has
conceded its vigor, bold effects, and original harmonies. Its melodies
are spontaneous, its instrumentation full of color, and its stirring
incidents are always vigorously handled. In comparison with his other
works it seems like an inspiration. It is full of the revolutionary
spirit, and its performance in Brussels in 1830 was the cause of the
riots that drove the Dutch out of Belgium.


THE CROWN DIAMONDS.

"The Crown Diamonds" ("Les Diamans de la Couronne"), opera comique, in
three acts, words by Scribe and St. George, one of the most charming
of Auber's light operas, was first produced in Paris in 1841, but its
reputation has been made on the English stage. It was first performed
in London, at the Princess Theatre, May 2, 1844, with Mme. Anna
Thillon, a charming singer and most fascinating woman, as Catarina;
but its success was made at Drury Lane in 1854 by Louisa Pyne and
Harrison, who took the parts of Catarina and Don Henrique. The other
rôles, Count de Campo Mayor, Don Sebastian, Rebolledo, and Diana, were
filled by Mr. Horncastle, Mr. Reeves, Mr. Borrani, and Miss Pyne,
sister of the preceding, and with this cast the opera ran a hundred
nights.

The story of the opera is laid in Portugal, time, 1777. The opening
scene discloses the ruins of a castle in the mountains, near the
monastery of St. Huberto, where Don Henrique, nephew of the Count de
Campo Mayor, Minister of Police at Coimbra, overtaken by a storm,
seeks shelter. At the time of his misfortune he is on his way to take
part in the approaching coronation, and also to sign a marriage
contract with his cousin Diana, daughter of the Minister of Police. He
solaces himself with a song ("Roll on, Roll on"), during which he
hears the blows of hammers in a distant cavern, and on looking round
discovers Rebolledo, the chief of the coiners, and two of his
comrades, with his trunk in their possession, the contents of which
they proceed to examine. Don Henrique conceals himself while Rebolledo
is singing a rollicking muleteer's song ("O'er Mountain steep, through
Valley roaming"). At its conclusion Rebolledo, about to summon the
other coiners to their secret work, discovers Don Henrique, and
thinking him a spy rushes upon him. He is saved by the sudden entrance
of Catarina, the leader of the gang, who tells the story of her life
in a concerted number that reminds one very strikingly of the bandit
song in "Fra Diavolo." After examining Don Henrique, and, to his
surprise, showing an intimate acquaintance with his projects, she
returns him his property, and allows him to depart on condition that
he shall not speak of what he has seen for a year. He consents; and
then follows another of the concerted numbers in which this opera
abounds, and in which occurs a charming rondo ("The Young Pedrillo"),
accompanied by a weird, clanging chorus. Before he can effect his
departure the gang find that they are surrounded by troops led by Don
Sebastian, a friend of Don Henrique. The coiners, in company with the
latter, however, make their escape in the disguise of monks on their
way to the neighboring monastery, singing a lugubrious chorus ("Unto
the Hermit of the Chapel"), while Catarina and Rebolledo elude the
soldiers by taking a subterranean passage, carrying with them a casket
containing some mysterious jewels.

The second act opens in the Château de Coimbra, and discovers the
Count, Don Henrique, Don Sebastian, and Diana. The first scene reveals
to us that Don Henrique is in love with the mysterious Catarina, and
that Diana is in love with Don Sebastian. In a sportive mood Diana
requests Don Henrique to sing with her, and chooses a nocturne called
"The Brigand," which closes in gay bolero time ("In the Deep Ravine of
the Forest"). As they are singing it, Don Sebastian announces that a
carriage has been overturned and its occupants desire shelter. As the
duet proceeds, Catarina and Rebolledo enter, and a very flurried
quintet ("Oh, Surprise unexpected!") occurs, leading up to an ensemble
full of humor, with a repetition of the brigand song, this time by
Catarina and Diana, and closing with a bravura aria sung by Catarina
("Love! at once I break thy Fetters"). Catarina and Rebolledo accept
the proffered hospitality, but the latter quietly makes his exit when
Diana begins to read an account of a robbery which contains a
description of himself and his companion. Catarina remains, however,
in spite of Don Henrique's warning that she is in the house of the
Minister of Police. In a moment of passion he declares his love for
her and begs her to fly with him. She declines his proffer, but gives
him a ring as a souvenir. A pretty little duet ("If I could but
Courage feel") ensues between Diana and Don Henrique, in which she
gently taunts him with his inattention to her and his sudden interest
in the handsome stranger. At this juncture the Count enters in wild
excitement over the announcement that the crown jewels have been
stolen. Don Henrique's ring is recognized as one of them, and in the
excitement which ensues, Catarina finds herself in danger of
discovery, from which she is rescued by Diana, who promises Don
Henrique she will send her away in the Count's carriage if he will
agree to refuse to sign the marriage contract. He consents, and she
departs upon her errand. At this point in the scene Don Henrique sings
the beautiful ballad, "Oh, whisper what thou feelest!" originally
written for Mr. Harrison. This song leads up to a stirring finale, in
which Don Henrique refuses to sign the contract and Catarina makes her
escape.

The last act opens in the anteroom of the royal palace at Lisbon,
where Diana is waiting for an audience with the Queen. She sings
another interpolated air, originally written for Louisa Pyne ("When
Doubt the tortured Frame is rending"), and at its close the Count, Don
Henrique, and Don Sebastian enter. While they are conversing,
Rebolledo appears, announced as the Count Fuentes, and a quintet
occurs, very slightly constructed, but full of humor. An usher
interrupts it by announcing the Queen will have a private audience
with the Count Fuentes. While awaiting her, the latter, in a
monologue, lets us into the secret that the real crown jewels have
been pledged for the national debt, and that he has been employed to
make duplicates of them to be worn on state occasions until the real
ones can be redeemed. The Queen enters, and expresses her satisfaction
with the work, and promotes him to the position of Minister of Secret
Police. On his departure she sings a charming cavatina ("Love, dwell
with me"), and at its close Count de Campo Mayor enters with the
decision of the Council that she shall wed the Prince of Spain. She
returns answer that she shall make her own choice. The Count seeks to
argue with her, when she threatens to confiscate his estate for
allowing the crown jewels to be stolen, and commands him to arrest his
daughter and nephew for harboring the thieves. Diana suddenly enters,
and an amusing trio ensues, the Queen standing with her back to Diana
lest she may be discovered. The latter fails to recognize her as
Catarina, and implores pardon for assisting in her escape. The
situation is still further complicated by the appearance of Don
Henrique, who has no difficulty in recognizing Catarina. Bewildered at
her presence in the Queen's apartments, he declares to Diana that he
will seize her and fly to some distant land. His rash resolution,
however, is thwarted by his arrest, on the authority of the Queen, for
treason. A martial finale introduces us to the Queen in state. Don
Henrique rushes forward to implore mercy for Catarina. The Queen
reveals herself at last, and announces to her people that she has
chosen Don Henrique, who has loved her for herself, for her husband
and their king. And thus closes one of the most sparkling, melodious,
and humorous of Auber's works. What the concerted numbers lack in
solidity of construction is compensated for by their grace and
sweetness.



BALFE.

Michael William Balfe was born at Dublin, Ireland, May 15, 1808. Of
all the English opera-composers, his career was the most versatile, as
his success, for a time at least, was the most remarkable. At seven
years of age he scored a polacca of his own for a band. In his eighth
year he appeared as a violinist, and in his tenth was composing
ballads. At sixteen he was playing in the Drury Lane orchestra, and
about this time began taking lessons in composition. In 1825, aided by
the generosity of a patron, he went to Italy, where for three years he
studied singing and counterpoint. In his twentieth year he met
Rossini, who offered him an engagement as first barytone at the
Italian Opera in Paris. He made his début with success in 1828, and at
the close of his engagement returned to Italy, where he appeared again
on the stage. About this time (1829-1830) he began writing Italian
operas, and before he left Italy had produced three which met with
considerable success. In 1835 he returned to England; and it was in
this year that his first English opera, the "Siege of Rochelle," was
produced. It was played continuously at Drury Lane for over three
months. In 1836 appeared his "Maid of Artois;" in 1837, "Catharine
Grey" and "Joan of Arc;" and in 1838, "Falstaff." During these years
he was still singing in concerts and opera, and in 1840 appeared as
manager of the Lyceum. His finest works were produced after this
date,--"The Bohemian Girl" in 1843; "The Enchantress" in 1844; "The
Rose of Castile," "La Zingara," and "Satanella" in 1858, and "The
Puritan's Daughter" in 1861. His last opera was "The Knight of the
Leopard," known in Italian as "Il Talismano," which has also been
produced in English as "The Talisman." He married Mlle. Rosen, a
German singer, whom he met in Italy in 1835; and his daughter
Victoire, who subsequently married Sir John Crampton, and afterwards
the Duc de Frias, also appeared as a singer in 1856. Balfe died Oct.
20, 1870, upon his own estate in Hertfordshire. The analysis of his
three operas which are best known--"The Bohemian Girl," "Rose of
Castile," and "Puritan's Daughter"--will contain sufficient reference
to his ability as a composer.


THE BOHEMIAN GIRL.

"The Bohemian Girl," grand opera in three acts, words by Bunn, adapted
from St. George's ballet of "The Gypsy," which appeared at the Paris
Grand Opera in 1839,--itself taken from a romance by Cervantes,--was
first produced in London, Nov. 27, 1843, at Drury Lane, with the
following cast:--

  ARLINE          Miss ROMER.
  THADDEUS        Mr. HARRISON.
  GYPSY QUEEN     Miss BETTS.
  DEVILSHOOF      Mr. STRETTON.
  COUNT ARNHEIM   Mr. BORRANI.
  FLORESTEIN      Mr. DURNSET.

The fame of "The Bohemian Girl" was not confined to England. It was
translated into various European languages, and was one of the few
English operas which secured a favorable hearing even in critical
Germany. In its Italian form it was produced at Drury Lane as "La
Zingara," Feb. 6, 1858, with Mlle. Piccolomini as Arline; and also had
the honor of being selected for the state performance connected with
the marriage of the Princess Royal. The French version, under the name
of "La Bohémienne," for which Balfe added several numbers, besides
enlarging it to five acts, was produced at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris,
in December, 1869, and gained for him the Cross of the Legion of
Honor.

The scene of the opera is laid in Austria, and the first act
introduces us to the château and grounds of Count Arnheim, Governor of
Presburg, whose retainers are preparing for the chase. After a short
chorus the Count enters with his little daughter Arline and his nephew
Florestein. The Count sings a short solo ("A Soldier's Life"), and as
the choral response by his retainers and hunters dies away and they
leave the scene, Thaddeus, a Polish exile and fugitive, rushes in
excitedly, seeking to escape the Austrian soldiers. His opening number
is a very pathetic song ("'Tis sad to leave your Fatherland"). At the
end of the song a troop of gypsies enter, headed by Devilshoof,
singing a blithe chorus ("In the Gypsy's Life you may read"). He hears
Thaddeus's story and induces him to join them. Before the animated
strains fairly cease, Florestein and some of the hunters dash across
the grounds in quest of Arline, who has been attacked by a stag.
Thaddeus, seizing a rifle, joins them, and rescues the child by
killing the animal. The Count overwhelms him with gratitude, and urges
him to join in the coming festivities. He consents, and at the banquet
produces a commotion by refusing to drink the health of the Emperor.
The soldiers are about to rush upon him, when Devilshoof interferes.
The gypsy is arrested for his temerity, and taken into the castle.
Thaddeus departs and the festivities are resumed, but are speedily
interrupted again by the escape of Devilshoof, who takes Arline with
him. The finale of the act is very stirring, and contains one number,
a prayer ("Thou who in Might supreme"), which is extremely effective.

Twelve years elapse between the first and second acts, and during this
time Count Arnheim has received no tidings of Arline, and has given
her up as lost forever. The act opens in the gypsy camp in the suburbs
of Presburg. Arline is seen asleep in the tent of the Queen, with
Thaddeus watching her. After a quaint little chorus ("Silence,
silence, the Lady Moon") sung by the gypsies, they depart in quest of
plunder, headed by Devilshoof, and soon find their victim in the
person of the foppish and half-drunken Florestein, who is returning
from a revel. He is speedily relieved of his jewelry, among which is a
medallion, which is carried off by Devilshoof. As the gypsies
disappear, Arline wakes and relates her dream to Thaddeus in a joyous
song ("I dreamed I dwelt in Marble Halls"), which has become one of
the world's favorites. At the close of the ballad Thaddeus tells her
the meaning of the scar upon her arm, and reveals himself as her
rescuer, but does not disclose to her the mystery of her birth. The
musical dialogue, with its ensemble, "The Secret of her Birth," will
never lose its charm. Thaddeus declares his love for her just as the
Queen, who is also in love with Thaddeus, enters. Arline also
confesses her love for Thaddeus, and, according to the customs of the
tribe, the Queen unites them, at the same time vowing vengeance
against the pair.

The scene now changes to a street in the city. A great fair is in
progress, and the gypsies, as usual, resort to it. Arline enters at
their head, joyously singing, to the accompaniment of the rattling
castanets, "Come with the Gypsy Bride;" her companions, blithely
tripping along, responding with the chorus, "In the Gypsy's Life you
may read." They disappear down the street and reappear in the public
plaza. Arline, the Queen, Devilshoof, and Thaddeus sing an
unaccompanied quartet ("From the Valleys and Hills"), a number which
for grace and flowing harmony deserves a place in any opera. As they
mingle among the people an altercation occurs between Arline and
Florestein, who has attempted to insult her. The Queen recognizes
Florestein as the owner of the medallion, and for her courage in
resenting the insult maliciously presents Arline with it. Shortly
afterwards he observes the medallion on Arline's neck, and has her
arrested for theft. The next scene opens in the hall of justice. Count
Arnheim enters with a sad countenance, and as he observes Arline's
portrait, gives vent to his sorrow in that well-known melancholy
reverie, "The Heart bowed down," which has become famous the world
over. Arline is brought before him for trial. As it progresses he
observes the scar upon her arm and asks its cause. She tells the story
which Thaddeus had told her, and this solves the mystery. The Count
recognizes his daughter, and the act closes with a beautiful ensemble
("Praised be the Will of Heaven").

The last act opens in the salon of Count Arnheim. Arline is restored
to her old position, but her love for Thaddeus remains. He finds an
opportunity to have a meeting with her, through the cunning of
Devilshoof, who accompanies him. He once more tells his love in that
tender and impassioned song, "When other Lips and other Hearts," and
she promises to be faithful to him. As the sound of approaching steps
is heard, Thaddeus and his companion conceal themselves. A large
company enter, and Arline is presented to them. During the ceremony a
closely veiled woman appears, and when questioned discovers herself as
the Gypsy Queen. She reveals the hiding-place of her companions, and
Thaddeus is dragged forth and ordered to leave the house. Arline
declares her love for him, and her intention to go with him. She
implores her father to relent. Thaddeus avows his noble descent, and
boasts his ancestry and deeds in battle in that stirring martial song,
"When the Fair Land of Poland." The Count finally yields and gives his
daughter to Thaddeus. The Queen, filled with rage and despair, induces
one of the tribe to fire at him as he is embracing Arline; but by a
timely movement of Devilshoof the bullet intended for Thaddeus pierces
the breast of the Queen. As the curtain falls, the old song of the
gypsies is heard again as they disappear in the distance with
Devilshoof at their head.

Many of the operas of Balfe, like other ballad operas, have become
unfashionable; but it is doubtful whether "The Bohemian Girl" will
ever lose its attraction for those who delight in song-melody,
charming orchestration, and sparkling, animated choruses. It leaped
into popularity at a bound, and its pretty melodies are still as fresh
as when they were first sung.


THE ROSE OF CASTILE.

"The Rose of Castile," comic opera in three acts, words by Harris and
Falconer, adapted from Adolphe Adam's "Muletier de Tolède," was first
produced at the Lyceum Theatre, London, Oct. 29, 1857, with the
following cast:--

  ELVIRA        Miss LOUISA PYNE.
  MANUEL        W.H. HARRISON.
  CARMEN        Miss SUSAN PYNE.
  DON PEDRO     Mr. WEISS.
  DON SALLUST   Mr. ST. ALBYN.
  DON FLORIO    Mr. HONEY.

The scene of the opera is laid in Spain. Elvira, the Rose of Castile,
Queen of Leon, has just ascended the throne, and her hand has been
demanded by the King of Castile for his brother, Don Sebastian the
Infant. Having learned that the latter is about to enter her dominions
disguised as a muleteer, the better to satisfy his curiosity about
her, she adopts the same expedient, and sets out to intercept him,
disguised as a peasant girl, taking with her one of her attendants.

The first act opens upon a rural scene in front of a posada, where the
peasants are dancing and singing a lively chorus ("List to the gay
Castanet"). Elvira and Carmen, her attendant, enter upon the scene,
and are asked to join in the dance, but instead, Elvira delights them
with a song, a vocal scherzo ("Yes, I'll obey you"). The innkeeper is
rude to them, but they are protected from his coarseness by Manuel,
the muleteer, who suddenly appears and sings a rollicking song ("I am
a simple Muleteer") to the accompaniment of a tambourine and the
snappings of his whip. A dialogue duet follows, in which she accepts
his protection and escort. She has already recognized the Infant, and
he has fulfilled the motive of the story by falling in love with her.
At this point the three conspirators, Don Pedro, Don Sallust, and Don
Florio, enter, the first of whom has designs on the throne. They
indulge in a buffo trio, which develops into a spirited bacchanal
("Wine, Wine, the Magician thou art!"). Observing Elvira's likeness to
the Queen, they persuade her to personate her Majesty. She consents
with feigned reluctance, and after accepting their escort in place of
Manuel's, being sure that he will follow, she sings a quaint rondo
("Oh, were I the Queen of Spain!"), and the act closes with a
concerted number accompanying their departure.

The second act opens in the throne-room of the palace, and is
introduced by a very expressive conspirators' chorus ("The Queen in
the Palace"); after which Don Pedro enters and gives expression to the
uncertainty of his schemes in a ballad ("Though Fortune darkly o'er me
frowns") which reminds one very forcibly of "The Heart bowed down," in
"The Bohemian Girl." The Queen, who has eluded the surveillance of the
conspirators, makes her appearance, surrounded by her attendants, and
sings that exquisite ballad, "The Convent Cell" ("Of Girlhood's happy
Days I dream"), one of the most beautiful songs ever written by any
composer, and certainly Balfe's most popular inspiration. At the close
of the ballad Manuel appears, and is granted an audience, in which he
informs her of the meeting with the peasant girl and boy, and declares
his belief that they were the Queen and Carmen. She ridicules the
statement, and a very funny trio buffo ensues ("I'm not the Queen, ha,
ha!"). He then informs her of the conspirators' plot to imprison her,
but she thwarts it by inducing a silly and pompous old Duchess to
assume the rôle of Queen for the day, and ride to the palace closely
veiled in the royal carriage. The plot succeeds, and the Duchess is
seized and conveyed to a convent. In the next scene there is another
spirited buffo number, in which Don Pedro and Don Florio are mourning
over the loss of their peasant girl, when, greatly to their relief,
she enters again, singing a very quaint and characteristic scena ("I'm
but a simple Peasant Maid"), which rouses the suspicions of the
conspirators. They are all the more perplexed when the Queen announces
herself, and declares her intention of marrying the muleteer.

The last act opens with a song by Carmen ("Though Love's the greatest
Plague in Life"), which falls far below the excellence of the other
songs in the work. It is followed by a buffo duet between Carmen and
Florio, who agree to marry. The Queen and ladies enter, and the former
sings a bravura air ("Oh, joyous, happy Day!"), which was intended by
the composer to show Miss Pyne's vocal ability. At this point a
message is brought her from Don Sebastian, announcing his marriage.
Enraged at the discovery that the muleteer is not Don Sebastian, she
severely upbraids him, and he replies in another exquisite ballad
("'Twas Rank and Fame that tempted thee"). At its close she once more
declares she will be true to the muleteer. Don Pedro is delighted at
the apparent success of his scheme, as he believes he can force her to
abdicate if she marries a muleteer, and gives vent to his joy in a
martial song ("Hark! hark! methinks I hear"). The last scene is in the
throne-room, where Manuel announces he is king of Castile, and mounts
the throne singing a stirring song closely resembling, in its style,
the "Fair Land of Poland," in "The Bohemian Girl." Elvira expresses
her delight in a bravura air ("Oh, no! by Fortune blessed"), and the
curtain falls. The story of the opera is very complicated, and
sometimes tiresome; but the music is well sustained throughout,
especially the buffo numbers, while some of the ballads are among the
best ever written by an English composer.



BEETHOVEN.

Ludwig Von Beethoven, the greatest of composers, was born Dec. 17,
1770, at Bonn, Germany, his father being a court singer in the chapel
of the Elector of Cologne. He studied in Vienna with Haydn, with whom
he did not always agree, however, and afterwards with Albrechtsberger.
His first symphony appeared in 1801, his earlier symphonies, in what
is called his first period, being written in the Mozart style. His
only opera, "Fidelio," for which he wrote four overtures, was first
brought out in Vienna in 1805; his oratorio, "Christ on the Mount of
Olives," in 1812; and his colossal Ninth Symphony, with its choral
setting of Schiller's "Ode to Joy," in 1824. In addition to his
symphonies, his opera, oratorios, and masses, and the immortal group
of sonatas for the piano, which were almost revelations in music, he
developed chamber music to an extent far beyond that reached by his
predecessors, Haydn and Mozart. His symphonies exhibit surprising
power, and a marvellous comprehension of the deeper feelings in life
and the influences of nature, both human and physical. He wrote with
the deepest earnestness, alike in the passion and the calm of his
music, and he invested it also with a genial humor as well as with the
highest expression of pathos. His works are epic in character. He was
the great tone-poet of music. His subjects were always lofty and
dignified, and to their treatment he brought not only a profound
knowledge of musical technicality, but intense sympathy with the
innermost feelings of human nature, for he was a humanitarian in the
broadest sense. By the common consent of the musical world he stands
at the head of all composers, and has always been their guide and
inspiration. He died March 26, 1827, in the midst of a raging thunder
storm, one of his latest utterances being a recognition of the "divine
spark" in Schubert's music.


FIDELIO.

"Fidelio, oder die eheliche Liebe" ("Fidelio, or Conjugal Love"),
grand opera in two acts, words by Sonnleithner, translated freely from
Bouilly's "Léonore, ou l'Amour Conjugal," was first produced at the
Theatre An der Wien, Vienna, Nov. 20, 1805, the work at that time
being in three acts. A translation of the original programme of that
performance, with the exception of the usual price of admissions, is
appended:--

              Imperial and Royal Theatre An der Wien.
                              New Opera.
    To-day, Wednesday, 20 November, 1805, at the Imperial and Royal
         Theatre An der Wien, will be given for the first time.
                               FIDELIO;
                          Or, Conjugal Love.
    Opera in three acts, translated freely from the French text by
                         JOSEPH SONNLEITHNER.
                 The music is by LUDWIG VON BEETHOVEN.

                       _Dramatis Personae_.

  _Don Fernando_, Minister                          Herr Weinkoff.
  _Don Pizarro_, Governor of a State Prison         Herr Meier.
  _Florestan_, prisoner                             Herr Demmer.
  _Leonora_, his wife, under the name of _Fidelio_  Fräulein Milder.
  _Rocco_, chief jailer                             Herr Rothe.
  _Marcellina_, his daughter                        Fräulein Müller.
  _Jaquino_, turnkey                                Herr Cache.
  _Captain of the Guard_                            Herr Meister.
  _Prisoners, Guards, People_.

The action passes in a State prison in Spain, a few leagues from
Seville. The piece can be procured at the box-office for fifteen
kreutzers.

During this first season the opera was performed three times and then
withdrawn. Breuning reduced it to two acts, and two or three of the
musical numbers were sacrificed, and in this form it was played twice
at the Imperial Private Theatre and again withdrawn. On these
occasions it had been given under Beethoven's favorite title,
"Leonore." In 1814 Treitschke revised it, and it was produced at the
Kärnthnerthor Theatre, Vienna, May 23, of that year, as "Fidelio,"
which title it has ever since retained. Its first performance in Paris
was at the Théâtre Lyrique, May 5, 1860; in London, at the King's
Theatre, May 18, 1832; and in English at Covent Garden, June 12, 1835,
with Malibran in the title-rôle. Beethoven wrote four overtures for
this great work. The first was composed in 1805, the second in 1806,
the third in 1807, and the fourth in 1814. It is curious that there
has always been a confusion in their numbering, and the error remains
to this day. What is called No. 1 is in reality No. 3, and was
composed for a performance of the opera at Prague, the previous
overture having been too difficult for the strings. The splendid
"Leonora," No. 3, is in reality No. 2, and the No. 2 is No. 1. The
fourth, or the "Fidelio" overture, contains a new set of themes, but
the "Leonora" is the grandest of them all.

The entire action of the opera transpires in a Spanish prison, of
which Don Pizarro is governor and Rocco the jailer. The porter of the
prison is Jacquino, who is in love with Marcellina, daughter of Rocco,
and she in turn is in love with Fidelio, Rocco's assistant, who has
assumed male disguise the better to assist her in her plans for the
rescue of her husband, Florestan, a Spanish nobleman. The latter, who
is the victim of Don Pizarro's hatred because he had thwarted some of
his evil designs, has been imprisoned by him unknown to the world, and
is slowly starving to death. Leonora, his wife, who in some way has
discovered that her husband is in the prison, has obtained employment
of Rocco, disguised as the young man Fidelio.

The opera opens with a charming, playful love-scene between Jacquino
and Marcellina, whom the former is teasing to marry him. She puts him
off, and as he sorrowfully departs, sings the Hope aria, "Die
Hoffnung," a fresh, smoothly flowing melody, in which she pictures the
delight of a life with Fidelio. At its close Rocco enters with the
despondent Jacquino, shortly followed by Fidelio, who is very much
fatigued. The love-episode is brought out in the famous canon quartet,
"Mir ist so wunderbar," one of the most beautiful and restful numbers
in the opera. Rocco promises Marcellina's hand to Fidelio as the
reward of her fidelity, but in the characteristic and sonorous Gold
song, "Hat man nicht auch Geld daneben," reminds them that money as
well as love is necessary to housekeeping. In the next scene, while
Don Pizarro is giving instructions to Rocco, a packet of letters is
delivered to him, one of which informs him that Don Fernando is coming
the next day to inspect the prison, as he has been informed that it
contains several victims of arbitrary power. He at once determines
that Florestan shall die, and gives vent to his wrath in a furious
dramatic aria ("Ha! welch ein Augenblick!"). He attempts to bribe
Rocco to aid him. The jailer at first refuses, but subsequently, after
a stormy duet, consents to dig the grave. Fidelio has overheard the
scheme, and, as they disappear, rushes forward and sings the great
aria, "Abscheulicher!" one of the grandest and most impassioned
illustrations of dramatic intensity in the whole realm of music. The
recitative expresses intense horror at the intended murder, then
subsides into piteous sorrow, and at last breaks out into the glorious
adagio, "Komm Hoffnung," in which she sings of the immortal power of
love. The last scene of the act introduces the strong chorus of the
prisoners as they come out in the yard for air and sunlight, after
which Rocco relates to Fidelio his interview with Don Pizarro. The
latter orders the jailer to return the prisoners to their dungeons and
go on with the digging of the grave, and the act closes.

The second act opens in Florestan's dungeon. The prisoner sings an
intensely mournful aria ("In des Lebens Frühlingstagen"), which has a
rapturous finale ("Und spür' Ich nicht linde"), as he sees his wife in
a vision. Rocco and Fidelio enter and begin digging the grave, to the
accompaniment of sepulchral music. She discovers that Florestan has
sunk back exhausted, and as she restores him recognizes her husband.
Don Pizarro enters, and after ordering Fidelio away, who meanwhile
conceals herself, attempts to stab Florestan. Fidelio, who has been
closely watching him, springs forward with a shriek, and interposes
herself between him and her husband. He once more advances to carry
out his purpose, when Fidelio draws a pistol and defies him. As she
does so, the sound of a trumpet is heard outside announcing the
arrival of Don Fernando. Don Pizarro rushes out in despair, and
Florestan and Leonora, no longer Fidelio, join in a duet ("O Namenlose
Freude") which is the very ecstasy of happiness. In the last scene Don
Fernando sets the prisoners free in the name of the king, and among
them Florestan. Pizarro is revealed in his true character, and is led
away to punishment. The happy pair are reunited, and Marcellina, to
Jacquino's delight, consents to marry him. The act closes with a
general song of jubilee. As a drama and as an opera "Fidelio" stands
almost alone in its perfect purity, in the moral grandeur of its
subject, and in the resplendent ideality of its music.



BELLINI.

Vincenzo Bellini was born Nov. 3, 1802, at Catania, Sicily, and came
of musical parentage. By the generosity of a patron he was sent to
Naples, and studied at the Conservatory under Zingarelli. His first
opera was "Adelson e Salvino," and its remarkable merit secured him a
commission from the manager, Barbaja, for an opera for San Carlo. The
result was his first important work, "Bianca e Fernando," written in
1826. Its success was moderate; but he was so encouraged that he at
once went to Milan and wrote "Il Pirata," the tenor part for Rubini.
Its success was extraordinary, and the managers of La Scala
commissioned him for another work. In 1828 "La Straniera" appeared,
quickly followed by "Zaira" (1829), which failed at Parma, and "I
Capuletti ed i Montecchi," a version of "Romeo and Juliet," which made
a great success at Venice in 1830. A year later he composed "La
Sonnambula," unquestionably his best work, for La Scala, and it
speedily made the tour of Europe, and gained for him an extended
reputation. A year after its appearance he astonished the musical
world with "Norma," written, like "Sonnambula," for Mme. Pasta. These
are his greatest works. "Norma" was followed by "Beatrice di Tenda,"
and this by "I Puritani," his last opera, written in Paris for the
four great artists, Grisi, Rubini, Tamburini, and Lablache. Bellini
died Sept. 23, 1835, in the twenty-ninth year of his age, preserving
his musical enthusiasm to the very last. He was a close follower of
Rossini, and studied his music diligently, and though without a very
profound knowledge of harmony or orchestration, succeeded in producing
at least three works, "Norma," "Sonnambula," and "I Puritani," which
were the delight of the opera-goers of his day, and still freshly hold
the stage.


NORMA.

"Norma," a serious opera in two acts, words by Romani, was first
produced during the season of Lent, 1832, at Milan, with the principal
parts cast as follows:--

  NORMA        Mme. PASTA.
  ADALGISA     Mme. GRISI.
  POLLIONE     Sig. DONZELLI.

It was first heard in London in 1833, and in Paris in 1855, and
Planché's English version of it was produced at Drury Lane in 1837.
The scene of the opera is laid among the Druids, in Gaul, after its
occupation by the Roman legions. In the first scene the Druids enter
with Oroveso, their priest, to the impressive strains of a religious
march which is almost as familiar as a household word. The priest
announces that Norma, the high priestess, will come and cut the sacred
branch and give the signal for the expulsion of the Romans. The next
scene introduces Pollione, the Roman proconsul, to whom Norma, in
defiance of her faith and traditions, has bound herself in secret
marriage, and by whom she has had two children. In a charmingly
melodious scena ("Meco all' altar di Venere") he reveals his
faithlessness and guilty love for Adalgisa, a young virgin of the
temple, who has consented to abandon her religion and fly with him to
Rome. In the fourth scene Norma enters attended by her priestesses,
and denounces the Druids for their warlike disposition, declaring that
the time has not yet come for shaking off the yoke of Rome, and that
when it does she will give the signal from the altar of the Druids.
After cutting the sacred mistletoe, she comes forward and invokes
peace from the moon in that exquisite prayer, "Casta Diva," which
electrified the world with its beauty and tenderness, and still holds
its place in popular favor, not alone by the grace of its
embellishments, but by the pathos of its melody. It is followed by
another cavatina of almost equal beauty and tenderness ("Ah! bello a
me ritorna"). In the next scene Adalgisa, retiring from the sacred
rites, sings of her love for Pollione, and as she closes is met by the
proconsul, who once more urges her to fly to Rome with him. The duet
between them is one of great power and beauty, and contains a
strikingly passionate number for the tenor ("Va, crudele"). Oppressed
by her conscience, she reveals her fatal promise to Norma, and
implores absolution from her vows. Norma yields to her entreaties, but
when she inquires the name and country of her lover, and Adalgisa
points to Pollione as he enters Norma's sanctuary, all the priestess's
love turns to wrath. In this scene the duet, "Perdoni e ti compiango,"
is one of exceeding loveliness and peculiarly melodious tenderness.
The act closes with a terzetto of great power ("O! di qual sei tu"),
in which both the priestess and Adalgisa furiously denounce the
faithless Pollione. In the midst of their imprecations the sound of
the sacred shield is heard calling Norma to the rites.

The second act opens in Norma's dwelling, and discovers her children
asleep on a couch. Norma enters with the purpose of killing them, but
the maternal instinct overcomes her vengeful thought that they are
Pollione's children. Adalgisa appears, and Norma announces her
intention to place her children in the Virgin's hands, and send her
and them to Pollione while she expiates her offence on the funeral
pyre. Adalgisa pleads with her not to abandon Pollione, who will
return to her repentant; and the most effective number in the opera
ensues,--the grand duet containing two of Bellini's most beautiful
inspirations, the "Deh! con te li prendi," and the familiar "Mira, O
Norma," whose strains have gone round the world and awakened universal
delight. Pollione, maddened by his passion for Adalgisa, impiously
attempts to tear her from the altar in the temple of Irminsul,
whereupon Norma enters the temple and strikes the sacred shield,
summoning the Druids. They meet, and she declares the meaning of the
signal is war, slaughter, and destruction. She chants a magnificent
hymn ("Guerra, guerra"), which is full of the very fury of battle.
Pollione, who has been intercepted in the temple, is brought before
her. Love is still stronger than resentment with her. In a very
dramatic scena ("In mia mano alfin tu sei") she informs him he is in
her power, but she will let him escape if he will renounce Adalgisa
and leave the country. He declares death would be preferable;
whereupon she threatens to denounce Adalgisa. Pity overcomes anger,
however. She snatches the sacred wreath from her brow and declares
herself the guilty one. Too late Pollione discovers the worth of the
woman he has abandoned, and a beautiful duet ("Qual cor tradisti")
forms the closing number. She ascends the funeral pyre with Pollione,
and in its flames they are purged of earthly crime. It is a memorable
fact in the history of this opera, that on its first performance it
was coldly received, and the Italian critics declared it had no
vitality; though no opera was ever written in which such intense
dramatic effect has been produced with simple melodic force, and no
Italian opera score to-day is more living or more likely to last than
that of Norma.


LA SONNAMBULA.

"La Sonnambula," an opera in two acts, words by Romani, was first
produced in Milan, March 6, 1831, with the following cast:--

  AMINA        Mme. PASTA.
  ELVINO       Sig. RUBINI.
  RODOLFO      Sig. MARIANO.
  LISA         Mme. TOCCANI.

It was brought out in the same year in Paris and London, and two years
after in English, with Malibran as Amina. The subject of the story was
taken from a vaudeville and ballet by Scribe. The scene is laid in
Switzerland. Amina, an orphan, the ward of Teresa, the miller's wife,
is about to marry Elvino, a well-to-do landholder of the village.
Lisa, mistress of the inn, is also in love with Elvino, and jealous of
her rival. Alessio, a peasant lad, is also in love with the landlady.
Such is the state of affairs on the day before the wedding. Rodolfo,
the young lord of the village, next appears upon the scene. He has
arrived incognito for the purpose of looking up his estates, and stops
at Lisa's inn, where he meets Amina. He gives her many pretty
compliments, much to the dissatisfaction of the half-jealous Elvino,
who is inclined to quarrel with the disturber of his peace of mind.
Amina, who is subject to fits of somnambulism, has been mistaken for a
ghost by the peasants, and they warn Rodolfo that the village is
haunted. The information, however, does not disturb him, and he
quietly retires to his chamber. The officious Lisa also enters, and a
playful scene of flirtation ensues, during which Amina enters the
room, walking in her sleep. Lisa seeks shelter in a closet. Rodolfo,
to escape from the embarrassment of the situation, leaves the
apartment, and Amina reclines upon the bed as if it were her own. The
malicious Lisa hurries from the room to inform Elvino of what she has
seen, and thoughtlessly leaves her handkerchief. Elvino rushes to the
spot with other villagers, and finding Amina, as Lisa had described,
declares that she is guilty, and leaves her. Awakened by the noise,
the unfortunate girl, realizing the situation, sorrowfully throws
herself into Teresa's arms. The villagers implore Rodolfo to acquit
Amina of any blame, and he stoutly protests her innocence; but it is
of no avail in satisfying Elvino, who straightway offers his hand to
Lisa. In the last act Amina is seen stepping from the window of the
mill in her sleep. She crosses a frail bridge which yields beneath her
weight and threatens to precipitate her upon the wheel below; but she
passes it in safety, descends to the ground, and walks into her
lover's arms amid the jubilant songs of the villagers. Elvino is
convinced of her innocence, and they are wedded at once, while the
discovery of Lisa's handkerchief in Rodolfo's room pronounces her the
faithless one.

Such is the simple little pastoral story to which Bellini has set some
of his most beautiful melodies, the most striking of which are the
aria, "Sovra il sen," in the third scene of the first act, where Amina
declares her happiness to Teresa; the beautiful aria for barytone in
the sixth scene, "Vi ravviso," descriptive of Rodolfo's delight in
revisiting the scenes of his youth; the playful duet between Amina and
Elvino, "Mai piu dubbi!" in which she rebukes him for his jealousy;
the humorous and very characteristic chorus of the villagers in the
tenth scene, "Osservate, l'uscio è aperto," as they tiptoe into
Rodolfo's apartment; the duet, "O mio dolor," in the next scene, in
which Amina asserts her innocence; the aria for tenor in the third
scene of the second act, "Tutto e sciolto," in which Elvino bemoans
his sad lot; and that joyous ecstatic outburst of birdlike melody,
"Ah! non giunge," which closes the opera. In fact, "Sonnambula" is so
replete with melodies of the purest and tenderest kind, that it is
difficult to specify particular ones. It is exquisitely idyllic
throughout, and the music is as quiet, peaceful, simple, and tender as
the charming pastoral scenes it illustrates.


I PURITANI.

"I Puritani di Scozia," an opera in two acts, words by Count Pepoli,
was first produced at the Théâtre Italien, Paris, Jan. 25, 1835, and
in London in the following May, under the title of "I Puritani ed i
Cavalieri." The original cast was as follows:--

  ELVIRA      Mme. GRISI.
  ARTURO      Sig. RUBINI.
  RICARDO     Sig. TAMBURINI.
  GIORGIO     Sig. LABLACHE.

This cast was one of unexampled strength, and was long known in Europe
as the Puritani quartet. The story of the opera is laid in England,
during the war between Charles II. and his Parliament, and the first
scene opens in Plymouth, then held by the parliamentary forces. The
fortress is commanded by Lord Walton, whose daughter, Elvira, is in
love with Lord Arthur Talbot, a young cavalier in the King's service.
Her hand had previously been promised to Sir Richard Forth, of the
parliamentary army; but to the great delight of the maiden, Sir George
Walton, brother of the commander, brings her the news that her father
has relented, and that Arthur will be admitted into the fortress that
the nuptials may be celebrated. Henrietta, widow of Charles I., is at
this time a prisoner in the fortress, under sentence of death passed
by Parliament. Arthur discovers her situation, and by concealing her
in Elvira's bridal veil seeks to effect her escape. On their way out
he encounters his rival; but the latter, discovering that the veiled
lady is not Elvira, allows them to pass. The escape is soon
discovered, and Elvira, thinking her lover has abandoned her, loses
her reason. Arthur is proscribed by the Parliament and sentenced to
death; but Sir Richard, moved by the appeals of Sir George Walton, who
hopes to restore his niece to reason, promises to use his influence
with Parliament to save Arthur's life should he be captured unarmed.
Arthur meanwhile manages to have an interview with Elvira; and the
latter, though still suffering from her mental malady, listens
joyfully to his explanation of his sudden flight. Their interview is
disturbed by a party of Puritans who enter and arrest him. He is
condemned to die on the spot; but before the sentence can be carried
out, a messenger appears with news of the king's defeat and the pardon
of Arthur. The joyful tidings restore Elvira to reason, and the lovers
are united.

The libretto of "I Puritani" is one of the poorest ever furnished to
Bellini, but the music is some of his best. It is replete with
melodies, which are not only fascinating in their original setting,
but have long been favorites on the concert-stage. The opera is
usually performed in three acts, but was written in two. The prominent
numbers of the first act are the pathetic cavatina for Ricardo, "Ah!
per sempre io ti perdei," in which he mourns the loss of Elvira; a
lovely romanza for tenor ("A te o cara"); a brilliant polacca ("Son
vergin vezzosa") for Elvira, which is one of the delights of all
artists; and a concerted finale, brimming over with melody and closing
with the stirring anathema chorus, "Non casa, non spiaggia." The first
grand number in the second act is Elvira's mad song, "Qui la voce," in
which are brought out not only that rare gift for expressing pathos in
melody for which Bellini is so famous, but the sweetest of themes and
most graceful of embellishments. The remaining numbers are Elvira's
appeal to her lover ("Vien, diletto"), the magnificent duet for basses
("Suoni la tromba"), known as the "Liberty Duet," which in
sonorousness, majesty, and dramatic intensity hardly has an equal in
the whole range of Italian opera; a tender and plaintive romanza for
tenor ("A una fonte aflitto e solo"); a passionate duet for Arthur and
Elvira ("Star teco ognor"); and an adagio, sung by Arthur in the
finale ("Ella è tremante").



BIZET.

Georges Bizet was born at Paris, Oct. 25, 1838, and in an artistic
atmosphere, as his father, an excellent teacher, was married to a
sister of Mme. Delsarte, a talented pianist, and his uncle, a
musician, was the founder of the famous Delsarte system. He studied
successively with Marmontel and Benoist, and subsequently took lessons
in composition from Halevy, whose daughter he afterwards married. His
first work was an operetta of not much consequence, "Docteur Miracle,"
written in 1857, and in the same year he took the Grand Prix de Rome.
On his return from Italy he composed "Vasco de Gama" and "Les Pecheurs
de Perles," neither of which met with much success. In 1867 "La Jolie
Fille de Perth" appeared, and in 1872, "Djamileh." During the
intervals of these larger works he wrote the Patrie overture and the
interludes to "L'Arlesienne," a very poetical score which Theodore
Thomas introduced to this country, and both works were received with
enthusiasm. At last he was to appreciate and enjoy a real dramatic
success, though it was his last work. "Carmen" appeared in 1875, and
achieved a magnificent success at the Opera Comique. It was brought
out in March, and in the following June he died of acute
heart-disease. He was a very promising composer, and specially
excelled in orchestration. During his last few years he was a close
student of Wagner, whose influence is apparent in this last work of
his life.


CARMEN.

"Carmen," an opera in four acts, words by Meilhac and Halevy, adapted
from Prosper Merimée's romance of "Carmen," was first produced at the
Opera Comique, Paris, March 3, 1875, with Mme. Galli-Marie in the
title-rôle and Mlle. Chapuy as Michaela. The scene is laid in Seville,
time 1820. The first act opens in the public square, filled with a
troop of soldiers under command of Don José, and loungers who are
waiting the approach of the pretty girls who work in the cigar-factory
near by, and prettiest and most heartless of them all, Carmen. Before
they appear, Michaela, a village girl, enters the square, bearing a
message to Don José from his mother, but not finding him departs. The
cigar-girls at last pass by on their way to work, and with them
Carmen, who observes Don José sitting in an indifferent manner and
throws him the rose she wears in her bosom. As they disappear,
Michaela returns and delivers her message. The sight of the gentle
girl and the thought of home dispel Don José's sudden passion for
Carmen. He is about to throw away her rose, when a sudden disturbance
is heard in the factory. It is found that Carmen has quarrelled with
one of the girls and wounded her. She is arrested, and to prevent
further mischief her arms are pinioned. She so bewitches the
lieutenant, however, that he connives at her escape and succeeds in
effecting it, while she is led away to prison by the soldiers. In the
second act Carmen has returned to her wandering gypsy life, and we
find her with her companions in the cabaret of Lillas-Pastia, singing
and dancing. Among the new arrivals is Escamillo, the victorious
bull-fighter of Grenada, with whom Carmen is at once fascinated. When
the inn is closed, Escamillo and the soldiers depart, but Carmen waits
with two of the gypsies, who are smugglers, for the arrival of Don
José. They persuade her to induce him to join their band, and when the
lieutenant, wild with passion for her, enters the apartment, she
prevails upon him to remain in spite of the trumpet-call which summons
him to duty. An officer appears and orders him out. He refuses to go,
and when the officer attempts to use force Carmen summons the gypsies.
He is soon overpowered, and Don José escapes to the mountains. The
third act opens in the haunt of the smugglers, a wild, rocky,
cavernous place. Don José and Carmen, who is growing very indifferent
to him, are there. As the contrabandists finish their work and
gradually leave the scene, Escamillo, who has been following Carmen,
appears. His presence and his declarations as well arouse the jealousy
of Don José. They rush at each other for mortal combat, but the
smugglers separate them. Escamillo bides his time, invites them to the
approaching bullfight at Seville, and departs. While Don José is
upbraiding Carmen, the faithful Michaela, who has been guided to the
spot, begs him to accompany her, as his mother is dying. Duty
prevails, and he follows her as Escamillo's taunting song is heard
dying away in the distance. In the last act the drama hurries on to
the tragic dénouement. It is a gala-day in Seville, for Escamillo is
to fight. Carmen is there in his company, though her gypsy friends
have warned her Don José is searching for her. Amid great pomp
Escamillo enters the arena, and Carmen is about to follow, when Don
José appears and stops her. He appeals to her and tries to awaken the
old love. She will not listen, and at last in a fit of wild rage hurls
the ring he had given her at his feet. The shouts of the people in the
arena announce another victory for Escamillo. She cries out with joy.
Don José springs at her like a tiger, and stabs her just as Escamillo
emerges from the contest.

Carmen is the largest and best-considered of all Bizet's works, and
one of the best in the modern French repertory. The overture is short
but very brilliant. After some characteristic choruses by the street
lads, soldiers, and cigar-girls, Carmen sings the Havanaise ("Amor,
misterioso angelo"), a quaint song in waltz time, the melody being
that of an old Spanish song by Tradier, called "El Aveglito." A
serious duet between Michaela and Don José ("Mia madre io la rivedo")
follows, which is very tender in its character. The next striking
number is the dance tempo, "Presso il bastion de Seviglia," a
seguidilla sung by Carmen while bewitching Don José. In the finale, as
she escapes, the Havanaise, which is the Carmen motive, is heard
again.

The second-act music is peculiarly Spanish in color, particularly that
for the ballet. The opening song of the gypsies in the cabaret, to the
accompaniment of the castanets ("Vezzi e anella scintillar"), is
bewitching in its rhythm, and is followed in the next scene by a
stirring and very picturesque aria ("Toreador attento"), in which
Escamillo describes the bull-fight. A beautifully written quintet
("Abbiamo in vista"), and a strongly dramatic duet, beginning with
another fascinating dance tempo ("Voglio danzar pel tuo piacer"), and
including a beautiful pathetic melody for Don José ("Il fior che
avevi"), closes the music of the act.

The third act contains two very striking numbers, the terzetto of the
card-players in the smugglers' haunt ("Mischiam! alziam!"), and
Michaela's aria ("Io dico no, non son paurosa"), the most effective
and beautiful number in the whole work, and the one which shows most
clearly the effect of Wagner's influence upon the composer. In the
finale of the act the Toreador's song is again heard as he disappears
in the distance after the quarrel with Don José.

The last act is a hurly-burly of the bull-fight, the Toreador's taking
march, the stormy duet between Don José and Carmen, and the tragic
dénouement in which the Carmen motive is repeated. The color of the
whole work is Spanish, and the dance tempo is freely used and
beautifully worked up with Bizet's ingenious and scholarly
instrumentation. Except in the third act, however, the vocal parts are
inferior to the orchestral treatment.



BOIELDIEU.

François Adrien Boieldieu was born Dec. 16, 1775, at Rouen, France.
Little is known of his earlier life, except that he studied for a time
with Broche, the cathedral organist. His first opera, "La Fille
Coupable," appeared in 1793, and was performed at Rouen with some
success. In 1795 a second opera, "Rosalie et Myrza," was performed in
the same city; after which he went to Paris, where he became
acquainted with many prominent musicians, among them Cherubini. His
first Paris opera was the "Famille Suisse" (1797), which had a
successful run. Several other operas followed, besides some excellent
pieces of chamber music which secured him the professorship of the
piano in the Conservatory. He also took lessons at this time of
Cherubini in counterpoint, and in 1803 brought out a very successful
work, "Ma Tante Aurore." We next hear of him in St. Petersburg, as
conductor of the Imperial Opera, where he composed many operas and
vaudevilles. He spent eight years in Russia, returning to Paris in
1811. The next year one of his best operas, "Jean de Paris," was
produced with extraordinary success. Though he subsequently wrote many
operas, fourteen years elapsed before his next great work, "La Dame
Blanche," appeared. Its success was unprecedented. All Europe was
delighted with it, and it is as fresh to-day as when it was first
produced. The remainder of Boieldieu's life was sad, owing to operatic
failures, pecuniary troubles, and declining health. He died at Jarcy,
near Paris, Oct. 8, 1834.


LA DAME BLANCE.

"La Dame Blanche," opera comique in three acts, words by Scribe,
adapted from Walter Scott's novels, "The Monastery" and "Guy
Mannering," was first produced at the Opera Comique, Dec. 10, 1825,
and was first performed in English under the title of "The White
Maid," at Covent Garden, London, Jan. 2, 1827. The scene of the opera
is laid in Scotland. The Laird of Avenel, a zealous partisan of the
Stuarts, was proscribed after the battle of Culloden, and upon the eve
of going into exile intrusts Gaveston, his steward, with the care of
the castle, and of a considerable treasure which is concealed in a
statue called the White Lady. The traditions affirmed that this lady
was the protectress of the Avenels. All the clan were believers in the
story, and the villagers declared they had often seen her in the
neighborhood. Gaveston, however, does not share their superstition nor
believe in the legend, and some time after the departure of the Laird
he announces the sale of the castle, hoping to obtain it at a low rate
because the villagers will not dare to bid for it through fear of the
White Lady. The steward is led to do this because he has heard the
Laird is dead, and knows there is no heir to the property. Anna, an
orphan girl, who had been befriended by the Laird, determines to
frustrate Gaveston's designs, and appears in the village disguised as
the White Lady. She also writes to Dickson, a farmer, who is indebted
to her, to meet her at midnight in the castle of Avenel. He is too
superstitious to go, and George Brown, a young lieutenant who is
sharing his hospitality, volunteers in his stead. He encounters the
White Lady, and learns from her he will shortly meet a young lady who
has saved his life by her careful nursing after a battle,--Anna
meanwhile recognizing George as the person she had saved. When the day
of sale comes, Dickson is empowered by the farmers to purchase the
castle, so that it may not fall into Gaveston's hands. George and Anna
are there; and the former, though he has not a shilling, buys it under
instructions from Anna. When the time comes for payment, Anna produces
the treasure which had been concealed in the statue, and, still in the
disguise of the White Lady, discovers to him the secret of his birth
during the exile of his parents. Gaveston approaches the spectre and
tears off her veil, revealing Anna, his ward. Moved by the zeal and
fidelity of his father's protégée, George offers her his hand, which,
after some maidenly scruples, she accepts.

The opera is full of beautiful songs, many of them Scotch in
character. In the first act the opening song of George ("Ah, what
Pleasure a Soldier to be!") is very poetical in its sentiment. It also
contains the characteristic ballad of the White Lady, with choral
responses ("Where yon Trees your Eye discovers"), and an exquisitely
graceful trio in the finale ("Heavens! what do I hear?"). The second
act opens with a very plaintive romanza ("Poor Margaret, spin away!"),
sung by Margaret, Anna's old nurse, at her spinning-wheel, as she
thinks of the absent Laird, followed in the fifth scene by a beautiful
cavatina for tenor ("Come, O Gentle Lady"). In the seventh scene is a
charming duet ("From these Halls"), and the act closes with an
ensemble for seven voices and chorus, which has hardly been excelled
in ingenuity of treatment. The third act opens with a charmingly
sentimental aria for Anna ("With what delight I behold"), followed in
the third scene by a stirring chorus of mountaineers, leading up to
"the lay ever sung by the Clan of Avenel,"--the familiar old ballad,
"Robin Adair," which loses a little of its local color under French
treatment, but gains an added grace. It is stated on good authority
that two of Boieldieu's pupils, Adolph Adam and Labarre, assisted him
in the work, and that the lovely overture was written in one
evening,--Boieldieu taking the andante and the two others the
remaining movements. Though a little old-fashioned in some of its
phrasing, the opera still retains its freshness and beautiful
sentiment. Its popularity is best evinced by the fact that up to June,
1875, it had been given 1340 times at the theatre where it was first
produced.



BOITO.

Arrigo Boito was born in 1840, and received his musical education in
the Conservatory at Milan, where he studied for nine years. In 1866 he
became a musical critic for several Italian papers, and about the same
time wrote several poems of more than ordinary merit. Both in
literature and music his taste was diversified; and he combined the
two talents in a remarkable degree in his opera of "Mephistopheles,"
the only work by which he is known to the musical world at large. He
studied Goethe profoundly; and the notes which he has appended to the
score show a most intimate knowledge of the Faust legend. His text is
in one sense polyglot, as he has made use of portions of Marlowe's
"Doctor Faustus," as well as excerpts from Blaze de Bury, Lenau,
Widmann, and others who have treated the legend. He studied Wagner's
music also very closely, and to such purpose that after the first
performance of this opera at La Scala, in 1868, the critics called him
the Italian Wagner, and, in common with the public, condemned both him
and his work. After Wagner's "Lohengrin" had been produced in Italy
and met with success, Boito saw his opportunity to once more bring out
his work. It was performed at Bologna in 1875, and met with an
enthusiastic success. Its introduction to this country is largely due
to Mme. Christine Nilsson, though Mme. Marie Roze was the first artist
to appear in it here.


MEPHISTOPHELES.

"Mephistopheles," grand opera in a prologue, four acts, and epilogue,
words by the composer, was first performed at La Scala, Milan, in
1868. The "Prologue in the Heavens" contains five numbers, a prelude,
and chorus of the mystic choir; instrumental scherzo, preluding the
appearance of Mephistopheles; dramatic interlude, in which he engages
to entrap Faust; a vocal scherzo by the chorus of cherubim; and the
Final Psalmody by the penitents on earth and chorus of spirits. The
prologue corresponds to Goethe's prologue in the heavens, the heavenly
choirs being heard in the background of clouds, accompanied by weird
trumpet-peals and flourishes in the orchestra, and closes with a
finale of magnificent power.

The first act opens in the city of Frankfort, amid the noise of the
crowd and the clanging of holiday bells. Groups of students, burghers,
huntsmen, and peasants sing snatches of chorus. A cavalcade escorting
the Elector passes. Faust and Wagner enter, and retire as the peasants
begin to sing and dance a merry waltz rhythm ("Juhé! Juhé!"). As it
dies away they reappear, Faust being continually followed by a gray
friar,--Mephistopheles in disguise,--whose identity is disclosed by a
motive from the prologue. Faust shudders at his presence, but Wagner
laughs away his fears, and the scene then suddenly changes to Faust's
laboratory, whither he has been followed by the gray friar, who
conceals himself in an alcove. Faust sings a beautiful aria ("Dai
campi, dai prati"), and then, placing the Bible on a lectern, begins
to read. The sight of the book brings Mephistopheles out with a
shriek; and, questioned by Faust, he reveals his true self in a
massive and sonorous aria ("Son lo spirito"). He throws off his
disguise, and appears in the garb of a knight, offering to serve Faust
on earth if he will serve the powers of darkness in hell. The compact
is made, as in the first act of Gounod's "Faust;" and the curtain
falls as Faust is about to be whisked away in Mephistopheles's cloak.

The second act opens in the garden, with Faust (under the name of
Henry), Marguerite, Mephistopheles, and Martha, Marguerite's mother,
strolling in couples. The music, which is of a very sensuous
character, is descriptive of the love-making between Faust and
Marguerite, and the sarcastic passion of Mephistopheles for Martha. It
is mostly in duet form, and closes with a quartet allegretto ("Addio,
fuggo"), which is very characteristic. The scene then suddenly changes
to the celebration of the Witches' Sabbath on the summits of the
Brocken, where, amid wild witch choruses, mighty dissonances, and
weird incantation music, Faust is shown a vision of the sorrow of
Marguerite. It would be impossible to select special numbers from this
closely interwoven music, excepting perhaps the song ("Ecco il mondo")
which Mephistopheles sings when the witches, after their incantation,
present him with a globe of glass which he likens to the earth.

The third act opens in a prison, where Marguerite is awaiting the
penalty for murdering her babe. The action is very similar to that of
the last act of Gounod's "Faust." Her opening aria ("L' altra notte a
fondo al maro") is full of sad longings for the child and insane
moanings for mercy. Faust appeals to her to fly with him, and they
join in a duet of extraordinary sensuous beauty blended with pathos
("lontano, lontano"). Mephistopheles urges Faust away as the day
dawns, and pronounces her doom as she falls and dies, while the
angelic chorus resounding in the orchestra announces her salvation.

In the fourth act a most abrupt change is made, both in a dramatic and
musical sense. The scene changes to the "Night of the Classical
Sabbath" on the banks of the Peneus, amid temples, statues, flowers,
and all the loveliness of nature in Greece. The music also changes
into the pure, sensuous Italian style. Faust, still with
Mephistopheles, pays court to Helen of Troy, who is accompanied by
Pantalis. The opening duet for the latter ("La luna immobile") is one
of exceeding grace and loveliness, and will always be the most popular
number in the work. With the exception of a powerfully dramatic scena,
in which Helen describes the horrors of the destruction of Troy, the
music is devoted to the love-making between Helen and Faust, and bears
no relation in form to the rest of the music of the work, being
essentially Italian in its smooth, flowing, melodious character. At
the close of the classical Sabbath another abrupt change is made, to
the death-scene of Faust, contained in an epilogue. It opens in his
laboratory, where he is reflecting upon the events of his
unsatisfactory life, and contemplating a happier existence in heaven.
Mephistopheles is still by his side as the tempter, offers him his
cloak, and urges him to fly again. The heavenly trumpets which rang
through the prologue are again heard, and the celestial choirs are
singing. Enraged, Mephistopheles summons the sirens, who lure Faust
with all their charms. Faust seizes the Sacred Volume, and declares
that he relies upon its word for salvation. He prays for help against
the demon. His prayer is answered; and as he dies a shower of roses
falls upon his body. The tempter disappears, and the finale of the
prologue, repeated, announces Faust has died in salvation. The opera
as a whole is episodical in its dramatic construction, and the music
is a mixture of two styles,--the Wagnerian and the conventional
Italian; but its orchestration is very bold and independent in
character, and the voice-parts are very striking in their adaptation
to the dramatic requirements.



DELIBES.

Leo Delibes, the French composer, was born at St. Germain du Val in
1836, and was graduated at the Paris Conservatory, where he reached
high distinction. His first work, written in 1855, was an operetta
entitled "Deux Sous de Carbon;" but he did not make his mark until his
"Maitre Griffard" was produced at the Theatre Lyrique in 1857. In 1865
he was appointed Chorus-master at the Opera, and there his real career
began. His first great triumph was in ballet-music, which has ever
since been his specialty. His first ballet, "La Source," was produced
at the Opera, Nov. 12, 1865, and delighted all Paris. It was followed
by a divertisement for the revival of Adam's "Corsaire" (1867), the
ballet "Coppelia" (1870), a three-act opera "Le Roi l'a dit" (1873),
and the exquisite ballet in three acts and five tableaux, "Sylvia"
(1876), with which Theodore Thomas has made American audiences
familiar. His opera "Lakme" was written in 1879.


LAKME.

The romantic opera, "Lakme," written in 1879, was first performed in
this country by the American Opera Company in 1886, Mme. L'Allemand
taking the title-rôle. The principal characters are Lakme, daughter of
Nilakantha, an Indian priest, Gerald and Frederick, officers of the
British Army, Ellen and Rose, daughters of the Viceroy, and Mrs.
Benson, governess. The scene is laid in India. Nilakantha cherishes a
fond hatred of all foreigners. The two English officers, Gerald and
Frederick, accompanied by a bevy of ladies, intrude upon his sacred
grounds. They stroll about and gradually retire, but Gerald remains to
sketch some jewels, which Lakme has left upon a shrine while she goes
flower-gathering with her slave Mallika, evidently also to await
developments when she returns. Lakme soon comes sailing in on her
boat, and there is a desperate case of love at first sight. Their
demonstrations of affection are soon interrupted by the appearance of
the priest, whose anger Gerald escapes by fleeing, under cover of a
convenient thunder-storm. In the next act Lakme and her father appear
in the public market-place, disguised as penitents. He compels his
daughter to sing, hoping that her face and voice will induce her lover
to disclose himself. The ruse proves successful. Nilakantha waits his
opportunity, and stealing upon his enemy stabs him in the back and
makes good his escape. In the third act we find Gerald in a delightful
jungle, where Lakme has in some manner managed to conceal him, and
where she is carefully nursing him with the hope of permanently
retaining his love. She saves his life; but just at this juncture, and
while she is absent to obtain a draught of the water which, according
to the Indian legend, will make earthly love eternal, Gerald hears the
music of his regiment, and Frederick appears and urges him back to
duty. His allegiance to his queen, and possibly the remembrance of his
engagement to a young English girl, prove stronger than his love for
Lakme. The latter returns, discovers his faithlessness, gathers some
poisonous flowers, whose juices she drinks, and dies in Gerald's arms
just as the furious father appears. As one victim is sufficient to
appease the anger of Nilakantha's gods, Gerald is allowed to go
unharmed.

The first act opens with a chorus of Hindoos, oriental in its
character, followed by a duet between Lakme and her father; the scene
closing with a sacred chant. The Hindoos gone, there is a charming
oriental duet ("'Neath yon Dome where Jasmines with the Roses are
blooming") between Lakme and her slave, which is one of the gems of
the opera. The English then appear and have a long, talky scene,
relieved by a pretty song for Frederick ("I would not give a Judgment
so absurd"), and another for Gerald ("Cheating Fancy coming to mislead
me"). As Lakme enters, Gerald conceals himself. She lays her flowers
at the base of the shrine and sings a restless love-song ("Why love I
thus to stray?"). Gerald discovers himself, and after a colloquy sings
his ardent love-song ("The God of Truth so glowing"), and the act
closes with Nilakantha's threats.

The second act opens in the market square, lively with the choruses of
Hindoos, Chinamen, fruit-venders, and sailors, and later on with the
adventures of the English party in the crowd. Nilakantha appears and
addresses his daughter in a very pathetic aria ("Lakme, thy soft Looks
are over-clouded"). Soon follows Lakme's bell-song ("Where strays the
Hindoo Maiden?"), a brilliant and highly embellished aria with
tinkling accompaniment, which will always be a favorite. The
recognition follows; and the remaining numbers of importance are an
impassioned song by Gerald ("Ah! then 't is slumbering Love"), with a
mysterious response by Lakme ("In the Forest near at Hand"). A ballet,
followed by the stabbing of Gerald, closes the act.

In the third act the action hastens to the tragic denouement. It opens
with a beautiful crooning song by Lakme ("'Neath the Dome of Moon and
Star") as she watches her sleeping lover. The remaining numbers of
interest are Gerald's song ("Tho' speechless I, my Heart remembers"),
followed by a pretty three-part chorus in the distance and Lakme's
dying measures, "To me the fairest Dream thou 'st given," and
"Farewell, the Dream is over." Though the opera is monotonous from
sameness of color and lack of dramatic interest, there are many
numbers which leave a charming impression by their grace, refinement,
and genuine poetical effect.



DONIZETTI.

Gaetano Donizetti was born at Bergamo, Italy, Sept. 25, 1798. He
studied music both at Bologna and Naples, and then entered the army
rather than subject himself to the caprice of his father, who was
determined that he should devote himself to church music. While his
regiment was at Naples he wrote his first opera, "Enrico di Borgogna"
(1818), which was soon followed by a second, "Il Falegname de
Livonia." The success of the latter was so great that it not only
freed him from military service but gained him the honor of being
crowned. The first opera which spread his reputation through Europe
was "Anna Bolena," produced at Milan in 1830, and written for Pasta
and Rubini. Two years afterwards, "L' Elisir d' Amore" appeared, which
he is said to have written in fifteen days. He wrote with great
facility. "Il Furioso," "Parisina," "Torquato Tasso," "Lucrezia
Borgia," and "Gemma di Vergi" rapidly followed one another. In 1835 he
brought out "Marino Faliero," but its success was small. Ample
compensation was made, however, when in the same year "Lucia" appeared
and was received with acclamations of delight. He was invited to Paris
as the successor of Rossini, and wrote his "Marino Faliero" for the
Theatre des Italiens. In 1840 he revisited Paris and produced "Il
Poliuto," "La Fille du Regiment," and "La Favorita." Leaving Paris he
visited Rome, Milan, and Vienna, bringing out "Linda di Chamouni" in
the latter city. Returning to Paris again, he produced "Don Pasquale"
at the Théâtre des Italiens and "Don Sebastien" at the Académie, the
latter proving a failure. His last opera, "Catarina Comaro," was
brought out at Naples in 1844. This work also was a failure. It was
evident that his capacity for work was over. He grew sad and
melancholy, and during the last three years of his life was attacked
by fits of abstraction which gradually intensified and ended in
insanity and physical paralysis. He died at Bergamo, April 8, 1848.


THE DAUGHTER OF THE REGIMENT.

"The Daughter of the Regiment" ("La Fille du Regiment") opera comique
in two acts, words by Bayard and St. Georges, was first produced at
the Opera Comique, Paris, Feb. 11, 1840, with Mme. Anna Thillon in the
rôle of Marie. Its first performance in English was at the Surrey
Theatre, London, Dec. 21, 1847, under the title of "The Daughter of
the Regiment," in which form it is best known in this country. In 1847
it was performed as an Italian opera in London, with added
recitatives, and with Jenny Lind in the leading part.

The music of the opera is light and sparkling, the principal interest
centring in the charming nature of the story and its humorous
situations, which afford capital opportunities for comedy acting. The
scene is laid in the Tyrol during its occupation by the French. Marie,
the heroine, and the vivandière of the Twenty-first regiment of
Napoleon's army, was adopted as the Daughter of the Regiment, because
she was found on the field, after a battle, by Sergeant Sulpice. On
her person was affixed a letter written by her father to the
Marchioness of Berkenfeld, which has been carefully preserved by the
Sergeant. At the beginning of the opera the little waif has grown into
a sprightly young woman, full of mischief and spirit, as is shown by
her opening song ("The Camp was my Birthplace"), in which she tells
the story of her life, and by the duet with Sulpice, known the world
over as "The Rataplan," which is of a very animated, stirring, and
martial character, to the accompaniment of rattling drums and sonorous
brasses. She is the special admiration of Tony, a Tyrolean peasant,
who has saved her from falling over a precipice. The soldiers of the
regiment are profuse in their gratitude to her deliverer, and
celebrate her rescue with ample potations, during which Marie sings
the Song of the Regiment ("All Men confess it"). Poor Tony, however,
who was found strolling in the camp, is placed under arrest as a spy,
though he succeeds in obtaining an interview with Marie and declares
his love for her. The declaration is followed by a charming duet ("No
longer can I doubt it"). Tony manages to clear up his record, and the
soldiers decide that he may have Marie's hand if he will consent to
join them. He blithely accepts the condition and dons the French
cockade. Everything seems auspicious, when suddenly the Marchioness of
Berkenfeld appears and dashes Tony's hopes to the ground. The
Sergeant, as in honor bound, delivers the letter he has been
preserving. After reading it she claims Marie as her niece, and
demands that the regiment shall give up its daughter, while Tony is
incontinently dismissed as an unsuitable person to be connected in any
capacity with her noble family. Marie sings a touching adieu to her
comrades ("Farewell, a long Farewell"), and the act closes with
smothered imprecations on the Marchioness by the soldiers, and
protestations of undying love by Tony.

The second act opens in the castle of Berkenfeld, where Marie is duly
installed, though she does not take very kindly to her change of
surroundings. The old Sergeant is with her. Grand company is expected,
and the Marchioness desires Marie to rehearse a romance ("The Light of
Early Days was breaking"), which she is to sing to them.

Before she finishes it she and the Sergeant break out into the
rollicking Rataplan and go through with the military evolutions, to
the horror of the Marchioness. While regret for the absent Tony keeps
her in a sad mood, she is suddenly cheered up by the sound of drums
and fifes, announcing the approach of soldiers. They are the gallant
Twenty-first, with Tony, now a colonel, at their head. He applies once
more for Marie's hand. The soldiers also put in a spirited choral
appeal ("We have come, our Child to free"). The Marchioness again
refuses. Tony proposes an elopement, to which Marie, in resentment at
her aunt's cruelty, consents. To thwart their plans, the Marchioness
reveals to Marie that early in life she had been secretly married to
an officer of lower family position than her own, and that this
officer was Marie's father. Unable to dispute the wishes of her
mother, she renounces Tony in an agony of grief. At last Marie's
sorrow arouses old associations in the mind of the Marchioness, and
she consents to the union of Tony and Marie.

While the music of the opera is light, it is none the less very
attractive, and the work is nearly always popular when performed by
good artists, owing to the comedy strength of the three leading parts,
Marie, Tony, and the Sergeant. The rôle of the heroine, small as it
is, has always been a favorite one with such great artists as Jenny
Lind, Patti, Sontag, and Albani, while in this country Miss Kellogg
and Mrs. Richings-Bernard made great successes in the part. The latter
singer, indeed, and her father, whose personation of the Sergeant was
very remarkable, were among the first to perform the work in the
United States.


LA FAVORITA.

"La Favorita," an opera in four acts, words by Royer and Waëtz, the
subject taken from the French drama, "Le Comte de Commingues," was
first produced at the Académie, Paris, Dec. 2, 1840, with Mme. Stolz
as Leonora, Duprez as Fernando, and Baroelhst as Balthasar. Its
success in England, where it was first produced Feb. 16, 1847, was
made by Grisi and Mario. The scene of the opera is laid in Spain, and
the first act opens in the convent of St. James, of Compostella, where
the young novice, Fernando, is about to take monastic vows. Before the
rites take place he is seized with a sudden passion for Leonora, a
beautiful maiden who has been worshipping in the cloisters. He
confesses his love to Balthasar, the superior, who orders him to leave
the convent and go out into the world. Leonora, meanwhile, is beloved
by Alphonso, king of Castile, who has provided her a secret retreat on
the island of St. Leon. Though threatened by the pontiff with
excommunication, he has resolved to repudiate his queen, in order that
he may carry out his intention of marrying the beautiful Leonora. To
her asylum a bevy of maidens conducts Fernando. He declares his
passion for her and finds it reciprocated. He urges her to fly with
him, but she declares it impossible, and giving him a commission in
the army signed by the King, urges him to go to the wars and win
honors for her sake.

In the second act Balthasar, in the name of the pontiff, visits their
retreat and pronounces the papal anathema upon the guilty pair. The
same curse is threatened to all the attendants unless Leonora is
driven from the King, and the act closes with their vengeful menaces.

In the third act Fernando returns victorious from the war with the
Moors. Already beginning to fear the result of the papal malediction,
and having learned of Leonora's passion for the victor, Alphonso heaps
rewards upon him, even to the extent of giving him Leonora's hand.
Fernando, who is ignorant of her past relations to the King, eagerly
accepts the proffer; but Leonora, in despair, sends her attendant,
Inez, to inform him of the real nature of the situation and implore
his forgiveness. The King intercepts her, and the marriage takes place
at once, Fernando not discovering Leonora's shame until it is revealed
by the courtiers, who avoid him. He flies from the world to the
convent once more for shelter and consolation, followed by Leonora,
who dies in his arms after she has obtained forgiveness.

The music of the work is very dramatic in its character, some of the
finales being the strongest Donizetti has written. In the first act
there is a beautifully melodious aria ("Una Vergine"), in which
Fernando describes to Balthasar the vision of Leonora which had
appeared to him at his orisons, and a very tender duet ("Deh, vanne!
deh, parti") between Fernando and Leonora, in which they sorrowfully
part from each other. In the second act the King has a very passionate
aria, where he curses his courtiers for leaguing against him at Rome,
followed by a very dramatic duet with Leonora ("Ah! l'alto ardor").
The third act contains the beautiful aria, "O mio Fernando!" which is
a favorite with all contraltos. It is remarkable for its warmth and
richness, as well as its dramatic spirit, and the act closes with a
concerted finale of splendid power, in which Fernando breaks his
sword, and once more Balthasar anathematizes the King. The fourth act
is the most beautiful of all in its music and the most powerful in
dramatic effect. The chorus of monks in the first scene ("Scaviam
l'asilo") is remarkable for its religious character and solemnity. In
the third scene occurs one of the tenderest and loveliest romanzas
ever written ("Spirto gentil"), which Donizetti transferred to this
work from his opera, "Le Duc d'Albe," which had not been performed,
and the libretto of which was originally written by Scribe for
Rossini. The closing duet between Fernando and Leonora is full of
pathos and beauty, and forms a fitting close to an act which, in one
sense at least, is an inspiration, as the whole act was composed in
four hours,--a proof of the marvellous ease and facility with which
Donizetti wrote.


DON PASQUALE.

"Don Pasquale," an opera buffa in three acts, was first produced at
the Théâtre des Italiens in Paris, Jan. 4, 1843, with the following
extraordinary cast:

  NORINA               Mme. GRISI.
  ERNESTO              Sig. MARIO.
  DR. MALATESTA        Sig. TAMBURINI.
  DON PASQUALE         Sig. LABLACHE.

The scene of this brilliant and gay little opera is laid in Rome. Don
Pasquale is in a rage with Ernesto, his nephew, because he will not
marry to suit him. Dr. Malatesta, his friend and physician, who is
also very much attached to the nephew, contrives a plot in the
latter's interest. He visits the Don, and urges him to marry a lady,
pretending that she is his sister, though in reality she is Norina,
with whom Ernesto is in love. He then calls upon Norina, and lets her
into the secret of the plot, and instructs her how to play her part.
She is to consent to the marriage contract, and then so harass the Don
that he will not only be glad to get rid of her, but will give his
consent to her marriage with Ernesto. The second act opens in Don
Pasquale's house, where Ernesto is bewailing his fate. The Don enters,
magnificently dressed, and ready for the marriage. Norina appears with
Malatesta, and feigns reluctance to enter into the contract; but when
the notary arrives she consents to sign. No sooner, however, has she
signed it than she drops her assumed modesty. Ernesto, who is present,
is bewildered at the condition of affairs, but is kept quiet by a sign
from the Doctor. Norina refuses all the Don's amatory demonstrations,
and declares Ernesto shall be her escort. She summons the servants,
and lays out a scheme of housekeeping so extravagant that the Don is
enraged, and declares he will not pay the bills. She insists he shall,
for she is now master of the house. In the third act we find Norina
entertaining milliners and modistes. Don Pasquale enters, and learning
that she is going to the theatre forbids it, which leads to a quarrel,
during which Norina boxes his ears. As she leaves the room she drops a
letter, the reading of which adds the pangs of jealousy to his other
troubles. The Doctor at this juncture happens in and condoles with
him. The Don insists that Norina shall quit his house at once. In the
next scene he taxes her with having a lover concealed in the house,
and orders her to leave. The Doctor counsels him to let his nephew
marry Norina; and in the course of explanations the Don discovers that
the Doctor's sister and Norina are one and the same person, and that
the marriage was a sham. He is only too glad of an escape to quarrel
with the Doctor for his plot, and the young couple are speedily
united, and have the old man's blessing.

The charm of the opera lies in its comic situations, and the gay,
bright music with which they are illustrated. It is replete with humor
and spirit, and flows along in such a bright stream that it is almost
impossible to cull out special numbers, though it contains two duets
and a quartet which are of more than ordinary beauty, and the
exquisite serenade in the last act, "Com'e gentil," which has been
heard on almost every concert-stage of the world, and still holds its
place in universal popular esteem. For brilliant gayety it stands in
the front rank of all comic operas, though Donizetti was but three
weeks in writing it. It is said that when it was in rehearsal its fate
was uncertain. The orchestra and singers received it very coldly; but
when the rehearsal was over, Donizetti merely shrugged his shoulders
and remarked to his friend, M. Dormoy, the publisher: "Let them alone;
they know nothing about it. I know what is the matter with 'Don
Pasquale.' Come with me." They went to the composer's house. Rummaging
among a pile of manuscripts, Donizetti pulled out a song. "This is
what 'Don Pasquale' wants," he said. "Take it to Mario and tell him to
learn it at once." Mario obeyed, and when the opera was performed sang
it to the accompaniment of a tambourine, which Lablache played behind
the scenes. The opera was a success at once, and no song has ever been
more popular.

In strange contrast with the gay humor of "Don Pasquale," it may be
stated that in the same year Donizetti wrote the mournful "Don
Sebastian," which has been described as "a funeral in five acts."
Crowest, in his "Anecdotes," declares that the serenade is suggestive
of Highland music, and that many of his other operas are Scottish in
color. He accounts for this upon the theory that the composer was of
Scotch descent, his grandfather having been a native of Perthshire, by
the name of Izett, and that his father, who married an Italian lady,
was Donald Izett. The change from Donald Izett to Donizetti was an
easy one. The story, however, is of doubtful authenticity.


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR.

"Lucia di Lammermoor," an opera in three acts, words by Cammarano, was
first produced at Naples in 1835, with Mme. Persiani and Sig. Duprez,
for whom the work was written, in the principal rôles of Lucia and
Edgardo. Its first presentation at Paris was Aug. 10, 1839; in London,
April 5, 1838; and in English, at the Princess Theatre, London, Jan.
19, 1843. The subject of the opera is taken from Sir Walter Scott's
novel, "The Bride of Lammermoor," and the scene is laid in Scotland,
time, about 1669.

Sir Henry Ashton, of Lammermoor, brother of Lucy, the heroine, has
arranged a marriage between her and Lord Arthur Bucklaw, in order to
recover the fortune which he has dissipated, and to save himself from
political peril he has incurred by his participation in movements
against the reigning dynasty. Sir Edgar Ravenswood, with whom he is at
enmity, is deeply attached to Lucy, who reciprocates his love, and on
the eve of his departure on an embassy to France pledges herself to
him. During his absence Edgar's letters are intercepted by her
brother, who hints to her of his infidelity, and finally shows her a
forged paper which she accepts as the proof that he is untrue.
Overcome with grief at her lover's supposed unfaithfulness, and
yielding to the pressure of her brother's necessities, she at last
consents to her union with Lord Arthur. The marriage contract is
signed with great ceremony, and just as she has placed her name to the
fatal paper, Edgar suddenly appears. Learning from Lucy what she has
done, he tramples the contract under foot, hurls an imprecation upon
the house of Lammermoor, and bursts out of the room in a terrible
rage. Sir Henry follows him, and a fierce quarrel ensues, which ends
in a challenge. Meanwhile, at night, after the newly wedded couple
have retired, a noise is heard in their apartment. The attendants rush
in and find Lord Arthur dying from wounds inflicted by Lucy, whose
grief has made her insane. When she returns to reason, the thought of
what she has done and the horror of her situation overcome her, and
shortly death puts an end to her wretchedness. Ignorant of her fate,
Edgar goes to the churchyard of Ravenswood, which has been selected as
the rendezvous for the duel with Sir Henry. While impatiently waiting
his appearance, the bell of the castle tolls, and some of the
attendants accosting him bring the news of her death. The despairing
lover kills himself among the graves of his ancestors, and the sombre
story ends.

The popular verdict has stamped "Lucia" as Donizetti's masterpiece,
and if the consensus of musicians could be obtained, it would
unquestionably confirm the verdict. It contains incomparably the
grandest of his arias for tenor, the Tomb song in the last act, and
one of the finest dramatic concerted numbers, the sextet in the second
act, that can be found in any Italian opera. Like the quartet in
"Rigoletto," it stands out in such bold relief, and is so thoroughly
original and spontaneous, that it may be classed as an inspiration.
The music throughout is of the most sombre character. It does not
contain a joyous phrase. And yet it can never be charged with
monotony. Every aria, though its tone is serious and more often
melancholy, has its own characteristics, and the climaxes are worked
up with great power. In the first act, for instance, the contrasts are
very marked between Henry's aria ("Cruda, funesta smania"), the chorus
of hunters ("Come vinti da stanchezza"), Henry's second aria ("La
pietade in suo favore"), in which he threatens vengeance upon Edgar,
the dramatic and beautifully written arias for Lucy, "Regnava nel
silenzio" and "Quando rapita in estasi," and the passionate farewell
duet between Lucy and Edgar, which is the very ecstasy of commingled
love and sorrow. The second act contains a powerful duet ("Le tradirmi
tu potrai") between Lucy and Henry; but the musical interest of the
act centres in the great sextet, "Chi mi frena," which ensues when
Edgar makes his unexpected appearance upon the scene of the marriage
contract. For beauty, power, richness of melody and dramatic
expression, few concerted numbers by any composer can rival it. The
last act also contains two numbers which are always the delight of
great artists,--the mad song of Lucy, "Oh, gioja che si senti," and
the magnificent tomb scena, "Tomba degl'avi miei," which affords even
the most accomplished tenor ample scope for his highest powers.


L'ELISIR D'AMORE.

"L'Elisir d'Amore," an opera buffa in two acts, words by Romani, was
first produced in Milan, in 1832, and in English, at Drury Lane, in
1839, as "The Love Spell." The heroine of this graceful little opera
is Adina, a capricious country girl, who is loved by Nemorino, a young
farmer, whose uncle lies at the point of death, and by Belcore, a
sergeant, whose troops are billeted upon the neighboring village.
While Adina keeps both these suitors in suspense, Dr. Dulcamara, a
travelling quack, arrives at the village in great state to vend his
nostrums. Nemorino applies to him for a bottle of the Elixir of
Love,--with the magical properties of which he has become acquainted
in a romance Adina has been reading that very morning. The mountebank,
of course, has no such liquid, but he passes off on the simple peasant
a bottle of wine, and assures him that if he drinks of it he can
command the love of any one on the morrow. To thoroughly test its
efficacy, Nemorino drinks the whole of it. When he encounters Adina he
is half tipsy, and accosts her in such disrespectful style that she
becomes enraged, and determines to give her hand to the sergeant, and
promises to marry him in a week. Meanwhile an order comes for the
departure of the sergeant's detachment, and he begs her to marry him
the same day. She gives her consent, and the second act opens with the
assembling of the villagers to witness the signing of the marriage
contract. While the sergeant, Adina, and the notary have retired to
sign and witness the contract, Nemorino enters in despair, and finding
Dulcamara enjoying a repast, he implores him to give him some charm
that will make Adina love him at once. Having no money, the quack
refuses to assist him, and Nemorino is again plunged into despair. At
this juncture the sergeant enters, not in the best of humor, for Adina
has declined to sign the contract until evening. Discovering that
Nemorino wants money, he urges him to enlist. The bonus of twenty
crowns is a temptation. Nemorino enlists, takes the money, hurries to
the quack, and obtains a second bottle of the elixir, which is much
more powerful than the first. In the next scene the girls of the
village have discovered that Nemorino's uncle has died and left him
all the property, though Nemorino himself has not heard of it. They
crowd about him, trying to attract his attention with their charms and
blandishments. He attributes his sudden popularity to the effects of
the elixir, and even the quack is somewhat bewildered at the
remarkable change. Nemorino now determines to pay Adina off in kind,
and at last rouses her jealousy. Meanwhile Dulcamara acquaints her
with the effects of the elixir and advises her to try some of it, and
during the interview inadvertently informs her of Nemorino's
attachment for her. Struck with his devotion, she repays the sergeant
herself, announces her change of mind, and bestows her hand upon the
faithful Nemorino. Like "Don Pasquale," the opera is exceedingly
graceful in its construction, and very bright and gay in its musical
effects, particularly in the duets, of which there are two,--one
between Dulcamara and Nemorino in the first act ("Obbligato, ah! si
obbligato"), and one between Dulcamara and Adina in the second act
("Quanto amore! ed io spietata"), which are charming in their spirit
and humor. There is also an admirable buffo song in the first act,
beginning with the recitative, "Udite, udite, o rustici," in which the
Doctor describes his wares to the rustics, and a beautiful romanza in
the second act for tenor ("Una furtiva lagrima"), which is of
world-wide popularity, and bears the same relation to the general
setting of the work that the Serenade does to "Don Pasquale."


LUCREZIA BORGIA.

"Lucrezia Borgia," an opera in three acts, words by Romani, was first
produced at La Scala, Milan, in 1834. The subject was taken from
Victor Hugo's tragedy of the same name, and its text was freely
adapted by Romani. When it was produced in Paris, in 1840, Victor Hugo
took steps to suppress any further representations. The libretto was
then rewritten, under the title of "La Rinegata," the Italian
characters were changed to Turks, and in this mutilated form the
performances were resumed. It was in this opera that Signor Mario made
his English début, in 1839, with great success. Its first presentation
in English was at London, Dec. 30, 1843.

The history of Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Rodrigo Borgia, afterwards
Pope Alexander VI., and sister of Cæsar Borgia, is too well known to
need recapitulation. It is necessary to the comprehension of the story
of the opera, however, to state that she had an illegitimate son,
named Genarro, who was left when an infant with a fisherman, but who
subsequently entered the Venetian army and rose to an eminent rank.
The opera opens with a brilliant festival in the gardens of the
Barberigo Palace, which is attended by Genarro, Orsini, and others,
all of them cordial haters of the detestable Borgias. While they are
telling tales of Lucrezia's cruel deeds, Genarro lies down and goes to
sleep, and Orsini in a spirited aria ("Nelle fatal di Rimini") relates
to his companions the story of Genarro's gallantry at the battle of
Rimini. As they leave, Lucrezia approaches, masked, in a gondola, and
is received by Gubetta, with whom she has come to Venice on some
secret errand. She discovers Genarro asleep, and expresses her delight
at his beauty, and at the same time her maternal love, in a brilliant
aria ("Com'e bello"). As she kisses his hand he wakes, and in the duet
which follows tells her the story of his early life in an exquisite
romanza ("Di pescatore ignobile"), which is one of the most familiar
numbers in Italian opera. He begs her to reveal her name, but she
refuses. As he continues to implore her, his friends return and
denounce her to Genarro as the hated Borgia, in a concerted number
("Chi siam noi sol chiarirla") of great dramatic power, which closes
the first act.

The second act opens in the public square of Ferrara, with the palace
of the Borgias on the right. The Duke Alphonso, Lucrezia's husband,
who has been observant of Lucrezia's attachment to Genarro, vows
vengeance in a passionate aria ("Vieni la mia vendetta"). In the next
scene Genarro, who has been taunted by his friends with being a victim
of Lucrezia's fascinations, recklessly rushes up to the palace door
and strikes off the first letter of her name with his dagger. When
Lucrezia discovers the insult, she demands of the Duke that the guilty
person shall be arrested and condemned to death. The Duke has already
seized Genarro, and agrees to carry out his wife's demands. When the
prisoner is brought before them for judgment, she is horror-stricken
to find he is her son. She implores his life, but the infuriated Duke
retaliates upon her with the declaration that she is his paramour. The
duet between them ("O! a te bada"), in which Lucrezia passes from
humble entreaties to rage and menace, is a fine instance of
Donizetti's dramatic power. The Duke, however, is resolute in his
determination, and will only allow her to choose the mode of Genarro's
death. She selects the Borgia wine, which is poisoned. Genarro is
called in, and after a trio ("Le ti tradisce"), which is one of the
strongest numbers in the opera, he is given the fatal draught under
the pretence of a farewell greeting from the Duke, who then leaves
mother and son together. She gives him an antidote, and he is thus
saved from the fate which the Duke had intended for him.

The last act opens at a banquet in the palace of the Princess Negroni,
which is attended by Genarro and his friends, Lucrezia, meanwhile,
supposing that he has gone to Venice. During the repast she has
managed to poison their wine. In the midst of the gay revel Orsini
sings the popular drinking-song, "Il segreto per esser felici," which
is now familiar the world over. The festivities are interrupted,
however, by the appearance of Lucrezia, who reveals herself with the
taunting declaration: "Yes, I am Borgia. A mournful dance ye gave me
in Venice, and I return ye a supper in Ferrara." She then announces
that they are poisoned. The music is changed with great skill from the
wild revelry of drinking-songs to the sombre strains of approaching
death. Five coffins are shown them, when Genarro suddenly reveals
himself to Lucrezia and asks for the sixth. The horror-stricken woman
again perceives that her son has been poisoned by her own hand. As his
companions leave the apartment she implores Genarro to take the
antidote once more, and at last reveals herself as his mother. He
steadily refuses to save himself, however, since his companions have
to die, and expires in her arms just as the Duke and his followers
enter. She discloses Genarro's relationship, and then dies with the
despairing cry on her lips that Heaven has pronounced its final
judgment upon her. Among all of Donizetti's operas, not one, unless it
be "Lucia," is more popular than "Lucrezia Borgia," which may be
attributed to the fact that while the story itself is one of
fascinating dramatic interest, the musical numbers are simple,
beautiful, and effective.



FLOTOW.

Friedrich von Flotow was born April 27, 1812, in the duchy of
Mecklenberg-Schwerin, and in 1827 went to Paris, where he studied
music under Reicha. His first work was "Stradella," a mere sketch in
its original form, which was brought out at the Palais Royal in 1837;
but his first public success was made in 1839, with his opera, "Le
Naufrage de la Méduse," which had a run, and was afterwards produced
in Germany under the title of "Die Matrosen." "L'Esclave de Camoens"
appeared in Paris in 1843; "Stradella," rewritten as an opera, in
Hamburg (1844); "L'Âme en peine," in Paris (1846); "Martha," in Vienna
(1847). The works of his later period, which never equalled his
earlier ones in popularity, were "Die Grossfürstin" (1850); "Indra"
(1853); "Rubezahl" (1854); "Hilda" (1855); "Der Müller von Meran"
(1856); "La Veuve Grapin" (1859); "L'Ombre" (1869); "Naïda" (1873);
"Il Flor d'Harlem" (1876); and "Enchanteresse" (1878). Of these later
works, "L'Ombre" was the most successful, and was received with favor
in France, Italy, Spain, and England, in which latter country it was
performed under the title of "The Phantom." In 1856 he received the
appointment of Intendant of the theatre of the Grand Duke of
Mecklenberg, and he entered upon his duties with high hopes of making
the theatre exercise the same influence upon music in Germany as the
Weimar stage; but court intrigues and rivalries of artists so
disgusted him that he resigned in 1863 and went to Paris, and a few
years later to Vienna, where he took up his abode. Outside of a few of
his operas his works are little known, though he composed a
"Fackeltanz," some incidental music to the "Winter's Tale" of
Shakspeare, and several overtures, songs, and chamber-pieces. An
interesting episode in his career occurred in 1838, when he brought
out an opera in three acts, the "Duc de Guise," at the Théâtre de la
Renaissance, the libretto based upon Dumas's "Henri III." The
performance was organized by the Princess Czartoryska, for the benefit
of the Poles. Mme. de Lagrange made her début in a leading part, and
the parts of the choristers were filled by duchesses and princesses of
the Faubourg St. Germain, upon whose persons two million dollars worth
of diamonds were blazing,--sufficient evidence that the performance
was brilliant in at least one sense. He died at Wiesbaden, Jan. 24,
1883.


MARTHA.

"Martha," an opera in three acts, libretto by St. Georges, translated
into German by Friedrich, was first produced at Vienna, Nov. 25, 1847,
with Mlle. Anna Zerr in the title-rôle, Herr Ander as Lionel, and Carl
Formes as Plunkett. It was first produced in English and Italian at
London in 1858, and in French at Paris in 1865. The history of its
origin is interesting. M. de St. Georges, at the request of the
manager of the Paris Grand Opera, wrote in 1842 the libretto to a
ballet entitled "Lady Henrietta, or the Servant of Greenwich," the
subject being suggested to him by the adventures of two ladies of his
acquaintance who had mingled with servants at a fair. The music was
confided to three composers. The first act was given to Herr von
Flotow, the second to Herr Burgmuller, and the third to M. Deldeves.
The ballet had such a remarkable success, and Flotow was so delighted
with the plot, that he entreated St. Georges to rewrite it for an
opera. The latter consented, and the result of their collaboration was
the appearance of one of the most popular operas which has ever been
placed upon the stage.

The scene of the opera is laid at Richmond, England, and the time is
during the reign of Queen Anne, though the Italian version places it
in the fifteenth century, and the French in the nineteenth. Lady
Henrietta, an attendant upon the Queen, tired of the amusements of
court life, contrives a plan to visit the servants' fair at Richmond
disguised as a servant-girl, and accompanied by Nancy, her maid, and
Sir Tristan, her somewhat aged cousin, who is also her devoted
admirer. In the first three scenes their plans are laid much to the
disgust of Sir Tristan, who is to pass as John, while his fair cousin
masquerades as Martha. The duet between the ladies ("Of the Knights so
brave and charming"), and the trio with Tristan, are in dance time,
and full of animation. The fourth scene opens in the market-place at
Richmond, where the people are gathering to the fair. Thither also
resort Plunkett, a farmer, and Lionel, his brother by adoption, whose
parentage is unknown, and who has no souvenir of his father except a
ring which has been left for him, with instructions to present it to
the Queen if he ever finds himself in trouble. Lionel tells his story
in an aria ("Lost, proscribed, an humble Stranger") which is
universally popular, and the melody of which has been set to various
words. They have come to the fair to procure help for their farm.
While the sheriff, according to law, is binding the girls for a year's
service, Plunkett and Lionel meet Martha and Nancy, and are so
delighted with their appearance that they tender them the customary
bonus, or "earnest-money," which secures them. Too late for escape,
they find that they are actually engaged, and they are obliged to
drive away with the young farmers, leaving Sir Tristan in despair.

The second act opens in the farm-house, where the four have arrived.
The farmers inquire their names, and seek to find out what they can
do, testing them first at the spinning-wheel. The spinning quartet
("When the Foot the Wheel turns lightly") is very gay and full of
humor, and is one of the most delightful concerted numbers in the
opera. The brothers soon find that their new servants are useless, but
they are so pleased with them that they decide to keep them. At last
Nancy, in a pet, kicks her wheel over and runs off, followed by
Plunkett. Lionel, left alone with Martha, grows very tender to the new
servant, and at last finds himself violently in love. He snatches a
rose from her bosom, and refuses to return it unless she will consent
to sing. She replies with the familiar ballad, "'Tis the last Rose of
Summer," which Flotow has interpolated in this scene, and in the
performance of which he makes a charming effect by introducing the
tenor in the close. Her singing only makes him the more desperately
enamoured, and he asks her to be his wife on the spot, only to find
himself the victim of Martha's sport, although his devotion and
sincerity have made a deep impression upon her. Plunkett and Nancy at
last return, and another charming quartet follows ("Midnight sounds"),
better known as the "Good Night Quartet." The two brothers retire, but
Martha and Nancy, aided by Tristan, who has followed them and
discovered their whereabouts, make good their escape. The next scene
opens in the woods, where several farmers are drinking and carousing,
among them Plunkett, who sings a rollicking drinking-song ("I want to
ask you"). Their sport is interrupted by a hunting-party, composed of
the Queen and her court ladies. Plunkett and Lionel recognize their
fugitive servants among them, though the ladies disclaim all knowledge
of them. Plunkett attempts to seize Nancy, but the huntresses attack
him and chase him away, leaving Lionel and Lady Henrietta together
again. The scene contains two of the most beautiful numbers in the
opera,--the tenor solo, "Like a Dream bright and fair" ("M' appari" in
the Italian version), and a romance for soprano ("Here in deepest
forest Shadows"); and the act closes with a beautiful concerted
finale, quintet and chorus, which is worked up with great power. In
this finale the despairing Lionel bethinks him of his ring. He gives
it to Plunkett, desiring him to present it to the Queen. By means of
the jewel it is discovered that he is the only son of the late Earl of
Derby, and she orders his estates, of which he has been unjustly
deprived, to be restored to him.

The last act is not important in a musical sense, for the climax is
attained in the previous finale. The dramatic dénouement is soon
reached, and the Lady Henrietta, who has for some time been seriously
in love with Lionel, is at last united to him; and it is almost
needless to add that the fortunes of Plunkett and Nancy are also
joined. The charm of "Martha" is its liveliness in action and
tunefulness in music. Though not a great opera from a musical point of
view, it is one of the most popular in the modern repertory, and
though few others have been performed so many times, it still retains
that popularity. Its melodies, though sung in every country of the
civilized world by amateurs and professional artists, have not yet
lost their charms.


STRADELLA.

"Stradella," a romantic opera in three acts, was first written as a
lyric drama and produced at the Palais Royal Theatre, Paris, in 1837,
and was subsequently rewritten in its present form under the title of
"Alessandro Stradella" and produced at Hamburg, Dec. 30, 1844. The
English version, which was somewhat altered by Bunn, was produced in
London, June 6, 1846. The story follows the historic narrative of
Stradella, the Italian musician, except in the dénouement. Stradella
woos and wins Leonora, the fair ward of Bassi, a rich Venetian
nobleman, with whom the latter is himself in love. They fly to Rome
and are married. Bassi hires two bravoes, Barbarino and Malvolio, to
follow them and kill Stradella. They track him to his house, and while
the bridal party are absent enter and conceal themselves, Bassi being
with them. Upon this occasion, however, they do not wait to accomplish
their purpose. Subsequently they gain admission again in the guise of
pilgrims, and are hospitably received by Stradella. In the next scene
Stradella, Leonora, and the two bravoes are together in the same
apartment, singing the praises of their native Italy. During their
laudations the chorus of a band of pilgrims on their way to the shrine
of the Virgin is heard, and Leonora and Stradella go out to greet
them. The bravoes have been so moved by Stradella's singing that they
hesitate in their purpose. Bassi enters and upbraids them, and
finally, by the proffer of a still larger sum, induces them to consent
to carry out his design. They conceal themselves. Stradella returns
and rehearses a hymn to the Virgin which he is to sing at the
festivities on the morrow. Its exquisite beauty touches them so deeply
that they rush out of their hiding-place, and falling at his feet
confess the object of their visit and implore his forgiveness. Leonora
enters, and is astonished to find her guardian present. Explanations
follow, a reconciliation is effected, and the lovers are happy. The
dénouement differs from the historical story, which, according to
Bonnet, Bourdelot, and others, ends with the death of the lovers at
Genoa, at the hands of the hired assassins.

The opera is one of the most charming of Flotow's works for its apt
union of very melodious music with dramatic interest. Its most
beautiful numbers are Stradella's serenade ("Horch, Liebchen,
horch!"), the following nocturne ("Durch die Thäler, über Hügel"), the
brilliant and animated carnival chorus ("Freudesausen, Jubelbrausen")
of the masqueraders who assist in the elopement, in the first act; the
aria of Leonora in her bridal chamber ("Seid meiner Wonne"), the
rollicking drinking-song of the two bravoes ("'Raus mit dem Nass aus
dem Fass") and the bandit ballad ("Tief in den Abruzzen ") sung by
Stradella, in the second act; an exquisite terzetto ("Sag doch an,
Freund Barbarino") sung by Bassi and the two bravoes when they
hesitate to perform their work, and Stradella's lovely hymn to the
Virgin ("Jungfrau Maria! Himmlisch verklärte"), in the last act.



GLUCK.

Christoph Willibald Gluck, one of the most eminent of German operatic
composers, was born at Weidenwang in the Upper Palatinate, July 2,
1714. He began his musical studies in a Bohemian Jesuits' School at
the age of twelve. In his eighteenth year he went to Prague, where he
continued his education with Czernhorsky. Four years later he was
fortunate enough to secure Prince Melzi for a patron, who sent him to
Milan, where he completed his studies with Sammartini. From 1741 to
1745 he produced numerous operas, which were well received, and in the
latter year visited London, where he brought out several works, among
them "La Caduta de' Giganti." His English experience was far from
satisfactory, and he soon returned to Germany, stopping at Paris on
the way, where Rameau's operas had a strong influence upon him. From
1746 to 1762 he wrote a large number of operas, with varying success
so far as performance was concerned, but with great and lasting
benefit to his style and fame, as was shown when his "Orpheus" was
first produced, Oct. 5, 1762. Its success determined him at once to
acquaint the musical world with his purpose to reform the opera by
making it dramatically musical instead of purely lyric, thus paving
the way for the great innovator of Baireuth. "Alceste," produced in
1767, was the first embodiment of these ideas. Strong criticism
greeted it, to which he replied with "Iphigénie en Aulide," written in
1772, and performed for the first time in Paris two years later, under
the auspices of Marie Antoinette, who had once been his pupil. It was
followed by "Orpheus and Eurydice," adapted from his earlier work of
the same name, which met with brilliant success. In 1777 he brought
out "Armide." It aroused an unprecedented excitement. Piccini was at
that time in Paris. He was the representative of the old Italian
school. His partisans gathered about him, and a furious war was waged
between the Gluckists and Piccinists for three or four years; the
combatants displaying a bitterness of criticism and invective even
worse than that which Wagner brought down upon his devoted head. When
Gluck brought out his great work, "Iphigénie en Tauride," in 1779,
however, the Piccinists quitted the field and acknowledged the
reformer's superiority. "Echo et Narcisse" was written in the same
year, but "Iphigénie en Tauride" was his last great work. He retired
shortly afterwards to Vienna, where he died Nov. 15, 1787.


ORPHEUS.

"Orpheus," the libretto by the Italian poet Calzabigi, was first
produced at Vienna, Oct. 5, 1762, and for the first time outlined the
new ideas which Gluck had advanced for the reform of the lyric stage.
Twelve years later the composer revised the work. Several new numbers
were added, its acts were extended to three, and the principal rôle
was rewritten for a high tenor in place of the alto, to whom it had
been originally assigned. In this form it was brought out at the Paris
Académie, Aug. 2, 1774. In 1859 it was revived in Paris, for which
occasion Berlioz restored the original alto part for Mme.
Viardot-Garcia. With its performances in this country by the American
Opera Troupe during the season of 1885-86, under the direction of Mr.
Theodore Thomas, our readers are already familiar. The three soloists
during that season were Helene Hastreiter, Emma Juch, and Minnie
Dilthey.

The story, except in its denouement, closely follows the antique
legend. After performing the funeral rites of Eurydice, Orpheus
resolves to seek for her in the world of Shades, having received
permission from Zeus upon condition that he will not look upon her
until they have safely returned. Orpheus descends to Hades; and though
his way is barred by phantoms, his pleading appeals and the tender
tones of his harp induce them to make way for him. He finds Eurydice
in the Elysian fields, and taking her by the hand leads her on to the
upper world. In a fatal moment he yields to her desire to see him, and
she sinks back lifeless. Love, however, comes to the rescue, and full
of compassion restores her. Thus the happy lovers are reunited; and
the opera closes without the tragic denouement of the old myth. In the
American performances the opera was divided into four acts, which is
the order we shall follow.

The short overture is characterized by a grandeur and solemnity that
well befit the pathetic story. The curtain rises upon a grotto
containing the tomb of Eurydice, against which Orpheus mournfully
leans, while upon its steps youths and maidens are strewing flowers as
they chant the sombre song, "Ah! in our still and mournful Meadow."
The sad wail of Orpheus upon the single word "Eurydice" is heard
through its strains, which continually increase in solemnity. At last,
as if too much to bear, Orpheus interrupts their threnody with the
words, "The Sounds of your Lament increase my bitter Anguish." The
chorus in reply resumes its melancholy tribute to Eurydice and then
retires, leaving Orpheus alone, who in a monologue full of pathos and
sorrow ("My Eurydice! my Eurydice! lost forever"), sings his grief and
implores the gods to restore his loved one. In answer to his prayer,
Amor, god of love, appears and announces that the gods have been moved
to compassion; and if his song and lyre can appease the phantoms,
death shall give back Eurydice upon the conditions already named. The
act closes with the joyful song of Orpheus: "Will pitying Heaven with
wondrous Favor restore mine own?"

The second act opens in the abysses of the underworld. Flames shoot up
amid great masses of rock and from yawning caverns, throwing their
lurid glare upon the phantoms, who writhing in furious indignation
demand in wild and threatening chorus, as the tones of Orpheus's lyre
are heard, "Who through this awful Place, thinking alive to pass,
rashly dares venture here?" Madly they call upon Cerberus "to kill thy
new Prey here." The barking of the triple-headed monster is heard in
the tones of the orchestra. They surround Orpheus as he approaches,
and with renewed clamor continue this thrilling chorus. In the midst
of its cruel intensity is heard the appealing voice of Orpheus ("In
Pity be moved by my Grief"). With overwhelming wrath comes the
reiterated monosyllable, "No," from the Furies,--one of the most
daring and powerful effects ever made in dramatic music,--followed by
another appalling chorus, as they announce to him, "These are the
Depths of Hell, where the Avengers dwell." At last they are touched by
the charm of his music and the sorrow of his story; and as their fury
dies away, the song of Orpheus grows more exultant as he contemplates
the reunion with Eurydice.

The gates of the lower world are opened, and in the third act Orpheus
enters Elysium. The scene begins with a tender, lovely song by
Eurydice and her companions ("In this tranquil and lovely Abode of the
Blest"), the melody taken by the flute with string accompaniment. All
is bright and cheerful and in striking contrast with the gloom and
terror of the Stygian scene we have just left. After a short
recitative ("How mild a Day, without a Noon"), Orpheus seeks her. She
is brought to him by a crowd of shadows; and breaking out in joyful
song he takes her by the hand and turns his face to the upper world.

The fourth act is almost entirely an impassioned duet between Orpheus
and Eurydice. He releases her hand for fear that he may turn and look
upon her. Eurydice chides him ("Am I changed or grown old that thou
wilt not behold me?"). In vain he urges her to follow him. She
upbraids him for his coldness, and demands one glance as a test of his
love. He still refuses, and then she sorrowfully bids him farewell. At
last, overcome with weariness and sorrow, he gazes upon her; and at
that instant she falls lifeless. Then Orpheus breaks out in that
immortal song, the _Che faro senza Eurydice_ ("I have lost my
Eurydice"), the beauty and pathos of which neither time nor change of
musical custom can ever mar. He is about to take his life with his
sword; but Amor suddenly appears upon the scene, stays his hand, and
tells him the gods are moved by his sufferings. He restores Eurydice
to life, and the opera closes with a beautiful terzetto in Love's
temple. The denouement is followed by ballet music.



GOETZ.

Hermann Goetz, to whose life attaches a mournful interest, was born at
Koenigsberg, Dec. 17, 1840. He had no regular instruction in music
until his seventeenth year. At that period he began his studies with
Köhler, and then passed successively under the tuition of Stern,
Ulrich, and Von Bülow. At the age of twenty-three he obtained a
position as organist at Winterthur, and also taught at Zurich. It was
during this time that he composed his opera, "The Taming of the
Shrew," meanwhile supporting himself as he best could, sometimes
struggling with actual poverty. For years he attempted to secure a
hearing for his opera; but it was not until 1874 that its great merit
was recognized, for in that year it was produced at Mannheim with
instant success. Its fame travelled all over Germany. It was performed
in Vienna in 1875, and the same year in Leipsic and Berlin, and
reached London in 1878. It was not heard in this country until the
season of 1885-86, when it was produced by the American Opera Company.
The composer did not live long enough, however, to enjoy the fruits of
his work, as he died in 1876. He also left behind him an unfinished
score of a second opera, "Francesca di Rimini," which was completed by
his friend Franke at his request, but proved a failure. His other
works include a symphony in F, a suite for orchestra, and many chamber
compositions.


THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

"The Taming of the Shrew," as related in the sketch of the composer's
life, was written about the year 1863, and first produced at Mannheim
in 1872. Its first performance in this country was in January, 1886,
when the cast was as follows:--

  KATHARINE     PAULINE L'ALLEMAND.
  BIANCA        KATE BENSBERG.
  PETRUCHIO     WILLIAM H. LEE.
  BAPTISTA      W.H. HAMILTON.
  LUCENTIO      W.H. FESSENDEN.
  HORTENSIO     ALONZO STODDARD.
  A TAILOR      JOHN HOWSON.

The libretto is freely adapted from Shakspeare's comedy by Joseph
Victor Widmann. The plot is very simple. Baptista, a rich Paduan
gentleman, has two daughters,--Katharine, the shrew, and Bianca, of
sweet and lovable disposition. Both Hortensio and Lucentio are in love
with Bianca; but the obdurate father will not listen to either until
Katharine shall have been married. In this apparently hopeless
situation a gleam of comfort appears, in the suit which the rich
gallant Petruchio, of Verona, pays to Katharine, in disgust with the
sycophants who have been manifesting such deference to his wealth. The
remainder of the story is occupied with the details of the various
processes by which he breaks and tames the shrew, and the ingenious
ruse by which Lucentio gains the hand of the lovely Bianca.

The curtain rises upon a night scene in Padua, with Lucentio before
Bianca's house singing a melodious serenade. Its strains are
interrupted, however, by a hurly-burly in the house, caused by the
shrew's demonstrations. The tumult is transferred to the street, and
gives occasion for a very vigorous ensemble. When the crowd disperses,
Lucentio resumes his serenade, Bianca appears upon the balcony, and
the two join in a very pleasing duet. This number is also interrupted
by Hortensio, at the head of a band of street musicians, who has also
come to serenade his mistress. The encounter of the two lovers brings
on a quarrel, which is averted, however, by the interposition of
Baptista. A duet follows between them, at the close of which Lucentio
retires. Petruchio now appears upon the scene, and learns from
Hortensio of Katharine's vixenish disposition, which determines him to
woo her. With a stirring song ("She is a Wife for such a Man
created"), the act comes to an end.

The second act opens in a chamber in Baptista's house, where Katharine
is berating Bianca for accepting serenades from suitors, and abuses
her even to blows. The scene closes with a vigorous song for Katharine
("I'll give myself to no one"), which is greeted with cynical applause
by Petruchio, Baptista, Lucentio, and Hortensio, who enter, the last
two disguised as teachers. In the next scene, Petruchio and Katharine
alone, we have the turbulent wooing, which is accompanied throughout
by characteristic music. As the others return Petruchio announces his
success in the song, "All is well," the theme of which is taken by the
quintet, closing the act.

The third is the most interesting act of the three. It opens on the
day selected for the wedding of Katharine and Petruchio, in Baptista's
garden; the first number being a charming quintet for Katharine,
Bianca, Lucentio, Hortensio, and Baptista. The guests are present, but
Petruchio is not there. An explanation is made, followed by a chorus
as the guests leave; and then Bianca is free to take her lessons, in
one of which Lucentio makes his avowal of love to her. The arrangement
of the two lessons is both unique and skilful. Lucentio turns the
familiar opening lines of the Æneid, "Arma virumque cano," etc., into
a love-song by declarations interposed between them; while Hortensio
explains the mysteries of the scale to her, each line of his love-song
beginning with one of its letters. It is soon found, however, that
Lucentio is the accepted lover. Baptista now enters and announces
Petruchio's return, which leads to a charming quartet. The finale of
the opera, which is very spirited, includes the preparations for the
marriage-feast, the wedding, and the scene in which Petruchio abruptly
forces his bride to leave with him for his country house.



GOLDMARK.

Karl Goldmark was born at Keszthely, Hungary, May 18, 1832. He first
studied with the violinist Jansa at Vienna, and in his fifteenth year
entered the Conservatory in that city. Little is known of the events
of his early life. Indeed, his success in his profession is generally
credited more to his native ability and industry than to the influence
of teachers or schools. He began composition at an early period, and
produced his works in concerts with much success under the
encouragement of Hellmesberger and others, who recognized his ability
before he had made any impression out of Vienna. Four of his
compositions during the past fifteen years, the "Sakuntala" overture,
the operas "The Queen of Sheba" and "Merlin," and "Die Iändliche
Hochzeit" (The Country Wedding) symphony have made a permanent
reputation for him. The overture and operas have been performed
several times in this country. Besides these he has written several
pieces of chamber music.


THE QUEEN OF SHEBA.

"The Queen of Sheba" was first produced in Vienna, March 10, 1875, and
was first heard in this country at New York, Dec. 2, 1885, when the
cast was as follows:--

  KING SOLOMON     Herr ROBINSON.
  HIGH-PRIEST      Herr FISCHER.
  SULAMITH         Fraülein LEHMANN.
  ASSAD            Herr STRITT.
  BAAL HANAN       Herr ALEXI.
  QUEEN OF SHEBA   Frau KRAMER-WEIDL.
  ASTAROTH         Fraülein BRANDT.

The libretto by Mosenthal is one of rare excellence in its skilful
treatment of situations and arrangement of scenes with the view to
spectacular and dramatic effect. The Biblical story has but little to
do with the action of the opera beyond the mere fact of the famous
visit of the Queen of Sheba to Solomon. The stirring episodes during
the journey and the visit spring from the librettist's imagination.
The story in substance is as follows:--

King Solomon, learning of the Queen's intention to visit him, sends
his favorite courtier Assad to escort her. While she waits outside the
gates of Jerusalem, Assad announces her arrival to the King and
Sulamith, the daughter of the high-priest, to whom the courtier is
affianced. Observing his disturbed looks, the King, after dismissing
his attendants, inquires the cause. Assad replies that on their
journey through the forest he had encountered a nymph bathing whose
beauty had so impressed him as to banish even the thoughts of his
affianced. The wise Solomon counsels him to marry Sulamith at once.
Meanwhile the Queen comes into the King's presence, and as she lifts
her veil reveals the unknown fair one. She affects ignorance of
Assad's passion; but when she learns that he is to wed Sulamith love
for him springs up in her own breast. Upon the day of the wedding
ceremony Assad, carried away by his longing for the Queen, declares
her to be his divinity, and is condemned to death for profaning the
Temple. Both the Queen and Sulamith appeal to the King for mercy. He
consents at last to save his life, but banishes him to the desert. The
Queen seeks him there, and makes an avowal of her love; but Assad
repulses her. As Sulamith comes upon the scene a simoom sweeps across
the desert. They perish in each other's arms; while in a mirage the
Queen and her attendants are seen journeying to their home.

The first act opens in the great hall of Solomon's palace with a
brilliant, joyous chorus ("Open the Halls, adorn the Portals") in
praise of the King's glory. After the entrance of the high-priest,
Sulamith sings a fascinating bridal song ("My own Assad returns"),
richly oriental both in music and sentiment, dreamy and luxurious in
its tone, and yet full of joyous expectation, with characteristic
choral refrain and dainty accompaniment. The fourth and fifth scenes
are full of agitation and unrest, and lead up to Assad's explanation
of his perturbed condition ("At Lebanon's Foot I met Arabia's Queen"),
a monologue aria of rich glowing color and reaching a fine dramatic
climax as it progresses from its sensuous opening to the passionate
intensity of its finale. It is followed by the entrance of the Queen,
accompanied by a brilliant march and a jubilant chorus ("To the Sun of
the South our Welcome we bring") and a stirring concerted number,
describing the recognition of the Queen by Assad; after which the
chorus resumes its jubilant strain, bringing the act to a close.

The second act opens in the gardens of the palace and discloses the
Queen, who gives expression to her love for Assad and her hatred of
Sulamith in an impassioned aria ("Let me from the festal Splendor").
In the second scene Astaroth, her slave, appears and lures Assad by a
weird strain, which is one of the most effective passages in the opera
("As the Heron calls in the Reeds"). After a short arioso by Assad
("Magical Sounds, intoxicating Fragrance"), a passionate duet with the
Queen follows, interrupted by the call of the Temple-guard to prayer.
The scene changes to the interior of the sanctuary with its religious
service; and with it the music changes also to solemn Hebrew melodies
with the accompaniment of the sacred instruments, leading up to the
stirring finale in which Assad declares his passion for the Queen,
amid choruses of execration by the people.

The third act opens in the banquet-hall upon a scene of festivity
introduced by the graceful bee dance of the Almas. It is followed by
the powerful appeal of the Queen for Assad's life, rising to an
intensely dramatic pitch as she warns the King of the revenge of her
armed hosts ("When Sheba's iron Lances splinter and Zion's Throne in
Ruins falls"). In sad contrast comes the mournful chant which
accompanies Sulamith as she passes to the vestal's home ("The Hour
that robbed me of him"), and ends in her despairing cry rising above
the chorus of attendants as Solomon also refuses her petition.

The last act passes in the desert. Assad beneath a solitary palm-tree
laments the destiny which pursues him ("Whither shall I wend my weary
Steps?"). In the next scene the Queen appears, and an agitated duet
follows, ending with her repulse. Assad in despair calls upon death to
relieve him. The sky darkens. Clouds of sand envelop the fugitive. The
palm bends before the blast as the simoom sweeps by. The storm at last
subsides. The sky grows brighter; and the Queen and her attendants,
with their elephants and camels, appear in a mirage journeying
eastward as Sulamith and her lover expire in each other's arms. As
their duet dies away, the chorus of maidens brings the act to a close
with a few strains from the love-song in the first act.


MERLIN.

The opera of "Merlin" was first performed at Vienna, Nov. 17, 1886,
and was heard for the first time in this country at New York, Jan. 3,
1887, under the direction of Mr. Walter Damrosch, with the following
cast:--

  KING ARTHUR        Herr ROBINSON.
  MODRED             Herr KEMLITZ.
  LANCELOT           Herr BURSCH.
  GAWEIN             Herr HEINRICH.
  GLENDOWER          Herr VON MILDE.
  MERLIN             Herr ALVARY.
  VIVIANE            Fraülein LEHMANN.
  BEDWYR             Herr SIEGLITZ.
  THE FAY MORGANA    Fraülein BRANDT.
  THE DEMON          Herr FISCHER.

The libretto of the opera is by Siegfried Lipiner. The scene is laid
in Wales, and the hero, Merlin, is familiar as one of the knights of
King Arthur's round-table. The story is as follows:--

The Devil, ambitious to banish all good from the world, unites himself
to a virgin in order that he may beget a child who shall aid him in
his fell purpose. The child is Merlin, who partakes of the mother's
goodness, and instead of aiding his father, seeks to thwart his
design. The Devil thereupon consults the Fay Morgana, who tells him
that Merlin will lose his power if he falls in love. In the opening
scene King Arthur sends Lancelot to Merlin for aid, who promises him
victory and achieves it by the assistance of his familiar, a demon,
who is in league with the Devil. Tired of his service to Merlin, the
demon contrives to have him meet the beautiful Viviane, with whom he
falls in love. The second act transpires in Merlin's enchanted garden,
and reveals his growing passion, and at the same time his waning power
of magic; for when once more Arthur summons his aid he attempts to
tear himself away from her only to realize his weakness. She seeks to
detain him by throwing a magic veil over him which has been given her
by the demon; in an instant the scene changes, and Merlin appears
confined to a rock by fiery chains, while the demon mocks him from a
neighboring eminence, and Viviane gives way to anguish. In the last
act Viviane is told by the Fay Morgana that Merlin's release can only
be secured by woman's self-sacrifice. Once more an appeal for help
comes to him from Arthur, and he promises his soul to the demon in
exchange for his freedom. His chains fall off. He rushes into the
battle and secures the victory, but is fatally wounded. The demon
claims him; but Viviane, remembering the words of the Fay Morgana,
stabs herself and thus balks him of his expectant prey.

Like Wagner's operas, "Merlin" has its motives, the principal ones
being that of the demon, or the evil principle, and two love motives.
In its general treatment it is also Wagnerish. The first scene opens
with the spirited message of Lancelot to Glendower, beseeching
Merlin's aid for the hard-pressed Arthur. It is followed by the
strains of Merlin's harp in the castle and his assurance of victory,
and these in turn by very descriptive incantation music summoning the
demon and the supernatural agencies which will compass the defeat of
Arthur's enemies. Then comes the interview between the demon and the
Fay Morgana, in which he learns the secret of Merlin's weakness. In
the next scene Arthur returns from his victory over the Saxons to the
tempo of a stirring march, and accompanied by the joyous choruses of
women. A vigorous episode, in which Bedwyr, one of Arthur's knights,
is charged with treachery, is followed by Merlin's chant of victory
with chorus accompaniment. As its strains die away a distant horn
announces Viviane, who makes her appearance singing a breezy hunting
song with her maidens, leading up to a spirited septet. Then follows
the baffled attempt of Viviane to crown Merlin, the scene closing with
a repetition of the chant of victory and the choruses of jubilation.

The second act opens in the enchanted gardens of Merlin; and the first
scene reveals a conspiracy to seize the crown during Arthur's absence
and proclaim Modred king, and the farewell of Arthur and his suite to
Merlin. The magic-veil scene follows with its fascinating dance
tempos, and leads with its graceful measures up to the passionate
love-scene between Merlin and Viviane, which is harshly broken in upon
by the clash of arms between Modred and his perfidious companions and
the faithful friends of Arthur. A dramatic scene of great energy
follows, in which Viviane at last throws the magic veil around Merlin
with the transforming results already told.

The last act opens with Viviane's mournful lament for the wretched
fate which she has brought down upon her lover, and the announcement
of the means by which he may be released made to her in slumber by the
Fay Morgana. Her maidens seek to rouse her with choral appeals, in
which are heard phrases of her hunting song. Meanwhile mocking spirits
appear about Merlin and taunt him in characteristic music. Then
follows the compact with the demon, which releases him. He rushes into
the battle accompanied by an exultant song from Viviane; but soon the
funeral march, as his followers bear him from the field, tells the
mournful story of his fate. A very dramatic ensemble contains the deed
of self-sacrifice, by which Viviane ends her life to redeem Merlin
from the demon, and with this powerful effect the opera closes.



GOUNOD.

Charles François Gounod was born, in Paris, June 17, 1818. He studied
music in the Conservatory, under the direction of Halevy, Lesueur, and
Paer, and in 1839 obtained the first prize, and, under the usual
regulations, went to Italy. While at Rome he devoted himself largely
to religious music. On his return to Paris he became organist of the
Missions Étrangères, and for a time seriously thought of taking
orders. In 1851, however, he brought out his first opera, "Sappho,"
which met with success. At this point his active career began. In 1852
he became conductor of the Orphéon, and wrote the choruses for
Ponsard's tragedy of "Ulysse." The year 1854 brought a five-act opera,
"La Nonne Sanglante," founded on a legend in Lewis's "Monk." In 1858
he made his first essay in opera comique, and produced "Le Médecin
malgré lui," which met with remarkable success. The next year "Faust"
was performed, and placed him in the front rank of living composers.
"Philémon et Baucis" appeared in 1860, and "La Reine de Saba," which
was afterwards performed in English as "Irene," in 1862. In 1863 he
brought out the pretty pastoral opera "Mireille." This was succeeded
in 1866 by "La Colombe," known in English as "The Pet Dove," and in
1867 by "Roméo et Juliette." In 1877 he produced "Cinq Mars," and in
1878 his last opera, "Polyeucte." He has also written much church
music, the more important works being the "Messe Solenelle," a "Stabat
Mater," the oratorio "Tobie," a "De Profundis," an "Ave Verum," and
many single hymns and songs, among which "Nazareth" is universally
popular. His list of compositions for orchestra is also very large,
and includes such popular pieces as the "Saltarello," "Funeral March
of a Marionette," and the Meditation, based on Bach's First Prelude,
which is accompanied by a soprano solo. He was elected a member of the
Institut de France in 1866.


FAUST.

"Faust," a grand opera in five acts, words by Barbier and Carré,
founded upon Goethe's tragedy, was first produced at the Théâtre
Lyrique, Paris, March 19, 1859, with the following cast of the
principal parts:--

  MARGUERITE        Mme. MIOLAN-CARVALHO.
  SIEBEL            Mlle. FAIVRE.
  FAUST             M. BARBOT.
  VALENTIN          M. REGNAL.
  MEPHISTOPHELES    M. BALANQUÉ.
  MARTHA            Mme. DUCLOS.

The opera was first produced in London as "Faust," June 11, 1863; in
English, Jan. 23, 1864; and in Germany as "Margarethe."

The story of the opera follows Goethe's tragedy very closely, and is
confined to the first part. It may be briefly told. Faust, an aged
German student, satiated with human knowledge and despairing of his
ability to unravel the secrets of nature, summons the evil spirit
Mephistopheles to his assistance, and contracts to give him his soul
in exchange for a restoration to youth. Mephistopheles effects the
transformation, and reveals to him the vision of Marguerite, a
beautiful village maiden, with whom Faust at once falls in love. They
set out upon their travels and encounter her at the Kermesse. She has
been left by her brother Valentin, a soldier, in care of Dame Martha,
who proves herself a careless guardian. Their first meeting is a
casual one; but subsequently he finds her in her garden, and with the
help of the subtle Mephistopheles succeeds in engaging the young
girl's affection. Her simple lover, Siebel, is discarded, and his
nosegay is thrown away at sight of the jewels with which Faust tempts
her. When Valentin returns from the wars he learns of her temptation
and subsequent ruin. He challenges the seducer, and in the encounter
is slain by the intervention of Mephistopheles. Overcome by the horror
of her situation, Marguerite becomes insane, and in her frenzy kills
her child. She is thrown into prison, where Faust and Mephistopheles
find her. Faust urges her to fly with them, but she refuses, and
places her reliance for salvation upon earnest prayer, and sorrow for
the wrong she has done. Pleading for forgiveness, she expires; and as
Mephistopheles exults at the catastrophe he has wrought, angels appear
amid the music of the celestial choirs and bear the sufferer to
heaven.

The first act is in the nature of a prelude, and opens with a long
soliloquy ("Interrogo invano") by Faust, in which he laments the
unsatisfactoriness of life. It is interwoven with delightful snatches
of chorus heard behind the scenes, a duet with Mephistopheles ("Ma il
ciel"), and the delicate music accompanying the vision of Marguerite.

The second act is contained in a single setting, the Kermesse, in
which the chorus plays an important part. In the first scene the
choruses of students, soldiers, old men, girls, and matrons are
quaintly contrasted, and are full of animation and characteristic
color. In the second, Valentin sings a tender song ("O santa
medaglia") to a medallion of his sister which he wears as a charm. It
is followed by a grim and weird drinking-song ("Dio dell' or"), sung
by Mephistopheles. The latter then strikes fire from the fountain into
his cup, and proposes the health of Marguerite. Valentin springs
forward to resent the insult, only to find his sword broken in his
hands. The students and soldiers recognize the spirit of evil, and
overcome him by presenting the hilts of their swords in the form of a
cross, the scene being accompanied by one of the most effective
choruses in the work ("Tu puvi la spada"). The tempter gone, the scene
resumes its gayety, and the act closes with one of the most animated
and delightful of waltz tempos ("Come la brezza").

The third act is the Garden scene, full of fascinating detail, and
breathes the very spirit of poetry and music combined in a picture of
love which has never been excelled in tenderness and beauty on the
operatic stage. Its principal numbers are a short and simple but very
beautiful ballad for Siebel ("La parlate d'amor"); a passionate aria
for tenor ("Salve dimora casta e pura"), in which Faust greets
Marguerite's dwelling; a double number, which is superb in its
contrasts,--the folk-song, "C'era un re di Thule," a plaintive little
ballad sung at the spinning-wheel by Marguerite, and the bravura
jewel-song, "Ah! e' strano poter," which is the very essence of
delicacy and almost-childish glee; the quartet commencing,
"V'appogiato al bracchio mio," which is of striking interest by the
independent manner in which the two pairs of voices are treated and
combined in the close; and the closing duet ("Sempre amar") between
Faust and Marguerite, which is replete with tenderness and passion,
and closes in strains of almost ecstatic rapture, the fatal end of
which is foreshadowed by the mocking laugh of Mephistopheles breaking
in upon its lingering cadences.

The fourth act is known as the Cathedral act, and established Gounod's
reputation as a writer of serious music. It opens with a scena for
Marguerite, who has been taunted by the girls at the fountain
("Nascose eran là le crudeli "), in which she laments her sad fate.
The scene abruptly changes to the square in front of the cathedral,
where the soldiers, Valentin among them, are returning, to the
jubilant though somewhat commonplace strains of the march, "Deponiam
il branda." As the soldiers retire and Valentin goes in quest of
Marguerite, Faust and Mephistopheles appear before the house, and the
latter sings a grotesque and literally infernal serenade ("Tu, che fai
l' addormentata"). Valentin appears and a quarrel ensues, leading up
to a spirited trio. Valentin is slain, and with his dying breath
pronounces a malediction ("Margherita! maledetta") upon his sister.
The scene changes to the church, and in wonderful combination we hear
the appeals of Marguerite for mercy, the taunting voice of the
tempter, and the monkish chanting of the "Dies Irae" mingled with the
solemn strains of the organ.

The last act is usually presented in a single scene, the Prison, but
it contains five changes. After a weird prelude, the Walpurgis revel
begins, in which short, strange phrases are heard from unseen singers.
The night scene changes to a hall of pagan enchantment, and again to
the Brocken, where the apparition of Marguerite is seen. The orgy is
resumed, when suddenly by another transformation we are taken to the
prison where Marguerite is awaiting death. It is unnecessary to give
its details. The scene takes the form of a terzetto, which is worked
up with constantly increasing power to a climax of passionate energy,
and at last dies away as Marguerite expires. It stands almost alone
among effects of this kind in opera. The curtain falls upon a
celestial chorus of apotheosis, the vision of the angels, and
Mephistopheles cowering in terror before the heavenly messengers.


ROMEO AND JULIET.

"Roméo et Juliette," a grand opera in five acts, words by Barbier and
Carré, the subject taken from Shakspeare's tragedy of the same name,
was first produced at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, April 27, 1867, with
Mme. Miolan-Carvalho in the rôle of Juliet. The story as told by the
French dramatists in the main follows Shakspeare's tragedy very
closely in its construction as well as in its dialogue. It is only
necessary, therefore, to sketch its outlines. The first act opens with
the festival at the house of Capulet. Juliet and Romeo meet there and
fall in love, notwithstanding her betrothal to Paris. The hot-blooded
Tybalt seeks to provoke a quarrel with Romeo, but is restrained by
Capulet himself, and the act comes to a close with a resumption of the
merry festivities. In the second act we have the balcony scene, quite
literally taken from Shakspeare, with an episode, however, in the form
of a temporary interruption by Gregory and retainers, whose appearance
is rather absurd than otherwise. The third act is constructed in two
scenes. The first is in the friar's cell, where the secret marriage of
the lovers takes place. In the second, we are introduced to a new
character, invented by the librettist,--Stephano, Romeo's page, whose
pranks while in search of his master provoke a general quarrel, in
which Mercutio is slain by Tybalt, who in turn is killed by Romeo.
When Capulet arrives upon the scene he condemns Romeo to banishment,
who vows, however, that he will see Juliet again at all hazards. The
fourth act is also made up of two scenes. The first is in Juliet's
chamber, and is devoted to a duet between the two lovers. Romeo departs
at dawn, and Capulet appears with Friar Laurence and announces his
determination that the marriage with Paris shall be celebrated at once.
Juliet implores the Friar's help, and he gives her the potion. The next
scene is devoted to the wedding festivity, in the midst of which Juliet
falls insensible from the effects of the sleeping-draught. The last act
transpires in the tomb of the Capulets, where Romeo arrives, and
believing his mistress dead takes poison. Juliet, reviving from the
effects of the potion, and finding him dying, stabs herself with a
dagger, and expires in his arms.

While many numbers are greatly admired, the opera as a whole has never
been successful. Had not "Faust," which it often recalls, preceded it,
its fate might have been different.  Still, it contains many strong
passages and much beautiful writing. The favorite numbers are the
waltz arietta, very much in the manner of the well-known "Il Bacio,"
at the Capulet festival, the Queen Mab song, by Mercutio ("Mab, regina
di menzogne"), and the duet between Romeo and Juliet ("Di grazia, t'
arresta ancor!"), in the first act; the love music in the balcony
scene of the second act, which inevitably recalls the garden music in
"Faust;" an impressive solo for Friar Laurence ("Al vostro amor
cocente"), followed by a vigorous trio and quartet, the music of which
is massive and ecclesiastical in character, and the page's song ("Ah!
col nibbio micidale"), in the third act; the duet of parting between
Romeo and Juliet, "Tu dei partir ohime!" the quartet, "Non temero mio
ben," between Juliet, the nurse, Friar Laurence, and Capulet, and the
dramatic solo for the Friar, "Bevi allor questo filtro," as he gives
the potion to Juliet, in the fourth act; and the elaborate orchestral
prelude to the tomb scene in the last act.


MIREILLE.

"Mireille," a pastoral opera in three acts, words by M. Carré, the
subject taken from "Mireio," a Provençal poem by Mistral, was first
produced at the Théâtre Lyrique, Paris, March 19, 1864, with the
following cast:--

  MIREILLE      Mme. MIOLAN-CARVALHO
  TAVENA      | Mme. FAURE-LEFEBVRE.
  ANDRELUNO   |
  VINCENZINA    Mlle. LEROUX.
  VINCENZO      M. ISMIEL.
  URIAS         M. PETIT.
  RAIMONDO      M. MORINI.

In December, 1864, the opera was reduced to three acts, in which form
it is still given. In this abridged shape, and with the addition of
the waltz now placed in the finale, it was brought out in London with
Titiens, Giuglini, Santley, and Trebelli in the cast. In English it is
always given under the title of "Mirella." The first scene opens in a
mulberry grove, where Mireille is rallied by the village girls upon
her attachment to Vincenzo, the basket-maker, and is also warned by
Tavena, the fortune-teller, against yielding to her love, as she
foresees that her father, Raimondo, will never consent to the union.
In the next scene she meets Vincenzo, and the warning of Tavena is
soon forgotten. The lovers renew their pledges, and agree to meet at
the Chapel of the Virgin if their plans are thwarted. The second act
introduces us to a merrymaking at Arles, where Mireille is informed by
Tavena that Vincenzo has a rival in Urias, a wild herdsman, who has
openly declared his love for her, and asked her hand of her father.
Mireille repulses him when he brings the father's consent. Ambrogio,
Vincenzo's father, accompanied by his daughter, Vincenzina, also waits
upon Raimondo and intercedes in his son's behalf, but is sternly
refused. Mireille, who has overheard the interview, declares to her
father her irrevocable attachment for Vincenzo. Her declaration throws
him into such a rage that he is about to strike her, but she disarms
his anger by appealing to the memory of her mother.

The last act opens on a barren, sunburnt plain. Andreluno appears,
singing a pastoral song to the accompaniment of his bagpipe, followed
by Mireille, who is toiling across the hot sands to meet her lover at
the Chapel of the Virgin. She is met by Tavena, who assures her that
Vincenzo will keep his appointment, and then returns to Arles to plead
with the father in Mireille's behalf. The poor girl toils on through
the heat, and at last arrives nearly prostrated by sunstroke. Vincenzo
soon appears, and is shortly followed by Raimondo, who, seeing the sad
condition of his daughter, is moved to pity and gives his consent to
the union of the lovers. The sudden joyful change of affairs restores
her wandering senses and the happy pair are united.

The music is in no sense dramatic, but lyric and pastoral throughout,
and is specially marked by the beautiful French chansons with which it
abounds. The first act opens with a delightful pastoral chorus of the
maidens under the mulberry-trees ("Facciam carole, o giovinette"),
which is very fresh and graceful. The second begins with an equally
delightful chorus and farandole ("La Farandola tutti consola"),
followed by the beautiful Provençal folk-song, "Dolce una brezza,
intorno olezza," which is full of local color. Tavena sings a quaint
fortune-teller's roundelay ("La stagione arriva"), and in the next
scene Mireille has a number of rare beauty ("Ah! piu non temo fato "),
in which she declares her unalterable attachment to Vincenzo. The
finale of this act, with its strong aria ("Qui mi prostro innanzi
ate"), is very spirited, and in fact may be considered the only
dramatic episode in the whole work. The third act opens with the
quaint little song of Andreluno, the shepherd boy ("L'alba
tranquilla"), with oboe accompaniment. It also contains a plaintive
song for tenor ("Ah! se de preghi miei"), and closes with a waltz song
("O d'amor messagera"), which is fairly gorgeous in bravura effects,
and Hanslick says was a concession to Miolan-Carvalho, like the jewel
song in "Faust" and the waltz song in "Romeo and Juliet." In the
original libretto the song had its place in the first act, and indeed
numerous changes have been made in the libretto since the opera first
appeared; as in the original, Mireille dies in the arms of her lover,
and Urias, Vincenzo's rival, is drowned in the Rhone. When it first
appeared, however, great objection was made to several of the
situations, and the libretto was declared fantastic and uninteresting;
hence the changes. As a lyric drama, delightfully picturing the
quaintness and simplicity of provincial life, not alone in the
tunefulness of the music, but also in its pastoral naïveté and what
may be termed its folk-characteristics, it will hold a high place upon
the stage as long as young and fresh voices can be found to sing it.



HALEVY.

Jacques François Fromenthal Elias Halevy was born at Paris, May 27,
1799, of Israelitish parents, whose name was originally Levy. He
entered the Conservatory in 1809, and in 1819 obtained the Grand Prize
for his cantata of "Hermione." After his arrival in Italy he wrote
several minor pieces, but his music did not attract public attention
until his return to Paris, when his three-act opera, "Clari," brought
out Dec. 9, 1828, with Malibran in the principal rôle, made a success.
"Le Dilettante d'Avignon" (a satire on Italian librettos), "Manon
Lescaut" (a ballet in three acts), "La Langue Musicàle," "La
Tentation," and "Les Souvenirs" rapidly followed "Clari," with
alternating successes and failures. In 1835 his great work, "La
Juive," appeared, and in the same year, "L'Éclair," one of his most
charming operas, written without chorus for two tenors and two
sopranos. It was considered at the time a marvellous feat that he
should have produced two such opposite works in the same year, and
great hopes were entertained that he would surpass them. These hopes
failed, however. He subsequently wrote over twenty operas, among them
"Guido et Ginevra" (1838); "Charles VI." (1842); "La Reine de Chypre"
(1842); "Les Mousquetaires de la Reine" (1846); "Le Val d'Andorre"
(1848); "La Tempête" (1853): "Le Juif Errant" (1855), and others; but
"La Juive" and "L'Éclair" remained his masterpieces, and procured him
admission into the Institute. He was also a professor in the
Conservatory, and among his pupils were Gounod, Massé, Bazin,
Duvernoy, Bizet, and others. He enjoyed many honors, and died March
17, 1862. A De Profundis was sung on the occasion of his funeral,
written by four of his pupils, MM. Gounod, Massé, Bazin, and Cohen. As
a composer he was influenced largely by Meyerbeer, and is remarkable
rather for his large dramatic effects than for his melody.


THE JEWESS

"La Juive," a grand opera in five acts, words by Scribe, originally
written for Rossini and rejected in favor of "William Tell," was
produced for the first time at the Académie, Paris, Feb. 23, 1835,
with the following cast of the principal parts:--

  RACHEL      Mlle. CORNELIA FALCON.
  EUDOXIA     Mme. DORUS-GRAS.
  ELEAZAR     M. NOURRIT.
  CARDINAL    M. LEVASSEUR.

It was first produced in England in French, July 29, 1846, and in
Italian under the title of "La Ebrea," July 25, 1850. In this country
it is most familiar in the German version. The scene of the opera is
laid in Constance, time, 1414. Leopold, a prince of the empire,
returning from the wars, is enamoured of Rachel, a beautiful Jewess,
daughter of Eleazar the goldsmith. The better to carry out his plans,
he calls himself Samuel, and pretends to be a Jewish painter.
Circumstances, however, dispel the illusion, and Rachel learns that he
is no other than Leopold, husband of the princess Eudoxia. Overcome
with indignation at the discovery of his perfidy, she publicly
denounces his crime, and the Cardinal excommunicates Leopold, and
pronounces his malediction on Rachel and her father. Rachel, Eleazar,
and Leopold are thrown into prison to await the execution of the
sentence of death. During their imprisonment Eudoxia intercedes with
Rachel to save Leopold's life, and at last, moved by the grief of the
rightful wife, she publicly recants her statement. Leopold is
banished, but Rachel and her father are again condemned to death for
conspiring against the life of a Christian. Eleazar determines to be
revenged in the moment of death upon the Cardinal, who has sentenced
them, and who is at the head of a church which he hates; and just
before they are thrown into a caldron of fire, reveals to the
spectators that Rachel is not his own, but an adopted daughter, saved
from the ruins of the Cardinal's burning palace, and that she is his
child.

The opera of "The Jewess" is pre-eminently spectacular, and its music
is dramatic and declamatory rather than melodious. The prominent
numbers of the first act are the solemn declaration of the Cardinal
("Wenn ew'ger Hass"), in which he replies to Eleazar's hatred of the
Christian; the romance sung by Leopold ("Fern vom Liebchen weilen"),
which is in the nature of a serenade to Rachel; the drinking-song of
the people at the fountain, which is flowing wine ("Eilt herbei"); and
the splendid chorus and march ("Leht, es nahet sich der Zug") which
preludes the imposing pageantry music of the Emperor's arrival,
closing with the triumphant Te Deum to organ accompaniment and the
greeting to the Emperor, "Hosanna, unser Kaiser hoch."

The second act opens with the celebration of the Passover in Eleazar's
house, and introduces a very solemn and impressive prayer
("Allmächt'ger blicke gnädig"). In the next scene there is a
passionate ensemble and duet for Eudoxia and Leopold ("Ich will ihn
seh'n"), which is followed by a second spirited duet between Rachel
and Leopold ("Als mein Herz"); an intensely dramatic aria ("Ach!
Vater! Halt ein!"), in which she claims her share of Leopold's guilt;
and the final grand trio of anathema pronounced by Eleazar.

The third act is principally devoted to the festivities of the royal
pageants, and closes with the anathema of the Cardinal ("Ihr, die ihr
Gottes Zorn"), which is a concerted number of magnificent power and
spirited dramatic effect. The fourth act contains a grand duet between
Eleazar and the Cardinal ("Hört ich recht?"), and closes with one of
the most powerful scenas ever written for tenor ("Das Todesurtheil
sprich"), in which Eleazar welcomes death and hurls defiance at the
Christians. The last act is occupied with the tragic dénouement, which
affords splendid opportunities for action, and is accompanied by very
dramatic music to the close, often rising to real sublimity. In the
pageantry of the stage, in the expression of high and passionate
sentiment, in elaborateness of treatment, and in broad and powerful
dramatic effect, "The Jewess" is one of the strongest operas in the
modern repertory.



HUMPERDINCK.

Engelbert Humperdinck, the latest star in the German musical
firmament, was born, Sept. 1, 1854, at Siegburg on the Rhine, and
received his earliest musical training at the Cologne Conservatory. He
made such rapid progress in his studies, showing special proficiency
in composition, that he carried off in succession the three prizes of
the Mozart, Mendelssohn, and Meyerbeer stipends. These enabled him to
continue his lessons at Munich, and afterwards in Italy. While in
Naples, in 1880, he attracted the attention of Richard Wagner as a
rising genius, and two years later had the honor of an invitation to
go to Venice as his guest, upon the occasion of the performance of
Wagner's only symphony. In 1885 he went to Barcelona, Spain, where he
taught composition, and was the director of a quartette at the Royal
Conservatory for two years. In 1887 he returned to Cologne, and since
1890 has been identified with a Conservatory at Frankfort-on-the-Main.
In addition to the opera "Hansel and Gretel," which has given him a
world-wide fame, he produced, a few years ago, a chorus ballad, "Das
Glück von Edenhall," and a cantata, "Die Wallfahrt nach Kevelaar,"
based upon Heine's poem, and scored for soloists, chorus, and
orchestra. He has also written several songs and piano pieces, and, it
is now reported, is engaged upon a dramatic composition called "The
Royal Children." He is regarded in Germany as the one composer who
gives promise of continuing and developing the scheme of the
music-drama as it was propounded by Wagner.


HANSEL AND GRETEL.

"Hansel and Gretel," a fairy opera in three acts, words by Adelheid
Wette, was first produced in Germany in 1894. In January, 1895, it was
performed in London by the Royal Carl Rosa Opera Company, rendered
into English by Constance Bache; and in the fall of the same year it
had its first representation in New York, at Daly's Theatre, with the
following cast:--

  PETER, a broom-maker       Mr. JACQUES BARS.
  GERTRUDE, his wife         Miss ALICE GORDON.
  THE WITCH                  Miss LOUISE MEISSLINGER.
  HANSEL                     Miss MARIE ELBA.
  GRETEL                     Miss JEANNE DOUSTE.
  SANDMAN, the Sleep Fairy   Miss CECILE BRANI.
  DEWMAN, the Dawn Fairy     Miss EDITH JOHNSTON.

The story is taken from one of Grimm's well-known fairy tales, and the
text was written by the composer's sister, Adelheid Wette. It was Frau
Wette's intention to arrange the story in dramatic form for the
amusement of her children, her brother lending his co-operation by
writing a few little melodies, of a simple nature, to accompany the
performance. When he had read it, however, the story took his fancy,
and its dramatic possibilities so appealed to him that he determined
to give it an operatic setting with full orchestral score, and thus
placed it in the higher sphere of world performance by an art which
not alone reveals the highest type of genial German sentimentality,
but, curiously enough, applied to this simple little story of angels,
witches, and the two babes in the woods the same musical methods which
Wagner has employed in telling the stories of gods and demigods.
Perhaps its highest praise was sounded by Siegfried Wagner, son of
Richard Wagner, who declared that "Hansel and Gretel" was the most
important German opera since "Parsifal," notwithstanding its
childishness and simplicity.

After a beautifully instrumented prelude, which has already become a
favorite concert piece, the curtain rises upon the home of Peter, the
broom-maker. The parents are away seeking for food, and Hansel and
Gretel have been left in the cottage with instructions to knit and
make brooms. There is a charming dialogue between the two children,
beginning with a doleful lament over their poverty, and ending with an
outburst of childish hilarity in song and dancing,--a veritable romp
in music,--which is suddenly interrupted by the return of Gertrude,
the mother, empty-handed, who chides them for their behavior, and in
her anger upsets a jug of milk which was the only hope of supper in
the house. With an energetic outburst of recitative she sends them
into the forest, telling them not to return until they have filled
their basket with strawberries. After lamenting her loss, and mourning
over her many troubles, she falls asleep, but is awakened by the
return of Peter, who has been more fortunate, and has brought home
some provisions. A rollicking scene ensues, but suddenly he misses the
children, and breaks out in a fit of rage when he is informed that
they have gone into the forest. To the accompaniment of most gruesome
and characteristic music he tells his wife of the witch who haunts the
woods, and who, living in a honey-cake house, entices little children
to it, bakes them into gingerbread in her oven, and then devours them.

The second act, "In the Forest," is preluded by a characteristic
instrumental number, "The Witches' Ride." The children are discovered
near the Ilsenstein, among the fir-trees, making garlands, listening
to the cuckoos, and mocking them in a beautiful duet with echo
accompaniment. At last, however, they realize that they are lost; and
in the midst of their fear, which is intensified by strange sights and
sounds, the Sandman, or sleep fairy, approaches them, strews sand in
their eyes, and sings them to sleep with a most delicious lullaby,
after they have recited their prayer, "When at night I go to sleep,
fourteen Angels watch do keep." As they sleep the mist rolls away, the
forest background disappears, and the fourteen angels come down a sort
of Jacob's ladder and surround the children, while other angels
perform a stately dance, grouping themselves in picturesque tableau as
the curtain falls.

The third act is entitled "The Witch's House." The children are still
sleeping, but the angels have vanished. The Dawn-Fairy steps forward
and shakes dewdrops from a bluebell over them, accompanying the action
with a delightful song, "I'm up with early Dawning." Gretel is the
first to wake, and rouses Hansel by tickling him with a leaf, at the
same time singing a veritable tickling melody, and then telling him
what she has seen in her dream. In place of the fir-trees they
discover the witch's house at the Ilsenstein, with an oven on one side
and on the other a cage, both joined to the house by a curious fence
of gingerbread figures. The house itself is constructed of sweets and
creams. Attracted by its delicious fragrance and toothsomeness, the
hungry children break off a piece and are nibbling at it, when the old
witch within surprises and captures them. After a series of
incantations, and much riding upon her broomstick, which are vividly
portrayed in the music, she prepares to cook Gretel in the oven; but
while looking into it the children deftly tumble her into the fire.
The witch waltz, danced by the children and full of joyous abandon,
follows. To a most vivid accompaniment, Hansel rushes into the house
and throws fruit, nuts, and sweetmeats into Gretel's apron. Meanwhile
the oven falls into bits, and a crowd of children swarms around them,
released from their gingerbread disguises, and sing a swelling chorus
of gratitude as two of the boys drag the witch from the ruins of the
oven in the form of a big gingerbread-cake. The father and mother
appear. Their long quest is ended. The family join in singing a pious
little hymn, "When past bearing is our grief, God the Lord will send
relief;" and the children dance joyously around the reunited group.
The story is only a little child's tale, but it is wedded to music of
the highest order. The union has been made so deftly, the motives are
so charming and take their places so skilfully, and the music is so
scholarly and characteristic throughout, that no one has yet
considered this union as incongruous. In this respect "Hansel and
Gretel" is a distinct creation in the operatic world.



LEONCAVALLO.

Ruggiero Leoncavallo, a promising representative of the young Italian
school, was born in Naples, March 8, 1858. He first studied with Siri,
and afterwards learned harmony and the piano from Simonetti. While a
student at the Naples Conservatory he was advised by Rossi, one of his
teachers, to devote himself to opera. In pursuance of this counsel, he
went to Bologna, and there wrote his first opera, "Tommaso
Chatterton," which still remains in manuscript and unperformed. Then
followed a series of "wander years," during which he visited many
European countries, giving lessons in singing and upon the piano, and
meeting with varying fortunes. In all these years, however, he
cherished the plan of producing a trilogy in the Wagnerian manner with
a groundwork from Florentine history. In a letter he says: "I
subdivided the historical periods in the following way: first part, 'I
Medici,' from the accession of Sextus IV. to the Pazzi conspiracy;
second part, 'Savonorola,' from the investiture of Fra Benedetto to
the death of Savonorola; third part, 'Cesare Borgia,' from the death
of the Duke of Candia to that of Alexander VI." The first part was
completed and performed in Milan in November, 1893, and was a failure,
notwithstanding its effective instrumentation. It was not so, however,
with the little two-act opera "I Pagliacci," which was produced May
21, 1892, at Milan, and met with an instantaneous and enthusiastic
success. His next work was a chorus with orchestral accompaniment, the
text based upon Balzac's rhapsodical and highly wrought "Seraphita,"
which was performed at Milan in 1894. It has been recently reported
that the Emperor of Germany has given him a commission to produce an
opera upon a national subject, "Roland of Berlin." Of his works, "I
Pagliacci" is the only one known in the United States. It has met with
great favor here, and has become standard in the Italian repertory.


I PAGLIACCI.

"I Pagliacci," an Italian opera in two acts, words by the composer,
Ruggiero Leoncavallo, was first performed at Milan, May 21, 1892, and
was introduced in this country in the spring of 1894, Mme. Arnoldson,
Mme. Calvé, and Signors Ancona, Gromzeski, Guetary, and De Lucia
taking the principal parts. The scene is laid in Calabria during the
Feast of the Assumption. The Pagliacci are a troupe of itinerant
mountebanks, the characters being Nedda, the Columbine, who is wife of
Canio, or Punchinello, master of the troupe; Tonio, the Clown; Beppe,
the Harlequin; and Silvio, a villager.

The first act opens with the picturesque arrival of the troupe in the
village, and the preparations for a performance in the rustic theatre,
with which the peasants are overjoyed. The tragic element of the
composition is apparent at once, and the action moves swiftly on to
the fearful dénouement. Tonio, the clown, is in love with Nedda, and
before the performance makes advances to her, which she resents by
slashing him across the face with Beppe's riding-whip. He rushes off
vowing revenge, and upon his return overhears Nedda declaring her
passion for Silvio, a young peasant, and arranging to elope with him.
Tonio thereupon seeks Canio, and tells him of his wife's infidelity.
Canio hurries to the spot, encounters Nedda; but Silvio has fled, and
she refuses to give his name. He attempts to stab her, but is
prevented by Beppe, and the act closes with the final preparation for
the show, the grief-stricken husband donning the motley in gloomy and
foreboding silence.

The second act opens with Tonio beating the big drum, and the people
crowding to the show, among them Silvio, who manages to make an
appointment with Nedda while she is collecting the money. The curtain
of the little theatre rises, disclosing a small room barely furnished.
The play to be performed is almost an identical picture of the real
situation in the unfortunate little troupe. Columbine, who is to
poison her husband, Punchinello, is entertaining her lover, Harlequin,
while Taddeo, the clown, watches for Punchinello's return. When Canio
finally appears the mimic tragedy becomes one in reality. Inflamed
with passion, he rushes upon Nedda, and demands the name of her lover.
She still refuses to tell. He draws his dagger. Nedda, conscious of
her danger, calls upon Silvio in the audience to save her; but it is
too late. Her husband kills her, and Silvio, who rushes upon the
stage, is killed with the same dagger. With a wild cry full of hate,
jealousy, and despair, the unfortunate Canio tells the audience "La
commedia è finita" ("The comedy is finished"). The curtain falls upon
the tragedy, and the excited audience disperses.

The story is peculiarly Italian in its motive, though the composer has
been charged with taking it from "La Femme de Tabarin," by the French
novelist, Catulle Mendès. Be this as it may, Leoncavallo's version has
the merit of brevity, conciseness, ingenuity, and swift action,
closing in a dénouement of great tragic power and capable, in the
hands of a good actor, of being made very effective. The composer has
not alone been charged with borrowing the story, but also with
plagiarizing the music. So far as the accusation of plagiarism is
concerned, however, it hardly involves anything more serious than
those curious resemblances which are so often found in musical
compositions. As a whole, the opera is melodious, forceful, full of
snap and go, and intensely dramatic, and is without a dull moment from
the prologue ("Si può? Signore") sung before the curtain by Tonio to
that last despairing outcry of Canio ("La commedia è finita"), upon
which the curtain falls. The prominent numbers are the prologue
already referred to; Nedda's beautiful cavatina in the second scene
("O, che volo d'angello"); her duet with Silvio in the third scene ("E
allor perchè"); the passionate declamation of Canio at the close of
the first act ("Recitur! mentre preso dal delirio"); the serenade of
Beppe in the second act ("O Colombino, il tenero"); and the graceful
dance-music which plays so singular a part in this fierce struggle of
the passions, which forms the motive of the closing scenes.



MASCAGNI.

Pietro Mascagni, who leaped into fame at a single bound, was born at
Leghorn, Dec. 7, 1863. His father was a baker, and had planned for his
son a career in the legal profession; but, as often happens, fate
ordered otherwise. His tastes were distinctly musical, and his
determination to study music was encouraged by Signor Bianchi, a
singing teacher, who recognized his talent. For a time he took
lessons, unknown to his father, of Soffredini, but when it was
discovered he was ordered to abandon music and devote himself to the
law. At this juncture his uncle Stefano came to his rescue, took him
to his house, provided him with a piano, and also with the means to
pursue his studies. Recognizing the uselessness of further objections,
the father at last withdrew them, and left his son free to follow his
own pleasure. He progressed so rapidly under Soffredini that he was
soon engaged in composition, his first works being a symphony in C
minor and a "Kyrie," which were performed in 1879. In 1881 he composed
a cantata, "In Filanda," and a setting of Schiller's hymn, "An die
Freude," both of which had successful public performances. The former
attracted the attention of a rich nobleman who furnished young
Mascagni with the means to attend the Milan Conservatory. After
studying there a short time, he suddenly left Milan with an operatic
troupe, and visited various Italian cities, a pilgrimage which was of
great value to him, as it made him acquainted with the resources of an
orchestra and the details of conducting. The troupe, however, met with
hard fortunes, and was soon disbanded, throwing Mascagni upon the
world. For a few years he made a precarious living in obscure towns,
by teaching, and had at last reached desperate extremities when one
day he read in a newspaper that Sonzogno, the music publisher, had
offered prizes for the three best one act operas, to be performed in
Rome. He at once entered into the competition, and produced
"Cavalleria Rusticana." It took the first prize. It did more than this
for the impecunious composer. When performed, it made a success of
enthusiasm. He was called twenty times before the curtain. Honors and
decorations were showered upon him. He was everywhere greeted with
serenades and ovations. Every opera-house in Europe clamored for the
new work. In a day he had risen from utter obscurity and become
world-famous. His sudden popularity, however, had a pernicious effect,
as it induced him to rush out more operas without giving sufficient
time to their preparation. "L'Amico Fritz," based upon the well-known
Erckmann-Chatrian story, and "I Rantzau" quickly followed "Cavalleria
Rusticana," but did not meet with its success. Last year however he
produced two operas at Milan, "Guglielmo Ratcliff" and "Silvano,"
which proved successful. Whether "Cavalleria Rusticana" is to remain
as his only hold upon popular favor, the future alone can tell; but
that he has talent of the highest order, and that he has produced an
opera whose reception has been almost unparalleled in the world of
music cannot be questioned.


CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA.

"Cavalleria Rusticana," an opera in one act, words by Signori
Targioni-Tozzetti and Menasci, music by Pietro Mascagni, was written
in 1890, and was first performed at the Costanzi Theatre in Rome, May
20, of that year, with Gemma Bellinconi and Roberto Stagno in the two
principal rôles. It had its first American production in Philadelphia,
Sept. 9, 1891, with Mme. Kronold as _Santuzza_, Miss Campbell as
_Lola_, Guille as _Turridu_, Del Puente as _Alfio_, and Jeannie Teal
as _Lucia_.

The story upon which the text of "Cavalleria Rusticana" is based is
taken from a Sicilian tale by Giovanni Verga. It is peculiarly Italian
in its motive, running a swift, sure gamut of love, flirtation,
jealousy, and death,--a melodrama of a passionate and tragic sort,
amid somewhat squalid environments, that particularly lends itself to
music of Mascagni's forceful sort. The overture graphically presents
the main themes of the opera, and these themes illustrate a very
simple but strong story. Turridu, a young Sicilian peasant, arrived
home from army service, finds that his old love, Lola, during his
absence has married Alfio, a carter. To console himself he makes love
to Santuzza, who returns his passion with ardor. The inconstant
Turridu, however, soon tires of her and makes fresh advances to Lola,
who, inspired by her jealousy of Santuzza, and her natural coquetry,
smiles upon him again. The latter seeks to reclaim him, and, when she
is rudely repulsed, tells the story of Lola's perfidy to Alfio, who
challenges Turridu and kills him.

During the overture Turridu sings a charming Siciliana ("O Lola c'hai
di latti"), and the curtain rises, disclosing a Sicilian village with
a church decorated for Easter service. As the sacristan opens its
doors, the villagers appear and sing a hymn to the Madonna. A hurried
duet follows, in which Santuzza reveals to mother Lucia her grief at
the perfidy of Turridu. Her discourse is interrupted by the entrance
of Alfio, singing a rollicking whip-song ("Il cavallo scalpita") with
accompaniment of male chorus. The scene then develops into a trio,
closing with a hymn ("Inneggiamo, il Signor"), sung by the people in
the square, and led by Santuzza herself, and blending with the "Regina
Coeli," performed by the choir inside the church with organ
accompaniment, the number finally working up into a tremendous climax
in genuine Italian style.

In the next scene Santuzza tells her sad story to Lucia, Turridu's
mother, in a romanza of great power ("Voi lo sapete"), closing with an
outburst of the highest significance as she appeals to Lucia to pray
for her. In the next scene Turridu enters. Santuzza upbraids him, and
a passionate duet follows in which Santuzza's suspicions are more than
confirmed by his avowal of his passion for Lola. The duet is
interrupted by a song of the latter, heard in the distance with harp
accompaniment ("Fior di giaggiolo"). As she approaches the pair the
song grows livelier, and at its close she banters poor Santuzza with
biting sarcasms, and assails Turridu with all the arts of coquetry.
She passes into the church, confident that the infatuated Turridu will
follow her. An impassioned duo of great power follows, in which
Santuzza pleads with him to love her, but all in vain. He rushes into
the church. She attempts to follow him, but falls upon the steps just
as Alfio comes up. To him she relates the story of her troubles, and
of Turridu's baseness. Alfio promises to revenge her, and another
powerful duet follows.

As they leave the stage, there is a sudden and most unexpected change
in the character of the music and the motive of the drama. In the
place of struggle, contesting passions, and manifestations of rage,
hate, and jealousy ensues an intermezzo for orchestra, with an
accompaniment of harps and organ, of the utmost simplicity and
sweetness, breathing something like a sacred calm, and turning the
thoughts away from all this human turmoil into conditions of peace and
rest. It has not only become one of the most favorite numbers in the
concert repertory, but is ground out from every barrel-organ the world
over, and yet it has retained its hold upon popular admiration.

At its close the turmoil begins again and the action hastens to the
tragic dénouement. The people come out of the church singing a glad
chorus which is followed by a drinking song ("Viva il vino"), sung by
Turridu, and joined in by Lola and chorus. In the midst of the
hilarity Alfio appears. Turridu invites him to join them and drink;
but he refuses, and the quarrel begins. Lola and the frightened women
withdraw. Turridu bites Alfio's right ear,--a Sicilian form of
challenge. The scene closes with the death of the former at Alfio's
hands, and Santuzza is avenged; but the fickle Lola has gone her way
bent upon other conquests.



MEYERBEER.

Giacomo Meyerbeer, the eldest son of Herz Beer, was born in Berlin,
Sept. 5, 1794. He was named Jacob Meyer Beer, but afterwards called
himself Giacomo Meyerbeer. His early studies were pursued with the
pianist Lanska, and Bernard Anselm Weber, chief of the Berlin
orchestra. At fifteen he became the pupil of Vogler in Darmstadt, with
whom he displayed such talent in composition that he was named
Composer to the Court by the Grand Duke. At eighteen his first
dramatic work, "The Daughter of Jephtha," was performed at Munich. He
then began the world for himself, and made his début in Vienna as a
pianist with great success. His first opera, "The Two Caliphs," met
with complete failure, as it was not written in the Italian form. He
at once transformed his style and brought out "Romilda e Costanza," a
serio-comic opera, with great success, at Padua. In 1820, "Emma di
Resburgo" appeared at Venice, and from this period his star was in the
ascendant. "The Gate of Brandeburg," "Margharita d' Anjou," "Esule di
Granata," and "Almanzar" followed in quick succession, and were well
received, though with nothing like the furor which "Il Crociato in
Egitto" created in Venice in 1824. His next great work, "Robert le
Diable," was produced in Paris, Nov. 21, 1831, the unparalleled
success of which carried its fame to every part of the civilized
world. In 1836 "The Huguenots," unquestionably his masterpiece, was
brought out, and it still holds its place as one of the grandest
dramatic works the world has ever seen. In 1838 Scribe furnished him
the libretto of "L'Africaine," but before the music was finished he
had changed the text so much that Scribe withdrew it altogether. He
was consoled, however, by Meyerbeer's taking from him the libretto of
"Le Prophete," this opera being finished in 1843. During the following
year he wrote several miscellaneous pieces besides the three-act
German opera, "Ein Feldlager in Schlesien," in which Jenny Lind made
her Berlin début. In 1846 he composed the overture and incidental
music to his brother's drama of "Struensee," and in 1847 he not only
prepared the way for Wagner's "Flying Dutchman" in Paris, but
personally produced "Rienzi,"--services which Wagner poorly requited.
In 1849 "Le Prophete" was given in Paris; in 1854, "L'Etoile du Nord;"
and in 1859, "Dinorah;" but none of them reached the fame of "The
Huguenots." In 1860 he wrote two cantatas and commenced a musical
drama called "Goethe's Jugendzeit," which was never finished. In 1862
and 1863 he worked upon "L'Africaine," and at last brought it forward
as far as a rehearsal; but he died April 23, 1863, and it was not
performed until two years after his death.


THE HUGUENOTS.

"Les Huguenots," a grand opera in five acts, words by Scribe and
Deschamps, was first produced at the Académie, Paris, Feb. 29, 1836,
with the following cast of the principal parts:--

  VALENTIN                 Mlle. FALCON.
  MARGUERITE DE VALOIS     Mme. DORUS-GRAS.
  URBAIN                   Mlle. FLECHEUX.
  COUNT DE ST. BRIS        M. LERDA.
  COUNT DE NEVERS          M. DERIVIS.
  RAOUL DE NANGIS          M. NOURRIT.
  MARCEL                   M. LEVASSEUR.

At its first production in London in Italian, as "Gli Ugonotti," July
20, 1848, the cast was even more remarkable than that above. Meyerbeer
specially adapted the opera for the performance, transposed the part
of the page, which was written for a soprano, and expressly composed a
cavatina to be sung by Mme. Alboni, in the scene of the château and
gardens of Chenonceaux, forming the second act of the original work,
but now given as the second scene of the first act in the Italian
version. The cast was as follows:--

  VALENTIN               Mme. PAULINE VIARDOT.
  MARGUERITE DE VALOIS   Mme. CASTELLAN.
  URBAIN                 Mlle. ALBONI.
  COUNT DE ST. BRIS      Sig. TAMBURINI.
  COUNT DE NEVERS        Sig. TAGLIAFICO.
  RAOUL DE NANGIS        Sig. MARIO.
  MARCEL                 Sig. MARINI.

The action of the opera passes in 1572, the first and second acts in
Touraine, and the remainder in Paris. The first act opens on a scene
of revelry in the salon of Count de Nevers, where a number of
noblemen, among them Raoul de Nangis, a Protestant, accompanied by his
faithful old Huguenot servant, Marcel, are present, telling stories of
their exploits in love. Marguerite de Valois, the betrothed of Henry
IV., for the sake of reconciling the dispute between the two religious
sects, sends her page to De Nevers's salon and invites Raoul to her
château. When he arrives, Marguerite informs him of her purpose to
give him in marriage to a Catholic lady, daughter of the Count de St.
Bris. Raoul at first consents; but when Valentin is introduced to him
and he discovers her to be a lady whom he had once rescued from insult
and who had visited De Nevers in his salon, he rejects the
proposition, believing that her affections have been bestowed upon
another, and that his enemies are seeking to entrap him. St. Bris
challenges Raoul for the affront, but the Queen disarms the angry
combatants. Valentin is now urged to marry Count de Nevers, and begs
that she may pass the day in prayer in the chapel. Meanwhile Count de
St. Bris, who has been challenged by Raoul, forms a plot for his
assassination, which is overheard by Valentin from within the chapel.
She communicates the plot to Marcel, who lies in wait with a party of
Huguenots in the vicinity of the duel, and comes to Raoul's rescue
when danger threatens him. A general combat is about to ensue, but it
is suppressed by Marguerite, who suddenly appears upon the scene.
Raoul thus discovers that he owes his life to Valentin, and that her
visit to De Nevers was to induce him to sever the relations between
them, as she was in love with Raoul. The announcement comes too late,
for the marriage festivities have already begun. Raoul visits her for
the last time. Their interview is disturbed by the approach of De
Nevers, St. Bris, and other Catholic noblemen, who meet to arrange the
details of the plot conceived by Catherine de Médicis for the
slaughter of the Huguenots on St. Bartholomew's Eve. Valentin
hurriedly conceals Raoul behind the tapestries, where he overhears
their plans and witnesses the conjuration and the blessing of the
swords, as well as the refusal of the chivalrous De Nevers to engage
in murder. After the conspirators have departed, Raoul and Valentin
have a long and affecting interview, in which he hesitates between
love and honor, Valentin striving to detain him lest he may be
included in the general massacre. Honor at last prevails, and he joins
his friends just before the work of slaughter begins. He rushes to the
festivities which are about to be given in honor of the marriage of
Marguerite with the King of Navarre, and warns the Huguenots of their
danger. He then makes his way to a chapel where many of them are
gathered for refuge. He finds Marcel, who has been wounded, and who
brings him the tidings of the death of De Nevers. The faithful
Valentin joins them to share their fate. Amid the horrors of the
massacre Marcel blesses and unites them. They enter the church and all
perish together.

The first act opens with the brilliant chorus of the revellers
("Piacer della mensa"), which is full of courtly grace. Raoul tells
the story of the unknown fair one he has encountered, in the romanza,
"Piu bianca del velo." When Marcel is called upon, he hurriedly chants
the hymn, "O tu che ognor," set to the Martin Luther air, "Ein feste
Burg," and heightened by a stirring accompaniment, and then bursts out
into a graphic song ("Finita è pe' frati"), emphasized with the
piff-paff of bullets and full of martial fervor. In delightful
contrast with the fierce Huguenot song comes the lively and graceful
romanza of Urbain ("Nobil donna e tanto onesta"), followed by a
delightful septet. The scene now changes, and with it the music. We
are in the Queen's gardens at Chenonceaux. Every number, the Queen's
solo ("A questa voce sola"), the delicate "Bathers' Chorus," as it is
called ("Audiam, regina, in questo amene sponde"), the brilliant and
graceful allegretto sung by Urbain ("No, no, no, no"), the duet
between the Queen and Raoul, based upon one of the most flowing of
melodies, and the spirited and effective finale in which the nobles
take the oath of allegiance ("Per la fè, per l'onore"),--each and
every one of these is colored with consummate skill, while all are
invested with chivalrous refinement and stately grace.

The second act opens with a beautiful choral embroidery in which
different choruses, most striking in contrast, are interwoven with
masterly skill. It is a picture, in music, of the old Paris. The
citizens rejoice over their day's work done. The Huguenots shout their
lusty Rataplan, while the Papist maidens sing their solemn litany
("Ave Maria") on their way to chapel; and as they disappear, the
quaint tones of the curfew chant are heard, and night and rest settle
down upon the city. It is a striking introduction to what
follows,--the exquisite duet between Marcel and Valentin, the great
septet of the duel scene, beginning, "De dritti miei ho l'alma
accesa," with the tremendous double chorus which follows as the two
bands rush upon the scene. As if for relief from the storm of this
scene, the act closes with brilliant pageant music as De Nevers
approaches to escort Valentin to her bridal.

The third act is the climax of the work, and stands almost unrivalled
in the field of dramatic music, for the manner in which horror and
passion are illustrated. After a dark and despairing aria by Valentin
("Eccomi sola ormai"), and a brief duet with Raoul, the conspirators
enter. The great trio, closing with the conjuration, "Quel Dio," the
awful and stately chant of the monks in the blessing of the unsheathed
daggers ("Sia gloria eterna e onore"), and the thrilling unisons of
the chorus ("D'un sacro zel l'ardore"), which fairly glow with energy,
fierceness, and religious fury,--these numbers of themselves might
have made an act; but Meyerbeer does not pause here. He closes with a
duet between Raoul and Valentin which does not suffer in comparison
with the tremendous combinations which have preceded it. It is filled
with the alternations of despair and love, of grief and ecstasy. In
its movement it is the very whirlwind of passion. Higher form dramatic
music can hardly reach. In the Italian version the performance usually
closes at this point; but there is still another striking and powerful
scene, that in which Raoul and Valentin are united by the dying
Marcel. Then the three join in a sublime trio, and for the last time
chant together the old Lutheran psalm, and await their fate amid the
triumphant harpings that sound from the orchestra and the hosanna they
sing to its accompaniment.


THE STAR OF THE NORTH.

"L'Étoile du Nord," an opera in three acts, words by Scribe, was first
performed at the Opera Comique, Paris, Feb. 16, 1854, and in Italian
as "La Stella del Nord" at Covent Garden, London, July 19, 1855. In
English it has been produced under the title of "The Star of the
North." The opera contains several numbers from the composer's earlier
work, "Feldlager in Schlesien," which was written for the opening of
the Berlin opera-house, in memory of Frederick the Great, and was
subsequently (Feb. 17, 1847) performed with great success in Vienna,
Jenny Lind taking the rôle of Vielka. The "Feldlager," however, has
never been given out of Germany.

The action of the opera transpires in Wyborg, on the Gulf of Finland,
in the first act, at a camp of the Russians in the second, and at the
palace of the Czar Peter in the third. In the first, Peter, who is
working at Wyborg, disguised as a carpenter, makes the acquaintance of
Danilowitz, a pastry-cook, and Catharine, a cantiniere, whose brother
George is about to marry Prascovia. Catharine brings about this
marriage; and not only that, but saves the little village from an
invasion by a strolling horde of Tartars, upon whose superstition she
practises successfully, and so conducts herself in general that Peter
falls in love with her, and they are betrothed, though she is not
aware of the real person who is her suitor. Meanwhile the conscription
takes place, and to save her newly wedded brother she volunteers for
fifteen days in his place, disguising herself as a soldier. In the
next act we find Catharine going her rounds as a sentinel in the
Russian camp on the Finnish frontier. Peter and Danilowitz are also
there, and are having a roistering time in their tent, drinking and
making love to a couple of girls. Hearing Peter's voice she recognizes
it, and curiosity leads her to peep into the tent. She is shocked at
what she beholds, neglects her duty, and is found by the corporal in
this insubordinate condition. He remonstrates with her, and she
answers with a slap on his ears, for which she incurs the penalties of
disobedience to orders as well as insulting behavior to her superior
officer. Peter at last is roused from his drunkenness by the news of
an insurrection among his own soldiers and the approach of the enemy.
He rushes out and promises to give Peter into their hands if they will
obey and follow _him_. At last, struck with his bearing and authority,
they demand to know who he is, whereupon he declares himself the Czar.
The mutiny is at once quelled. They submit, and offer their lives as
warrant for their loyalty. The last act opens in the Czar's palace,
where his old companion, Danilowitz, has been installed in high favor.
Catharine, however, has disappeared. George and Prascovia arrive from
Finland, but they know nothing of her. The faithful Danilowitz finds
her, but she has lost her reason. Her friends try to restore it by
surrounding her with recollections of home, and Peter at last succeeds
by playing upon his flute the airs he used to play to her in Finland.
Her senses come back, and thus all ends happily; for Catharine and
Peter are at last united amid the acclamations of the people.

In the first act the character of Peter is well expressed in the
surly, growling bass of his soliloquy ("Vedra, vedra"). It is followed
by a characteristic drinking-chorus ("Alla Finlanda, beviam"), a wild,
barbaric rhythm in the minor, which passes into a prayer as they
invoke the protection of Heaven upon Charles XII. In the eighth scene
occur the couplets of Gritzensko as he sings the wild song of the
Kalmucks. In charming contrast, in the next scene, Catharine sings the
gypsy rondo, which Jenny Lind made so famous ("Wlastla la santa"),
which is characterized by graceful coquetry; and this in turn is
followed by a striking duet between Catharine and Peter, in which the
individual characteristics of the two are brought out in genuine
Wagnerian style. In the thirteenth scene occurs the bridal song of
Prascovia ("Al suono dell'ora"), with choral accompaniment, of a
delicate and coquettish cast, leading up to the finale, beginning with
the soldiers' chorus ("Onor che a gloria"), with an accompaniment of
drums and fifes, again passing to a pathetic prayer ("Veglia dal ciel
su lor") sung by Catharine amid the ringing of bells as the bridal
wreath is placed upon Prascovia's head, and closing with a florid
barcarole ("Vascel che lasci") as she sails away.

The second act opens with ballet music, full of Eastern color, and
then ensues one of those choral combinations, like that in the second
act of "the Huguenots," in which Meyerbeer so much delighted,--a
cavalry chorus ("Bel cavalier del cuor d'acciar"), followed by the
Grenadier's song, accompanied by chorus ("Granadier di Russia
esperti"), the chorus taking up the "tr-r-r-um" refrain in imitation
of the drum. In the eighth scene we have the orgy in the tent in the
form of a very spirited dramatic trio, in which Peter sings a blithe
drinking-song ("Vedi al par del rubino"); this in turn resolving into
a quintet ("Vezzose vivandiere"), and again into a sextet, as
Ismailoff enters with a letter for the Czar. The finale is a superb
military picture, made up of the imposing oath of death to the tyrant,
the stirring Dessauer march, the cavalry fanfare, and the Grenadiers'
march, interwoven with the chorus of women as they cheer on the
marching soldiers.

The third act opens with a romanza ("Dal cor per iscacciare"), very
tender and beautiful, in which the rugged Czar shows us the
sentimental side of his character. In the third scene occurs a long
buffo trio between Peter, Gritzensko, and Danilowitz, which is full of
humor. In the finale we have Catharine in the mad scene, singing the
scena, "L'aurora alfin succede," with bits of the old music running
through the accompaniment; and in the final scene, as her reason
returns, breaking out in the florid bravura, "Non s'ode alcun,"
accompanied by the first and second flutes, which is a triumph of
virtuosity for the voice. This number was taken from "The Camp in
Silesia," and was given by Jenny Lind with immense success, not only
in the latter work, but upon the concert stage. The opera as a whole
abounds in humor, its music is fresh and brilliant, and its military
character makes it specially attractive.


ROBERT THE DEVIL

"Robert le Diable," a grand opera in five acts, words by Scribe and
Delavigne, was first produced at the Académie, Paris, Nov. 21, 1831,
with the following cast:--

  ALICE          Mlle. DORUS.
  ISABELLE       Mme. CINTI-DAMOREAU.
  THE ABBESS     Sigr. TAGLIONI.
  ROBERT         M. NOURRIT.
  BERTRAM        M. LEVASSEUR.
  RAIMBAUT       M. LAFONT.

In the following year two versions in English, both of them imperfect,
were brought out by the rival theatres, Covent Garden and Drury Lane.
On the 20th of February it appeared at Drury Lane under the title of
"The Demon; or, the Mystic Branch," and at Covent Garden the next
evening as "The Fiend Father, or Robert Normandy." Drury Lane had
twenty-four hours the start of its rival, but in neither case were the
representations anything but poor imitations of the original. On the
11th of the following June the French version was produced at the
King's Theatre, London, with the same cast as in Paris, except that
the part of Alice was taken by Mme. De Meric, and that of the Abbess
by the danseuse Mlle. Heberlé. On the 4th of May, 1847, the first
Italian version was produced at Her Majesty's Theatre, with Jenny Lind
and Staudigl in the cast. Gruneisen, the author of a brief memoir of
Meyerbeer, who was present, says: "The night was rendered memorable,
not only by the massacre attending the general execution, but also by
the début of Mlle. Lind in this country, who appeared as Alice. With
the exception of the débutante, such a disgraceful exhibition was
never before witnessed on the operatic stage. Mendelssohn was sitting
in the stalls, and at the end of the third act, unable to bear any
longer the executive infliction, he left the theatre."

The libretto of "Robert the Devil" is absurd in its conceptions and
sensational in its treatment of the story, notwithstanding that it
came from such famous dramatists as Scribe and Delavigne; and it would
have been still worse had it not been for Meyerbeer. Scribe, it is
said, wished to introduce a bevy of sea-nymphs, carrying golden oars,
as the tempters of Robert; but the composer would not have them, and
insisted upon the famous scene of the nuns, as it now stands, though
these were afterwards made the butt of almost endless ridicule.
Mendelssohn himself, who was in Paris at this time, writes: "I cannot
imagine how any music could be composed on such a cold, formal
extravaganza as this." The story runs as follows: The scene is laid in
Sicily, where Robert, Duke of Normandy, who by his daring and
gallantries had earned the sobriquet of "the Devil," banished by his
own subjects, has arrived to attend a tournament given by the Duke of
Messina. In the opening scene, while he is carousing with his knights,
the minstrel Raimbaut sings a song descriptive of the misdeeds of
Robert. The latter is about to revenge himself on the minstrel, when
Alice, his foster-sister and the betrothed of Raimbaut, appears and
pleads with him to give up his wicked courses, and resist the spirit
of evil which is striving to get the mastery of him. Robert then
confides to Alice his hopeless passion for Isabella, daughter of the
Duke. While they are conversing, Bertram, "the unknown," enters, and
Alice shrinks back affrighted, fancying she sees in him the evil
spirit who is luring Robert on to ruin. After she leaves, Bertram
entices him to the gaming-table, from which he rises a beggar,--and
worse than this, he still further prejudices his cause with Isabella
by failing to attend the tournament, thus forfeiting his knightly
honor.

The second act opens upon an orgy of the evil spirits in the cavern of
St. Irene. Bertram is present, and makes a compact with them to loose
Robert from his influence if he does not yield to his desires at once.
Alice, who has an appointment with the minstrel in the cavern,
overhears the compact, and determines to save him. Robert soon
appears, mourning over his losses and dishonor; but Bertram promises
to restore everything if he will visit the ruined Abbey of St.
Rosalie, and carry away a mystic branch which has the power of
conferring wealth, happiness, and immortality. He consents; and in the
next scene Bertram pronounces the incantation which calls up the
buried nuns. Dazed with their ghostly fascinations, Robert seizes the
branch and flies. His first use of it is to enter the apartments of
Isabella, unseen by her or her attendants, all of whom become
immovable in the presence of the mystic talisman. He declares his
intention of carrying her away; but moved by her entreaties he breaks
the branch, which destroys the charm. In the last act Bertram is at
his side again, trying to induce him to sign the fatal compact. The
strains of sacred music which he hears, and the recollections of his
mother, restrain him. In desperation Bertram announces himself as his
fiend-father. He is about to yield, when Alice appears and reads to
him his mother's warning against the fiend's temptation. As he still
hesitates, the clock strikes, and the spell is over. Bertram
disappears, and the scene changes to the cathedral, where Isabella in
her wedding robes awaits the saved Robert.

From the musical point of view "Robert le Diable" is interesting, as
it marks the beginning of a new school of grand opera. With this work,
Meyerbeer abandoned the school of Rossini and took an independent
course. He cut loose from the conventional classic forms and gave the
world dramatic music, melodies of extraordinary dramatic force,
brilliant orchestration, stately pageants, and theatrical effects.
"Robert le Diable" was the first of the subsequent great works from
his pen which still further emphasized his new and independent
departure. It is only necessary to call attention to a few prominent
numbers, for this opera has not as many instances of these
characteristics as those which followed and which are elsewhere
described. The first act contains the opening bacchanalian chorus
("Versiamo a tazza plena"), which is very brilliant in character; the
minstrel's song in the same scene ("Regnava un tempo in Normandia"),
with choral accompaniment; and a very tender aria for Alice ("Vanne,
disse, al figlio mio"), in which she delivers his mother's message to
Robert. The second act opens with a spirited duet between Bertram and
Raimbaut, leading up to a powerful and characteristic chorus of the
evil spirits ("Demoni fatali"). An aria for Alice ("Nel lasciar in
Normandia"), a duet between Bertram and Alice ("Trionfo bramato"), and
an intensely dramatic trio between Bertram, Alice, and Robert ("Lo
sguardo immobile"), prepare the way for the great scena of the nuns,
known as "La Temptation," in which Meyerbeer illustrates the fantastic
and oftentimes ludicrous scene with music which is the very essence of
diabolism, and in its way as unique as the incantation music in "Der
Freischutz." The third act contains two great arias. The first
("Invano il fato"), sung at the opening of the act by Isabella, and
the second the world-famous aria "Roberto, o tu che adoro," better
known by the French words ("Robert! toi que j'aime"). The closing act
is specially remarkable for the great terzetto in its finale, which is
one of the most effective numbers Meyerbeer has written. The judgment
of Hanslick, the great Viennese critic, upon this work is interesting
in this connection. He compares it with "William Tell" and
"Masaniello," and finds that in musical richness and blended effects
it is superior to either, but that a single act of either of the works
mentioned contains more artistic truth and ideal form than "Robert le
Diable,"--a judgment which is largely based upon the libretto itself,
which he condemns without stint.


DINORAH

"Dinorah," an opera in three acts, founded upon a Breton idyl, words
by Barbiere and Carré, was first produced at the Opera Comique, Paris,
April 4, 1859, under the title of "Le Pardon de Ploermel." It contains
but three principal characters, and these were cast as follows:
Dinorah, Mme. Cabel; Corentin, M. Sainte-Foy; and Höel, M. Faure. On
the 26th of July, 1859, Meyerbeer conducted the work himself at Covent
Garden, London, with Mme. Miolan-Carvalho as Dinorah, and it was also
produced in the same year in English by the Pyne-Harrison troupe. The
first representative of Dinorah in this country was Mlle. Cordier.

The scene of the opera is laid in Brittany, and when the first act
opens, the following events are supposed to have transpired. On one of
the days set apart by the villagers of Ploermel for a pilgrimage to
the shrine of the Virgin, Höel, the goatherd, and Dinorah, his
affianced, set out to receive a nuptial benediction. The festivity is
interrupted by a thunder-storm, during which Les Herbiers, the
dwelling-place of Dinorah, is destroyed by lightning. Dinorah is in
despair. Höel determines to make good the loss, and upon the advice of
Tonick, an old wizard, resolves to go in quest of a treasure which is
under the care of the Korigans, a supernatural folk belonging to
Brittany. In order to wrest it from them, however, it is necessary for
Höel to quit the country and spend a year in solitude in a desolate
region. He bravely starts off, and Dinorah, thinking he has abandoned
her, loses her wits, and constantly wanders about the woods with her
goat, seeking him. Meanwhile the year expires and Höel returns,
convinced that he has the secret for securing the treasure.

The overture to the work is unique among operatic overtures, as it has
a chorus behind the curtain interwoven with it. It is a picture of the
opera itself, and contains a will-o'-the-wisp passage, a rustic song
with accompaniment of goat-bells, a storm, and in the midst of the
storm a chant to the Virgin, sung by the unseen chorus, and then a
Pilgrimage march, the whole being in the nature of a retrospect. The
curtain rises upon a rustic chorus, after which Dinorah appears,
seeking her goat, and sings a slumber-song ("Si, carina, caprettina")
which is very graceful, and concludes with phrases in imitation of
birds. In the next scene, Corentin, the bagpiper, who has been away
three months, and is nearly dead with terror of goblins and fairies,
returns to his cottage, and to reassure himself sings a very quaint
and original song ("Sto in casa alfine"), to the accompaniment of his
pipe. Dinorah suddenly appears and enters the cottage, and much to his
alarm keeps him playing and singing, which leads to a very animated
vocal contest between her and the bagpiper. It is abruptly terminated,
however, by the arrival of Höel. Dinorah makes her escape by a window,
and Höel relates to Corentin the story of the Korigans' treasure. As
the first person who touches it will die, he determines that Corentin
shall be his messenger, and to rouse his courage sends for wine. While
Corentin is absent, Höel sings an aria ("Se per prender") which has
always been a favorite with barytones. After Corentin returns, the
tinkling of the goat's bell is heard. Dinorah appears in the distance,
and a charming trio closes the act, to the accompaniment of the
whistling wind and booming thunder on the contra basses and drums of
the orchestra.

The second act opens with a drinking-song by wood-cutters, and as they
withdraw, Dinorah enters, seeking Höel. She sings a tender lament,
which, as the moonlight falls about her, develops into the famous
"Shadow Song," a polka mazurka, which she sings and dances to her
shadow. The aria, "Ombra leggier," is fairly lavish in its texture of
vocal embroidery, and has always been a favorite number on the concert
stage. The next scene changes to the Val Maudit (the Cursed Vale), a
rocky, cavernous spot, through which rushes a raging torrent bridged
by a fallen tree. Höel and Corentin appear in quest of the treasure,
and the latter gives expression to his terror in a very characteristic
manner, with the assistance of the orchestra. Dinorah is heard singing
the legend of the treasure ("Chi primo al tesor"), from which Corentin
learns that whoever touches it first will die. He refuses to go on,
and a spirited duet ensues between them, which is interrupted by the
entrance of Dinorah and her goat. Höel, fancying it is a spirit sent
to keep him back, sings a very beautiful aria ("Le crede il padre").
The act closes with the fall of Dinorah, who attempts to cross the
bridge, into the torrent, and her rescue by Höel, to the accompaniment
of a storm set to music. The scene, though melodramatic, is very
strong in its musical effects.

The last act opens with a scene in striking contrast, introduced with
a quintet of horns, followed by a hunter's solo, a reaper's solo, a
duet for shepherds; and a quartet in the finale. Höel arrives, bearing
the rescued Dinorah, and sings to her an exquisite romance ("Sei
vendicata assai"). The magic of his singing and her bath in the
torrent restore her wandering senses. Höel persuades her that all
which has transpired has been a dream. The old song of the Pardon of
Ploermel comes to her, and as she tries to recall it the chorus takes
it up ("Santa Maria! nostra donna") as it was heard in the overture. A
procession is seen in the distance, and amid some exquisite pageant
music Höel and Dinorah wend their way to the chapel, where the nuptial
rites are supposed to be performed.


THE PROPHET.

"Le Prophète," an opera in five acts, words by Scribe, was first
produced in Paris, April 16, 1849, with Mme. Viardot-Garcia as Fides,
and M. Roger as John of Leyden. "The Prophet" was long and carefully
elaborated by its composer. Thirteen years intervened between it and
its predecessor, "The Huguenots;" but in spite of its elaboration it
can only be said to excel the latter in pageantry and spectacular
effect, while its musical text is more declamatory than melodious, as
compared with "The Huguenots." In this sense it was disappointing when
first produced.

The period of the opera is 1534. The first act transpires in Dordrecht
and Leyden, in Holland, and the other three in Munster, Germany. The
text closely follows the historical narrative of the period when
Munster was occupied by John of Leyden and his fanatics, who, after he
had been crowned by them as Emperor of Germany, was driven out by the
bishop of the diocese. The first act opens in the suburbs of
Dordrecht, near the Meuse, with the château of Count Oberthal, lord of
the domain, in the distance. After a very fresh and vigorous chorus of
peasants, Bertha, a vassal of the Count, betrothed to John of Leyden,
enters and sings a cavatina ("Il cor nel sento"), in which she gives
expression to emotions of delight at her approaching union. As she
cannot go to Leyden, where the marriage is to take place, without the
Count's consent, Fides, the mother of John, joins her to make the
request. In the mean time the three Anabaptists, Zacarie, Gione, and
Mathisen, leaders of the revolt in Westphalia, arrive on their mission
of raising an insurrection in Holland, and in a sombre trio of a
religious but stirring character ("O libertade") incite the peasants
to rise against their rulers. They make an assault upon the castle of
Count Oberthal, who speedily repels them, and turns the tide of
popular feeling against the Anabaptists, by recognizing Gione as a
former servant who had been discharged from his service for
dishonesty. Fides and Bertha then join in a romanza ("Della mora un
giorno"), imploring his permission for the marriage of Bertha and
John. The Count, however, struck with her beauty, not only refuses,
but claims her for himself, and seizes both her and Fides, and the act
closes with a repetition of the warning chant of the Anabaptists.

The second act opens in the hostelry of John of Leyden, and is
introduced with a waltz and drinking-chorus, in the midst of which the
Anabaptists arrive and are struck with his resemblance to a portrait
of David in the Munster Cathedral. From a very descriptive and highly
wrought scena ("Sotto le vasti arcati") sung by him they also learn
that he is given to visions and religious meditations. They assure him
that he shall be a ruler; but in a beautiful romanza ("Un impero piu
soave") he replies that his love for Bertha is his only sovereignty.
Just as they depart, Bertha, who has escaped, rushes in and claims his
protection. He conceals her; but has hardly done so when the Count
enters with his soldiers, bringing Fides as a prisoner, and threatens
to kill her unless Bertha is given up. He hesitates; but at last, to
save his mother's life, delivers Bertha to her pursuers. Mother and
son are left alone, and she seeks to console him. In this scene occurs
one of the most dramatic and intense of Meyerbeer's arias ("O figlio
mio, che diro"), known more popularly by its French words, beginning,
"Ah! mon fils." It has enjoyed a world-wide popularity, and still
holds its place in all its original freshness and vigor. Fides hardly
disappears before the ominous chant of the Anabaptists is heard again.
He does not need much persuasion now. They make their compact in a
quartet of magnificent power, which closes the act; and some of John's
garments are left behind stained with blood, that his mother may
believe he has been killed.

The third act opens in the Anabaptists' camp in a Westphalian forest,
a frozen lake near them, and Munster, which they are besieging, in the
distance. In the second scene Zacarie sings a stirring pasan of
victory ("In coppia son"), followed by the beautiful ballet music of
the skaters as they come bringing provisions to the troops. Count
Oberthal meanwhile has been taken prisoner and brought into camp. A
buffo trio between himself and his captors follows, in which Gione
penetrates his disguise and recognizes him. They are about to fall
upon him; but John, learning from him that Bertha is still alive and
in Munster, saves his life. He immediately resolves to take the place
by assault, rouses his followers with religious chants of a martial
character, and the act concludes with the march on the city.

The fourth act opens in the city itself after its capture. A mendicant
appears in the public square begging for bread. It is Fides; and in a
plaintively declamatory aria of striking power ("Pieta! pieta!") she
implores alms. She meets with Bertha disguised as a pilgrim, and bent
upon the destruction of the Prophet, who, she believes, has been the
cause of John's death. The next scene opens in the cathedral, where
the coronation of the Prophet is to take place; and among all
Meyerbeer's pageants none are more imposing than this, with its
accompaniment of pealing bells, religious chants, the strains of the
organ, and the stately rhythms of the great Coronation March. It is a
splendid prelude to the dramatic scene which follows. In the midst of
the gorgeous spectacle, the voice of Fides is heard claiming the
Prophet as her son. John boldly disavows her, and tells his followers
to kill him if she does not confirm the disavowal. The feelings of the
mother predominate, and she declares that she is mistaken. The
multitude proclaim it a miracle, and Fides is removed as a prisoner.
The dramatic situation in this finale is one of great strength, and
its musical treatment has hardly been excelled.

The last act opens with a trio by the Anabaptist leaders, who,
learning that the enemy is approaching in force, determine to save
themselves by betraying John. In the third scene Fides in prison,
learning that John is coming to see her, invokes the punishment of
Heaven upon him in the passionate aria, "Spirto superno." A duet ("Tu
che del cielo") of great power follows, in which Fides convinces him
of the errors of his course. As they are about to leave, Bertha
enters, bent upon the destruction of the palace, and in the trio which
ensues learns that John and the Prophet are one. She stabs herself,
and dying in the arms of Fides curses him. The last scene opens in a
banqueting-hall of the palace, where John is revelling, with the
Anabaptists around him. He sings a bacchanalian song of a wild
description ("Beviam e intorno"), and, as it closes, the Bishop of
Munster, the Elector, Count Oberthal, and the three Anabaptists who
have betrayed him, enter the apartment. The revenge which John has
planned is now consummated. An explosion is heard. Flames break out on
all sides. Fides rushes in and forgives her son, and the Prophet, his
mother, and his enemies perish together.

Although "The Prophet" did not meet with the popularity of some of his
other operas, it contains some of the most vigorous and dramatic music
Meyerbeer has written,--notably the arias of Zacarie and Fides, the
skating-ballet, the Coronation March, and the drinking-song. As a
pageant, "The Prophet" has never been surpassed.


THE AFRICAN.

"L'Africaine," a grand opera in five acts, words by Scribe, was first
produced at the Académie, Paris, April 28, 1865, with the following
cast:--

  SELIKA            Mme. MARIE SAXE.
  INEZ              Mlle. MARIE BATTEO.
  VASCO DI GAMA     M. NAUDIN.
  NELUSKO           M. FAURE.
  DON PEDRO         M. BELVAL.
  HIGH PRIEST       M. OBIN.

The libretto of the opera was first given to Meyerbeer by Scribe in
1838; but such were the alterations demanded by the composer, that at
last Scribe withdrew it altogether, although the music was already
set. In 1852 he furnished a revised libretto, and the music was
revised to suit it. The work was not finished until 1860, and owing to
the difficulty of filling the cast satisfactorily, was not brought to
rehearsal until the fall of 1863. While still correcting and improving
it, Meyerbeer died, and it was not produced until two years later.
Shortly after the Paris performance it was brought out in London, with
Mlle. Lucca in the part of Selika. Mme. Zucchi was one of the earliest
representatives of the slave in this country.

The scene of the opera is laid in Portugal and Africa, and the first
act opens in the council chamber of the king of the former country.
Inez, his daughter, is mourning the long absence of her betrothed,
Vasco di Gama the explorer. Her father, wishing to marry her to Don
Pedro, the President of the Council, tries to persuade her that Vasco
has perished by shipwreck; but the refutation of the story comes in
the sudden appearance of Vasco himself, who is summoned before the
Council and narrates to them his discovery of a strange land,
producing two of the natives, Selika and Nelusko, as confirmations of
his announcement. Don Pedro incites the inquisitors to deny the truth
of the story, at which Vasco breaks out in such a furious rage against
them that he is arrested and thrown into a dungeon. The second act
opens in the prison, where Selika is watching the slumbering Vasco. As
he wakens she declares her love for him, and at the same time saves
him from the dagger of the jealous Nelusko. She also indicates to him
the course he should have taken to discover the island of which he is
in quest. To save her lover, Inez consents to wed Don Pedro; and the
latter, to cheat Vasco of his fame, takes command of the expedition
under the pilotage of Nelusko, and sets sail for the new land. The
Indian, thirsting for vengeance, directs the vessel out of her course
towards a reef; but Vasco, who has followed in another vessel, arrives
in time to warn Don Pedro of his danger. He disregards the warning,
distrusts his motives, and orders him to be shot; but before the
sentence can be carried out, the vessel strikes and is boarded by the
savages, who slaughter the commander and most of his men. The fourth
act opens on the island which Selika pointed out on the map, and of
which she is queen. To save him from her subjects, she declares
herself his spouse; but as the marriage rite is about to be
celebrated, Vasco hears the voice of Inez in the distance, deserts
Selika, and flies to her. In the last act, as the vessel sails away
bearing Vasco and Inez back to Portugal, Selika throws herself down
under the poisonous manchineel-tree and kills herself with its fatal
flowers; expiring in the arms of Nelusko, who shares the same fate.

The first act opens with a very sweet but sombre ballad sung by Inez
("Del Tago sponde addio"), which recalls the English song, "Isle of
Beauty, fare thee well," and is followed by a bold and flowing
terzetto. The third scene opens with a noble and stately chorus ("Tu
che la terra adora") sung by the basses in unison, opening the Council
before which Vasco appears; and the act closes with an anathema hurled
at him ("Ribelle, insolente"),--a splendid ensemble, pronounced in its
rhythm and majestic in the sweep of its passionate music.

The second act opens with the quaint slumber-song ("In grembo a me")
which Selika sings to Vasco in prison. It is oriental in color, and is
broken here and there by a barcarole which Vasco murmurs in his sleep.
In striking contrast with its dreamy, quiet flow, it leads up to a
passionate aria ("Tranquillo e già") based upon a strong and fiery
motive. In the next scene follows an aria of equal vigor sung by
Nelusko ("Figlia dei Re"), in which his devotion to Selika changing to
his hatred of Vasco is characterized by a grand crescendo. The act
closes with a vigorous sextet, the motive of which is strangely
similar to the old song, "The Minstrel Boy."

The third act contains a very impressive number, Nelusko's invocation
of Adamastor ("Adamastor, re dell' onde profondo"), but is mainly
devoted to the ship scene, which, though grotesque from the dramatic
point of view, is accompanied by music of a powerful and realistic
description, written with all the vividness and force Meyerbeer always
displays in his melodramatic ensembles. The fourth act contains the
most beautiful music of the opera,--Vasco's opening aria, "O
Paradiso," an exquisite melody set to an equally exquisite
accompaniment; the ensemble in the fourth scene, in which Selika
protects Vasco and Nelusko swears vengeance ("Al mio penar de fine");
the grand duet between Vasco and Selika ("Dove son"), which has often
been compared to the duet in the fourth act of "The Huguenots," though
it has not the passionate intensity of the scene between Raoul and
Valentin; and the graceful choruses of the Indian maidens and Inez's
attendants which close the act.

The last act contains two scenes,--the first in Selika's gardens,
where there is a long and spirited duet between Inez and Selika. The
second, known as "La Scene du Mancenillier," has a symphonic prelude
in the form of a funeral march, based upon a fascinating melody, which
is beyond question the finest of Meyerbeer's orchestral numbers in any
of his works. From this point the story hastens to its tragic
dénouement; and nearly the entire scene is occupied with Selika's
dying song, which opens with a majestic apostrophe to the sea ("Da qui
io vedo il mar"), then turns to sadness as she sings to the fatal tree
("O tempio sontuoso"), and at the close develops into a passionate
outcry of joy ("O douce extase"). Though the plot of "L'Africaine" is
often absurd, many of its incidents preposterous, and some of its
characters unattractive, the opera is full of effective situations,
and repeatedly illustrates Meyerbeer's powers of realization and his
knowledge of effects.



MOZART.

Johann Chrysostomus Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born at Salzburg, Jan.
27, 1756. With this wonderful child music was a divine gift, for his
first work, a minuet and trio for piano, was written in his fifth
year. He began to study with his father when but three years of age,
and at once gave signs of extraordinary promise. His sister was also
very talented; and in 1762 the father determined to travel with his
prodigies. They were absent a year, the most of that time being spent
at Munich, Vienna, and Presburg, where they created a furor by their
performances. A longer journey was then resolved upon. The principal
German cities, Brussels, Paris, London, the Hague, Amsterdam, and the
larger towns of Switzerland were visited in succession, and everywhere
the children were greeted with enthusiasm, particularly when they
played before the French and English courts. They returned to Salzburg
in 1766, already famous all over Europe; and during the next two years
Mozart composed many minor works. In 1768 he was again in Vienna,
where he produced his little operetta, "Bastien und Bastienne," and in
the same year the Archbishop of Salzburg made him his concertmeister.
The next year he went to Italy, where he both studied and composed,
and was received with extraordinary honors. In 1771 he brought out his
opera, "Mitridate, Rè di Ponto," at Milan, with great success. The
next year he produced "Lucio Silla," also in Milan, and during the
next four years composed a great number of symphonies and other
instrumental works. The mass of music which he composed up to his
twenty-first year is simply bewildering. In 1781 he brought out
"Idomeneo" at Munich, which left no doubt as to his position as a
dramatic composer. In 1782 his "Entfuhrung aus dem Serail" was
produced at Vienna by the Emperor's command. His next great opera was
"Le Nozze di Figaro," which was performed in 1786, and made all Vienna
go wild. "Don Giovanni" followed it the next year, and was received
with equal enthusiasm. In 1789 he composed the famous "Requiem;" and
the same year the "Zauberflöte," his last great opera, appeared, and
made a success even greater than its two great predecessors. Two years
later, Dec. 5, 1791, Mozart died in poverty, and amid the saddest of
surroundings. One of the world's greatest geniuses was carried to his
last resting-place unaccompanied by friends, and was buried in the
common pauper's grave. God endowed him with a wonderful genius, which
the world of his time could not recognize.


THE MARRIAGE OF FIGARO.

"Le Nozze di Figaro," in the German version, "Die Hochzeit des
Figaro," an opera buffa in four acts, the words by Lorenzo da Ponte,
after Beaumarchais's comedy, "Le Mariage de Figaro," was first
produced at the National Theatre, Vienna, May 1, 1786, with the
following cast:--

  COUNTESS ALMAVIVA        Signora STORACE.
  SUSANNA                  Signora LASCHI.
  CHERUBINO                Signora MANDINI.
  MARCELLINA               Signora BUSSANI.
  BARBARINA                Signora GOTTLIEB.
  COUNT ALMAVIVA           Signor MANDINI.
  FIGARO                   Signor BENUCCI.
  BARTOLO                  Signor OCCHELEY.
  BASILIO                  Signor BUSSANI.

It was first brought out in Paris in 1793, with Beaumarchais's spoken
dialogue, in five acts, as "Le Mariage de Figaro," and in 1858 at the
Théâtre Lyrique in the same city, in four acts, as "Les Noces de
Figaro," with text by Barbiere and Carré. The late Mme. Parepa-Rosa
introduced it in this country in its English form with great success.

At the time the libretto was written, Beaumarchais's satirical comedy,
"Le Mariage de Figaro," had been performed all over Europe, and had
attracted great attention. It had been prohibited in Paris, and had
caused great commotion in Vienna. Mozart's notice was thus drawn to
it, and he suggested it to Da Ponte for a libretto, and the Emperor
Joseph subsequently commissioned the composer to set it to music,
though he had already composed a portion of it. The entire opera was
written during the month of April, and the wonderful finale to the
second act occupied him for two nights and a day. When it came to a
performance, its success was remarkable. Kelly, who was present, says,
in his Reminiscences: "Never was there a greater triumph than Mozart
enjoyed with his 'Figaro.' The house was crowded to overflowing, and
almost everything encored, so that the opera lasted nearly double the
usual time; and yet at its close the public were unwearied in clapping
their hands and shouting for Mozart." Popular as it was, it was soon
laid aside in Vienna through the influence of the Italian faction
headed by Salieri, one of Mozart's rivals.

The story of the opera is laid in Spain. Count Almaviva, who had won
his beautiful Countess with the aid of Figaro, the barber of Seville,
becomes enamoured of her maid Susanna, and at the same time, by the
collusion of the two, in order to punish him, is made jealous by the
attentions paid to the Countess by Cherubino, the page. Meanwhile
Figaro, to whom Susanna is betrothed, becomes jealous of the Count for
his gallantry to her. Out of these cross-relations arise several
humorous surprises. Besides these characters there are two others who
have been disappointed in love,--Bartolo, who has been rejected by
Susanna, and Marcellina, whose affection for Figaro has not been
requited. The Count seeks to get rid of Cherubino by ordering him off
to the wars, but he is saved by Susanna, who disguises him in female
attire. The Countess, Susanna, Figaro, and Cherubino then conspire to
punish the Count for his infidelity. The latter suddenly appears at
his wife's door, and finding it locked demands an entrance. Cherubino,
alarmed, hides himself in a closet and bars the door. The Count is
admitted, and finding the Countess in confusion insists upon searching
the closet. He goes out to find some means of breaking in the door,
and Cherubino improves the opportunity to jump out of the window,
while Susanna takes his place and confronts the puzzled Count.
Antonio, the gardener, comes in and complains that some one has jumped
from the window and broken his flower-pots. Figaro at once asserts
that he did it.

A ludicrous side plot unfolds at this point. Marcellina appears with a
contract of marriage signed by Figaro, bringing Bartolo as a witness.
The Count decides that Figaro must fulfil his contract, but the latter
escapes by showing that he is the son of Marcellina, and that Bartolo
is his father. Meanwhile the main plot is developed in another
conspiracy to punish the Count. Susanna contrives a rendezvous with
the Count at night in the garden, having previously arranged with the
Countess that she should disguise herself as the maid, the latter also
assuming the part of the Countess, and arrive in time to surprise the
two. The page also puts in an appearance, and gets his ears boxed for
his attentions to the disguised Countess. Figaro, who has been
informed that Susanna and the Count are to meet in the garden, comes
on the scene, and in revenge makes a passionate declaration of love to
the supposed Countess, upon which the Count, who is growing more and
more bewildered, orders lights and makes his supposed wife unveil. The
real wife does the same. Covered with confusion, he implores pardon of
the Countess, which is readily given. The two are reconciled, and
Figaro and Susanna are united.

The whole opera is such a combination of playfulness and grace that it
is a somewhat ungracious task to refer to particular numbers. In these
regards it is the most Mozartean of all the composer's operas. The
first act opens with a sparkling duet between Figaro and Susanna, in
which she informs him of the Count's gallantries. As she leaves,
Figaro, to the accompaniment of his guitar, sings a rollicking song
("Se vuol ballare, Signor Contino"), in which he intimates that if the
Count wishes to dance he will play for him in a style he little
expects. In the second scene Bartolo enters, full of his plans for
vengeance, which he narrates in a grim and grotesque song ("La
Vendetta"). The fourth scene closes with an exquisite aria by
Cherubino ("Non so piu cosa son"). After an exceedingly humorous trio
("Cosa sento? tosto andate") for the Count, Basilio and Susanna, and a
bright, gleeful chorus ("Giovanni lieti"), Figaro closes the act with
the celebrated aria, "Non piu andrai." Of the singing of this great
song at the first rehearsal of the opera Kelly says in his
Reminiscences: "I remember Mozart well at the first general rehearsal,
in a red furred coat and a gallooned hat, standing on the stage and
giving the tempi. Benucci sang Figaro's aria, 'Non piu andrai,' with
the utmost vivacity and the full strength of his voice. I stood close
beside Mozart, who exclaimed, _sotto voce_, 'Brava! brava! Benucci!'
and when that fine passage came, 'Cherubino, alla vittoria, alla
gloria militar,' which Benucci gave in a stentorian voice, the effect
was quite electrical, both on the singers on the stage and the
musicians in the orchestra. Quite transported with delight, they all
called out, 'Brava! brava, Maestro! viva! viva! viva il grande
Mozart!' In the orchestra the applause seemed to have no end, while
the violin-players rapped their bows on their desks. The little
Maestro expressed his gratitude for the enthusiasm, testified in so
unusual a manner, by repeatedly bowing."

The second act is the masterpiece of the opera, and contains in itself
music enough to have made any composer immortal. It opens with a
serious aria by the Countess ("Porgi amor") followed by Cherubino's
well-known romanza ("Voi che sapete,") one of the sweetest and most
effective songs ever written for contralto, and this in turn by
Susanna's coquettish song, "Venite, inginocchiatevi," as she disguises
Cherubino. A spirited trio and duet lead up to the great finale, begun
by the Count, ("Esci omai, garzon mal nato"). Upon this finale Mozart
seems to have lavished the riches of his musical genius with the most
elaborate detail and in bewildering profusion. It begins with a duet
between the Count and Countess, then with the entrance of Susanna
changes to a trio, and as Figaro and Antonio enter, develops into a
quintet. In the close, an independent figure is added by the entrance
of Marcellina, Barbarina, and Basilio, and as Antonio exits, this trio
is set against the quartet with independent themes and tempi.

The third act opens with a duet ("Crudel, perche finora") for the
Count and Countess, followed by a very dramatic scena for the Count,
beginning with the recitative, "Hai già vinta la causa?" which in turn
leads up to a lively and spirited sextet ("Riconosci in questo
amplesso"). The two numbers which follow the sextet are recognized
universally as two of the sweetest and most melodious ever
written,--the exquisite aria, "Dove Sono," for the Countess, and the
"Zephyr Duet," as it is popularly known ("Canzonetta su l'aria. Che
soave zeffiretto"), which stands unsurpassed for elegance, grace, and
melodious beauty. The remaining numbers of prominent interest are a
long and very versatile buffo aria for tenor ("In quegli anni"), sung
by Basilio, Figaro's stirring march number ("Ecco la marcia"), and a
lovely song for Susanna ("Deh, vieni, non tardar"). The opera is full
of life and human interest. Its wonderful cheerfulness and vital
sympathy appeal to every listener, and its bright, free, joyous tone
from beginning to end is no less fascinating than the exquisite
melodies with which Mozart has so richly adorned it. Like "Don
Giovanni" and the "Magic Flute," the best test of the work is, that it
is rounding its first century as fresh and bright and popular as ever.


DON GIOVANNI.

"Don Giovanni," an opera buffa in two acts, words by Da Ponte, was
first produced at Prague, Oct. 29, 1787. The full title of the work is
"Il dissoluto punito, ossia il Don Giovanni," and the subject was
taken from a Spanish tale by Tirso de Molina, called "El combidado de
piedra." The original cast of the opera was as follows:--

  DONNA ANNA               Signora TERESA SAPORITTI.
  DONNA ELVIRA             Signora MICELLI.
  ZERLINA                  Signora BONDINI.
  DON OTTAVIO              Signor BAGLIONI.
  DON GIOVANNI             Signor LUIGI BASSI.
  LEPORELLO                Signor FELICE PONZIANI.
  MASETTO and DON PEDRO    Signor LOLLI.

The success of the "Marriage of Figaro" prepared the way for "Don
Giovanni." Mozart wrote the opera in Prague, and completed it, except
the overture, Oct. 28, 1787, about six weeks after he arrived in the
city. The first performance took place the next evening. The overture
was written during the night, the copyist received the score at seven
o'clock in the morning, and it was played at eight in the evening. He
had only a week for stage rehearsals, and yet the opera created a
furor. As an instance of his extraordinary memory, it is said that the
drum and trumpet parts to the finale of the second act were written
without the score, from memory. When he brought the parts into the
orchestra, he remarked, "Pray, gentlemen, be particularly attentive at
this place," pointing to one, "as I believe that there are four bars
either too few or too many." His remark was proved true. It is also
said that in the original scores the brass instruments frequently have
no place, as he wrote the parts continually on separate bits of paper,
trusting to his memory for the score. The next year (1788) the opera
was brought out in Vienna, and for this production he wrote four new
numbers,--a recitative and aria for Donna Elvira ("In quali excessi, o
numi"); an aria for Masetto ("Ho capito, Signor, si"); a short aria
for Don Ottavio ("Dalla sua pace"); and a duet for Zerlina and
Leporello ("Per queste tue manine").

The scene of the opera is laid in Spain. Don Giovanni, a licentious
nobleman, becomes enamoured of Donna Anna, the daughter of the
Commandant of Seville, who is betrothed to Don Ottavio. He gains
admission to her apartments at night, and attempts to carry her away;
but her cries bring her father to her rescue. He attacks Don Giovanni,
and in the encounter is slain. The libertine, however, in company with
his rascally servant, Leporello, makes good his escape. While the
precious pair are consulting about some new amour, Donna Elvira, one
of his victims, appears and taxes him with his cruelty; but he flies
from her, leaving her with Leporello, who horrifies her with an
appalling list of his master's conquests in various countries. Don
Giovanni next attempts the ruin of Zerlina, a peasant girl, upon the
very eve of her marriage with her lover, Masetto. Donna Elvira,
however, appears and thwarts his purposes, and also discovers him to
Donna Anna as the murderer of her father, whereupon she binds her
lover, Don Ottavio, to avenge his death. Don Giovanni does not abandon
his purpose, however. He gives a fête, and once more seeks to
accomplish Zerlina's ruin, but is again thwarted by her three friends.

The second act opens in a public square of Seville at night. Don
Giovanni and Leporello appear before the house of Donna Elvira, where
Zerlina is concealed. Leporello, disguised in his master's cloak, and
assuming his voice, lures Donna Elvira out, and feigning repentance
for his conduct induces her to leave with him. Don Giovanni then
proceeds to enter the house and seize Zerlina; but before he can
accomplish his purpose, Masetto and his friends appear, and supposing
it is Leporello before them, demand to know where his master is, as
they are bent upon killing him. Don Giovanni easily disposes of
Masetto, and then rejoins his servant near the equestrian statue,
which has been erected to the memory of the murdered Don Pedro. To
their astonishment the statue speaks, and warns the libertine he will
die before the morrow. Don Giovanni laughs at the prophecy, and
invites the statue to a banquet to be given the next day at his house.
While the guests are assembled at the feast, an ominous knock is heard
at the door and the statue unceremoniously enters. All except
Leporello and Don Giovanni fly from the room in terror. The doomed man
orders an extra plate, but the statue extends its hand and invites him
to sup with it. He takes the marble hand, and its cold fingers clutch
him in a firm grasp. Thrice the statue urges him to repent, and as
many times he refuses; whereupon, as it disappears, demons rise, seize
Don Giovanni, and carry him to the infernal regions.

Musically considered, "Don Giovanni" is regarded as Mozart's greatest
opera, though it lacks the bright joyousness of the "Marriage of
Figaro," and its human interest. Its melodies are more pronounced, and
have entered more freely into general use, however, than those of the
former. Repulsive as the story is, some of the melodies which
illustrate it have been impressed into the service of the church. The
first act is introduced with a humorous aria by Leporello ("Notte e
giorno faticar"), in which he complains of his treatment by his
master. After the murder of Don Pedro, in the second scene, occurs a
trio between Donna Elvira, Don Giovanni, and Leporello, the leading
motive of which is a beautiful aria sung by Donna Elvira ("Ah! chi mi
dici mai"). The scene closes with the great buffo aria of Leporello
("Madamina il catalogo") popularly known as the "Catalogue Song,"
which is full of broad humor, though its subject is far from
possessing that quality. In the third scene occur the lovely duet for
Don Giovanni and Zerlina ("La ci darem, la mano"), two arias of great
dramatic intensity for Donna Elvira ("Mi tradi") and Donna Anna ("Or
sai chi l'onore"), and Don Giovanni's dashing song, "Finchè dal vino,"
the music of which is in admirable keeping with the reckless nature of
the libertine himself. The last scene is a treasure-house of music,
containing the exquisitely coquettish aria, "Batti, batti," which
Zerlina sings to the jealous Masetto, and the beautiful trio of Donna
Anna, Donna Elvira, and Don Ottavio, known as the Mask Trio, set off
against the quaint minuet music of the fête and the hurly-burly which
accompanies the discovery of Don Giovanni's black designs.

The second act opens with a humorous duet between master and servant
("Eh, via, buffone"), followed by the trio, "Ah! taci, inquisto care,"
as Elvira appears at her window. After she leaves with Leporello, Don
Giovanni sings a serenade ("Deh? vieni all finestra") to Zerlina,
which is interrupted by the appearance of Masetto and his friends.
Zerlina is summoned to the scene by the cries of Masetto after Don
Giovanni has beaten him, and sings to him for his consolation the
beautiful aria, "Vedrai carino," which has more than once been set to
sacred words, and has become familiar as a church tune,
notwithstanding the unsanctity of its original setting. The second
scene opens with a strong sextet ("Sola, sola, in bujo loco"),
followed by the ludicrously solemn appeal of Leporello, "Ah! pieta,
signori miei," and that aria beloved of all tenors, "Il mio tesoro."
The finale is occupied with the scenes at the statue and at the
banquet, a short scene between Donna Anna and Don Ottavio intervening,
in which she sings the aria, "Non mi dir." The statue music throughout
is of a sepulchral character, gradually developing into strains almost
as cold and ominous as the marble of the Commandant himself, and yet
not without an element of the grotesque as it portrays the terror of
Leporello.

It is said that in revenge at his Italian rivals, Mozart introduced an
aria from Martin's "Cosa Rara," arranged for wind instruments, and
also a favorite aria of Sarti's, to be played at the banquet when the
hungry Leporello beholds his master at the table and watches for some
of the choice morsels, and parodied them in an amusing manner. He
never could retain an enmity very long, however, and so at the end of
the banquet he parodied one of his own arias, the famous "Non piu
andrai," by giving it a comical turn to suit Leporello's situation.
The criticism of one of the best biographers of Mozart upon this opera
is worth repeating in this connection: "Whether we regard the mixture
of passions in its concerted music, the profound expression of
melancholy, the variety of its situations, the beauty of its
accompaniment, or the grandeur of its heightening and protracted scene
of terror--the finale of the second act,--'Don Giovanni' stands alone
in dramatic eminence."


THE MAGIC FLUTE.

"Die Zauberflöte," an opera in two acts, words by Emanuel
Schickaneder, was first produced at Vienna, Sept. 30, 1791, with the
following cast:

  QUEEN OF NIGHT     Mme. HOFER.
  PAMINA             Mlle. GOTTLIEB.
  PAPAGENA           Mme. GORL.
  TAMINO             Herr SCHACK.
  MONOSTATOS         Herr GORL.
  SARASTRO           Herr SCHICKANEDER, Sr.
  PAPAGENO           Herr SCHICKANEDER, Jr.

The "Magic Flute" was the last great work of the composer, and
followed the "Cosi fan tutte," which was given in January, 1791. In
1780 Mozart had made the acquaintance of Schickaneder at Salzburg. He
was a reckless, dissipated theatre manager, and at the time of the
composition of the "Magic Flute" was running a small theatre in
Vienna. The competition of the larger theatres had nearly beggared
him, and in the midst of his perplexities he applied to Mozart to
write him an opera, and intimated that he had discovered an admirable
subject for a fairy composition. Mozart at first objected; but
Schickaneder, like himself, was a Freemason; he had been his companion
in dissipation, and exercised a great influence over him. Mozart at
last consented. A compact was made, and Schickaneder set to work on
the libretto. As he was a popular buffoon, he invented the part of
Papageno, the bird-catcher, for himself, and arranged that it should
be dressed in a costume of feathers. It is a trivial part, but
Schickaneder intended to tickle the fancy of the public, and
succeeded. The first act was finished, when it was found that the same
subject had been chosen by a rival theatre, the Leopold Stadt, which
speedily announced the opera of "Kaspar der Fagottist, oder die
Zauber-Zither," by a popular composer, Wenzel Müller. The piece had a
successful run, and in order to prevent a duplication, Schickaneder
reversed the point of his story, and changed the evil magician, who
stole the daughter of the Queen of Night, into a great philosopher and
friend of man. It is owing to this change that we have the magnificent
character of Sarastro, with its impressive music.

The scene of the opera is laid in Egypt. Sarastro, the high-priest of
Isis, has induced Pamina to leave her mother, Astrifiamenti, the Queen
of Night, who represents the spirit of evil, and come to his temple,
where she may be trained in the ways of virtue and wisdom. At the
opening of the opera the dark Queen is trying to discover some plan of
recovering her daughter and punishing Sarastro. In the first act
appears Tamino, an Egyptian prince, who has lost his way, and is
attacked by a huge serpent, from which he is rescued by the three
attendants of the Queen. The latter accosts him, tells him her
daughter's story, and demands that, as the cost of his deliverance, he
shall rescue her. He consents. She gives him a magic flute, and with
his companion Papageno, a rollicking bird-catcher, who is also
presented with a magical chime of bells, they set out for Sarastro's
temple. Papageno arrives there first, and in time to rescue Pamina
from the persecutions of Monostatos, a slave, who flies when he
beholds Papageno in his feather costume, fancying him the Devil. They
seek to make their escape, but are intercepted. Tamino also is caught,
and all are brought before Sarastro. The prince consents to become a
novitiate in the sacred rites, and to go through the various stages of
probation and purification, and Pamina again returns to her duties.
They remain faithful to their vows, and the last ordeal, that of
passing through a burning lake up to the altar of the temple, is
triumphantly accomplished. The Queen of Night, however, does not
abandon her scheme of revenge. She appears to Pamina in her sleep,
gives her a dagger, and swears that unless she murders Sarastro she
will cast her off forever. Pamina pays no heed to her oath, but goes
on with her sacred duties, trusting to Sarastro's promise that if she
endures all the ordeals she will be forever happy. In the closing
scene, Monostatos, who has been inflamed against Sarastro by the
Queen, seeks to kill him, but is vanquished by the might of the
priest's presence alone. The night of the ordeals is over. At a sign
from Sarastro, the, full sunlight pours in upon them. The evil spirits
all vanish, and Tamino and Pamina are united amid the triumphant
choruses of the priests and attendants, as the reward of their
fidelity.

In the opening scene, after the encounter of Tamino with the serpent,
Papageno has a light and catching song ("Der Vogelfänger bin ich ja"),
which, like all of Papageno's music, was specially written for
Schickaneder, and has been classed under the head of the "Viennese
ditties." Melodious as Mozart always is, these songs must be regarded
as concessions to the buffoon who sang them. Papageno's song is
followed by another in a serious strain ("Dies Bildniss ist bezaubernd
schön") sung by Tamino. In the sixth scene occurs the first aria for
the Queen of Night ("O zittre nicht, mein lieber Sohn"), which, like
its companion to be mentioned later, is a remarkable exercise in vocal
power, range, and gymnastics, written for an exceptional voice. The
next scene, known as the Padlock Quintet, is very simple and flowing
in style, and will always be popular for its humorous and melodious
character. In the eleventh scene occurs the familiar duet between
Pamina and Papageno, "Bei Männern, welche Liebe füllen," which has
done good service for the church, and will be recognized in the
English hymn version, "Serene I laid me down." It leads up to the
finale, beginning, "Zum Ziehle führt dich diese Bahn," and containing
a graceful melody for Tamino ("O dass ich doch im Stande wäre"), and
another of the Viennese tunes, "Könnte jeder brave Mann,"--a duet for
Papageno and Pamina, with chorus.

The second act opens with a stately march and chorus by the priests,
leading up to Sarastro's first great aria ("O Isis und Osiris"), a
superb invocation in broad, flowing harmony, and the scene closes with
a strong duet by two priests ("Bewahret euch vor Weibertücken.") The
third scene is a quintet for Papageno, Tamino, and the Queen's three
attendants ("Wie ihr an diesem Shreckensort?"), and is followed by a
sentimental aria by Monostatos ("Alles fühlt der Liebe Freuden"). In
the next scene occurs the second and greatest aria of the Queen of
Night ("Der Hölle Rache kocht"), which was specially written to show
off the bravura ability of the creator of the part, and has been the
despair of nearly all sopranos since her time. In striking contrast
with it comes the majestic aria for Sarastro in the next scene ("In
diesen heil'gen Hallen"), familiarly known on the concert-stage by its
English title, "In these sacred Halls," the successful performance of
which may well be the height of any basso's ambition. In the twelfth
scene there is a terzetto by the three boys ("Seid uns zum
zweitenmal"), and in the next scene a long and florid aria for Pamina
("Ach! ich fühl's es ist verschwunden"), full of plaintive chords and
very sombre in color. The sixteenth scene contains another stately
chorus of priests ("O Isis und Osiris"), based upon a broad and
massive harmony, which is followed by a terzetto between Sarastro,
Pamina, and Tamino ("Soll ich dich, Theurer nicht mehr sehen?"). Once
more a concession to the buffoon occurs in a melody "Ein Mädchen oder
Weibchen," which would be commonplace but for Mozart's treatment of
the simple air. The finale begins with another terzetto for the three
boys ("Bald prangt, den Morgen zu verkünden"). It may be termed a
finale of surprises, as it contains two numbers which are as far apart
in character as the poles,--the first, an old choral melody ("Der,
welcher wandelt diese Strasse"), the original being, "Christ, our
Lord, to Jordan came," set to an accompaniment, strengthened by the
trombones and other wind instruments; and the second, a nonsense duet
("Pa-pa-Papageno") for Papageno and Papagena, which would close the
opera in a burst of childish hilarity but for the solemn concluding
chorus of the priests ("Heil sei euch Geweithen").

The great charm of the opera is its originality, and the wonderful
freshness and fruitfulness of the composer in giving independent and
characteristic melodies to every character, as well as the marvellous
combination of technicality with absolute melody. Beethoven said of it
that this was Mozart's one German opera in right of the style and
solidity of its music. Jahn, in his criticism, says: "'The
Zauberflöte' has a special and most important position among Mozart's
operas. The whole musical conception is pure German, and here for the
first time German opera makes free and skilful use of all the elements
of finished art."



ROSSINI.

Gioachini Antonio Rossini was born at Pesaro, Italy, Feb. 29, 1792.
His early lessons in music were taken with Tesei, and as a lad he also
appeared upon the stage as a singer. In 1807 he was admitted to the
class of Padre Mattei at the Bologna Conservatory, where he took a
prize for a cantata at the end of his first year. At the beginning of
his career in Italy he was commissioned to write an opera for Venice.
It was "La Cambiale di Matrimonio," an opera buffa in one act, and was
produced in 1810. During the next three years he wrote several works
for Venice and Milan, which were successful, but none of them created
such a furor as "Tancredi." This was followed by "L' Italiana in
Algeri," "Aureliano in Palmira," and "Il Turco in Italia." In 1815
appeared "The Barber of Seville." Strange as it may seem, it was at
first condemned, not on its merits, but because the composer had
trenched, as it was supposed, upon the ground already occupied by the
favorite Paisiello, though he applied to the latter before writing it,
and received his assurances that he had no objection to his use of the
same subject. "Otello" followed the "Barber" at Naples in 1816, and
"Cenerentola" in 1817, and both were extraordinarily successful. The
"Gazza Ladra" was produced at Milan in 1817, and was followed by
"Armida" at Naples in the same year. His next great work was the
oratorio, "Moses in Egypt," which is also given as opera. The "Donna
del Lago," based upon Walter Scott's "Lady of the Lake," was produced
at Naples in 1819. The same year he opened the Carnival in Milan with
"Bianca e Faliero," and before its close he produced "Maometto
secondo" at Naples. During the next two or three years his muse was
very prolific, and in 1823 appeared another of his great works,
"Semiramide," which made a furor at Venice. That year he went to
London and gave concerts, in which he sang, and thence to Paris, which
now became his home. His greatest work for Paris was "William Tell,"
which was produced in 1829, and it was also his last, though by an
arrangement with the Government of Charles X. it was to be the first
of a series of five. The revolution of 1830 destroyed his plans. In
1836 he heard Meyerbeer's "Huguenots," and resolved to write no more.
Four years before this he had written the "Stabat Mater," but it was
not produced complete until 1842. From this time on he lived at his
villa at Passy the life of a voluptuary and died there Nov. 13, 1868.
The catalogue of his works is immense, including fifty operas alone,
of which in a necessarily brief sketch it has been possible to mention
only those best known.


THE BARBER OF SEVILLE.

"Il Barbiere di Siviglia," an opera buffa in two acts, words by
Sterbini, founded on Beaumarchais's comedy, was first produced at the
Argentina Theatre, Rome, Feb. 5, 1816, with the following cast:--

  ROSINA            Mme. GIORGI RIGHETTI.
  BERTAO            Mlle. ROSSI.
  FIGARO            Sig. LUIGI ZAMBONI.
  COUNT ALMAVIVA    Sig. GARCIA.
  BARTOLO           Sig. BOTTICELLI.
  BASILIO           Sig. VITTARELLI.

The story of the writing of "The Barber of Seville" is of more than
ordinary interest. Rossini had engaged to write two operas for the
Roman Carnival of 1816. The first was brought out Dec. 26, 1815, and
the same day he bound himself to furnish the second by Jan. 20, 1816,
with no knowledge of what the libretto would be. Sterbini furnished
him with the story of the "Barber" by piecemeal, and as fast as the
verses were given him he wrote the music. The whole work was finished
in less than three weeks. Its original title was "Almaviva, ossia
l'inutile precauzione," to distinguish it from Paisiello's "Barber of
Seville." The original overture was lost in some manner, and that of
"Aureliano" substituted. In the scene beneath Rosina's balcony Garcia
introduced a Spanish air of his own; but it failed, and before the
second performance Rossini wrote the beautiful cavatina, "Ecco ridente
il cielo" in its place, the melody borrowed from the opening chorus of
his "Aureliano," and that in turn from his "Ciro in Babilonia." The
subject of the effective trio, "Zitti, zitti," was taken from Haydn's
"Seasons," and the aria sung by the duenna Berta ("Il vechiotto cerca
moglie"), from a Russian melody he had heard a lady sing in Rome and
introduced for her sake. For the music-lesson scene Rossini wrote a
trio which has been lost; and thus an opportunity has been given
Rosinas to interpolate what they please.

The scene of the opera is laid at Seville, Spain. Count Almaviva has
fallen in love with Rosina, the ward of Dr. Bartolo, with whom she
resides, and who wishes to marry her himself. After serenading his
mistress, who knows him only by the name of Count Lindoro, he prevails
upon Figaro, the factotum of the place, to bring about an interview
with her. In spite of her guardian's watchfulness, as well as that of
Don Basilio, her music-teacher, who is helping Bartolo in his schemes,
she informs the Count by letter that she returns his passion. With
Figaro's help he succeeds in gaining admission to the house disguised
as a drunken dragoon, but this stratagem is foiled by the entrance of
the guard, who arrest him. A second time he secures admission,
disguised as a music-teacher, and pretending that he has been sent by
Don Basilio, who is ill, to take his place. To get into Bartolo's
confidence he produces Rosina's letter to himself, and promises to
persuade her that the letter has been given him by a mistress of the
Count, and thus break off the connection between the two. By this
means he secures the desired interview, and an elopement and private
marriage are planned. In the midst of the arrangements, however, Don
Basilio puts in an appearance, and the disconcerted lover makes good
his escape. Meanwhile Bartolo, who has Rosina's letter, succeeds in
arousing the jealousy of his ward with it, who thereupon discloses the
proposed elopement and promises to marry her guardian. At the time set
for the elopement the Count and Figaro appear. A reconciliation is
easily effected, a notary is at hand, and they are married just as
Bartolo makes his appearance with officers to arrest the Count. Mutual
explanations occur, however, and all ends happily.

The first act opens after a short chorus, with the serenade, "Ecco
ridente in cielo," the most beautiful song in the opera. It begins
with a sweet and expressive largo and concludes with a florid allegro,
and is followed by a chorus in which the serenaders are dismissed. In
the second scene Figaro enters, and after some brief recitatives sings
the celebrated buffo aria, "Largo al factotum," in which he gives an
account of his numerous avocations. The aria is full of life and
gayety, and wonderfully adapted to the style of the mercurial Figaro.

A light and lively duet between Figaro and the Count, closing with the
sprightly melody, "Ah! che d'amore," leads up to the chamber aria of
Rosina, so well known on the concert-stage, "Una voce poco fa," which
is not only very expressive and of great compass, but is remarkably
rich in ornamentation. A short dialogue in recitative then occurs
between Bartolo and Basilio, in which they plot to circumvent Rosina
by calumny, which gives occasion for the Calumny aria, as it is
generally known ("La calunnia"), a very sonorous bass solo, sung by
Basilio. Another dialogue follows between Figaro and Rosina, leading
to the florid duet, "E il maestro io faccio." A third dialogue follows
between Rosina and Bartolo, ending in a bass aria ("Non piu tacete"),
very similar in its general style to the Calumny song, but usually
omitted in performances. In the tenth scene the Count arrives
disguised as the drunken soldier, and the finale begins. It is
composed of three scenes very ingeniously arranged, and full of
glittering dialogue and very melodious passages.

The second act opens with a soliloquy by Bartolo ("Ma redi il mio
destino"), in which he gives vent to his suspicions. It is interrupted
at last by a duet with the Count, in which the two characters are
strikingly set off by the music. The music-lesson scene follows, in
which the artist personating Rosina is given an opportunity for
interpolation. In the next scene occurs a dialogue quintet, which is
followed by a long aria ("Sempre gridi") by the duenna Bertha, called
by the Italians the "Aria de Sorbetto," because the people used to eat
ices while it was sung; reminding one of the great aria from
"Tancredi," "Di tanti palpiti," which they called the "aria dei
rizzi," because Rossini composed it while cooking his rice. In the
eighth scene, after a long recitative, an instrumental prelude occurs,
representing a stormy night, followed by a recitative in which the
Count reveals himself, leading up to a florid trio, and this in turn
to the elegant terzetto, "Zitti, zitti." A bravura and finale of light
and graceful melody close the opera.


SEMIRAMIDE

"Semiramide" a lyric tragedy in two acts, words by Gaetano Rossi, the
subject taken from Voltaire's "Semiramis," was first produced at the
Fenice, Venice, Feb. 3, 1823, with the following cast:--

  SEMIRAMIDE         Mme. ROSSINI-COLBRAN.
  ARSACES            Mme. MARIANI.
  IDRENO             Mr. SINCLAIR.
  ASSUR              Sig. GALLI.
  OROE               Sig. MARIANI.

On the 9th of July it was produced in French at the Académie, Paris,
as "Semiramis," with Carlotta Marchisio as Semiramide, Barbara, her
sister, as Arsaces, and M. Obin as Assur. At Rossini's request M.
Carafa arranged the recitatives and wrote the ballet music.
"Semiramide" was the last opera Rossini wrote for Italy; and so far
did he depart from the conventional Italian style, that he was charged
with imitating the German. It was probably for this reason that the
opera when first performed did not meet with a kindly reception from
the Venetians. Although he was occupied six months in negotiating for
his stipulated price (one thousand dollars), he wrote the opera in
three weeks. Of its first performance, a correspondent of the
"Harmonicon," who was present, writes: "The first act, which lasted
two hours and fifteen minutes, was received very coldly, with the
exception of one passage in the overture, which overture, however, was
unconscionably long. The second act, which lasted two hours and a
half, began to please in an air of Mariani, but the applause was
rather directed to this favorite singer. After this a duet between her
and Colbran, together with an air of Galli, and particularly a
terzetto between him and the two ladies, were well received. Rossini
was also called for at the end of the second act. It is all over with
Madame, his own wife" (Mme. Colbran), who took the title-rôle.

The scene of the opera is laid in Babylon, and the story briefly told
is as follows: Ninus, the King of Babylon, has been murdered by his
Queen, Semiramis, aided by Assur, a prince enamoured of her and
aspiring to the throne. One of the Queen's warriors, Arsaces, supposed
to be of Scythian origin, but in reality her own son, returns from a
foreign expedition and is loaded with honors for the victory he has
won. Semiramis, ignorant of his parentage, has a secret passion for
him, he in the mean time being devoted to Azema, one of the princesses
royal. As all gather together in the temple to swear allegiance to the
Queen, the gates of Ninus's tomb suddenly open, and his ghost appears
and announces that Arsaces will be the successor to the crown. At
midnight Semiramis, Assur, and Arsaces meet at the tomb, and by
mistake Assur stabs her instead of Arsaces, who in turn kills Assur,
and, all obstacles being removed, is united to Azema and ascends the
throne.

An introductory chorus of Babylonians and a terzetto by Idreno, Assur,
and Oroe open the opera and lead up to the first appearance of
Semiramis, which is followed by a very dramatic quartet ("Di tanti
regi"). In the fourth scene Arsaces has a very brilliant aria ("O!
come da quel di"), which also did service in one or two of Rossini's
other operas, and is followed by a very animated duet ("Bella imago
degli dei") between himself and Assur. The eighth scene is introduced
by a graceful female chorus which leads to Semiramis's brilliant and
well-known aria, "Bel raggio." In the tenth scene occurs an elegant
duet ("Serbami agnor si fido"), followed in the next scene by a
stately priests' march and chorus ("Ergi omai la fronte altera"), set
to ecclesiastical harmony and accompanied by full military band as
well as orchestra, this being the first instance where a military band
was used in Italian opera. It leads to the finale, where Semiramis on
her throne announces to her people her choice for their future king.
The oath of allegiance follows in an impressive quartet with chorus
("Giuro al numi"), and a defiant aria by the Queen leads to the sudden
appearance of the ghost of Ninus, accompanied by characteristic music
repeated in quintet with chorus. As the ghost speaks, the statue scene
in Don Giovanni is inevitably recalled, especially in some phrases
which are literally copied.

The second act opens with a vindictively passionate duet ("Assur,
icenni mici") between Assur and Semiramis, closing with a fierce
outburst of hatred ("La forza primiera"). The scene is a very long and
spirited one, and is followed by a second chorus of priests, leading
to a great aria with chorus ("Ah! tu gelar mi fai") for Arsaces. In
the fifth scene occurs a long duet between Arsaces and Semiramis, the
second part of which ("Giorno d'orrore") is the strongest number in
the opera. Though intensely passionate in its tone, the music is
smooth and flowing and very florid for both voices. The seventh scene
is composed of a scena, aria and chorus, followed by still another
chorus in the mausoleum. Semiramis sings a prayer of great pathos and
beauty ("Ah mio pregar"). A terzetto ("L'usato ardir"), which like the
mausoleum chorus is based upon an aria from Mozart's "Cosi fan tutti,"
closes the opera. "The Harmonicon," to which reference has already
been made, in an analysis of the work, has the following apt
criticism: "It has been said, and truly, that 'Semiramide' is composed
in the German style, but it is the German style exaggerated. Rossini
is become a convert to this school, and his conversion does his
judgment credit, though like all proselytes he passes into extremes.
Not satisfied with discarding the meagre accompaniments of the Italian
composers, he even goes far beyond the tramontane masters in the
multitude and use of instruments, and frequently smothers his
concerted pieces and choruses by the overwhelming weight of his
orchestra." But what would the "Harmonicon" have said, had it had
Wagner's instrumentation before it?


WILLIAM TELL

"William Tell," an opera in three acts, words by Étienne Jouy and
Hippolyte Bis, the subject taken from Schiller's drama of the same
name, was first produced at the Académie, Paris, Aug. 3, 1829, with
the following cast:--

  MATHILDE       Mme. DAMOREAU-CINTI.
  JEMMY          Mme. DABODIE.
  HEDWIG         Mlle. MORI.
  ARNOLD         M. NOURRIT.
  WALTER         M. LEVASSEUR.
  TELL           M. DABODIE.
  RUODI          M. DUPONT.
  RODOLPHE       M. MASSOL.
  GESSLER        M. PRÉVOST.
  LEUTOLD        M. PRÉVÔT.

Rossini wrote for Paris only two new operas, "Le Comte Ory" and
"William Tell,"--the latter his masterpiece in the serious style. The
libretto was first prepared by M. Jouy, but it was so bad that M. Bis
was called in, and to him is due the whole of the second act. Even
after the two authors had changed and revised it, Rossini had to alter
it in many places. When it was first performed the weakness of the
drama was at once recognized, though its music was warmly welcomed,
especially by the critical. It was represented fifty-six times in its
original form, and was then cut down to three acts, the original third
act being omitted and the fourth and fifth condensed into one. For
three years after this time the second act was alone performed in
Paris; but when M. Duprez made his début in the part of Arnold, a
fresh enthusiasm was aroused, and there was a genuine Tell revival.

The scene of the opera is laid in Switzerland, period the thirteenth
century, and the action closely follows the historical narrative. The
disaffection which has arisen among the Swiss, owing to the tyranny of
Gessler, suddenly comes to a climax when one of Gessler's followers
attempts an outrage upon the only daughter of the herdsman Leutold,
and meets his death at the hands of the indignant father. Leutold
seeks protection at the hands of Tell, who, in the face of the
herdsman's pursuers, succeeds in placing him beyond the reach of
danger, and this circumstance arouses the wrath of Gessler. Melchtal,
the village patriarch, is accused by him of inciting the people to
insubordination, and is put to death. Meanwhile Arnold, his son, is
enamoured of Mathilde, Gessler's daughter, and hesitates between love
and duty when he is called upon to avenge his father's death. At last
duty prevails, and he joins his comrades when the men of the three
cantons, who are loyal to Tell, meet and swear death to the tyrant. In
the last act occurs the famous archery scene. To discover the leading
offenders Gessler erects a pole in the square of Altorf, upon which he
places his hat and commands the people to do homage to it. Tell
refuses, and as a punishment is ordered to shoot an apple from his
son's head. He successfully accomplishes the feat, but as he is about
to retire Gessler observes a second arrow concealed in his garments,
and inquires the reason for it, when Tell boldly replies it was
intended for him in case the first had killed his son. Gessler throws
him into prison, whereupon Mathilde abandons her father and determines
to help in the rescue of Tell and his son. Her lover, Arnold,
meanwhile, raises a band of brave followers and accomplishes the
rescue himself. After slaying the tyrant and freeing his country Tell
returns to his family, and Arnold and Mathilde are united.

The overture to "William Tell," with its Alpine repose, its great
storm-picture, the stirring "Ranz des Vaches," and the trumpet-call to
freedom, is one of the most perfect and beautiful ever written, and is
so familiar that it does not need analysis. The first act opens with a
delightfully fresh Alpine chorus ("E il ciel sereno"), which is
followed by a pastoral quartet between a fisherman, Tell, Hedwig, and
Jemmy. Arnold enters, and a long duet, one of Rossini's finest
inspirations, follows between Arnold and Tell. The duet is interrupted
by the entrance of several of the peasants escorting two brides and
bridegrooms, which is the signal for a most graceful chorus and dance
("Cinto il crine"). Leutold then appears, seeking Tell's protection,
and a very dramatic finale begins, closing with the arrest of
Melchtal, which leads to an ensemble of great power.

The second act opens with a double chorus of huntsmen and shepherds
("Qual silvestre metro intorne"), which is followed by a scena
preluding a charming romanza ("Selva opaco") sung by Mathilde. Its
mild, quiet beauty is in strange contrast with the remainder of this
great act. It is followed by a passionate duet with Arnold, a second
and still more passionate duet between Tell and Walter, which leads to
the magnificent trio of the oath ("La gloria inflammi"), and this in
turn is followed by the splendid scene of the gathering of the
cantons. For melodic and harmonic beauty combined, the spirited
treatment of masses, and charm and variety of color, this great scene
stands almost alone.

The last act opens with a duet between Mathilde and Arnold, which is
followed in the next scene by a march and chorus as the multitude
gathers in the square of Altorf, closing with a lovely Tyrolean chorus
sung by the sopranos and accompanied with the dance. The dramatic
scene of the archery follows, and then Arnold has a very passionate
aria ("O muto asil"). Some very vivid storm-music preluding the last
scene, and the final hymn of freedom ("I boschi, i monti") close an
opera which is unquestionably Rossini's masterpiece, and in which his
musical ability reached its highest expression. "Manly, earnest, and
mighty," Hanslick calls it; and the same authority claims that the
first and second acts belong to the most beautiful achievements of the
modern opera.



RUBINSTEIN.

Anton Gregor Rubinstein was born Nov. 30, 1829, at Weghwotynez in
Russia. His mother gave him lessons at the age of four, with the
result that by the time he was six she was unable to teach him
anything more. He then studied the piano with Alexander Villoing, a
pupil of John Field. In 1840 he entered the Paris Conservatory, where
he attracted the attention of Liszt, Chopin, and Thalberg. He remained
in that city eighteen months, and then made some professional tours,
in which he met with extraordinary success. In 1844 his parents
removed to Berlin, and he was placed under Dehn, the famous
contrapuntist, to study composition. From 1846 to 1848 he taught music
in Pressburg and Vienna, and then went back to Russia. For eight years
he studied and wrote in St. Petersburg, and at the end of that time
had accumulated a mass of manuscripts destined to make his name famous
all over Europe, while his reputation as a skilful pianist was already
world-wide. He visited England again in 1857, and the next year
returned home and settled in St. Petersburg, about which time he was
made Imperial Concert Director, with a life-pension. At this period in
his career he devoted himself to the cause of music in Russia. His
first great work was the foundation of the Conservatory in the above
city in 1862, of which he remained principal until 1867. He also
founded the Russian Musical Society in 1861, and in 1869 was decorated
by the Czar. In 1870 he directed the Philharmonic and Choral Societies
of Vienna, and shortly afterwards made another tour, during which, in
1872, he came to this country with the eminent violinist, Wieniawsky,
as will be well remembered. His greatest works are the "Ocean
Symphony," "Dramatic Symphony," and a character sketch for grand
orchestra called "Ivan the Terrible;" his operas, "Children of the
Heath," "Feramors," "Nero," "The Maccabees," "Dimitri Donskoi," and
the "Demon;" the oratorios "Paradise Lost," and "Tower of Babel," and
a long and splendid catalogue of chamber, salon, and concert music,
besides some beautiful songs, which are great favorites in the
concert-room.


NERO.

The opera of "Nero," the libretto by Jules Barbier, was first produced
in Hamburg in 1879,--though it was originally intended for the French
stage,--and in this country, March 14, 1887, at New York, by the
American Opera Company, under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas,
with the following cast:--

  NERO                Mr. CANDIDUS.
  JULIUS VINDEX       Mr. LUDWIG.
  TIGELLINUS          Mr. STODDARD.
  BALBILLUS           Mr. WHITNEY.
  SACCUS              Mr. FESSENDEN.
  SEVIRUS             Mr. HAMILTON.
  TERPANDER           Mr. LEE.
  POPPOEA SABINA      Miss BERTHA PIERSON.
  EPICHARIS           Miss CORNELIA VAN ZANTEN.
  CHRYSA              Miss EMMA JUCH.
  AGRIPPINA           Miss AGNES STERLING.
  LUPUS               Miss PAULINE L'ALLEMAND.

The first act opens in the house of Epicharis, a courtesan, which is a
rendezvous for the dissolute Roman nobles. The guests assembled sing a
chorus in praise of the establishment, followed by a scene in which
Vindex, the prince of Aquitania, Saccus the poet, Terpander the
citharist, and others conspire against Nero. Suddenly Chrysa, daughter
of Epicharis, who is ignorant of her mother's real character and
dwells apart from her, rushes in and implores the protection of Vindex
from a crowd of revellers who have pursued her. A very spirited duet
follows in which the prince promises her his assistance. Upon hearing
the shouts of her pursuers he conceals her just in time to escape the
masked band, headed by Nero himself, which bursts into the apartment.
The tyrant demands the girl; and as he throws off his mask the guests
stand amazed. Saccus at last breaks the spell by the suggestion that
Nero shall marry the girl. When she is led out, and Vindex discovers
that Epicharis is her mother, he no longer espouses her cause. Then
follows the music of the mock marriage, interspersed with dance
strains and sardonic choruses by the courtesans and their associates,
at last rising to a wild bacchanalian frenzy, in the midst of which
Vindex breaks out in a spirited song, with harp accompaniment, and
finally hurls invectives at Nero, as Chrysa, who has drunk a narcotic
at her mother's order, falls senseless. The latter declares she has
been poisoned, and the act closes with a scene of great power in which
Vindex is hurried away as Nero's prisoner.

The second act opens in the dwelling of Poppoea, Nero's mistress,
whose attendants are trying to console her. She has heard of Nero's
new infatuation; but her apprehensions are relieved when Balbillus,
the astrologer, enters and not only announces that Chrysa is dead, but
tells the equally grateful news that Octavia, Nero's wife, has been
condemned to die. Nero himself now appears upon the scene, and a duet
follows in which Poppoea reproaches him for his fickleness and he
seeks to console her with flattery. At its close the death of Octavia
is announced, and Poppoea is appeased by the prospect of sharing the
throne. Meanwhile Chrysa has fallen into the custody of Agrippina,
Nero's mother, who keeps close charge of her to further her own
ambitions. During the interview between the tyrant and his mistress,
Epicharis rushes in and implores Nero to give up Chrysa, which leads
to a powerful ensemble. Learning that Chrysa is still alive he leaves
the apartment to find her. The second scene is brilliantly
spectacular. Nero and his mother appear in front of the temple,
followed by a long procession to the music of a brilliant march. They
enter the temple. After a short episode, in which Poppoea informs
Epicharis of the refuge Chrysa has found, the ballet is given in the
open square, with its fascinating dances of warriors, bacchantes,
jugglers and buffoons, and their mimic combats, the music of which is
very familiar from its frequent performance in our concert-rooms. Nero
then appears and announces his divinity in a finale, which is rich
with scenic, spectacular, and choral effects, accompanied by full
military band and orchestra.

The third act opens in Chrysa's new asylum of refuge. The persecuted
girl sings a beautiful prayer, at the close of which Vindex joins her
in a love-duet, which will always remain as one of the most refined
and noble products of Rubinstein's skill in harmony. The next number
is one of almost equal beauty,--a duet for Chrysa and Epicharis, the
motive of which is a cradle song. Its soothing tones are interrupted
by the appearance of Nero, followed by Poppoea and Saccus, the
last-named announcing to the tyrant that Rome is in flames, which
leads up to a vigorous trio. The concluding scene is full of
characteristic music. It shows us Nero watching the fire from his
tower, while he sings a hymn ("O Ilion") to the accompaniment of his
lyre; the death of Chrysa, who proclaims herself a Christian and is
killed by the infuriated populace; and the fate of Epicharis, who is
crushed beneath a falling house as she mourns for her daughter.

The fourth act furnishes a dramatic denouement to the mournful story.
The tyrant, wild with rage and frenzy, appears in the tomb of
Augustus, where the shades of his murdered victims terrify him. Saccus
enters and tells him of the revolt of his army and the danger which
threatens him. He rushes out again and kills himself on the highway of
the Campagna, just as Vindex at the head of his legions comes up with
him. As he expires a cross appears in the sky and a chant is heard,
herald of the coming Christianity.



THOMAS.

Charles Ambroise Thomas was born at Metz, Aug. 5, 1811, and entered
the Paris Conservatory in 1828, where he carried off the Grand Prize
in 1832, which entitled him to go to Italy. During his Italian
residence he wrote a cantata, "Hermann und Ketty," and several
instrumental works. His first work at the Opera Comique was the
one-act opera, "La double echelle," produced in 1837 with success. He
then brought out several ballets at the Académie, but returned to the
Opera Comique again, where, between 1840 and 1866, he composed
thirteen operas, the most successful of which were "Le Songe d'une
nuit d'été" (1850), "Raymond" (1851), "Psyche" (1857), and "Mignon"
(1866). During this period he also wrote a large number of cantatas,
choruses, part-songs, and instrumental works. His next great work was
"Hamlet," first produced March 9, 1868, the success of which gained
him the position of Director of the Conservatory in 1871. Since that
time he has written only the opera "Françoise de Rimini," performed
April 14, 1882. In 1880 he was made a member of the Legion of Honor.
In common with Gounod he now shares the honor of being one of the few
French writers who hold a high rank among modern composers.


MIGNON

"Mignon," an opera comique in three acts, words by Barbier and Carré,
the subject taken from Goethe's "Wilhelm Meister," was first produced
at the Opera Comique, Paris, Nov. 17, 1866, with the following cast:--

  MIGNON             Mme. GALLI-MARIÉ.
  WILHELM MEISTER    M. ACHARD.
  LAERTES            M. CONDERS.
  LOTARIO            M. BATAILLE.
  FILINA             Mme. CABEL.

The scene of the first two acts is laid in Germany, and of the third
in Italy. Mignon, the heroine, in her childhood was stolen by gypsies.
She is of noble birth. The mother died shortly after her bereavement,
and the father, disguised as the harper Lotario, has wandered for
years in quest of his daughter. The opera opens in the yard of a
German inn, where a troupe of actors, among them Filina and Laertes,
are resting, on their way to the castle of a neighboring prince, where
they are to give a performance.

A strolling gypsy band arrives about the same time, and stops to give
an entertainment to the guests. Mignon, who is with the band, is
ordered to perform the egg dance, but, worn out with fatigue and
abusive treatment, refuses. Giarno, the leader, rushes at her, but the
old harper interposes in her behalf. Giarno then turns upon Lotario,
when the wandering student, Wilhelm Meister, suddenly appears and
rescues both Mignon and the harper. To save her from any further
persecution he engages her as his page, and follows on in the suite of
Filina, for whom he conceives a violent and sudden passion. Touched by
his kind attentions to her, Mignon falls in love with Wilhelm, who,
ignorant of his page's affection, becomes more and more a prey to the
fascinations of Filina. At last the troupe arrives at the castle,
Wilhelm and Mignon with them. Wilhelm enters with the others, leaving
Mignon to await him outside. Maddened with jealousy, she attempts to
throw herself into a lake near by, but is restrained by the notes of
Lotario's harp. She rushes to him for counsel and protection, and in
her despair invokes vengeance upon all in the castle. As the
entertainment closes, Filina and her troupe emerge, joyful over their
great success. She sends Mignon back for some flowers she has left,
when suddenly flames appear in the windows. Maddened by his own grief
and Mignon's troubles Lotario has fired the castle. Wilhelm rushes
into the burning building and brings out the unconscious Mignon in his
arms.

The last act opens in Lotario's home in Italy, whither Mignon has been
taken, followed by Wilhelm, who has discovered her devoted attachment
to him, and has freed himself from the fascinations of Filina. Through
the medium of a long-concealed casket containing a girdle which Mignon
had worn in her childhood, also by a prayer which she repeats, and the
picture of her mother, Lotario is at last convinced that she is his
daughter, and gives his blessing to her union with Wilhelm.

The overture recites the leading motives of the work. The first act
opens with a fresh and melodious chorus of the townspeople over their
beer in the inn yard ("Su borghesi e magnati"). During their singing a
characteristic march is heard, and the gypsy band enters. The scene is
a charming one, the little ballet being made still more picturesque by
the fresh chorus and a song of Filina's in waltz time. The scene of
the encounter with Giarno and Mignon's rescue follows, and leads up to
a very spirited quintet, which is followed by a graceful trio between
Wilhelm, Filina, and Laertes, the actor. In the next scene Wilhelm
questions Mignon as to her history, and at the end of their pathetic
duet, when he says, "Were I to break thy chains and set thee free, to
what beloved spot wouldst thou take thy way?" she replies in the
beautiful romanza, "Non conosci il bel suol," more familiarly known in
Goethe's own words, "Kennst du das Land,"--a song full of tender
beauty and rare expression, and one of the most delightful
inspirations of any composer. It is said that much of its charm comes
from the composer's study of Ary Scheffer's picture of Mignon. Be this
as it may, he has caught the inner sense of the poem, and expressed it
in exquisite tones. It is followed almost immediately by a duet
between Mignon and Lotario ("Leggiadre rondinelle") of almost equal
beauty, known as the Swallow duet. After a somewhat uninteresting
scene between Laertes, Filina, and Frederick, who is also in love with
Filina, the finale begins with the departure of the actors to fulfil
their engagement, in which Filina, in a graceful aria ("Grazie al
gentil signor"), invites Wilhelm to be of the number.

The second act opens in Filina's boudoir, where she is at her toilet,
arraying herself for her part as Titania in the forthcoming
performance of the "Midsummer Night's Dream" at the castle. As Wilhelm
and Mignon enter the apartment, a very dramatic conversation ensues
between them in the form of a terzetto ("Ohimè quell' acre riso").
Mignon is in despair at the attention Wilhelm pays Filina, and the
latter adds to her pangs by singing with him a gay coquettish aria
("Gai complimenti"). As they leave the room Mignon goes to the mirror
and begins adorning herself as Filina had done, hoping thereby to
attract Wilhelm, singing meanwhile a characteristic song ("Conosco un
zingarello") with a peculiar refrain, which the composer himself calls
the "Styrienne." It is one of the most popular numbers in the opera,
and when first sung in Paris made a furor. At the end of the scene
Mignon goes into a cabinet to procure one of Filina's dresses, and the
lovelorn Frederick enters and sings his only number in the opera, a
bewitching rondo gavotte ("Filina nelle sale"). Wilhelm enters, and a
quarrel between the jealous pair is prevented by the sudden appearance
of Mignon in Filina's finery. She rushes between them, Frederick makes
his exit in a fume, and Wilhelm announces to Mignon his intention to
leave her, in the aria, "Addio, Mignon, fa core," one of the most
pathetic songs in the modern opera. In the next scene she tears off
her finery and rushes out expressing her hatred of Filina. The scene
now changes to the park surrounding the castle where the entertainment
is going on. Mignon hears the laughter and clapping of hands, and
overcome with despair attempts to throw herself into the lake, but is
restrained by Lotario, and a beautiful duet ensues between them
("Sofferto hai tu?"). In the next scene Filina, the actors, and their
train of followers emerge from the castle, and in the midst of their
joy she sings the polacca, "Ah! per stassera," which is a perfect _feu
de joie_ of sparkling music, closing with a brilliant cadenza. The
finale, which is very dramatic, describes the burning of the castle
and the rescue of Mignon.

The last act is more dramatic than musical, though it contains a few
delightful numbers, among them the chorus barcarole in the first
scene, "Orsu, sciogliam le vela," a song by Wilhelm ("Ah! non
credea"), and the love duet, "Ah! son felice," between Wilhelm and
Mignon, in which is heard again the cadenza of Filina's polacca.
"Mignon" has always been a success, and will unquestionably always
keep its place on the stage,--longer even than the composer's more
ambitious works, "Hamlet" and "Françoise de Rimini," by virtue of its
picturesqueness and poetic grace, as well as by the freshness, warmth,
and richness of its melodies. In this country opera-goers will long
remember "Mignon" by the great successes made by Miss Kellogg as
Filina, and by Mme. Lucca and Mme. Nilsson in the title-rôle.



VERDI.

Giuseppi Verdi was born at Roncale, Italy, Oct. 9, 1813. He displayed
his musical talent at a very early age; indeed, in his tenth year he
was appointed organist in his native town. He then studied for a time
at Busseto, and afterwards, by the help of a patron, M. Barezzi, went
to Milan. Curiously enough he was refused a scholarship on the ground
that he displayed no aptitude for music. Nothing daunted, he studied
privately with the composer Lavigne, and five years afterwards
commenced his career as an operatic writer. His first opera, "Oberto,"
was given at La Scala, Milan, with indifferent success. He was not
fairly recognized until his opera "I Lombardi" was performed. In 1844
"Ernani" was received with great enthusiasm. "Attila" (1846) was his
next great triumph; and then followed in rapid succession a large
number of operas, among them: "I Masnadieri" (1847), written for the
English stage, with Jenny Lind, Lablache, and Gardoni in the cast;
"Luisa Miller" (1849); "Stifellio" (1851); "Rigoletto" (1851); "Il
Trovatore," Rome (1853); "La Traviata," Venice (1853); "I Vespri
Siciliani," Paris (1855); "Simon Boccanegra," Venice (1857); "Un Ballo
in Maschera," Rome (1858); "La Forza del Destino," St. Petersburg
(1862); "Don Carlos," Paris (1867), and "Aida," his last opera, Cairo
(1871). Since that time Verdi has produced nothing but a Pater Noster
and an Ave Maria (1880), and the "Requiem," composed in memory of the
patriot Manzoni, and produced at Milan in 1874, on the occasion of the
anniversary of his death. It has been reported that he is at work upon
a new opera, "Othello," the words by Arrigo Boito, the composer of
"Mephistopheles;" but nothing more than the report has been heard from
it during the past three or four years. The great melodist now spends
a very quiet life as a country gentleman upon his estates near
Busseto.


ERNANI.

"Ernani," a tragic opera in four acts, words by F.M. Piave, the
subject taken from Victor Hugo's tragedy of "Hernani," was first
produced at Venice, March 9, 1844. The earlier performances of the
opera gave the composer much trouble. Before the first production the
police interfered, refusing to allow the representation of a
conspiracy on the stage, so that many parts of the libretto, as well
as much of the music, had to be changed. The blowing of Don Silva's
horn in the last act was also objected to by one Count Mocenigo, upon
the singular ground that it was disgraceful. The Count, however, was
silenced more easily than the police. The chorus "Si ridesti il Leon
di Castiglia" also aroused a political manifestation by the Venetians.
The opera was given in Paris, Jan. 6, 1846, and there it encountered
the hostility of Victor Hugo, who demanded that the libretto should be
changed. To accommodate the irate poet, the words were altered, the
characters were changed to Italians, and the new title of "II
Proscritto" was given to the work.

The action of the opera takes place in Arragon, Spain, and the period
is 1519. Elvira, a noble Spanish lady, betrothed to the grandee Don
Gomez de Silva, is in love with the bandit Ernani, who forms a plan to
carry her off. While receiving the congratulations of her friends upon
her approaching marriage with Silva, Don Carlos, the King of Spain,
enters her apartment, declares his passion for her, and tries to force
her from the castle. She cries for help, and Ernani comes to her
rescue and defies the king. The situation is still further complicated
by the sudden arrival of Silva, who declares he will avenge the
insult. Finding, however, that it is the King whom he has challenged,
he sues for pardon. In the second act, as the nuptials are about to be
solemnized, Ernani enters, disguised as a pilgrim, and believing
Elvira false to him, throws off his disguise and demands to be given
up to the King, which Silva refuses, as he cannot betray a guest.
Discovering, however, that Elvira and Ernani are attached to each
other, he determines on vengeance. The King eventually carries off
Elvira as a hostage of the faith of Silva, whereupon the latter
challenges Ernani. The bandit refuses to fight with him, informs him
that the King is also his rival, and asks to share in his vengeance,
promising in turn to give up his life when Silva calls for it, and
presenting him with a horn which he is to sound whenever he wishes to
have the promise kept. In the third act, the King, aware that the
conspirators are to meet in the catacombs of Aquisgrana, conceals
himself there, and when the assassins meet to decide who shall kill
him, he suddenly appears among them and condemns the nobles to be sent
to the block. Ernani, who is a duke, under the ban of the King of
Castile, demands the right to join them, but the King magnanimously
pardons the conspirators and consents to the union of Ernani and
Elvira. Upon the very eve of their happiness, and in the midst of
their festivities, the fatal horn is heard, and true to his promise
Ernani parts from Elvira and kills himself.

The first act opens with a spirited chorus of banditti and
mountaineers ("Allegri, beviami") as they are drinking and gambling in
their mountain retreat. Ernani appears upon a neighboring height and
announces himself in a despondent aria ("Come rugiada al cespite"). A
brief snatch of chorus intervenes, when he breaks out in a second and
more passionate strain ("Dell' esilio nel dolore"), in which he sings
of his love for Elvira. The third scene opens in Elvira's apartments,
and is introduced with one of the most beautiful of Verdi's arias,
"Ernani, involami," with which all concert-goers have become
acquainted by its frequent repetition. A graceful chorus of her ladies
bearing gifts leads to a second and more florid number ("Tutto sprezzo
che d' Ernani"). Don Carlos enters, and in the seventh scene has an
aria ("Bella come un primo amore") in which he declares his passion
for Elvira, leading up to a very dramatic duet between them ("Fiero
sangue d' Aragona"). This is followed in turn by a trio between the
two and Ernani. The finale commences with an impressive and sonorous
bass solo ("Infelice! e tuo credevi") by Silva, and closes with a
septet and chorus of great power.

The second act, like the first, opens with a chorus, this time,
however, of mixed voices, the power of which is amplified by a
military band on the stage. After three scenes of dramatic dialogue,
an impassioned duet ("Ah! morir potessi adesso!") occurs between
Ernani and Elvira, followed by a second, of great dramatic intensity,
in the seventh scene ("La vendetta piu tremenda"). The finale begins
with a spirited appeal by Silva and Ernani for vengeance against the
King ("In arcione, cavalieri") which is met by a stirring response
from their followers ("Pronti vedi li tuoi cavalieri"), sung by full
male chorus and closing the act.

The third act is devoted to the conspiracy, and in the second scene
Don Carlos has a very impressive and at times thrilling soliloquy
("Gran Dio! costo sui sepolcrali marmi"). The conspiracy then begins
with very characteristic accompaniments, closing with the chorus in
full harmony ("Si ridesti il Leon di Castiglia"), which at the
performance of the work in Venice roused such a fury among the
Venetians. The finale commences with the appearance of Don Carlos
among the conspirators, and closes with the great sextet and chorus,
"O Sommo Carlo." Opening with a barytone solo, it is gradually worked
up in a crescendo of great power and thrilling effect. The number is
very familiar from its English setting under the title, "Crowned with
the Tempest."

The fourth act rapidly hurries to the tragic close, and is less
interesting from a musical point of view, as the climax was reached in
the finale of the third. The principal numbers are the chorus of masks
in the first scene ("O come felici"), accompanied by military band,
and the great duet between Elvira and Ernani ("Cessaro i suoni"),
which passes from rapturous ecstasy to the despair of fate ("Per noi
d' amore il talamo") as the horn of Silva is heard, reminding Ernani
of his promise. Though one of the earliest of Verdi's works, "Ernani"
is one of his strongest in dramatic intensity, in the brilliancy and
power of its concerted finales, and in the beauty of its great chorus
effects.


RIGOLETTO.

"Rigoletto," an opera in three acts, words by Piave, the subject taken
from Victor Hugo's tragedy, "Le Roi s'amuse," was first produced at
Venice, March 11, 1851. The part of Gilda has always been a favorite
one with great artists, among whom Nantier-Didiée, Bosio, and
Miolan-Carvalho played the rôle with extraordinary success. In the
London season of 1860 Mario and Ronconi in the respective parts of the
Duke and Rigoletto, it is said, gave dramatic portraitures which were
among the most consummate achievements of the lyric stage. The records
of its first production, like those of "Ernani," are of unusual
interest. Verdi himself suggested Victor Hugo's tragedy to Piave for a
libretto, and he soon prepared one, changing the original title,
however, to "La Maledizione." Warned by the political events of 1848,
the police flatly refused to allow the representation of a king on the
stage in such situations as those given to Francis I. in the original
tragedy. The composer and the manager of the theatre begged in vain
that the libretto should be accepted, but the authorities were
obstinate. At last a way was found out of the difficulty by the chief
of police himself, who was a great lover of art. He suggested to the
librettist that the King should be changed to a duke of Mantua, and
the title of the work to "Rigoletto," the name of the buffoon who
figures in the place of the original Triboulet. Verdi accepted the
alterations, and had an opera ready in forty days which by nearly all
critics is considered his musical masterpiece, notwithstanding the
revolting character of the story.

The scene of the opera is laid in Mantua. Rigoletto, the privileged
buffoon of the Duke, who also plays the part of pander in all his
licentious schemes, among numerous other misdeeds has assisted his
master in the seduction of the wife of Count Ceprano and the daughter
of Count Monterone. The latter appears before the Duke and Rigoletto,
and demands reparation for the dishonor put upon his house, only to
find himself arrested by order of the Duke, and taunted in the most
insolent manner by the buffoon, upon whom he invokes the vengeance of
Heaven. Even the courtiers themselves are enraged at Rigoletto's
taunts, and determine to assist in Monterone's revenge by stealing
Gilda, the jester's daughter, whom they suppose to be his mistress.
Closely as she had been concealed, she had not escaped the observation
of the Duke, who in the guise of a poor student wins her affections
and discovers her dwelling-place. Pretending that it is Count
Ceprano's wife whom they are about to abduct, they even make Rigoletto
assist in the plot and help convey his own daughter to the Duke's
apartments. In his blind fury when he discovers the trick that has
been played upon him, he hires Sparafucile, a professional assassin,
to kill the Duke. The bravo allures the Duke to his house, intending
to carry out his agreement; but his sister, Magdalena, is so
fascinated with the handsome stranger, that she determines to save
him. Sparafucile at first will not listen to her, but finally promises
if any one else comes to the house before the time agreed upon for the
murder he shall be the victim. Rigoletto meanwhile disguises his
daughter in male attire in order that she may escape to Verona; but
before she sets out he takes her to the vicinity of Sparafucile's
house, that she may witness the perfidy of the Duke. While outside,
she overhears the quarrel between Sparafucile and Magdalena, and
learns his intention to murder the Duke, who is even then sleeping in
the house. With a woman's devotion she springs forward to save the
Duke's life, knocks at the door, and demands admittance. Sparafucile
opens it, and as she enters stabs her. He then thrusts her body into a
sack, and delivers it to her father as the body of the man whom he had
agreed to slay. Rigoletto, gloating over his revenge, is about to
throw the sack into the river near by, when he suddenly hears the
voice of the Duke. He tears open the sack to see whose body it
contains, and by the glare of the lightning is horrified to find that
it is his own daughter, and realizes that the malediction of Monterone
has been accomplished. She expires in his arms, blessing her lover and
father, while he sinks to the ground overwhelmed with the fulfilment
of the terrible curse.

The first act opens in the ball-room of the ducal palace. After a
brief dialogue between the Duke and one of his courtiers, the former
vaunts his own fickleness in one of the most graceful and charming
arias in the whole opera ("Questa o quella"). Some spirited dramatic
scenes follow, which introduce the malediction of Monterone and the
compact between Rigoletto and Sparafucile, and lead up to a scena of
great power ("Io la lingua, egli ha il pugnali"), in which the buffoon
vents his furious rage against the courtiers. A tender duet between
Rigoletto and Gilda follows, and a second duet in the next scene
between Gilda and the Duke ("Addio, speranza ed anima"), which for
natural grace, passionate intensity, and fervid expression is one of
Verdi's finest numbers. As the Duke leaves, Gilda, following him with
her eyes, breaks out in the passionate love-song, "Caro nome," which
is not alone remarkable for its delicacy and richness of melody, but
also for the brilliancy of its bravura, calling for rare range and
flexibility of voice. The act closes with the abduction, and gives an
opportunity for a delightful male chorus ("Zitti, zitti") sung
pianissimo.

The second act also opens in the palace, with an aria by the Duke
("Parmi veder le lagrime"), in which he laments the loss of Gilda.
Another fine chorus ("Scorrendo uniti remota via") follows, from which
he learns that Gilda is already in the palace. In the fourth scene
Rigoletto has another grand scena ("Cortigiani vil razza dannata"),
which is intensely dramatic, expressing in its musical alternations
the whole gamut of emotions, from the fury of despair to the most
exquisite tenderness of appeal as he pleads with the courtiers to tell
him where his daughter is. In the next scene he discovers her, and the
act closes with a duet between them ("Tutte le feste al tempio"),
which, after a strain of most impassioned tenderness, is interrupted
by the passage of the guards conveying Monterone to prison, and then
closes with a furious outburst of passion from Rigoletto. With the
exception of two numbers, the last act depends for its effect upon the
dramatic situations and the great power of the terrible denouement;
but these two numbers are among the finest Verdi has ever given to the
world. The first is the tenor solo sung in Sparafucile's house in the
second scene by the Duke,--"La donna e mobile," an aria of extreme
elegance and graceful abandon, which is heard again in the last scene,
its lightly tripping measures contrasting strangely with the savage
glee of Rigoletto, so soon to change to wails of despair as he
realizes the full force of the malediction. The second is the great
quartet in the third scene between the Duke, Gilda, Magdalena, and
Rigoletto ("Bella figlia dell' amore"), which stands out as an
inspiration in comparison with the rest of the opera, fine as its
music is. The story itself is almost too repulsive for stage
representation; but in beauty, freshness, originality, and dramatic
expression the music of "Rigoletto" is Verdi's best; and in all this
music the quartet is the masterpiece.


LA TRAVIATA.

"La Traviata," an opera in three acts, words by Piave, is founded upon
Dumas's "Dame aux Camelias," familiar to the English stage as
"Camille." The original play is supposed to represent phases of modern
French life; but the Italian libretto changes the period to the year
1700, in the days of Louis XIV.; and there are also some material
changes of characters,--Marguerite Gauthier of the original appearing
as Violetta Valery, and Olympia as Flora Belvoix, at whose house the
ball scene takes place. The opera was first produced at Venice, March
6, 1853, with the following cast of the principal parts:--

  VIOLETTA      Mme. DONATELLI.
  ALFREDO       M. GRAZIANI.
  GERMONT       M. VARESI.

The opera at its first production was a complete failure, though this
was due more to the singers than to the music. It is said that when
the doctor announced in the third act that Mme. Donatelli, who
impersonated the consumptive heroine, and who was one of the stoutest
ladies ever seen on the stage, had but a few days to live, the whole
audience broke out into roars of laughter. Time has brought its
consolations to the composer, however, for "Traviata" is now one of
the most popular operas in the modern repertory. When it was first
produced in Paris, Oct. 27, 1864, Christine Nilsson made her début in
it. In London, the charming little singer Mme. Piccolomini made her
début in the same opera, May 24, 1856. Adelina Patti, since that time,
has not only made Violetta the strongest character in her repertory,
but is without question the most finished representative of the
fragile heroine the stage has seen.

The story as told by the librettist simply resolves itself into three
principal scenes,--the supper at Violetta's house, where she makes the
acquaintance of Alfred, and the rupture between them occasioned by the
arrival of Alfred's father; the ball at the house of Flora; and the
death scene and reconciliation, linked together by recitative, so that
the dramatic unity of the original is lost to a certain extent. The
first act opens with a gay party in Violetta's house. Among the crowd
about her is Alfred Germont, a young man from Provence, who is
passionately in love with her. The sincerity of his passion finally
influences her to turn aside from her life of voluptuous pleasure and
to cherish a similar sentiment for him. In the next act we find her
living in seclusion with her lover in a country-house in the environs
of Paris, to support which she has sold her property in the city. When
Alfred discovers this he refuses to be the recipient of her bounty,
and sets out for Paris to recover the property. During his absence his
father, who has discovered his retreat, visits Violetta, and pleads
with her to forsake Alfred, not only on his own account, but to save
his family from disgrace. Touched by the father's grief, she consents,
and secretly returns to Paris, where she once more resumes her old
life. At a ball given by Flora Belvoix, one of Violetta's associates,
Alfred meets her again, overwhelms her with reproaches, and insults
her by flinging her miniature at her feet in presence of the whole
company. Stung by her degradation, Violetta goes home to die, and too
late Alfred learns the real sacrifice she has made. He hastens to
comfort her, but she dies forgiving and blessing him.

After a short prelude the first act opens with a vivacious chorus of
the guests at Violetta's supper, leading to a drinking-song ("Libiamo,
libiamo") in waltz time, sung first by Alfred and then by Violetta,
the chorus echoing each couplet with very pretty effect. After a long
dialogue between the two, closing with chorus, Violetta has a grand
scena which is always a favorite show-piece with concert artists. It
begins with an andante movement ("Ah! fors e lui"), expressive of the
suddenly awakened love which she feels for Alfred, with a refrain of
half a dozen measures in the finale which might be called the Violetta
motive, and then suddenly develops into a brisk and sparkling allegro
("Sempre libera") full of the most florid and brilliant ornamentation,
in which she again resolves to shut out every feeling of love and
plunge into the whirl of dissipation. This number, unlike most of
Verdi's finales which are concerted, closes the act.

The second act opens in the country-house with an effective tenor aria
("De' miei bollenti") sung by Alfred. In the next scene Germont
enters, and after a brief dialogue with Violetta sings a short
cantabile ("Pura siccome un angelo"), leading to a duet ("Dite alia
giovine") with Violetta which is full of tenderness. In the interview
which immediately follows between Germont and Alfred, the father
appeals to his son with memories of home in an andante ("Di Provenza
il mar") which in form and simplicity and simple pathos of expression
might almost be called a ballad. It is always a favorite, and is
usually considered the best number in the opera, notwithstanding its
simple melody. The next scene changes to the ball-room of Flora, and
is introduced with a peculiar chorus effect. A masked chorus of
gypsies, accompanying their measures with tambourines, is followed by
a second chorus of matadors, also in mask, who accent the time with
the pikes they carry, the double number ending with a gay bolero. The
act closes with a long duet between Violetta and Alfred, developing in
the finale, by the entrance of Germont, to a very strong and dramatic
trio.

The third act opens in Violetta's chamber with a reminiscence of the
introduction. As she contemplates her changed appearance in the
mirror, she bids a sad farewell to her dreams of happiness in the
aria, "Addio! del passato," in harsh contrast with which is heard a
bacchanalian chorus behind the scenes ("Largo al quadrupede"). In the
next scene occurs the passionate duet with Alfred, "Parigi, o cara,"
which is a close copy of the final duet in "Trovatore" between Manrico
and Azucena. It is followed by the aria, "Ah! gran Dio," for Violetta,
which leads to the concluding quintet and death scene.


IL TROVATORE.

"II Trovatore," an opera in four acts, words by Cammarano, was first
produced in Rome, Jan. 19, 1853. In 1857 it was brought out in Paris
as "Le Trouvere," and in London, 1856, in English, as "The Gypsy's
Vengeance." It was produced in Rome in the same year with "La
Traviata," but unlike the latter, it was greeted at once with an
enthusiastic welcome; and it has held the stage ever since as one of
the most popular operas in the modern repertory. In this regard,
indeed, it shares with "Martha" and "Faust" the highest place in
popular admiration.

The opera opens with a midnight scene at the palace of Aliaferia,
where the old servitor, Ferrando, relates to his associates the story
of the fate of Garzia, brother of the Count di Luna, in whose service
they are employed. While in their cradles, Garzia was bewitched by an
old gypsy, and day by day pined away. The gypsy was burned at the
stake for sorcery; and in revenge Azucena, her daughter, stole the
sickly child. At the opening of the opera his fate has not been
discovered.

As the servitor closes his narrative and he and his companions depart,
the Count di Luna enters and lingers by the apartment of the Duchess
Leonora, with whom he is in love. Hearing his voice, Leonora comes
into the garden, supposing it is Manrico the troubadour, whom she had
crowned victor at a recent tournament, and of whom she had become
violently enamoured. As she greets the Count, Manrico appears upon the
scene and charges her with infidelity. Recognizing her error, she
flies to Manrico for protection. The Count challenges him to combat,
and as they prepare to fight she falls to the ground insensible.

In the second act we are introduced to a gypsy camp, where Azucena
relates to Manrico, who has been wounded in the duel with the Count,
the same story which Ferrando had told his friends, with the addition
that when she saw her mother burning she caught up the Count's child,
intending to throw it into the flames, but by a mistake sacrificed her
own infant. As the story concludes, a messenger arrives, summoning
Manrico to the defence of the castle of Castellar, and at the same
time informing him that Leonora, supposing him dead, has gone to a
convent. He arrives at the convent in time to rescue her before she
takes her vows, and bears her to Castellar, which is at once besieged
by the Count's forces.

The third act opens in the camp of the Count, where Azucena, arrested
as a spy, is dragged in. She calls upon Manrico for help. The mention
of his rival's name only adds fuel to the Count's wrath, and he orders
the gypsy to be burned in sight of the castle. Ferrando has already
recognized her as the supposed murderer of the Count's brother, and
her filial call to Manrico also reveals to him that she is his mother.
He makes a desperate effort to rescue her, but is defeated, taken
prisoner, and thrown into a dungeon with Azucena. Leonora vainly
appeals to the Count to spare Manrico, and at last offers him her hand
if he will save his life. He consents, and Leonora hastens to the
prison to convey the tidings, having previously taken poison,
preferring to die rather than fulfil her hateful compact. Manrico
refuses his liberty, and as Leonora falls in a dying condition the
Count enters and orders Manrico to be put to death at once. He is
dragged away to execution, but as the Count triumphantly forces
Azucena to a window and shows her the tragic scene, she reveals her
secret, and informing the horror-stricken Count that he has murdered
his own brother, falls lifeless to the ground.

The first act opens with a ballad in mazurka time ("Abbietta
Zingara"), in which Ferrando relates the story of the gypsy, leading
up to a scena for Leonora, which is treated in Verdi's favorite style.
It begins with an andante ("Tacea la notte placida"), a brief dialogue
with her attendant Inez intervening, and then develops into an allegro
("Di tale amor") which is a brilliant bit of bravura. A brief snatch
of fascinating melody behind the scenes ("Deserto sulla terra")
introduces Manrico, and the act closes with a trio ("Di geloso amor
sprezzato"), which as an expression of combined grief, fear, and hate,
is one of the most dramatic and intense of all Verdi's finales.

The second act opens with the Anvil chorus in the camp of the gypsies
("La Zingarella"), the measures accented with hammers upon the anvils.
This number is so familiar that it does not need further reference. As
its strains die away in the distance, Azucena breaks out into an aria
of intense energy, with very expressive accompaniment ("Stride le
vampa"), in which she tells the fearful story of the burning of her
mother. A very dramatic dialogue with Manrico ensues, closing with a
spirited aria for tenor ("Mai reggendo") and duet ("Sino all' elsa").
The scene is interrupted by the notes of a horn announcing the arrival
of a messenger. The second scene is introduced by a flowing, broad,
and beautifully sustained aria for the Count ("Il balen del suo"),
and, like Leonora's numbers in the garden scene, again develops from a
slow movement to a rapid and spirited march tempo ("Per me ora
fatale"), the act closing with a powerful concerted effect of quartet
and chorus.

The third act is introduced with a very free and animated soldiers'
chorus. Azucena is dragged in and sings a plaintive lament for Manrico
("Giorni poveri"). Two duets follow, between Azucena and the Count,
and Manrico and Leonora,--the second worked up with beautiful effect
by the blending of the organ in the convent chapel. The act closes
with the spirited aria, "Di quella pira," for Manrico,--a number which
has always been the delight of great dramatic tenors, not alone for
its fine melody, but for its opportunity of showing the voice and
using the exceptional high C which is introduced in the finale of the
aria.

The last act is replete with beautiful melodies following each other
in quick succession. It opens with a very florid aria for Leonora ("D'
amor sull' ali rosee"), leading to the exquisite scene of the
Miserere, "Ah che la morte,"--a number which has never yet failed to
charm and arouse audiences with the beauty and richness of its musical
effect. As the Count enters, Leonora has another powerful aria ("Mira
di acerbe"), which in the next scene is followed by the familiar duet
between Azucena and Manrico, "Si la stanchezza," upon which Verdi
lavished his musical skill with charming effect. The last scene closes
with the tragedy. The whole opera is liberally enriched with melodies,
and is dramatic throughout; but the last act is the crown of the work,
and may successfully challenge comparison, for beauty, variety, and
dramatic effect, with any other opera in the purely Italian school.


IL BALLO IN MASCHERA.

"Il Ballo in Maschera," an opera in three acts, but usually performed
in four, words by M. Somma, was first produced in Rome, Feb. 17, 1859.
In preparing his work for the stage, Verdi encountered numerous
obstacles. The librettist used the same subject which M. Scribe had
adopted for Auber's opera, "Gustavus III.," and the opera was at first
called by the same name,--"Gustavo III." It was intended for
production at the San Carlo, Naples, during the Carnival of 1858; but
while the rehearsals were proceeding, Orsini made his memorable
attempt to kill Napoleon III., and the authorities at once forbade a
performance of the work, as it contained a conspiracy scene. The
composer was ordered to set different words to his music, but he
peremptorily refused; whereupon the manager brought suit against him,
claiming forty thousand dollars damages. The disappointment nearly
incited a revolution in Naples. Crowds gathered in the streets
shouting, "Viva Verdi," implying at the same time, by the use of the
letters in Verdi's name, the sentiment, "Viva Vittorio Emmanuele Re Di
Italia." A way out of his difficulties, however, was finally suggested
by the impresario at Rome, who arranged with the censorship to have
the work brought out at the Teatro Apollo as "Un Ballo in Maschera."
The scene was changed to Boston, Massachusetts, and the time laid in
the colonial period, notwithstanding the anachronism that masked balls
were unknown at that time in New England history. The Swedish king
appeared as Ricardo, Count of Warwick and Governor of Boston, and his
attendants as Royalists and Puritans, among them two negroes, Sam and
Tom, who are very prominent among the conspirators. In this form, the
Romans having no objection to the assassination of an English
governor, the opera was produced with great success.

The first act opens in the house of the Governor, where a large party,
among them a group of conspirators, is assembled. During the meeting a
petition is presented for the banishment of Ulrico, a negro sorcerer.
Urged by curiosity, the Governor, disguised as a sailor and
accompanied by some of his friends, pays the old witch a visit.
Meanwhile another visit has been planned. Amelia, the wife of the
Governor's secretary, meets the witch at night in quest of a remedy
for her passion for Richard, who of course has also been fascinated by
her. They arrive about the same time, and he overhears the witch
telling her to go to a lonely spot, where she will find an herb potent
enough to cure her of her evil desires. The Governor follows her, and
during their interview the Secretary hurriedly rushes upon the scene
to notify him that conspirators are on his track. He throws a veil
over Amelia's face and orders Reinhart, the Secretary, to conduct her
to a place of safety without seeking to know who she is. He consents,
and the Governor conceals himself in the forest. The conspirators
meanwhile meet the pair, and in the confusion Amelia drops her veil,
thus revealing herself to Reinhart. Furious at the Governor's perfidy,
he joins the conspirators. In the denouement the Secretary stabs his
master at a masquerade, and the latter while dying attests the purity
of Amelia, and magnanimously gives his secretary a commission
appointing him to a high position in England.

After a brief prelude, the first act opens with a double chorus, in
which the attitude of the friends of the Governor and the conspirators
against him is strongly contrasted. In the next scene Richard and his
page, Oscar, enter; and after a short dialogue Richard sings a very
graceful romanza ("La rivedra nell' estasi"), which in the next scene
is followed by a spirited aria for Reinhart ("Di speranze e glorie
piena"). In the fourth scene Oscar has a very pretty song ("Volta la
terrea"), in which he defends Ulrica against the accusations of the
judge, leading up to a very effective quintet and chorus which has a
flavor of the opera bouffe style. In grim contrast with it comes the
witch music in the next scene ("Re del abisso"), set to a weird
accompaniment. As the various parties arrive, a somewhat talky trio
ensues between Amelia, Ulrica, and Richard, followed in the next scene
by a lovely barcarole ("Di' tu se fedele") sung by Richard, leading to
a beautifully written concerted finale full of sharp dramatic
contrasts.

The second act opens upon a moonlight scene on the spot where
murderers are punished; and Amelia, searching for the magic herb,
sings a long dramatic aria ("Ma dall arido") consisting of abrupt and
broken measures, the orchestra filling the gaps with characteristic
accompaniment. Richard appears upon the scene, and the passionate
love-duet follows, "M'ami, m'ami." The interview is ended by the
sudden appearance of Reinhart, who warns the Governor of his danger,
the scene taking the form of a spirited trio ("Odi tu come"). A buffo
trio closes the act, Sam and Tom supplying the humorous element with
their laughing refrain.

The last act opens in Reinhart's house with a passionate scene between
the Secretary and his wife, containing two strong numbers, a minor
andante ("Morro, ma prima in grazia") for Amelia, and an aria for
Reinhart ("O dolcezzo perdute"), which for originality and true
artistic power is worthy of being classed as an inspiration. The
conspiracy music then begins, and leads to the ball scene, which is
most brilliantly worked up with orchestra, military band, and stringed
quartet behind the scenes supplying the dance-music, and the
accompaniment to the tragical conspiracy, in the midst of which, like
a bright sunbeam, comes the page's bewitching song, "Saper vorreste."
The opera closes with the death of Richard, set to a very dramatic
accompaniment. "The Masked Ball" was the last work Verdi wrote for the
Italian stage, and though uneven in its general effect, it contains
some of his most original and striking numbers,--particularly those
allotted to the page and Reinhart. In the intensity of the music and
the strength of the situations it is superior even to "Trovatore," as
the composer makes his effects more legitimately.


AIDA.

"Aida," an opera in four acts, was first produced at Cairo, Egypt,
Dec. 27, 1871, and was written upon a commission from the Khedive of
that country. The subject of the opera was taken from a sketch,
originally written in prose, by the director of the Museum at Boulak,
which was afterwards rendered into French verse by M. Camille de
Locle, and translated thence into Italian for Verdi by Sig. A.
Ghizlandoni. It is the last opera Verdi has composed, and is notable
for his departure from the conventional Italian forms and the partial
surrender he has made to the constantly increasing influence of the
so-called music of the future. The subject is entirely Egyptian, and
the music is full of Oriental color.

The action of the opera passes in Memphis and Thebes, and the period
is in the time of the Pharaohs. Aida, the heroine, is a slave,
daughter of Amonasro, the King of Ethiopia, and at the opening of the
opera is in captivity among the Egyptians. A secret attachment exists
between herself and Rhadames, a young Egyptian warrior, who is also
loved by Amneris, daughter of the sovereign of Egypt. The latter
suspects that she has a rival, but does not discover her until
Rhadames returns victorious from an expedition against the rebellious
Amonasro, who is brought back a prisoner. The second act opens with a
scene between Amneris and Aida, in which the Princess wrests the
secret from the slave by pretending that Rhadames has been killed; and
the truth is still further revealed when Rhadames pleads with the King
to spare the lives of the captives. The latter agrees to release all
but Aida and Amonasro, bestows the hand of Amneris upon the unwilling
conqueror, and the act closes amid general jubilation. Acting upon
Amonasro's admonitions, Aida influences Rhadames to fly from Egypt and
espouse the cause of her father. The lovers are overheard by Amneris
and Ramfis, the high priest. The Princess, with all the fury of a
woman scorned, denounces Rhadames as a traitor. He is tried for
treason and condemned to be buried alive in the vaults under the
temple of the god Phtah. Pardon is offered him if he will accept the
hand of Amneris, but he refuses and descends to the tomb, where he
finds Aida awaiting him. The stones are sealed above them and the
lovers are united in death, while Amneris, heart-broken over the
tragedy her jealousy has caused, kneels in prayer before their
sepulchre.

After a short prelude, consisting of a beautiful pianissimo movement,
mainly for the violins, and very Wagnerish in its general style, the
first act opens in a hall of the King's palace at Memphis. A short
dialogue between Rhadames and the priest Ramfis leads to a delicious
romanza ("Celeste Aida") which is entirely fresh and original,
recalling nothing that appears in any of Verdi's previous works. It is
followed by a strong declamatory duet between Rhadames and Amneris,
which upon the appearance of Aida develops to a trio ("Vieni, o
diletta"). In the next scene the King and his retinue of ministers,
priests, and warriors enter, and a majestic ensemble occurs, beginning
with a martial chorus ("Su! del Nilo") in response to the appeal of
the priests. As the war chorus dies away and the retinue disappears,
Aida has a scena of great power. It begins with a lament for her
country ("Ritorna vincitor"), in passionate declamatory phrases,
clearly showing the influence of Wagner; but in its smooth, flowing
cantabile in the finale, "Numi pieta," Verdi returns to the Italian
style again. The final scene is full of oriental color and barbaric
richness of display. The consecrated arms are delivered to Rhadames.
The priestesses behind the scene to the accompaniment of harps, and
the priests in front with sonorous chant, invoke the aid of the god
Phtah, while other priestesses execute the sacred dance. An impressive
duet between Ramfis and Rhadames closes the act. In this finale, Verdi
has utilized two native Egyptian themes,--the melody sung by the
priestesses with the harps, and the dance-melody given out by the
flutes.

The second act opens with a female chorus by the slave girls, the
rhythm of which is in keeping with the oriental scene, followed by an
impassioned duet between Amneris and Aida ("Alla pompa che si
appresta"), through which are heard the martial strains of the
returning conqueror. The second scene opens the way for another
ensemble, which with its massive choruses, and its stirring march and
ballet, heralding the victory of Rhadames, is one of the most
picturesque stage scenes the opera has ever furnished. A solemn,
plaintive strain runs through the general jubilation in the appeal of
Amonasro ("Questo assisa ch' io vesto") to the King for mercy to the
captives. The finale begins with the remonstrances of the priests and
people against the appeals of Amonasro and Rhadames, and closes with
an intensely dramatic concerted number,--a quintet set off against the
successive choruses of the priests, prisoners, and people ("Gloria
all' Egitto").

The third act, like the first, after a brief dialogue, opens with a
lovely romanza ("O cieli azzuri") sung by Aida, and the remainder of
the act is devoted to two duets,--the first between Amonasro and Aida,
and the second between Rhadames and Aida. Each is very dramatic in
style and passionate in declamation, while they are revelations in the
direction of combining the poetic and musical elements, when compared
with any of the duets in Verdi's previous operas. In the last act the
first scene contains another impressive duet between Rhadames and
Amneris ("Chi ti salva, o sciagurato"), ending with the despairing
song of Amneris, "Ohime! morir mi sento." In the last scene the stage
is divided into two parts. The upper represents the temple of Vulcan,
or Phtah, crowded with priests and priestesses, chanting as the stone
is closed over the subterranean entrance, while below, in the tomb,
Aida and Rhadames sing their dying duet ("O terra, addio"), its
strains blending with the jubilation of the priests and the measures
of the priestesses' sacred dance. "Aida" is the last and
unquestionably the greatest, if not the most popular, of Verdi's
works. It marks a long step from the style of his other operas towards
the production of dramatic effect by legitimate musical means, and
shows the strong influence Wagner has had upon him. Since this work
was produced, no other for the stage has come from his pen. Should he
break his long silence, some new work may show that he has gone still
farther in the new path. If the time for rest has come, however, to
the aged composer, "Aida" will remain his masterpiece among musicians
and connoisseurs, though "Trovatore" will be best loved by the people.


OTHELLO.

Othello has formed the subject of the following compositions:
"Otello," opera in 3 acts, text by Berio, music by Rossini (1816);
"Othelleri," parody by Müller, Vienna (1828); Othello, overture by
Krug (1883); "Un Othello," operetta, by Legoux, Paris (1863); and
"Othello," opera in 4 acts, text by Boito, music by Verdi (1886).

"Othello," the last of the long and brilliant series of Verdi's
operas, was completed in 1886, and first produced at the La Scala
Theatre, Milan, Feb. 5,

1887, with remarkable success, Signora Pantaleoni, Signors Maurel and
Tamagno taking the three leading rôles. The libretto was prepared by
the accomplished Italian scholar and musician, Arrigo Boito, and
closely follows the story of the Shakspearian tragedy.

The curtain rises upon a scene in Cyprus. A storm is raging, and a
crowd, among them Iago, Cassio, and Roderigo, watch the angry sea,
speculating upon the fate of Othello's vessel, which finally arrives
safely in port amid much rejoicing. After returning the welcomes of
his friends he enters the castle with Cassio and Montano. The
conspiracy at once begins by the disclosure of Iago to Roderigo of the
means by which Cassio's ruin may be compassed. Then follows the
quarrel, which is interrupted by the appearance of Othello, who
deprives Cassio of his office. A love-scene ensues between Desdemona
and the Moor; but in the next act the malignity of Iago has already
begun to take effect, and the seeds of jealousy are sown in Othello's
breast. His suspicions are freshly aroused when Desdemona intercedes
in Cassio's behalf, and are changed to conviction by the handkerchief
episode and Iago's artful insinuation that Cassio mutters the name of
Desdemona in his sleep; at which the enraged Moor clutches him by the
throat and hurls him to the ground. In the third act Iago continues
his diabolical purpose, at last so inflaming Othello's mind that he
denounces Desdemona for her perfidy. The act concludes with the
audience to the Venetian embassy, during which he becomes enraged,
strikes Desdemona, and falls in convulsions. The last act transpires
in her chamber, and follows Shakspeare in all the details of the
smothering of Desdemona and the death of Othello.

There is no overture proper to the opera. After a few vigorous bars of
prelude, the scene opens with a tempestuous and very striking
description of a sea-storm by the orchestra, with the choruses of
sailors and Cypriots rising above it and expressing alternate hope and
terror. After a short recitative the storm dies away, and the choral
phrases of rejoicing end in a pianissimo effect. A hurried recitative
passage between Iago and Roderigo introduces a drinking scene in which
Iago sings a very original and expressive brindisi with rollicking
responses by the chorus. The quarrel follows with a vigorous and
agitated accompaniment, and the act comes to a close with a beautiful
love-duet between Othello and Desdemona.

The second act opens with recitative which reveals all of Iago's
malignity, and is followed by his monologue, in which he sings a mock
Credo which is Satanic in utterance. It is accompanied with tremendous
outbursts of trumpets, and leads up to a furious declamatory duet with
Othello. The next number brings a grateful change. It is a graceful
mandolinata, sung by children's voices and accompanied by mandolins
and guitars, followed by a charming chorus of mariners, who bring
shells and corals to Desdemona. The intercession episode ensues,
leading to a grand dramatic quartet for Desdemona, Emilia, Iago, and
Othello. The latter then sings a pathetic but stirring melody with
trumpet accompaniment, the farewell to war, and the act closes with a
tumultuous duet between himself and Iago.

The third act opens with a very expressive duet for Othello and
Desdemona, in which the growing wrath of the former and the sweet and
touching unconsciousness of the other are happily contrasted. A sad
monologue by Othello prepares the way for the coming outbreak. The
handkerchief trio follows, in which the malignity of Iago, the
indignation of Othello, and the inability of Cassio to understand the
fell purpose of Iago are brought out with great force. At its close a
fanfare of trumpets announces the Venetian embassy, and the finale
begins with much brilliancy. Then follows the scene in which Othello
smites down Desdemona. She supplicates for mercy in an aria of tender
beauty, which leads up to a strong sextet. All the guests depart but
Iago; and as Othello, overcome with his emotions, swoons away, the
curtain falls upon Iago's contemptuous utterance, "There lies the lion
of Venice."

The fourth act is full of musical beauty. After an orchestral
introduction in which the horn has a very effective solo, the curtain
rises and the action transpires in Desdemona's chamber. The scene
opens with a touching recitative between Desdemona and Emilia. While
the former prepares herself for slumber she sings the "Willow Song,"
an unaffected melody as simple and characteristic as a folk-song.
Emilia retires, and by a natural transition Desdemona sings an "Ave
Maria," which is as simple and beautiful in its way as the "Willow
Song." She retires to her couch, and in the silence Othello steals in,
dagger in hand, the contra-basses giving out a sombre and deep-toned
accompaniment which is startling in its effect. He kisses her, the
motive from the love-duet appearing in the orchestra; then, after a
hurried dialogue, stifles her. He then kills himself, his last words
being a repetition of those in the duet, while the strings tenderly
give out the melody again.


FALSTAFF.

"Falstaff," an opera in three acts, words by Arrigo Boito, was first
performed March 12, 1893, at the Teatro alla Scala, Milan, with the
following cast of characters:--

  Mistress FORD        Signora ZILLI
  NANNETTA             Madame STEHLE
  FENTON               M. GARBIN
  Dr. CAIUS            Signor PAROLI
  PISTOLA              Signor ARIMONDI
  Mistress PAGE        Signora GUERRINI
  Mistress QUICKLY     Signora PASQUA
  FORD                 Signor PINI-CORSI
  BARDOLFO             Signor PELAGALLI-ROSSETTI
  FALSTAFF             M. MAUREL

The libretto, which is mainly based upon "The Merry Wives of Windsor,"
also makes some contributions upon "Henry IV.," particularly in the
introduction of the monologue upon honor, and illustrates Boito's
skill in adaptation as well as his remarkable powers in condensation.
In the arrangement of the comedy the five acts are reduced to three.
The characters Shallow, Slender, William, Page, Sir Hugh Evans,
Simple, and Rugby are eliminated, leaving Falstaff, Fenton, Ford, Dr.
Caius, Bardolph, Pistol, Mistress Ford, Mistress Page, Anne, Dame
Quickly and three minor characters as the _dramatis personæ_, though
Anne appears as Nannetta and is the daughter of Ford instead of Page.

The first act opens with a scene at the Garter Inn, disclosing an
interview between Falstaff and Dr. Caius, who is complaining of the
ill treatment he has received from the fat Knight and his followers,
but without obtaining any satisfaction. After his departure, Falstaff
seeks to induce Bardolph and Pistol to carry his love-letters to
Mistresses Ford and Page; but they refuse, upon the ground that their
honor would be assailed, which gives occasion for the introduction of
the monologue from "Henry IV." The letters are finally intrusted to a
page, and the remainder of the act is devoted to the plots of the
women to circumvent him, with an incidental revelation of the loves of
Fenton and Nannetta, or Anne Page. In the second act, we have
Falstaff's visit to Mistress Ford, as planned by the merry wives, the
comical episode of his concealment in the buck-basket, and his dumping
into the Thames. In the last act, undaunted by his buck-basket
experiences, Falstaff accepts a fresh invitation to meet Mistress Ford
in Windsor Park. In this episode occurs the fairy masquerade at
Herne's Oak, in the midst of which he is set upon and beaten, ending
in his complete discomfiture. Then all is explained to him; Nannetta
is betrothed to Fenton; and all ends merry as a marriage bell.

There is no overture. After four bars of prelude the curtain rises,
and the composer introduces Dr. Caius with the single exclamation,
"Falstaff," and the latter's reply, "Ho! there," which are emblematic
of the declamatory character of the whole opera; for although many
delightful bits of melody are scattered through it, the
instrumentation really tells the story, as in the Wagner music-drama,
though in this latest work of the veteran composer there is less of
the Wagnerian idea than in his "Aida." The first scene is mainly
humorous dialogue, but there are two notable exceptions,--the genuine
lyrical music of Falstaff's song ("'Tis she with eyes like stars"),
and the Honor monologue, a superb piece of recitative with a
characteristic accompaniment in which the clarinets and bassoons
fairly talk, as they give the negative to the Knight's sarcastic
questions. The most attractive numbers of the second scene are
Mistress Ford's reading of Falstaff's letter, which is exquisitely
lyrical, a quartet, a capella, for the four women ("He'll surely come
courting"), followed by a contrasting male quartet ("He's a foul, a
ribald thief"), the act closing with the two quartets offsetting each
other, and enclosing an admirable solo for Fenton.

The second act opens with the interview between Dame Quickly and
Falstaff, in which the instrumentation runs the whole gamut of
ironical humor. Then follows the scene between Ford and Falstaff, in
which the very clink of the money, and Falstaff's huge chuckles, are
deliberately set forth in the orchestra with a realism which is the
very height of the ridiculous, the scene closing with an expressive
declamation by Ford ("Do I dream? Or, is it reality?"). The second
scene of the act is mainly devoted to the ludicrous incident of the
buck-basket, which is accompanied by most remarkable instrumentation;
but there are one or more captivating episodes; such as Dame Quickly's
description of her visit ("'Twas at the Garter Inn") and Falstaff's
charming song ("Once I was Page to the Duke of Norfolk").

The third act opens in the Inn of the Garter, and discloses Falstaff
soliloquizing upon his late disagreeable experiences:--

  "Ho! landlord!
  Ungrateful world, wicked world,
  Guilty world!
  Landlord! a glass of hot sherry.
  Go, go thy way, John Falstaff,
  With thee will cease the type
  Of honesty, virtue, and might."

As the fat Knight soliloquizes and drinks his sack the orchestra takes
part in a trill given out by piccolo, and gradually taken by one
instrument after the other, until the whole orchestra is in a hearty
laugh and shaking with string, brass, and wood wind glee. Then enters
Dame Quickly, mischief-maker, and sets the trap at Herne's Oak in
Windsor Forest, into which Falstaff readily falls. The closing scene
is rich with humor. It opens with a delightful love-song by Fenton
("From those sweet lips a song of love arises"). The conspirators
enter one after the other, and at last Falstaff, disguised as the
sable hunter. The elves are summoned, and glide about to the delicious
fairy music accompanying Nannetta's beautiful song ("While we dance in
the moonlight"). From this point the action hastens to the happy
dénouement, and the work concludes with a fugue which is imbued with
the very spirit of humor and yet is strictly constructed. While the
vocal parts are extraordinary in their declamatory significance, the
strength of the opera lies in the instrumentation, and its charm in
the delicious fun and merriment which pervades it all and is aptly
expressed in the closing lines:--

  "All in this world is jesting.
  Man is born to be jolly,
  E'en from grief some happiness wresting
  Sure proof against melancholy."



WAGNER.

Richard Wagner, who has been somewhat ironically called the musician
of the future, and whose music has been relegated to posterity by a
considerable number of his contemporaries, was born at Leipsic, May
22, 1813. After his preliminary studies in Dresden and Leipsic, he
took his first lessons in music from Cantor Weinlig. In 1836 he was
appointed musical director in the theatre at Magdeburg, and later
occupied the same position at Königsberg. Thence he went to Riga,
where he began his opera "Rienzi." He then went to Paris by sea, was
nearly shipwrecked on his way thither, and landed without money or
friends. After two years of hard struggling he returned to Germany.
His shipwreck and forlorn condition inspired the theme of "The Flying
Dutchman," and while on his way to Dresden he passed near the castle
of Wartburg, in the valley of Thuringia, whose legends inspired his
well-known opera of "Tannhäuser." He next removed to Zurich, and about
this time appeared "Lohengrin," one of his most favorite operas.
"Tristan and Isolde" was produced in 1856, and his comic opera, "Die
Meistersinger von Nürnberg," three years later. In 1864 he received
the patronage of King Louis of Bavaria, which enabled him to complete
and perform his great work, "Der Ring der Nibelungen." He laid the
foundation of the new theatre at Baireuth in 1872, and in 1875 the
work was produced, and created a profound sensation all over the
musical world. "Parsifal," his last opera, was first performed in
1882. His works have aroused great opposition, especially among
conservative musicians, for the reason that he has set at defiance the
conventional operatic forms, and in carrying out his theory of making
the musical and dramatic elements of equal importance, and employing
the former as the language of the latter in natural ways, has made
musical declamation take the place of set melody, and swept away the
customary arias, duets, quartets, and concerted numbers of the Italian
school, to suit the dramatic exigencies of the situations. Besides his
musical compositions, he enjoys almost equal fame as a litterateur,
having written not only his own librettos, but four important
works,--"Art and the Revolution," "The Art Work of the Future," "Opera
and Drama," and "Judaism in Music." His music has made steady progress
through the efforts of such advocates as Liszt, Von Bülow, and Richter
in Germany, Pasdeloup in France, Hueffer in England, and Theodore
Thomas in the United States. In 1870 he married Frau Cosima von Bülow,
the daughter of Liszt,--an event which provoked almost as much comment
in social circles as his operas have in musical. He died during a
visit to Venice, Feb. 13, 1883.


RIENZI.

"Rienzi der letzte der Tribunen," a tragic opera in five acts, words
by the composer, the subject taken from Bulwer's novel, "The Last of
the Tribunes," was first produced at Dresden, Oct. 20, 1842, with Herr
Tichatscheck, Mme. Schröder-Devrient, and Mlle. Wiest in the principal
rôles. It was designed and partly completed during Wagner's stay in
Riga as orchestra leader. In his Autobiography the composer says that
he first read the story at Dresden in 1837, and was greatly impressed
with its adaptability for opera. He began it in the fall of the same
year at Riga, and says: "I had composed two numbers of it, when I
found, to my annoyance, that I was again fairly on the way to the
composition of music à la Adam. I put the work aside in disgust."
Later he projected the scheme of a great tragic opera in five acts,
and began upon it with fresh enthusiasm in the fall of 1838. By the
spring of 1839 the first two acts were completed. At that time his
engagement at Riga terminated, and he set out for Paris. He soon found
that it would be hopeless for him to bring out the opera in that city,
notwithstanding Meyerbeer had promised to assist him. He offered it to
the Grand Opera and to the Renaissance, but neither would accept it.
Nothing daunted, he resumed work upon it, intending it for Dresden. In
October, 1842, it was at last produced in that city, and met with such
success that it secured him the position of capellmeister at the
Dresden opera-house.

The action of the opera passes at Rome, towards the middle of the
fourteenth century. The first act opens at night, in a street near the
Church of St. John Lateran, and discovers Orsini, a Roman patrician,
accompanied by a crowd of nobles, attempting to abduct Irene, the
sister of Rienzi, a papal notary. The plot is interrupted by the
entrance of Colonna, the patrician leader of another faction, who
demands the girl. A quarrel ensues. Adriano, the son of Colonna, who
is in love with Irene, suddenly appears and rushes to her defence.
Gradually other patricians and plebeians are attracted by the tumult,
among the latter, Rienzi. When he becomes aware of the insult offered
his sister, he takes counsel with the Cardinal Raimondo, and they
agree to rouse the people in resistance to the outrages of the nobles.
Adriano is placed in an embarrassing position,--his relationship to
the Colonnas urging him to join the nobles, and his love for Irene
impelling him with still stronger force to make common cause with the
people. He finally decides to follow Rienzi, just as the trumpets are
heard calling the people to arms and Rienzi clad in full armor makes
his appearance to lead them.

The struggle is a short one. The nobles are overcome, and in the
second act they appear at the Capitol to acknowledge their submission
to Rienzi: but Adriano, who has been among them, warns Rienzi that
they have plotted to kill him. Festal dances, processions, and
gladiatorial combats follow, in the midst of which Orsini rushes at
Rienzi and strikes at him with his dagger. Rienzi is saved by a steel
breastplate under his robes. The nobles are at once seized and
condemned to death. Adriano pleads with Rienzi to spare his father,
and moved by his eloquence he renews the offer of pardon if they will
swear submission. They take the oath only to violate it. The people
rise and demand their extermination. Rienzi once more draws the sword,
and Adriano in vain appeals to him to avert the slaughter. He is again
successful, and on his return announces to Adriano that the Colonnas
and Orsinis are no more. The latter warns him of coming revenge, and
the act closes with the coronation of Rienzi.

The fourth act opens at night near the church. The popular tide has
now turned against Rienzi, upon the report that he is in league with
the German Emperor to restore the pontiff. A festive cortége
approaches, escorting him to the church. The nobles bar his way, but
disperse at his command; whereupon Adriano rushes at him with drawn
dagger, but the blow is averted as he hears the chant of malediction
in the church, and sees its dignitaries placing the ban of
excommunication against Rienzi upon its doors. He hurries to Irene,
warns her that her brother's life is no longer safe, and urges her to
fly with him. She repulses him, and seeks her brother, to share his
dangers or die with him. She finds him at prayer in the Capitol. He
counsels her to accept the offer of Adriano and save herself, but she
repeats her determination to die with him. The sounds of the
approaching crowd are heard outside. Rienzi makes a last appeal to
them from the balcony, but the infuriated people will not listen. They
set fire to the Capitol with their torches, and stone Rienzi and Irene
through the windows. As the flames spread from room to room and
Adriano beholds them enveloping the devoted pair, he throws away his
sword, rushes into the burning building, and perishes with them.

The overture of "Rienzi" is in the accepted form, for the opera was
written before Wagner had made his new departure in music, and takes
its principal themes, notably Rienzi's prayer for the people and the
finale to the first act, from the body of the work. The general style
of the whole work is vigorous and tumultuous. The first act opens with
a hurly-burly of tumult between the contending factions and the
people. The first scene contains a vigorous aria for the hero ("Wohl
an so mög es sein"), which leads up to a fiery terzetto ("Adriano du?
Wie ein Colonna!") between Rienzi, Irene, and Adriano, followed by an
intensely passionate scene ("Er geht und lässt dich meinem Schutz")
between the last two. The finale is a tumultuous mass of sound,
through which are heard the tones of trumpets and cries of the people.
It opens with a massive double chorus ("Gegrüsst, gegrüsst"), shouted
by the people on the one side and the monks in the Lateran on the
other, accompanied by an andante movement on the organ. It is
interrupted for a brief space by the ringing appeal of Rienzi
"Erstehe, hohe Roma, neu," and then closes with an energetic andante,
a quartet joining the choruses. This finale is clearly Italian in
form, and much to Wagner's subsequent disgust was described by
Hanslick as a mixture of Donizetti and Meyerbeer, and a clear presage
of the coming Verdi.

The second act opens with a stately march, introducing the messengers
of peace, who join in a chorus of greeting, followed by a second
chorus of senators and the tender of submission made by the nobles. A
terzetto between Adriano, Orsini, and Colonna, set off against a
chorus of the nobles, leads up to the finale. It opens with a joyful
chorus ("Erschallet feier Klänge"), followed by rapid dialogue between
Orsini and Colonna on the one hand and Adriano and Rienzi on the
other. A long and elaborate ballet intervenes, divided into several
numbers,--an Introduction, Pyrrhic Dance, Combat of Roman Gladiators
and Cavaliers, and the Dance of the Apotheosis, in which the Goddess
of Peace is transformed to the Goddess, protector of Rome. The scene
abruptly changes, and the act closes with a great ensemble in which
the defiance of the conspirators, the tolling of bells, the chants of
the monks, and the ferocious outcries of the people shouting for
revenge are mingled in strong contrasts.

The third act is full of tumult. After a brief prelude, amid the
ringing of bells and cries of alarm, the people gather and denounce
the treachery of the nobles, leading up to a spirited call to arms by
Rienzi ("Ihr Römer, auf"). The people respond in furious chorus, and
as the sound of the bells and battle-cries dies away Adriano enters.
His scene opens with a prayer ("Gerechter Gott") for the aversion of
carnage, which changes to an agitated allegro ("Wo war ich?") as he
hears the great bell of the Capitol tolling the signal for slaughter.
The finale begins with a massive march, as the bells and sounds of
alarm are heard approaching again, and bands of citizens, priests and
monks, the high clergy, senators and nobles, pass and repass in quick
succession, at last followed by Rienzi, which is the signal for the
great battle-hymn, "Santo spirito cavaliere," which is to be sung with
great fire and energy, accompanied by great and small bells ringing
behind the scenes, the clash of swords upon shields, and full power of
chorus and orchestra. A dialogue follows between Adriano and Rienzi,
and then the various bands disappear singing the ritornelle of the
hymn. A great duet ("Lebwohl, Irene") ensues between Adriano and
Irene, which in its general outlines reminds one of the duet between
Raoul and Valentin in "The Huguenots." At its conclusion, after a
prayer by the chorus of women, the battle hymn is heard again in the
distance, gradually approaching, and the act closes with a jubilee
chorus ("Auf! im Triumpf zum Capitol"), welcoming the return of the
conquerors.

The fourth act is short, its principal numbers being the introduction,
terzetto and chorus ("Wer war's der euch hierher beschied?"), and the
finale, beginning with a somewhat sombre march of the cortége
accompanying Rienzi to the church, leading to the details of the
conspiracy scene, and closing with the malediction of the monks, "Vae,
vae tibi maledicto." The last act opens with an impressive prayer by
Rienzi ("Allmacht'ger Vater"), which leads to a tender duet ("Verlässt
die Kirche mich") as Irene enters, closing with a passionate aria by
Rienzi ("Ich liebte glühend"). The duet is then resumed, and leads to
a second and intensely passionate duet ("Du hier Irene!") between
Adriano and Irene. The finale is brief, but full of energy, and is
principally choral. The dénouement hurries, and the tragedy is reached
amid a tumultuous outburst of voices and instruments. Unlike Wagner's
other operas, in "Rienzi" set melody dominates, and the orchestra, as
in the Italian school, furnishes the accompaniments. We have the
regular overture, aria, duet, trio, and concerted finale; but after
"Rienzi" we shall observe a change, at last becoming so radical that
the composer himself threw aside his first opera as unworthy of
performance.


THE FLYING DUTCHMAN.

"Der Fliegende Holländer," a romantic opera in three acts, words by
the composer, the subject taken from Heinrich Heine's version of the
legend, was first produced at Dresden, Jan. 2, 1843, with Mme.
Schröder-Devrient and Herr Wechter in the two principal rôles. It was
also produced in London in 1870 at Drury Lane as "L'Ollandose
dannato," by Signor Arditi, with Mlle. Di Murska, Signors Foli,
Perotti, and Rinaldini, and Mr. Santley in the leading parts; in 1876,
by Carl Rosa as "The Flying Dutchman," an English version; and again
in 1877 as "Il Vascello fantasma." In this country the opera was
introduced in its English form by Miss Clara Louise Kellogg.

Wagner conceived the idea of writing "The Flying Dutchman" during the
storm which overtook him on his voyage from Riga to Paris. He says in
his Autobiography: "'The Flying Dutchman,' whose intimate acquaintance
I had made at sea, continually enchained my fancy. I had become
acquainted, too, with Heinrich Heine's peculiar treatment of the
legend in one portion of his 'Salon.' Especially the treatment of the
delivery of this Ahasuerus of the ocean (taken by Heine from a Dutch
drama of the same title) gave me everything ready to use the legend as
the libretto of an opera. I came to an understanding about it with
Heine himself, drew up the scheme, and gave it to M. Léon Pillet
[manager of the Grand Opera], with the proposition that he should have
a French libretto made from it for me." Subsequently M. Pillet
purchased the libretto direct from Wagner, who consented to the
transaction, as he saw no opportunity of producing the opera in Paris.
It was then set by Dietsch as "Le Vaisseau fantôme," and brought out
in Paris in 1842. In the mean time, not discouraged by his bad
fortune, Wagner set to work, wrote the German verse, and completed the
opera in seven weeks for Dresden, where it was finally performed, as
already stated. Unlike "Rienzi," it met with failure both in Dresden
and Berlin; but its merits were recognized by Spohr, who encouraged
him to persevere in the course he had marked out.

The plot of the opera is very simple. A Norwegian vessel, commanded by
Daland, compelled by stress of weather, enters a port not far from her
destination. At the same time a mysterious vessel, with red sails and
black hull, commanded by the wandering Flying Dutchman, who is
destined to sail the seas without rest until he finds a maiden who
will be faithful until death, puts into the same port. The two
captains meet, and Daland invites the stranger to his home. The two at
last progress so rapidly in mutual favor that a marriage is agreed
upon between the stranger and Senta, Daland's daughter. The latter is
a dreamy, imaginative girl, who, though she has an accepted lover,
Eric, is so fascinated with the legend of the stranger that she
becomes convinced she is destined to save him from perdition. When he
arrives with her father she recognizes him at once, and vows eternal
constancy to him. In the last act, however, Eric appears and
reproaches Senta with her faithlessness. The stranger overhears them,
and concludes that as she has been recreant to her former lover, so
too she will be untrue to him. He decides to leave her; for if he
should remain, her penalty would be eternal death. As his mysterious
vessel sails away Senta rushes to a cliff, and crying out that her
life will be the price of his release, hurls herself into the sea,
vowing to be constant to him even in death. The phantom vessel sinks,
the sea grows calm, and in the distance the two figures are seen
rising in the sunlight never to be parted.

The overture characterizes the persons and situations of the drama,
and introduces the motives which Wagner ever after used so
freely,--among them the curse resting upon the Dutchman, the restless
motion of the sea, the message of the Angel of Mercy personified in
Senta, the personification of the Dutchman, and the song of Daland's
crew. The first act opens with an introduction representing a storm,
and a characteristic sailors' chorus, followed by an exquisite
love-song for tenor ("Mit Gewitter und Sturm"), and a grand scena of
the Dutchman ("Die Frist ist um"), which lead up to a melodious duet
between the Dutchman and Daland. The act closes with the sailors'
chorus as the two vessels sail away.

After a brief instrumental prelude, the second act opens in Daland's
home, where the melancholy Senta sits surrounded by her companions,
who are spinning. To the whirring accompaniment of the violins they
sing a very realistic spinning song ("Summ' und brumm du gutes
Mädchen"), interrupted at intervals by the laughter of the girls as
they rally Senta upon her melancholy looks. Senta replies with a weird
and exquisitely melodious ballad ("Johohae! träfft ihr das Schiff im
Meere an"), in which she tells the story of the Flying Dutchman, and
anticipates her own destiny. The song is full of intense feelings and
is characterized by a motive which frequently recurs in the opera, and
is the key to the whole work. A duet follows between Eric and Senta,
the melodious character of which shows that Wagner was not yet
entirely freed from Italian influences. A short duet ensues between
Senta and her father, and then the Dutchman appears. As they stand and
gaze at each other for a long time, the orchestra meanwhile supplying
the supposed emotions of each, we have a clew to the method Wagner was
afterwards to employ so successfully. A duet between Senta and the
Dutchman ("Wie aus der Ferne") and a terzetto with Daland close the
act.

The third act opens with another sailors' chorus ("Steuermann, lass'
die Wacht"), and a brisk dialogue between them and the women who are
bringing them provisions. The latter also hail the crew of the
Dutchman's vessel, but get no reply until the wind suddenly rises,
when they man the vessel and sing the refrain with which the Dutchman
is continually identified. A double chorus of the two crews follows.
Senta then appears accompanied by Eric, who seeks to restrain her from
following the stranger in a very dramatic duet ("Was muss ich
hören?"). The finale is made up of sailors' and female choruses, and a
trio between Senta, Daland, and the Dutchman, which are woven together
with consummate skill, and make a very effective termination to the
weird story. There are no points in common between "The Flying
Dutchman" and "Rienzi," except that in the former Wagner had not yet
clearly freed himself from conventional melody. It is interesting as
marking his first step towards the music of the future in his use of
motives, his wonderful treatment of the orchestra in enforcing the
expression of the text, and his combination of the voices and
instrumentation in what he so aptly calls "The Music-Drama."


TANNHÄUSER

"Tannhäuser und der Singerkrieg auf Wartburg" ("Tannhäuser and the
singers' contest at the Wartburg"), a romantic opera in three acts,
words by the composer, was first produced at the Royal Opera, Dresden,
Oct. 20, 1845, with Mme. Schröder-Devrient and Herr Niemann as
Elizabeth and Tannhäuser. Its first performance in Paris was on March
13, 1861; but it was a failure after three representations, and was
made the butt of Parisian ridicule, even Berlioz joining in the
tirade. In England it was brought out in Italian at Covent Garden, May
6, 1876, though its overture was played by the London Philharmonic
orchestra in 1855, Wagner himself leading.

In the spring of 1842 Wagner returned from Paris to Germany, and on
his way to Dresden visited the castle of Wartburg, in the Thuringian
Valley, where he first conceived the idea of writing "Tannhäuser." The
plot was taken from an old German tradition, which centres about the
castle where the landgraves of the thirteenth century instituted
peaceful contests between the Minnesingers and knightly poets. Near
this castle towers the Venusberg, a dreary elevation, which, according
to popular tradition, was inhabited by Holda, the goddess of Spring.
Proscribed by Christianity, she took refuge in its caverns, where she
was afterwards confounded with the Grecian Venus. Her court was filled
with nymphs and sirens, who enticed those whose impure desires led
them to its vicinity, and lured them into the caverns, from which they
were supposed never to return. The first act opens in this court, and
reveals Tannhäuser, the knight and minstrel, under the sway of Venus.
In spite of her fascinations he succeeds in tearing himself away, and
we next find him at the castle of Wartburg, the home of Hermann the
Landgrave, whose daughter Elizabeth is in love with him. At the
minstrel contest he enters into the lists with the other Minnesingers,
and, impelled by a reckless audacity and the subtle influence of
Venus, sings of the attractions of sensual pleasures. Walter, of the
Vogelweide, replies with a song to virtue. Tannhäuser breaks out in
renewed sensual strains, and a quarrel ensues. The knights rush upon
him with their swords, but Elizabeth interposes and saves his life. He
expresses his penitence, makes a pilgrimage to Rome and confesses to
the Pope, who replies that, having tasted the pleasures of hell, he is
forever damned, and, raising his crosier, adds: "Even as this wood
cannot blossom again, so there is no pardon for thee." Elizabeth prays
for him in her solitude, but her prayers apparently are of no avail.
At last he returns dejected and hopeless, and in his wanderings meets
Wolfram, another minstrel, also in love with Elizabeth, to whom he
tells the sad story of his pilgrimage. He determines to return to the
Venusberg. He hears the voices of the sirens luring him back. Wolfram
seeks to detain him, but is powerless until he mentions the name of
Elizabeth, when the sirens vanish and their spells lose their
attraction. A funeral procession approaches in the distance, and on
the bier is the form of the saintly Elizabeth. He sinks down upon the
coffin and dies. As his spirit passes away his pilgrim's staff
miraculously bursts out into leaf and blossom, showing that his sins
have been forgiven.

The overture to the opera is well known by its frequent performances
as a concert number. It begins with the pilgrim's song, which, as it
dies away, is succeeded by the seductive spells of the Venusberg and
the voices of the sirens calling to Tannhäuser. As the whirring sounds
grow fainter and fainter, the pilgrim's song is again heard gradually
approaching, and at last closing the overture in a joyous burst of
harmony. The first act opens with the scene in the Venusberg,
accompanied by the Bacchanale music, which was written in Paris by
Wagner after the opera was finished and had been performed. It is now
known as "the Parisian Bacchanale." It is followed by a voluptuous
scene between Tannhäuser and Venus, a long dialogue, during which the
hero, seizing his harp, trolls out a song ("Doch sterblich, ach!"),
the theme of which has already been given out by the overture,
expressing his weariness of her companionship. The second scene
transports us to a valley, above which towers the castle of Wartburg.
A young shepherd, perched upon a rock, sings a pastoral invocation to
Holda ("Frau Holda kam aus dem Berg hervor"), the strains of his pipe
(an oboe obligato) weaving about the stately chorus of the elder
pilgrims ("Zu dir wall' ich, mein Herr und Gott") as they come along
the mountain paths from the castle. The scene, which is one of great
beauty, closes with the lament of Tannhäuser ("Ach! schwer drückt mich
der Sünden Last"), intermingled with the receding song of the
pilgrims, the ringing of church-bells in the distance, and the merry
notes of hunters' horns as the Landgrave and his followers approach.
The meeting with Tannhäuser leads to an expressive septet, in which
Wolfram has a very impressive solo ("Als du in kühnem Sange").

The second act opens in the singers' hall of the Wartburg. Elizabeth,
entering joyfully, greets it in a recitation ("Froh grüss ich dich,
geliebter Raum"), if we may so term it, which is characterized by a
joyous but dignified dramatic appeal, recalling the scenes of her
youth. The interview between Tannhäuser and Elizabeth, which follows,
gives rise to a long dialogue, closing with a union of the two voices
in the charming duet, "Gepriesen sei die Macht." Then follows the
grand march and chorus, "Freudig begrüssen wir die edle Halle,"
announcing the beginning of the song contest. The stirring rhythm and
bold, broad outlines of this march are so well known that it is
needless to dwell upon it. The scene of the contest is declamatory
throughout, and full of animation and spirit; its most salient points
being the hymn of Wolfram ("O Himmel lasst dich jetzt erflehen") in
honor of ideal love, and Elizabeth's appeal to the knights to spare
Tannhäuser ("Zurück von ihm"), which leads up to a spirited septet and
choral ensemble closing the act.

In the third act we are once more in the valley of the Wartburg. After
a plaintive song by Wolfram ("Wohl wusst ich hier sie im Gebet zu
finden"), the chorus of the returning pilgrims is heard in the
distance, working up to a magnificent crescendo as they approach and
cross the stage. Elizabeth, who has been earnestly watching them to
find if Tannhäuser be of their number, disappointed, sinks upon her
knees and sings the touching prayer, "Allmächt'ge Jungfrau, hör mein
Flehen." As she leaves the scene, Wolfram takes his harp and sings the
enchanting fantasy to the evening star, "O, du mein holder
Abendstern,"--a love-song to the saintly Elizabeth. Tannhäuser makes
his appearance. A long declamatory dialogue ensues between himself and
Wolfram, in which he recites the story of his pilgrimage. The scene is
one of extraordinary power, and calls for the highest vocal and
dramatic qualities in order to make it effective. From this point on,
the tragedy hastens. There is the struggle once more with the sirens,
and amid Wolfram's touching appeals and Tannhäuser's exclamations is
heard the enticement of the Venus music. But at the name "Elizabeth"
it dies away. The mists grow denser as the magic crew disappears, and
through them is seen a light upon the Wartburg. The tolling of bells
and the songs of mourners are heard as the cortége approaches. As
Tannhäuser dies, the pilgrims' chorus again rises in ecstasy, closing
with a mighty shout of "Hallelujah!" and the curtain falls.


LOHENGRIN.

"Lohengrin," a romantic opera in three acts, words by the composer,
was first produced at Weimar, Aug. 28, 1850, the anniversary of
Goethe's birthday, under the direction of Franz Liszt, and with the
following cast of the leading parts:--

  LOHENGRIN       Herr BECK.
  TELRAMUND       Herr MILDE.
  KING            Herr HOFER.
  ELSA            Frau AGATHE.
  ORTRUD          Fraülein FASTLINGER.

"Lohengrin" was begun in Paris, and finished in Switzerland during the
period in which Wagner was director of the musical society as well as
of the orchestra at the city theatre of Zurich, whither he had fled to
escape the penalties for taking part in the political agitations and
subsequent insurrection of 1849. Though it manifests a still further
advancement in the development of his system, it was far from being
composed according to the abstract rules he had laid down. He says
explicitly on this point, in his "Music of the Future:" "The first
three of these poems--'The Flying Dutchman,' 'Tannhäuser,' and
'Lohengrin'--were written by me, their music composed, and all (with
the exception of 'Lohengrin') performed upon the stage, before the
composition of my theoretical writings."

The story of Lohengrin, the son of Parsifal, upon which Wagner has
based his drama, is taken from many sources, the old Celtic legend of
King Arthur, his knights, and the Holy Grail being mixed with the
distinctively German legend of a knight who arrives in his boat drawn
by a swan. The version used by Wagner is supposed to be told by
Wolfram von Eschenbach, the Minnesinger, at one of the Wartburg
contests, and is in substance as follows: Henry I., King of Germany,
known as "the Fowler," arrives at Antwerp for the purpose of raising a
force to help him expel the Hungarians, who are threatening his
dominions. He finds Brabant in a condition of anarchy. Gottfried, the
young son of the late Duke, has mysteriously disappeared, and
Telramund, the husband of Ortrud, daughter of the Prince of Friesland,
claims the dukedom. The claimant openly charges Elsa, sister of
Gottfried, with having murdered him to obtain the sovereignty, and she
is summoned before the King to submit her cause to the ordeal of
battle between Telramund and any knight whom she may name. She
describes a champion whom she has seen in a vision, and conjures him
to appear in her behalf. After a triple summons by the heralds, he is
seen approaching on the Scheldt, in a boat drawn by a swan. Before the
combat Lohengrin betroths himself to Elsa, naming only the condition
that she shall never question him as to his name or race. She assents,
and the combat results in Telramund's defeat and public disgrace.

In the second act occur the bridal ceremonies, prior to which, moved
by Ortrud's entreaties, Elsa promises to obtain a reprieve for
Telramund from the sentence which has been pronounced against him. At
the same time Ortrud takes advantage of her success to instil doubts
into Elsa's mind as to her future happiness and the faithfulness of
Lohengrin.

In the next scene, as the bridal cortége is about to enter the
minster, Ortrud claims the right of precedence by virtue of her rank,
and Telramund publicly accuses Lohengrin of sorcery. The faith of
Elsa, however, is not shaken. The two conspirators are ordered to
stand aside, the train enters the church, and Elsa and Lohengrin are
united.

The third act opens in the bridal chamber. The seeds of curiosity and
distrust which Ortrud has sown in Elsa's mind have ripened, and in
spite of her conviction that it will end her happiness, she questions
Lohengrin with increasing vehemence, at last openly demanding to know
his secret. At this juncture Telramund breaks into the apartment with
four followers, intending to take the life of Lohengrin. A single blow
of the knight's sword stretches him lifeless. He then places Elsa in
the charge of her ladies and orders them to take her to the presence
of the King, whither he also repairs. Compelled by his wife's
unfortunate rashness, he discloses himself as the son of Parsifal,
Knight of the Holy Grail, and announces that he must now return to its
guardianship. His swan once more appears, and as he steps into the
boat he bids Elsa an eternal farewell. Before he sails away, however,
Ortrud declares to the wondering crowd that the swan is Elsa's
brother, who has been bewitched by herself into this form, and would
have been released but for Elsa's curiosity. Lohengrin at once
disenchants the swan, and Gottfried appears and rushes into his
sister's arms. A white dove flies through the air and takes the place
of the swan, and Lohengrin sails away as Elsa dies in the embrace of
her newly found brother.

The Vorspiel, or prelude, to the opera takes for its subject the
descent of the Holy Grail, the mysterious symbol of the Christian
faith, and the Grail motive is the key to the whole work. The
delicious harmonies which accompany its descent increase in warmth and
power until the sacred mystery is revealed to human eyes, and then die
away to a pianissimo, and gradually disappear as the angels bearing
the holy vessel return to their celestial abode. The curtain rises
upon a meadow on the banks of the Scheldt, showing King Henry
surrounded by his vassals and retainers. After their choral
declaration of allegiance, Telramund, in a long declamatory scena of
great power ("Zum Sterben kam der Herzog von Brabant"), tells the
story of the troubles in Brabant, and impeaches Elsa. At the King's
command, Elsa appears, and in a melodious utterance of extreme
simplicity and sweetness, which is called the dream motive ("Einsam in
trüben Tagen"), relates the vision of the knight who is to come to her
assistance. The summons of the heralds preludes the climax of the act.
Amid natural outcries of popular wonderment Lohengrin appears, and, as
he leaves his boat, bids farewell to his swan in a strain of delicate
beauty ("Nun sei gedankt, mein lieber Schwan"). The preparations for
the combat are made, but before it begins, the motive of warning is
sounded by Lohengrin ("Nie sollst du mich befragen"). The finale of
the act takes the form of a powerful ensemble, composed of sextet and
chorus, and beginning with the prayer of the King, "Mein Herr und
Gott, nun ruf ich Dich."

The second act opens upon a night scene near the palace, which is
merry with the wedding festivities, while the discomfited Telramund
and Ortrud are plotting their conspiracy without in a long duet
("Erhebe dich, Genossin meiner Schmach"), which introduces new motives
of hatred and revenge, as opposed to the Grail motive. In the second
scene Elsa appears upon the balcony and sings a love-song ("Euch
Lüften, die mein Klagen"), whose tenderness and confidence are in
marked contrast with the doubts sown in her mind by Ortrud before the
scene closes. The third scene is preluded with descriptive sunrise
music by the orchestra, followed by the herald's proclamations,
interspersed by choral responses, leading up to the bridal-procession
music as the train moves on from the palace to the cathedral,
accompanied by a stately march and choral strains, and all the
artistic surroundings of a beautiful stage pageant. The progress is
twice interrupted; first by Ortrud, who asserts her precedence, and
second by Telramund, who, in the scena "Den dort im Glanz," accuses
Lohengrin of sorcery. When Elsa still expresses her faith, the train
moves on, and reaches its destination amid the acclamations of the
chorus ("Heil, Elsa von Brabant!").

The third act opens in the bridal chamber with the graceful bridal
song by Elsa's ladies, "Treulich gefuhrt, ziehet dahin," whose
melodious strains have accompanied many unions, the world over,
besides those of Elsa and Lohengrin. The second scene is an exquisite
picture of the mutual outpouring of love, at first full of beauty and
tenderness, but gradually darkening as Ortrud's insinuations produce
their effect in Elsa's mind. Tenderly Lohengrin appeals to her, but in
vain; and at last the motive of warning is heard. The fatal questions
are asked, the tragedy of Telramund follows, and all is over. The last
scene introduces us once more to the meadow on the Scheldt, where
Lohengrin appears before the King and his vassals. In their presence
he reveals himself as the son of Parsifal, in a scena of consummate
power ("In fernem Land, unnahbar euren Schritten"), wherein the Grail
motive reaches its fullest development. It is followed by his touching
farewell, "O Elsa! nur ein Jahr an deiner Seite," the melody of which
can hardly be surpassed in dignity and impressiveness. The dénouement
now hastens, and Lohengrin disappears, to the accompaniment of the
Grail motive.


TRISTAN UND ISOLDE.

"Tristan und Isolde," an opera in three acts, words by the composer,
was first produced at Munich, June 10, 1865, under the direction of
Hans von Bülow, with the following cast of characters:--

  TRISTAN     Herr LUDWIG SCHNORR VON CAROLSFELD.
  KURWENAL    Herr MITTERWURZER.
  KING MARK   Herr ZOTTMAYER.
  ISOLDE      Mme. SCHNORR VON CAROLSFELD.
  BRANGOENA   Mlle. DEINET.

"Tristan and Isolde" was commenced in 1857 and finished in 1859,
during the period in which Wagner was engaged upon his colossal work,
"The Ring of the Nibelung." As early as the middle of 1852 he had
finished the four dramatic poems which comprise the cyclus of the
latter, and during the next three years he finished the music to "Das
Rheingold" and "Die Walküre." In one of his letters he says: "In the
summer of 1857 I determined to interrupt the execution of my work on
the Nibelungen and begin something shorter, which should renew my
connection with the stage." The legend of Tristan was selected. It is
derived from the old Celtic story of "Tristram and Iseult," the
version adopted by Wagner being that of Gottfried of Strasburg, a bard
of the thirteenth century, though it must be said he uses it in his
own manner, and at times widely departs both from the original and the
mediæval poem.

In "Tristan and Isolde" Wagner broke completely loose from all the
conventional forms of opera. It has nothing in common with the old
style of lyric entertainment. As Hueffer says, in his recent Life of
Wagner: "Here is heard for the first time the unimpaired language of
dramatic passion intensified by an uninterrupted flow of expressive
melody. Here also the orchestra obtains that wide range of emotional
expression which enables it, like the chorus of the antique tragedy,
to discharge the dialogue of an overplus of lyrical elements without
weakening the intensity of the situation, which it accompanies like an
unceasing passionate undercurrent." In an opera like this, which is
intended to commingle dramatic action, intensity of verse, and the
power and charm of the music in one homogeneous whole, the reader will
at once observe the difficulty of doing much more than the telling of
its story, leaving the musical declamation and effects to be inferred
from the text. Even Wagner himself in the original title is careful to
designate the work "Ein Handlung" (an action).

The vorspiel to the drama is based upon a single motive, which is
worked up with consummate skill into various melodic forms, and
frequently appears throughout the work. It might well be termed the
motive of restless, irresistible passion. The drama opens on board a
ship in which the Cornish knight, Tristan, is bearing Isolde, the
unwilling Irish bride, to King Mark of Cornwall. As the vessel is
nearing the land, Isolde sends Brangoena to the Knight, who is also in
love with her, but holds himself aloof by reason of a blood-feud, and
orders him to appear at her side. His refusal turns Isolde's affection
to bitterness, and she resolves that he shall die, and that she will
share death with him. She once more calls Tristan, and tells him that
the time has come for him to make atonement for slaying her kinsman,
Morold.

She directs Brangoena to mix a death-potion and invites him to drink
with her, but without her knowledge Brangoena has prepared a
love-potion, which inflames their passions beyond power of restraint.
Oblivious of the landing, the approach of the royal train, and all
that is going on about them, they remain folded in mutual embrace.

The second act opens in Cornwall, in a garden which leads to Isolde's
chamber, she being already wedded to King Mark. With Brangoena she is
waiting for Tristan. The King goes out upon a night hunt, and no
sooner has he disappeared than Isolde gives the signal for his
approach, while Brangoena goes to her station to watch. The second
scene is a most elaborate love-duet between the guilty pair, the two
voices at first joining ("Bist du mein? Hab'ich dich wieder?"). A
passionate dialogue ensues, and then the two voices join again ("O
sink' hernieder, Nacht der Liebe"). After a brief dialogue Brangoena's
warning voice is heard. Absorbed in each other, they pay no heed, and
once more they join in the very ecstasy of passion, so far as it can
be given musical form, in the finale of the duet, "O süsse Nacht!
Ew'ge Nacht! Hehr erhabne Liebes-Nacht." The treachery of Sir Melot,
Tristan's pretended friend, betrays the lovers to the King. Tristan
offers no explanations, but touched by the King's bitter reproaches
provokes Sir Melot to combat and allows himself to be mortally
wounded.

The third act opens in Brittany, whither Kurwenal, Tristan's faithful
henchman, has taken him. A shepherd lad watches from a neighboring
height to announce the appearance of a vessel, for Kurwenal has sent
for Isolde to heal his master's wound. At last the stirring strains of
the shepherd's pipe signal her coming. In his delirious joy Tristan
tears the bandages from his wounds, and has only strength enough left
to call Isolde by name and die in her arms. Now a second vessel is
seen approaching, bearing King Mark and his men. Thinking that his
design is hostile, Kurwenal attempts to defend the castle, but is soon
forced to yield, and dies at the feet of his master. The King exclaims
against his rashness, for since he had heard Brangoena's story of the
love-potion he had come to give his consent to the union of the
lovers. Isolde, transfigured with grief, sings her last farewell to
her lover ("Mild und leise wie er lächelt"), and expires on his body.
The dying song is one of great beauty and pathos, and sadly recalls
the passion of the duet in the second act, as Isolde's mournful
strains are accompanied in the orchestra by the sweetly melodious
motives which had been heard in it, the interweaving of the two also
suggesting that in death the lovers have been reunited.


THE MASTERSINGERS.

"Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg," a comic opera in three acts, words
by the composer, was first produced at Munich, June 21, 1868, under
the direction of Hans von Bülow, with the following cast:

  HANS SACHS      Herr BETZ.
  WALTER          Herr NACHBAUER.
  BECKMESSER      Herr HÖLZEL.
  DAVID           Herr SCHLOSSER.
  EVA             Mlle. MALLINGER.
  MAGDALENA       Mme. DIETZ.

The plan of "The Mastersingers" was conceived about the same time as
that of "Lohengrin," during the composer's stay at Marienbad, and
occupied his attention at intervals for twenty years, as it was not
finished until 1867. As is clearly apparent both from its music and
text, it was intended as a satire upon the composer's critics, who had
charged that he was incapable of writing melody. It is easy to see
that these critics are symbolized by the old pedant Beckmesser, and
that in Walter we have Wagner himself. When he is first brought in
contact with the Mastersingers, and one of their number, Kothner, asks
him if he gained his knowledge in any school, he replies, "The wood
before the Vogelweid', 'twas there I learnt my singing;" and again he
answers:--

     "What winter night.
      What wood so bright,
  What book and nature brought me,
  What poet songs of magic might
  Mysteriously have taught me,
      On horses' tramp,
      On field and camp,
      On knights arrayed
      For war parade
  My mind its powers exerted."

The story is not only one of love as between Walter and Eva, but of
satirical protest as between Walter and Beckmesser, and the two
subjects are illustrated not only with delicate fancy but with the
liveliest of humor. The work is replete with melody. It has chorales,
marches, folk-songs, duets, quintets, ensembles, and choruses, and yet
the composer does not lose sight of his theories; for here we observe
as characteristic a use of motives and as skilful a combination of
them as can be found in any of his works. To thoroughly comprehend the
story, it is necessary to understand the conditions one had to fulfil
before he could be a mastersinger. First of all he must master the
"Tabulatur," which included the rules and prohibitions. Then he must
have the requisite acquaintance with the various methods of rhyming
verse, and with the manner of fitting appropriate music to it. One who
had partially mastered the Tabulatur was termed a "scholar;" the one
who had thoroughly learned it, a "schoolman;" the one who could
improvise verses, a "poet;" and the one who could set music to his
verses, a "mastersinger." In the test there were thirty-three faults
to be guarded against; and whenever the marker had chalked up seven
against the candidate, he was declared to have oversung himself and
lost the coveted honor.

The vorspiel is a vivid delineation of mediæval German life, full of
festive pomp, stirring action, glowing passion, and exuberant humor.
The first act opens in the Church of St. Katherine, at Nuremberg, with
the singing of a chorale to organ accompaniment. During the chorale
and its interludes a quiet love-scene is being enacted between Eva,
daughter of the wealthy goldsmith Veit Pogner, and Walter von
Stolzing, a noble young knight. The attraction is mutual. Eva is ready
to become his bride, but it is necessary that her husband should be a
mastersinger. Rather than give up the hand of the fair Eva, Walter,
short as the time is, determines to master the precepts and enter the
lists. As Eva and her attendant, Magdalena, leave the church, the
apprentices enter to arrange for the trial, among them David, the
friskiest of them all, who is in love with Magdalena. He volunteers to
give Walter some instructions, but they do not avail him much in the
end, for the lesson is sadly disturbed by the gibes of the boys, in a
scene full of musical humor. At last Pogner and Beckmesser, the
marker, who is also a competitor for Eva's hand, enter from the
sacristy. After a long dialogue between them the other masters
assemble, Hans Sachs, the cobbler-bard, coming in last. After calling
the roll, the ceremonies open with a pompous address by Pogner ("Das
schöne Fest, Johannis-Tag"), in which he promises the hand of Eva,
"with my gold and goods beside," to the successful singer on the
morrow, which is John the Baptist's Day. After a long parley among the
gossiping masters, Pogner introduces Walter as a candidate for
election. He sings a charming song ("So rief der Lenz in den Wald"),
and as he sings, the marker, concealed behind a screen, is heard
scoring down the faults. When he displays the slate it is found to be
covered with them. The masters declare him outsung and rejected, but
Hans Sachs befriends him, and demands he shall have a chance for the
prize.

The second act discloses Pogner's house and Sachs's shop. The
apprentices are busy putting up the shutters, and are singing as they
work. Walter meets Eva and plots an elopement with her, but Sachs
prevents them from carrying out their rash plan. Meanwhile Beckmesser
makes his appearance with his lute for the purpose of serenading Eva
and rehearsing the song he is to sing for the prize on the morrow. As
he is about to sing, Sachs breaks out into a rollicking folk-song
("Jerum, jerum, halla, halla, he!"), in which he sings of Mother Eve
and the troubles she had after she left Paradise, for want of shoes.
At last he allows Beckmesser a hearing, provided he will permit him to
mark the faults with his hammer upon the shoe he is making. The marker
consents, and sings his song, "Den Tag seh' ich erscheinen,"
accompanied with excruciating roulades of the old-fashioned
conventional sort; but Sachs knocks so often that his shoe is finished
long before Beckmesser's song. This is his first humiliation. Before
the act finishes he is plunged into still further trouble, for David
suspects him of designs upon Magdalena, and a general quarrel ensues.

The third act opens upon a peaceful Sunday-morning scene in the sleepy
old town, and shows us Sachs sitting in his arm-chair at the window
reading his Bible, and now and then expressing his hopes for Walter's
success, as the great contest is soon to take place. At last he leans
back, and after a brief meditation commences a characteristic song
("Wahn! wahn! Ueberall wahn!"). A long dialogue ensues between him and
Walter, and then as Eva, David, Magdalena, and Beckmesser successively
enter, the scene develops into a magnificent quintet, which is one of
the most charming numbers in the opera. The situation then suddenly
changes. The stage-setting represents an open meadow on the banks of
the Pegnitz. The river is crowded with boats. The plain is covered
with tents full of merrymakers. The different guilds are continually
arriving. A livelier or more stirring scene can hardly be imagined
than Wagner has here pictured, with its accompaniment of choruses by
the various handicraftsmen, their pompous marches, and the rural
strains of town pipers. At last the contest begins. Beckmesser
attempts to get through his song and dismally fails. Walter follows
him with the beautiful prize-song, "Morgenlich leuchtend in rosigem
Schein." He wins the day and the hand of Eva. Exultant Sachs trolls
out a lusty lay ("Verachtet mir der Meister nicht"), and the stirring
scene ends with the acclamations of the people ("Heil Sachs! Hans
Sachs! Heil Nürnberg's theurem Sachs!").


THE RING OF THE NIBELUNG.

"Der Ring des Nibelungen," a trilogy, the subject taken from the
Nibelungen Lied and adapted by the composer, was first conceived by
Wagner during the composition of "Lohengrin." The four dramatic poems
which constitute its cyclus were written as early as 1852, which will
correct a very general impression that this colossal work was
projected during the closing years of his life. On the contrary, it
was the product of his prime. Hueffer, in his biographical sketch of
Wagner, says that he hesitated between the historical and mythical
principles as the subjects of his work,--Frederick the First
representing the former, and Siegfried, the hero of Teutonic
mythology, the latter. Siegfried was finally selected. "Wagner began
at once sketching the subject, but gradually the immense breadth and
grandeur of the old types began to expand under his hands, and the
result was a trilogy, or rather tetralogy, of enormous dimensions,
perhaps the most colossal attempt upon which the dramatic muse has
ventured since the times of Æschylus." The trilogy is really in four
parts,--"Das Rheingold" (the Rhinegold); "Die Walküre" (the Valkyrie);
"Siegfried"; and "Die Götterdämmerung" (the Twilight of the Gods),
"The Rhinegold" being in the nature of an introduction to the trilogy
proper, though occupying an evening for its performance. Between the
years 1852 and 1856 the composer wrote the music of the "Rhinegold"
and the whole of "The Valkyrie;" and then, as he says himself, wishing
to keep up his active connection with the stage, he interrupted the
progress of the main scheme, and wrote "Tristan and Isolde," which
occupied him from 1856 to 1859. During its composition, however, he
did not entirely forsake the trilogy. In the autumn of 1856 he began
"Siegfried," the composition of which was not finished until 1869,
owing to many other objects which engaged his attention during this
period, one of which was the composition of "The Mastersingers," which
he wrote at intervals between 1861 and 1867. From the latter year
until 1876, when the trilogy was produced at Baireuth, he gave himself
wholly to the work of completing it and preparing it for the stage.

Prior to the production of the completed work, separate parts of it
were given, though Wagner strongly opposed it. "The Rhinegold," or
introduction, came to a public dress-rehearsal at Munich Aug. 25,
1869, and "The Valkyrie" was performed in a similar manner in the same
city, June 24, 1870, with the following cast:--

  WOTAN        Herr KINDERMANN.
  SIEGMUND     Herr VOGL.
  HUNDING      Herr BAUSERWEIN.
  BRÜNNHILDE   Frl. STEHLE.
  SIEGLINDE    Frau VOGL.
  FRICKA       Frl. KAUFFMANN.

The "Siegfried" and "Götterdämmerung," however, were not given until
the entire work was performed in 1876. Upon the completion of his
colossal task Wagner began to look about him for the locality,
theatre, artists, and materials suitable for a successful
representation. In the circular which he issued, narrating the
circumstances which led up to the building of the Baireuth
opera-house, he says: "As early as the spring of 1871 I had, quietly
and unnoticed, had my eye upon Baireuth, the place I had chosen for my
purpose. The idea of using the Margravian Opera-House was abandoned so
soon as I saw its interior construction. But yet the peculiar
character of that kindly town and its site so answered my
requirements, that during the wintry latter part of the autumn of the
same year I repeated my visit,--this time, however, to treat with the
city authorities.... An unsurpassably beautiful and eligible plot of
ground at no great distance from the town was given me on which to
erect the proposed theatre. Having come to an understanding as to its
erection with a man of approved inventive genius, and of rare
experience in the interior arrangement of theatres, we could then
intrust to an architect of equal acquaintance with theatrical building
the further planning and the erection of the provisional structure.
And despite the great difficulties which attended the arrangements for
putting under way so unusual an undertaking, we made such progress
that the laying of the corner-stone could be announced to our patrons
and friends for May 22, 1872." The ceremony took place as announced,
and was made still further memorable by a magnificent performance of
Beethoven's Ninth or Choral Symphony, the chorus of which, set to
Schiller's "Ode to Joy," was sung by hundreds of lusty German throats.
In addition to the other contents of the stone, Wagner deposited the
following mystic verse of his own:

  "I bury here a secret deep,
      For centuries long to lie concealed;
  Yet while this stone its trust shall keep,
      To all the secret stands revealed."

He also made an eloquent address, setting forth the details of the
plans and the purposes of the new temple of art. The undertaking was
now fairly inaugurated. The erratic King of Bavaria had from the first
been Wagner's steadfast friend and munificent patron; but not to him
alone belongs the credit of the colossal project and its remarkable
success. When Wagner first made known his views, other friends, among
them Tausig, the eminent pianist, at once devoted themselves to his
cause. In connection with a lady of high rank, Baroness von
Schleinitz, he proposed to raise the sum of three hundred thousand
thalers by the sale of patronage shares at three hundred thalers each,
and had already entered upon the work when his death for the time
dashed Wagner's hopes. Other friends, however, now came forward. An
organization for the promotion of the scheme, called the "Richard
Wagner Society," was started at Mannheim. Notwithstanding the ridicule
which it excited, another society was formed at Vienna. Like societies
began to appear in all the principal cities of Germany, and they found
imitators in Milan, Pesth, Brussels, London, and New York. Shares were
taken so rapidly that the success of the undertaking was no longer
doubtful. Meanwhile the theatre itself was under construction. It
combined several peculiarities, one of the most novel of which was the
concealment of the orchestra by the sinking of the floor, so that the
view of the audience could not be interrupted by the musicians and
their movements. Private boxes were done away with, the arrangement of
the seats being like that of an ancient amphitheatre, all of them
facing the stage. Two prosceniums were constructed which gave an
indefinable sense of distance to the stage-picture. To relieve the
bare side walls, a row of pillars was planned, gradually widening
outward and forming the end of the rows of seats, thus having the
effect of a third proscenium. The stage portion of the theatre was
twice as high as the rest of the building, for all the scenery was
both raised and lowered, the incongruity between the two parts being
concealed by a façade in front. "Whoever has rightly understood me,"
says Wagner, "will readily perceive that architecture itself had to
acquire a new significance under the inspiration of the genius of
Music, and thus that the myth of Amphion building the walls of Thebes
by the notes of his lyre has yet a meaning."

The theatre was completed in 1876, and in the month of August (13-16)
Wagner saw the dream of his life take the form of reality. He had
everything at his command,--a theatre specially constructed for his
purpose; a stage which in size, scenery, mechanical arrangements, and
general equipment, has not its equal in the world; an array of artists
the best that Europe could produce; an orchestra almost literally
composed of virtuosi. The audience which gathered at these
performances--composed of princes, illustrious men in every department
of science and culture, and prominent musicians from all parts of the
world--was one of which any composer might have been proud, while the
representation itself marked an epoch in musical history, and
promulgated a new system of laws destined to affect operatic
composition ever after.

The casts of the various portions of the trilogy upon this memorable
occasion were as follows:

  DAS RHEINGOLD. (PRELUDE.)

  WOTAN  |             (Herr BETZ.
  DONNER |             (Herr GURA.
         |  Gods
  FROH   |             (Herr UNGER.
  LOGE   |             (Herr VOGL.

  FASOLT |             (Herr EILERS.
         |  Giants
  FAFNER |             (Herr VON REICHENBERG.

  ALBERICH |           (Herr HILL.
           | Nibelungs
  MIME     |           (Herr SCHLOSSER.

  FRICKA   |           (Frau VON GRÜN-SADLER.
  FREIA    |Goddesses  (Frl. HAUPT.
  ERDA     |           (Frau JÄIDA.

  Woglinde   )                  ( Frl. Lilly Lehmann.
  Wellgunde  ) Rhine daughters  ( Frl. Marie Lehmann.
  Flosshilde )                  ( Frl. Lammert.


DIE WALKÜRE.

  SIEGMUND      Herr NIEMANN.
  HUNDING       Herr NIERING.
  WOTAN         Herr BETZ.
  SIEGLINDE     Frl. SCHEFZKY.
  BRÜNNHILDE    Frau FRIEDRICH-MATERNA.
  FRICKA        Frau VON GRÜN-SADLER.


SIEGFRIED.

  SIEGFRIED     Herr UNGER.
  MIME          Herr SCHLOSSER.
  DER WANDERER  Herr BETZ.
  ALBERICH      Herr HILL.
  FAFNER        Herr VON REICHENBERG.
  ERDA          Frau JÄIDA.
  BRÜNNHILDE    Frau FRIEDRICH-MATERNA


DER GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG.

  SIEGFRIED     Herr UNGER.
  GUNTHER       Herr GURA.
  HAGEN         Herr VON REICHENBERG.
  ALBERICH      Herr HILL.
  BRÜNNHILDE    Frau FRIEDRICH-MATERNA.
  GUTRUNE       Frl. WECKERLIN.
  WALTRAUTE     Frau JÄIDA.

The motive of the drama turns upon the possession of a ring of magic
qualities, made of gold stolen from the Rhine daughters by Alberich,
one of the Nibelungen, who dwelt in Nebelheim, the place of mists.
This ring, the symbol of all earthly power, was at the same time to
bring a curse upon all who possessed it. Wotan, of the race of the
gods, covetous of power and heedless of the curse which follows it,
obtained the ring from Alberich by force and cunning, and soon found
himself involved in calamity from which there was no apparent escape.
He himself could not expiate the wrong he had done, nor could he avert
the impending doom, the "twilight" of the gods, which was slowly and
surely approaching. Only a free will, independent of the gods, and
able to take upon itself the fault, could make reparation for the
deed. At last he yields to despair. His will is broken, and instead of
fearing the inevitable doom he courts it. In this sore emergency the
hero appears. He belongs to an heroic race of men, the Volsungs. The
unnatural union of the twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, born of this
race, produces the real hero, Siegfried. The parents pay the penalty
of incest with their lives; but Siegfried remains, and Wotan watches
his growth and magnificent development with eager interest. Siegfried
recovers the ring from the giants, to whom Wotan had given it, by
slaying a dragon which guarded the fatal treasure. Brünnhilde, the
Valkyr, Wotan's daughter, contrary to his instructions, had protected
Siegmund in a quarrel which resulted in his death, and was condemned
by the irate god to fall into a deep sleep upon a rock surrounded by
flames, where she was to remain until a hero should appear bold enough
to break through the wall of fire and awaken her. Siegfried rescues
her. She wakens into the full consciousness of passionate love, and
yields herself to the hero, who presents her with the ring, but not
before it has worked its curse upon him, so that he, faithless even in
his faithfulness, wounds her whom he deeply loves, and drives her from
him. Meanwhile Gunther, Gutrune, and their half-brother Hagen conspire
to obtain the ring from Brünnhilde and to kill Siegfried. Through the
agency of a magic draught he is induced to desert her, after once more
getting the ring. He then marries Gutrune. The curse soon reaches its
consummation. One day, while traversing his favorite forests on a
hunting expedition, he is killed by Hagen, with Gunther's connivance.
The two murderers then quarrel for the possession of the ring, and
Gunther is slain. Hagen attempts to wrest it from the dead hero's
finger, but shrinks back terrified as the hand is raised in warning.
Brünnhilde now appears, takes the ring, and proclaims herself his true
wife. She mounts her steed, and dashes into the funeral pyre of
Siegfried after returning the ring to the Rhine-daughters. This
supreme act of immolation breaks forever the power of the gods, as is
shown by the blazing Walhalla in the sky; but at the same time justice
has been satisfied, reparation has been made for the original wrong,
and the free will of man becomes established as a human principle.

Such are the outlines of this great story, which will be told more in
detail when we come to examine the component parts of the trilogy. Dr.
Ludwig Nohl, in his admirable sketch of the Nibelungen poem, as Wagner
adapted it, gives us a hint of some of its inner meanings in the
following extract: "Temporal power is not the highest destiny of a
civilizing people. That our ancestors were conscious of this is shown
in the fact that the treasure, or gold and its power, was transformed
into the Holy Grail. Worldly aims give place to spiritual desires.
With this interpretation of the Nibelungen myth, Wagner acknowledged
the grand and eternal truth that this life is tragic throughout, and
that the will which would mould a world to accord with one's desires
can finally lead to no greater satisfaction than to break itself in a
noble death.... It is this conquering of the world through the victory
of self which Wagner conveys as the highest interpretation of our
national myths. As Brünnhilde approaches the funeral pyre to sacrifice
her life, the only tie still uniting her with the earth, to Siegfried,
the beloved dead, she says:--

  "'To the world I will give now my holiest wisdom;
    Not goods, nor gold, nor godlike pomp,
    Not house, nor lands, nor lordly state,
    Not wicked plottings of crafty men,
    Not base deceits of cunning law,--
  But, blest in joy and sorrow, let only love remain.'"

We now proceed to the analysis of the four divisions of the work, in
which task, for obvious reasons, it will be hardly possible to do more
than sketch the progress of the action, with allusions to its most
striking musical features. There are no set numbers, as in the Italian
opera; and merely to designate the leading motives and trace their
relation to each other, to the action of the _dramatis personæ_, and
to the progress of the four movements, not alone towards their own
climaxes but towards the ultimate dénouement, would necessitate far
more space than can be had in a work of this kind.


DAS RHEINGOLD.

The orchestral prelude to "The Rhinegold" is based upon a single
figure, the Rhine motive, which in its changing developments pictures
the calm at the bottom of the Rhine and the undulating movement of the
water. The curtain rises and discloses the depths of the river, from
which rise rugged ridges of rock. Around one of these, upon the summit
of which glistens the Rhinegold, Woglinde, a Rhine-daughter, is
swimming. Two others, Wellgunde and Flosshilde, join her; and as they
play about the gleaming gold, Alberich, a dwarf, suddenly appears from
a dark recess and passionately watches them. As they are making sport
of him, his eye falls upon the gold and he determines to possess it.
They make light of his threat, informing him that whoever shall forge
a ring of this gold will have secured universal power, but before he
can obtain that power he will have to renounce love. The disclosure of
the secret follows a most exultant song of the Undines ("Rheingold!
leuchtende Lust! wie lachst du so hell und hehr!"). In the
announcement made by them also occurs the motive of the ring. The
Rhine-daughters, who have fancied that Alberich will never steal the
gold because he is in love with them, are soon undeceived, for he
curses love, and snatches the gold and makes off with it, pursued by
the disconsolate maidens, whose song changes into a sad minor leading
up to the next scene. As they follow him into the dark depths the
stream sinks with them and gives place to an open district with a
mountain in the background, upon which is the glistening Walhalla,
which the giants have just built for the gods. Wotan and Fricka are
discovered awakening from sleep and joyfully contemplating it, the
latter, however, filled with apprehension lest the giants shall claim
Freia, the goddess of love, whom Wotan has promised to them as the
reward for their work. Loge, the god of fire, however, has agreed to
obtain a ransom for her. He has searched the world over, but has been
unable to find anything that can excel in value or attraction the
charm of love. As the gods are contemplating their castle Loge
appears, and in a scene of great power, accompanied by music which
vividly describes the element he dominates ("Immer ist Undank Loge's
Lohn"), he narrates the tidings of his failure. The giants, however,
have heard the story of the Rhinegold, and as they carry off the
weeping Freia agree to release her whenever the gods will give to them
the precious and all-powerful metal. As love departs, the heavens
become dark and sadness overcomes the gods. They grow suddenly old and
decrepit. Fricka totters and Wotan yields to despair. Darkness and
decay settle down upon them. The divine wills are broken, and they are
about to surrender to what seems approaching dissolution, when Wotan
suddenly arouses himself and determines to go in quest of the
all-powerful gold. Loge accompanies him, and the two enter the dark
kingdom of the gnomes, who are constantly at work forging the metals.
By virtue of his gold Alberich has already made himself master of all
the gnomes, but Wotan easily overpowers him and carries him off to the
mountain. The Nibelung, however, clings to his precious gold, and a
struggle ensues for it. In spite of his strength and the power the
ring gives to him it is wrenched from him, and the victorious Wotan
leaves him free to return to his gloomy kingdom. Infuriated with
disappointment over his loss and rage at his defeat, Alberich curses
the ring and invokes misfortune upon him who possesses it. "May he who
has it not, covet it with rage," cries the dwarf, "and may he who has
it, retain it with the anguish of fear;" and with curse upon curse he
disappears. Now that he has the ring, Wotan is unwilling to give it
up. The other gods implore him to do so, and the giants demand their
ransom. He remains inflexible; but at last Erda, the ancient divinity,
to whom all things are known, past, present and future, appears to
Wotan and warns him to surrender the ring. She declares that all which
exists will have an end, and that a night of gloom will come upon the
gods. So long as he retains the ring a curse will follow it. Her
sinister foreboding so alarms him that at last he abandons the gold.
Youth, pride, and strength once more return to the gods.

The grand closing scene of the prelude now begins. Wotan attempts to
enter Walhalla, but all is veiled in oppressive mist and heavy clouds.
The mighty Donner, accompanied by Froh, climbs a high rock in the
valley's slope and brandishes his hammer, summoning the clouds about
him. From out their darkness its blows are heard descending upon the
rock. Lightning leaps from them, and thunder-crashes follow each other
with deafening sounds. The rain falls in heavy drops. Then the clouds
part, and reveal the two in the midst of their storm-spell. In the
distance appears Walhalla bathed in the glow of the setting sun. From
their feet stretches a luminous rainbow across the valley to the
castle, while out from the disappearing storm comes the sweet rainbow
melody. Froh sings, "Though built lightly it looks, fast and fit is
the bridge." The gods are filled with delight, but Wotan gloomily
contemplates the castle as the curse of the ring recurs to him. At
last a new thought comes in his mind. The hero who will make
reparation is to come from the new race of mortals of his own
begetting. The thought appears in the sword motive, and as its stately
melody dies away, Wotan rouses from his contemplation and hails
Walhalla with joy as "a shelter from shame and harm." He takes Fricka
by the hand, and leading the way, followed by Froh, Freia, Donner, and
Loge, the last somewhat reluctantly, the gods pass over the rainbow
bridge and enter Walhalla bathed in the light of the setting sun and
accompanied by the strains of a majestic march. During their passage
the plaintive song of the Rhine-daughters mourning their gold comes up
from the depths. Wotan pauses a moment and inquires the meaning of the
sounds, and bids Loge send a message to them that the treasure shall
"gleam no more for the maids." Then they pass laughingly and mockingly
on through the splendor to Walhalla. The sad song still rises from the
depths of the Rhine, but it is overpowered by the strains of the
march, and pealing music from the castle. The curtain falls upon their
laments, and the triumphant entrance of the gods into their new home.


DIE WALKÜRE.

In "The Valkyrie," properly the first part of the cyclus, the human
drama begins. Strong races of men have come into existence, and
Wotan's Valkyres watch over them, leading those who fall in battle to
Walhalla, where, in the gods' companionship, they are to pass a
glorious life. According to the original legend, Wotan blessed an
unfruitful marriage of this race by giving the pair an apple of Hulda
to eat, and the twins, Siegmund and Sieglinde, were the result of the
union. When the first act opens, Siegmund has already taken a wife and
Sieglinde has married the savage warrior Hunding, but neither marriage
has been fruitful. It is introduced with an orchestral prelude
representing a storm. The pouring of the rain is audible among the
violins and the rumbling of the thunder in the deep basses. The
curtain rises, disclosing the interior of a rude hut, its roof
supported by the branches of an ash-tree whose trunk rises through the
centre of the apartment. As the tempest rages without, Siegmund rushes
in and falls exhausted by the fire. Attracted by the noise, Sieglinde
appears, and observing the fallen stranger bends compassionately over
him and offers him a horn of mead. As their eyes meet they watch each
other with strange interest and growing emotion. While thus mutually
fascinated, Hunding enters and turns an inquiring look upon Sieglinde.
She explains that he is a guest worn out with fatigue and seeking
shelter. Hunding orders a repast and Siegmund tells his story.
Vanquished in combat by a neighboring tribe, some of whose adherents
he had slain, and stripped of his arms, he fled through the storm for
refuge. Hunding promises him hospitality, but challenges him to combat
on the morrow, for the victims of Siegmund's wrath were Hunding's
friends. As Sieglinde retires at Hunding's bidding, she casts a
despairing, passionate look at Siegmund, and tries to direct his
attention to a sword sticking in the ash-tree, but in vain. Hunding
warns her away with a significant look, and then taking his weapons
from the tree leaves Siegmund alone. The latter, sitting by the fire,
falls into dejection, but is soon roused by the thought that his sire
had promised he should find the sword Nothung in his time of direst
need. The dying fire shoots out a sudden flame, and his eye lights
upon its handle, illuminated by the blaze. The magnificent
sword-melody is sounded, and in a scene of great power he hails it and
sings his love for Sieglinde, whom now he can rescue. As the fire and
the song die away together, Sieglinde reappears. She has drugged
Hunding into a deep sleep, and in an exultant song tells Siegmund the
story of the sword. They can be saved if he is strong enough to wrench
it from the trunk of the ash. He recognizes his sister and folds her
passionately in his arms. The storm has passed, and as the moonlight
floods the room he breaks out in one of the loveliest melodies Wagner
has ever written, the spring song ("Winterstürme wichen dem
Wonnemond"), a song of love leading to the delights of spring; and
Sieglinde in passionate response declares, "Thou art the spring for
which I longed in winter's frosty embrace." The recognition is mutual,
not alone of brother and sister but of lover and mistress,--the union
which is destined to beget Siegfried, the hero. Seizing her in his
arms, Siegmund disappears with her into the depths of the forest, and
the curtain falls.

The second act opens in the mountains of the gods, and discloses Wotan
with spear in hand in earnest converse with Brünnhilde, his daughter,
who is arrayed in the armor of a Valkyr. He tells her of the
approaching combat, and bids her award the victory to Siegmund the
Volsung, beloved of the gods. As she disappears among the rocks,
shouting the weird cry of the Valkyres, the jealous Fricka, protector
of marriage vows, comes upon the scene in a chariot drawn by rams. A
stormy dialogue occurs between them, Fricka demanding the death of
Siegmund as compensation for the wrong done to Hunding. Wotan at last
is overcome, and consents that the Valkyres shall conduct him to
Walhalla. As he yields, Brünnhilde's jubilant song is heard on the
heights, and Wotan summons her and announces his changed decision.
Siegmund must perish. As he stalks gloomily away among the rocks,
Brünnhilde falls into deep dejection, and turns away moaning: "Alas!
my Volsung! Has it come to this,--that faithless the faithful must
fail thee?" As she enters a cave for her horse, the fugitives Siegmund
and Sieglinde hurriedly approach, pursued by the infuriated Hunding.
They stop to rest, and Sieglinde falls exhausted in his arms. The
scene is marked by alternations of passionate love and fear, hope on
the one side, despair on the other, vividly portrayed in the
instrumentation. As the music dies away and Sieglinde rests insensible
in his arms, Brünnhilde, with deep melancholy in her visage, shows
herself to Siegmund. In reply to his question, "Who art thou?" she
answers, "He who beholds me, to death in the battle is doomed. I shall
lead thee to Walhalla." Eagerly he asks, "Shall I find in Walhalla my
own father Wälse?" and she answers, "The Volsung shall find his father
there." With passionate earnestness he asks, "Shall Siegmund there
embrace Sieglinde?" The Valkyre replies, "The air of earth she still
must breathe. Sieglinde shall not see Siegmund there." Then furiously
answers Siegmund, "Then farewell to Walhalla! Where Sieglinde lives,
in bliss or blight, there Siegmund will also tarry," and he raises his
sword over his unconscious sister. Moved by his great love and sorrow,
Brünnhilde for the first time is swayed by human emotions, and
exultantly declares, "I will protect thee." Hunding's horn sounds in
the distance, and soon is heard his defiant challenge to battle.
Siegmund rushes to the top of one of the cloudy summits, and the clash
of their arms resounds in the mists. A sudden gleam of light shows
Brünnhilde hovering over Siegmund, and protecting him with her shield.
As he prepares himself to deal a deadly thrust at Hunding, the angry
Wotan appears in a storm-cloud and interposes his spear. Siegmund's
sword is shivered to pieces. Hunding pierces his disarmed enemy, and
he falls mortally wounded. Brünnhilde lifts the insensible Sieglinde
upon her steed and rides away with her. Wotan, leaning upon his spear,
gazes sorrowfully at the dying Volsung, and then turning to Hunding,
so overcomes him with his contemptuous glance that he falls dead at
his feet. "But Brünnhilde, woe to the traitor. Punishment dire is due
to her treason. To horse, then. Let vengeance speed swiftly." And
mounting his steed he disappears amid thunder and lightning.

The last act opens in a rocky glen filled with the Valkyres calling to
each other from summit to summit with wild cries as they come riding
through the clouds after the combat, bearing the dead bodies of the
warriors on their saddles. The scene is preluded with an orchestral
number, well known in the concert-room as the "Ride of the Valkyres,"
which is based upon two motives, the Valkyre's call and the Valkyre
melody. In picturesque description of the rush and dash of steeds,
amid which are heard the wild cries of the sisters, "The Ride" is one
of the most powerful numbers ever written. Brünnhilde arrives among
the exultant throng in tears, bearing Sieglinde with her. She gives
her the fragments of Siegmund's sword, and appeals to the other
Valkyres to save her. She bids Sieglinde live, for "thou art to give
birth to a Volsung," and to keep the fragments of the sword. "He that
once brandishes the sword, newly welded, let him be named Siegfried,
the winner of victory." Wotan's voice is now heard angrily shouting
through the storm-clouds, and calling upon Brünnhilde, who vainly
seeks to conceal herself among her sisters. He summons her forth from
the group, and she comes forward meekly but firmly and awaits her
punishment. He taxes her with violating his commands; to which she
replies, "I obeyed not thy order, but thy secret wish." The answer
does not avail, and he condemns her to sleep by the wayside, the
victim of the first who passes. She passionately pleads for protection
against dishonor, and the god consents. Placing her upon a rocky couch
and kissing her brow, he takes his farewell of her in a scene which
for majestic pathos has never been excelled. One forgets Wotan and the
Valkyre. It is the last parting of an earthly father and daughter,
illustrated with music which is the very apotheosis of grief. He then
conjures Loge, the god of fire; and as he strikes his spear upon the
rock, flames spring up all about her. Proudly he sings in the midst of
the glare:--

    "Who fears the spike
     Of my spear to face,
  He will not pierce the planted fire,"--

a melody which is to form the motive of the hero Siegfried in the next
division of the work--and the curtain falls upon a scene which for
power, beauty, and majesty has not its equal on the lyric stage.


SIEGFRIED.

The second division of the tragedy, "Siegfried," might well be called
an idyl, of the forest. Its music is full of joyousness and delight.
In place of the struggles of gods and combats of fierce warriors, the
wild cries of Valkyres and the blendings of human passions with divine
angers, we have the repose and serenity of nature, and in the midst of
it all appears the hero Siegfried, true child of the woods, and as
full of wild joyousness and exultant strength as one of their fauns or
satyrs. It is a wonderful picture of nature, closing with an ecstatic,
vision of love.

After the death of Siegmund, Sieglinde takes refuge in the depths of
the forest, where she gives birth to Siegfried. In her dying moments
she intrusts him to Mime, who forged the ring for Alberich when he
obtained possession of the Rhinegold. The young hero has developed
into a handsome, manly stripling, who dominates the forests and holds
its wild animals subject to his will. He calls to the birds and they
answer him. He chases the deer with leaps as swift as their own. He
seizes the bear and drags him into Mime's hut, much to the Nibelung's
alarm. But while pursuing the wild, free life in the forest, he has
dreams of greater conquests than those over nature. Heroic deeds shape
themselves in his mind, and sometimes they are illuminated with dim
and mysterious visions of a deeper passion. In his interviews with
Mime he questions him about the world outside of the forest, its
people and their actions. He tires of the woods, and longs to get away
from them. Mime then shows him the fragments of his father's sword,
which had been shattered upon Wotan's spear, the only legacy left her
son by Sieglinde, and tells him that he who can weld them together
again will have power to conquer all before him. Mime had long tried
to forge a sword for Siegfried, but they were all too brittle, nor had
he the skill to weld together the fragments of Siegmund's sword,
Nothung. The only one who can perform that task is the hero without
fear. One day Siegfried returns from a hunting expedition and
undertakes it himself. He files the fragments into dust and throws it
into the crucible, which he places on the fire of the forge. Then
while blowing the bellows he sings a triumphant song ("Nothung!
Nothung! neidliches Schwert"), which anticipates the climax towards
which all the previous scenes have led. As he sings at his work Mime
cogitates how he shall thwart his plans and get possession of the
sword. He plots to have him kill Fafner, the giant, who has changed
himself into a dragon, for the more effectual custody of the
Rhine-treasure and the ring. Then when Siegfried has captured the
treasure he will drug him with a poisoned broth, kill him with the
sword, and seize the gold. Siegfried pours the melted steel into a
mould, thrusts it into the water to cool, and then bursts out into a
new song, accompanied by anvil blows, as he forges and tempers it, the
motive of which has already been heard in the "Rhinegold" prelude,
when Alberich made his threat. While Mime quietly mixes his potion,
Siegfried fastens the hilt to his blade and polishes the sword. Then
breaking out in a new song, in which are heard the motives of the
fire-god and the sword, he swings it through the air, and bringing it
down with force splits the anvil in twain. The music accompanying this
great scene, imitating the various sounds of the forge, the flutter of
the fire, the hissing of the water, the filing of the sword, and the
blows upon the anvil, is realism carried to the very extreme of
possibilities.

The great exploit has been successful, and Siegfried at last has
Siegmund's sword. Mime takes him to the cave where Fafner, the
giant-dragon, guards the gold. Siegfried slays the monster, and laughs
over the ease of the task. His finger is heated with the dragon's
blood, and as he puts it to his lips to cool it he tastes the blood,
and thus learns the language of the birds. He cares nought for the
treasure, and takes only the ring and a magic helmet, which enables
the wearer to assume any form. After the contest he throws himself at
the foot of a tree in the forest and dreamily listens to the
"Waldweben," the rustle and mysterious stirrings of the woods. Amid
all these subtle, soothing sounds, pierced now and then with the songs
of the birds, and distant cries in far-away sylvan recesses, he
realizes that he is alone, while his old companions of the woods are
together. He thinks of the mother whom he has never known, and of that
mysterious being whom he has never seen, who should make the
companionship he observes among the birds. The passion of love begins
to assert itself vaguely and strangely, but full soon it will glow out
with ardent flame. A bird flying over his head sings to him. He can
understand its song and fancies it his mother's voice coming to him in
the bird-notes. It tells him now he has the treasure, he should save
the most beautiful of women and win her to himself. "She sleeps upon a
rock, encircled with flames; but shouldst thou dare to break through
them, the warrior-virgin is thine." The bird wings its flight through
the forest, and Siegfried, joyously seizing his sword, follows it with
swift foot, for he knows it is guiding him to Brünnhilde. The time for
great deeds has come. The wild, free life of the forest is over.

The third act once more shows us the god Wotan still plunged in gloom.
Gazing into a deep abyss, he summons Erda, who knows the destiny of
all the world, to question her again as to the twilight of the gods.
The mysterious figure appears at his bidding, but has nothing further
to communicate. Their doom is certain. The fearless race of men is
destined to efface the gods, and Walhalla must disappear. The hero is
at hand, and coming rapidly. The despairing Wotan, who appears in this
scene as "Der Wanderer" (the wanderer), cries out, "So be it. It is to
this end I aspire." He turns gloomily away, and confronts Siegfried
bounding from rock to rock like a deer, still following his airy
guide. The god angrily tries to bar his way, but in vain. His lance is
shattered at a single blow of the sword Nothung, which he himself had
once so easily shivered. It is the first catastrophe of the final fate
which is approaching. The hero without fear has come, the free will of
man has begun to manifest itself. The power of the gods is breaking.
Joyously Siegfried rushes on over the rocks. He is soon bathed in the
glow of the fire, which casts weird shadows through the wild glen. Now
the burning wall of red flames is before him. With a ringing cry of
exultation he dashes through them, and before him lies the sleeping
maiden in her glistening armor. Mad with her beauty and his own
overpowering passion, he springs to her side and wakes her with a
kiss. The Volsung and the Valkyr gaze at each other a long time in
silence. Brünnhilde strives to comprehend her situation, and to recall
the events that led up to her penalty, while love grows within her for
the hero who has rescued her, and Siegfried is transfixed by the
majesty of the maiden. As she comes to herself and fully realizes who
is the hero before her and foresees the approaching doom, she
earnestly appeals to him:--

  "Leave, ah, leave,
   Leave me unlost,
   Force on me not
   Thy fiery nearness.
   Shiver me not
   With thy shattering will,
   And lay me not waste in thy love."

What is preordained cannot be changed. Siegfried replies with growing
passion, and Brünnhilde at last yields, and the two join in an
outburst of exultant song:--

  "Away, Walhalla,
   In dust crumble
   Thy myriad towers.
   Farewell, greatness,
   And gift of the gods.
   You, Norns, unravel
   The rope of runes.
   Darken upwards,
   Dusk of the gods.
   Night of annulment,
   Draw near with thy cloud.
   I stand in sight
   Of Siegfried's star.
   For me he was,
   And for me he will ever be."

With this great duet, which is one of the most extraordinary numbers
in the trilogy for dramatic power and musical expression of human
emotion, this division closes.


DIE GÖTTERDÄMMERUNG.

The last division of the tragedy opens under the shade of a huge
ash-tree where the three Fates sit spinning and weaving out human
destinies. As they toss their thread from one to the other,--the
thread they have been spinning since time began,--they foresee the
gloom which is coming. Suddenly it snaps in their fingers, whereupon
the dark sisters crowding closely together descend to the depths of
the earth to consult with the ancient Erda and seek shelter near her.
Meanwhile as day breaks Siegfried and Brünnhilde emerge from the glen
where they have been reposing in mutual happiness. Brünnhilde has told
her lover the story of the gods and the secrets of the mystic runes,
but he is still unsatisfied. His mission is not yet fulfilled. He must
away to perform new deeds. Before he leaves her he gives her the ring
as his pledge of fidelity, and they part, after exchanging mutual vows
of love and constancy.

In his search for further exploits, Siegfried arrives at the dwelling
of Gunter, a powerful Rhenish chief, head of the Gibichungen, another
race of heroes, where also resides Gutrune, his fascinating sister,
and the evil Hagen, begotten by Alberich of Crimhilda, Gunter's
mother, who was the victim of his gold. Alberich's hatred of the gods
and all connected with them is shared by his son, who has been charged
by the Nibelung to recover the gold. From this point the tragic
denouement rapidly progresses. Siegfried's horn is heard in the
distance, and he soon crosses Gunter's threshold, where his ruin is
being plotted by the sinister Hagen. He is hospitably received, and at
Hagen's bidding Gutrune pours out and offers him a draught so
cunningly mixed that it will efface all past remembrances. He is
completely infatuated with the girl's beauty, and as the potion takes
effect, the love for Brünnhilde disappears. He demands Gutrune in
marriage, and Hagen promises her upon condition that he will bring
Brünnhilde as a bride for Gunter. Siegfried departs upon the fatal
errand, and after taking from her the ring drags her by force to
deliver her to Gunter. The Valkyr rises to a sublime height of anger
over her betrayal, and dooms Siegfried to death in the approaching
hunt, for by death alone she knows that she can regain his love.

The last act opens in a rocky glen on the banks of the Rhine, the
ripple of whose waters is repeated in the melody of "The Rhinegold."
Siegfried is separated from his companion, and while alone, the song
of the Rhine-daughters is heard. They rise to the surface of the
gleaming water and demand their gold, but Siegfried refuses to restore
it. They warn him again to fly from the curse, but he proudly exclaims
that his sword is invincible and can crush the Norns. Sadly they float
away to the sound of harps shimmering over the water. Gunter's horn is
heard among the hills, and Siegfried exultantly answers it. The
huntsmen assemble and prepare for a feast. Siegfried relates his
adventure with the Rhine-daughters, and when Hagen asks him if it is
true that he can understand the language of the birds, he tells the
whole story of his life in the "Rheinfahrt," a song built up of all
the motives which have been heard in the "Siegfried" division,--the
melody of the sword, the stir of the woods, the song of the mysterious
bird, Mime's enticement, the love of Brünnhilde, and the flaming fire
following each other in rapid and brilliant succession through the
measures of the picturesque description. As the song dies away, two
ravens, messengers of ill-omen, fly across the stage. The curse motive
sounds gloomily through the orchestra. Hagen springs to his feet and
suddenly and treacherously plunges his spear into Siegfried's back,
then sullenly leaves and disappears among the rocks. The hero falls to
the earth and dies, breathing Brünnhilde's name, for in the last
supreme moment the spell of Hagen's draught passes away. With his last
breath he breaks out in a death-song of surpassing beauty and majesty,
in which the motives are those of the Volsung and the Valkyr, as well
as of the destiny which is to reunite them in death. Once more he
murmurs the name of Brünnhilde, and then his companions tenderly place
him upon his shield, and lifting him upon their shoulders carry him to
the misty summits and disappear in the cloud, to the mighty and
impressive strains of a funeral march, built up on the motives of
Siegmund, the love-duet of Siegmund and Sieglinde, the sword and
Volsung motives, and Siegfried's great theme. In the interweaving of
these motives and their sombre coloring, in massive fortissimo and
crescendo effects, in expressive musical delineation, and in majestic
solemnity, the Siegfried funeral march must take precedence of all
other dirges. In truth it is a colossal and heroic funeral poem fit to
celebrate the death of a demigod. In the last scene Siegfried's body
is borne back to the hall of the Gibichungs amid loud lamenting. When
Gutrune learns what has occurred, she bitterly curses Hagen and throws
herself on Siegfried's corpse. Hagen and Gunter quarrel for the
possession of the ring, and Gunter is slain; but when Hagen tries to
take the ring, the hand of the dead hero is raised in warning. Then
Brünnhilde solemnly and proudly advances in the light of the torches
and bids the empty clamor cease, for "this is no lamenting worthy of a
hero." She orders a funeral pyre to be built, and Siegfried is laid
thereon. She contemplates the dead hero with passionate love and
sadness, and then solemnly turning to those about her, exclaims:
"Those who efface the fault of the gods are predestined to suffering
and death. Let one sacrifice end the curse. Let the Ring be purified
by fire, the waters dissolve it forever. The end of the gods is at
hand. But though I leave the world masterless, I give it this precious
treasure. In joy or in suffering, happiness can alone come from love."
She seizes a burning brand, and invoking Loge, god of fire, flings it
into the pyre. Her horse is brought to her, and she proudly mounts
it:--

  "Grane, my horse,
   Hail to thee here!
   Knowest thou, friend,
   How far I shall need thee?
   Heiaho! Grane!
   Greeting to him.
   Siegfried! See, Brünnhilde
   Joyously hails thee, thy bride."

She swings herself upon her steed and dashes into the furious flames.
At last they die away, and the Rhine rushes forward from its banks and
covers the pyre. The exultant Rhine-daughters are swimming in the
flood, for Brünnhilde has thrown them the ring. Hagen makes a last
desperate effort to clutch it, but Woglinde and Wellgunde wind their
arms about him, and as they drag him into the depths Flosshilde holds
the ring above the waters, and the exultant song of the
Rhine-daughters is heard above the swelling tide, while far in the
distance a red flame spreads among the clouds. Walhalla is blazing in
the sky. The Dusk of the Gods has come. Reparation has been made. The
hero without fear is victorious. Free will, independent of the gods,
will rule the world, and the gods themselves are lost in the human
creation. Love is given to men, and conquers death.


PARSIFAL.

"Parsifal," a "Bühnenweihfestspiel" (festival acting-drama), words by
Wagner, was concluded in 1879, and first produced at Baireuth, July
22, 1882, only about seven months before the distinguished composer's
death, with Mme. Friedrich-Materna as Kundry, Herr Winckelmann as
Parsifal, and Herr Scaria as Gurnemanz.

The theme of the opera is taken from the cycle of Holy Grail myths to
which "Lohengrin" also belongs. The reader will remember that
Lohengrin in his final address declares himself son of Parsifal, the
King of the Grail; and it is with this Parsifal that Wagner's last
work is concerned. Parsifal, like Siegfried, represents free human
nature in its spontaneous, impulsive action. He is styled in the text,
"Der reine Thor" (the guileless fool), who, in consonance with the old
mythological idea, overcomes the evil principle and gains the crown by
dint of pure natural impulse. The opera differs widely from "The
Nibelung Ring." The composer has used the free instead of the
alliterative form of verse, which he then contended was best adapted
to musical setting. In "The Ring" the chorus is not introduced at all
until the last division is reached, while in "Parsifal" it plays an
important part in every act, in the second scene of the first act
there being three choirs on the stage at a time. Still there is no
trace of the aria, the duet, or the recitative, of the Italian style,
though there is plenty of concerted music, which grows out of the
dramatic necessities of the situations. When these necessities do not
urge themselves, the music flows on in dialogue form, as in "The
Ring."

The vorspiel is based upon three motives connected with the mystery of
the Grail, which forms the key-note of the opera, though in a
different aspect from that which the Grail assumes in "Lohengrin,"
where it can only be visible to the eye of faith, while in "Parsifal"
it distinctly performs its wonders. Let it be remembered that the
Grail is the chalice from which Christ drank with his disciples at the
Last Supper, and in which his blood was received at the cross. The
first of these motives is of the same general character as the Grail
motive in the "Lohengrin" vorspiel; the second is an impressive phrase
for trumpets and trombones, which will be heard again when the Knights
of the Grail are summoned to their duties; and the third is a broad,
dignified melody in the chorale form.

The action of the drama occurs in the north of Spain, and in the
vicinity of Monsalvat, the Castle of the Holy Grail, where this
chalice was brought by angels when Christianity was in danger. The
curtain rises upon a lovely forest glade on the borders of a lake, at
daybreak, and discovers the Grail Knight, Gurnemanz, and two young
shield-bearers, guardians of the castle, sleeping at the foot of a
tree. Trumpet-calls, repeating the motive first heard in the prelude,
arouse them from their sleep; and as they offer up their morning
prayer the chorale is heard again. As they wend their way to the
castle, they meet two knights preceding the litter upon which the
wounded Amfortas, King of the Grail, is carried. In the subsequent
dialogue Gurnemanz tells the story of the King's mishap. He is
suffering from a wound which refuses to close, and which has been
inflicted by the sacred spear,--the spear, according to the legend,
with which our Saviour's side was pierced. Klingsor, a magician, had
aspired to become a knight of the Grail, but his application was
refused; for only those of holy lives could watch the sacred vessel
and perform its ministrations. In revenge, Klingsor studied the magic
arts and created for himself a fairy palace, which he peopled with
beautiful women, whose sole duty it was to seduce the Knights of the
Grail. One of these women, a mysterious creature of wonderful
fascinations, Kundry by name, had beguiled Amfortas, who thus fell
into the power of Klingsor. He lost his spear, and received from it a
wound which will never heal so long as it remains in the hands of the
magician. In a vision he has been told to wait for the one who has
been appointed to cure him. A voice from the Grail tells him the
following mystery:--

  "Durch Mitleid wissend,
     Der reine Thor,
   Harre sein'
     Den ich erkor."

  ["Let a guileless fool only, knowing by compassion, await him whom I
   have chosen."]

Meanwhile, as the shield-bearers are carrying Amfortas towards the
lake, the savage, mysterious Kundry is seen flying over the fields.
She overtakes Gurnemanz and gives him a balm, saying that if it will
not help the King, nothing in Arabia can, and then, refusing to accept
thanks or reveal her identity, sinks to the ground in weariness. The
King takes the drug with gratitude; but she scorns thanks, and sneers
at those about her with savage irony. Gurnemanz's companions are about
to seize her, but the old Knight warns them that she is living
incarnate to expiate the sins of a former life, and that in serving
the Order of the Grail she is purchasing back her own redemption. As
Gurnemanz concludes, cries are heard in the wood, and two knights,
approaching, announce that a swan, the bird sacred to the Grail, which
was winging its way over the lake, and which the King had hailed as a
happy omen, has been shot. Parsifal, the murderer, is dragged in, and
when questioned by Gurnemanz, is unaware that he has committed any
offence. To every question he only answers he does not know. When
asked who is his mother, Kundry answers for him: "His mother brought
him an orphan into the world, and kept him like a fool in the forest,
a stranger to arms, so that he should escape a premature death; but he
fled from her and followed the wild life of nature. Her grief is over,
for she is dead." Whereupon Parsifal flies at her and seizes her by
the throat; but Gurnemanz holds him back, and Kundry sinks down
exhausted. Parsifal answers to the "Thor," but it remains to be seen
whether he is the "reine Thor." Gurnemanz conducts him to the temple
where the holy rites of the Grail are to be performed, hoping he is
the redeemer whom the Grail will disclose when the love-feast of the
Saviour is celebrated.

The scene changes to the great hall of the castle and the celebration
of the feast of the Grail. The scene is introduced with a solemn march
by full orchestra, including trombones on the stage, accompanied by
the clanging of bells as the knights enter in stately procession. They
sing a pious chant in unison, the march theme still sounding. As the
younger squires and pages enter, a new melody is taken in three-part
harmony, and finally an unseen chorus of boys from the extreme height
of the dome sing the chorale from the introduction, without
accompaniment, in imitation of angel voices. The shield-bearers bring
in Amfortas upon his litter, when suddenly from a vaulted niche is
heard the voice of Titurel, Amfortas's aged father, and the founder of
Monsalvat, now too feeble to perform the holy offices, bidding the
Grail to be uncovered. Amfortas, mourning that he, the unholiest of
them, should be called, opens a golden shrine and takes out the
crystal vessel. Darkness falls upon the hall, but the Grail is
illuminated with constantly increasing brilliancy, while from the dome
the children's voices sing, "Take My blood in the name of our love,
and take My body in remembrance of me." Parsifal watches the scene
with bewildered eyes, but upon saying in reply that he does not
understand the holy rite, he is contemptuously ejected from the place.

The second act reveals Klingsor's enchanted palace. The magician
gazing into a mirror sees Parsifal approaching, and knows he is the
redeemer who has been promised. He summons Kundry before him, and
commands her to tempt him with her spells. She struggles against the
task, for in her soul the powers of good and evil are always
contending for the mastery. She longs for eternal sleep, and rest from
her evil passions, but Klingsor holds her in his power. Parsifal
enters, and the scene changes to a delightful garden filled with girls
of ravishing beauty in garments of flowers. They crowd about him, and
by their fascinating blandishments seek to gain his love, but in vain.
He is still the "guileless fool." Then Kundry appears in all her
loveliness, and calls him by name, the name he had heard his mother
speak. He sorrowfully sinks at Kundry's feet. The enchantress bends
over him, appeals to him through his longing for his mother, and
kisses him. Instantly he comprehends all that he has seen, and he
cries, "The wound burns in my heart, oh, torment of love!" Then
quickly rising he spurns her from him. He has gained the
world-knowledge. She flies to him again, and passionately exclaims,
"The gift of my love would make thee divine. If this hour has made
thee the redeemer, let me suffer forever, but give me thy love." He
spurns her again, and cries, "To all eternity thou wouldst be damned
with me, if for one hour I should forget my mission," but says he will
save her too, and demands to know the way to Amfortas. In rage she
declares he shall never find it, and summons the help of Klingsor, who
hurls the sacred lance at Parsifal. The weapon remains suspended over
his head. He seizes it and makes the sign of the Cross. The gardens
and castle disappear. Parsifal and Kundry are alone in a desert. She
sinks to the ground with a mournful cry, and turning from her, his
last words are, "Thou knowest where only thou canst see me again."

In the third act we are again in the land of the Grail. Parsifal has
wandered for years trying to find Monsalvat, and at last encounters
Gurnemanz, now a very old man, living as a hermit near a forest
spring, and the saddened Kundry is serving him. It is the Good Friday
morning, and forests and fields are bright with flowers and the
verdure of spring. Gurnemanz recognizes him, and in reply to his
question what makes the world so beautiful, the aged knight makes
answer:--

  "The sad repentant tears of sinners
     Have here with holy rain
     Besprinkled field and plain,
   And made them glow with beauty.
     All earthly creatures in delight
     At the Redeemer's trace so bright,
    Uplift their prayers of duty.
  And now perceive each blade and meadow flower,
  That mortal foot to-day it need not dread."

Kundry washes "the dust of his long wanderings" from his feet, and
looks up at him with earnest and beseeching gaze. Gurnemanz recognizes
the sacred spear, hails him as the King of the Grail and offers to
conduct him to the great hall where the holy rites are once more to be
performed. Before they leave, Parsifal's first act as the redeemer is
to baptize Kundry with water from the spring. The sound of tolling
bells in the distance announces the funeral of Titurel, and the scene
changes to the hall where the knights are carrying the litter upon
which Amfortas lies, awaiting the funeral procession approaching to
the strains of a solemn march. The knights demand he shall again
uncover the Grail, but he refuses, and calls upon them to destroy him
and then the Grail will shine brightly for them again. Unobserved by
them, Parsifal steps forward, touches the king's wound with the spear,
and it is immediately healed. Then he proclaims himself King of the
Grail, and orders it to be uncovered. As Amfortas and Gurnemanz kneel
to do him homage, Kundry dies at his feet in the joy of repentance.
Titurel rises from his coffin and bestows a benediction. Parsifal
ascends to the altar and raises the Grail in all its resplendent
beauty. A white dove flies down from the dome of the hall and hovers
over his head, while the knights chant their praise to God, re-echoed
by the singers in the dome, whose strains sound like celestial
voices:--

  "Miracle of supreme blessing,
  Redemption to the Redeemer."



WALLACE.

William Vincent Wallace was born at Waterford, Ireland, in 1815. He
first studied music with his father, a bandleader, who afterwards sent
him to Dublin, where he speedily became an excellent performer on the
clarinet, violin, and piano. At the early age of fifteen he was
appointed organist at the Cathedral of Thurles, and soon afterwards
was engaged as a theatre director and concert conductor. At the age of
eighteen he had a fit of sickness, and upon his recovery went to
Australia for his health, and thence to Van Diemen's Land and New
Zealand. He passed some time in the latter country, and then began a
long series of wanderings, in the course of which he visited the East
and West Indies, Mexico,--where he conducted Italian opera,--and the
United States. He remained in New York a considerable period, and gave
concerts which were very remunerative. In 1846 he returned to Europe,
and shortly afterwards his pretty little opera, "Maritana," appeared,
and made quite a sensation among the admirers of English opera. In
1847 "Matilda of Hungary" was produced, and met with success. Thirteen
years of silence elapsed, and at last, in 1860, he produced his
legendary opera, "Lurline," at Covent Garden. It gave great
satisfaction at the time, but is now rarely performed. Besides his
operas he also wrote many waltzes, nocturnes, studies, and other light
works for the piano. After the production of "Lurline" he went to
Paris for the purpose of bringing out some of his operas, and while in
that city also composed the first act of an opera for London, but his
health was too delicate to admit of its completion. He died at Château
de Bayen, Oct. 12, 1865.


MARITANA.

"Maritana," a romantic opera in three acts, words by Fitzball, founded
upon the well-known play of "Don Caesar de Bazan," was first produced
at Drury Lane, London, Nov. 15, 1845. The text closely follows that of
the drama. The first act opens in a public square of Madrid, where a
band of gypsies are singing to the populace, among them Maritana, a
young girl of more than ordinary beauty and vocal accomplishments.
Among the spectators is the young King Charles, who after listening to
her is smitten with her charms. Don José, his minister, to carry out
certain ambitious plans of his own, resolves to encourage the
fascinations which have so attracted the King. He extols her beauty
and arouses hopes in her breast of future grandeur and prosperity. At
this juncture Don Caesar de Bazan, a reckless, rollicking cavalier,
comes reeling out of a tavern where he has just parted with the last
of his money to gamblers. In spite of his shabby costume and
dissipated appearance he bears the marks of high breeding. In better
days he had been a friend of Don José. While he is relating the story
of his downward career to the minister, Lazarillo, a forlorn young lad
who has just attempted to destroy himself, accosts Don Caesar, and
tells him a piteous tale of his wrongs. Don Caesar befriends him, and
in consequence becomes involved in a duel, which leads to his arrest;
for it is Holy Week, and duelling during that time has been forbidden
on pain of death. While Don Caesar is on his way to prison, Don José
delights Maritana by promising her wealth, a splendid marriage, and an
introduction to the court on the morrow.

The second act opens in the prison, and discovers Don Caesar asleep,
with his faithful little friend watching by him. It is five o'clock
when he wakes, and at seven he must die. Only two hours of life remain
for him, but the prospect does not disturb him. On the other hand he
is gayer than usual, and rallies Lazarillo with playful mirth. In the
midst of his gayety the crafty Don José enters and professes strong
friendship for him. When Don Caesar declares that he has but one last
wish, and that is to die a soldier's death instead of being
ignominiously hanged, Don José says it shall be gratified upon
condition that he will marry. The prisoner has but an hour and three
quarters to live, but he consents. He is provided with wedding
apparel, and a banquet is spread in honor of the occasion. During the
feast Lazarillo brings in a paper to Don José containing the King's
pardon for Don Caesar, but the minister promptly conceals it.
Maritana, her features disguised by a veil, is introduced, and as the
nuptial rites are performed the soldiers prepare to execute the
penalty. At the expiration of the hour Don Caesar is led out to meet
his fate, but Lazarillo has managed to abstract the balls from the
guns. The soldiers perform their duty, and Don Caesar feigns death;
but as soon as the opportunity occurs, he leaves the prison and
hurries to a grand ball given by the Marquis and Marchioness de
Montefiori at their palace, while the Marquis, who has had his
instructions from Don José to recognize Maritana as his long-lost
niece, is introducing her as such. Don Caesar enters and demands his
bride. The astonished Don José, perceiving that his scheme to
introduce Maritana at court is liable to be frustrated, offers the
Marquis a rich appointment if he will induce his wife to play the part
he shall suggest. The scheme is soon arranged, and the Marchioness,
closely veiled, is presented to Don Caesar as the Countess de Bazan.
Disgusted at "the precious piece of antiquity," as he terms her, and
fancying that he has been duped, he is about to sign a paper
relinquishing his bride, when he suddenly hears Maritana's voice. He
recognizes it as the same he had heard during the marriage rites. He
rushes forward to claim her, but she is quickly carried away, and he
is prevented from following.

The last act opens in a palace belonging to the King, where Maritana
is surrounded with luxury, though she is as yet unaware that she is in
the royal apartments. Don José, fancying that Don Caesar will not dare
to make his appearance, as he does not know of his pardon, carries out
his plot by introducing the King to her as her husband. She at first
rejects him, and as he presses his suit Don Caesar breaks into the
apartment. The King in a rage demands to know his errand. He replies
that he is in quest of the Countess de Bazan, and with equal rage
inquires who he (the King) is. The King in confusion answers that he
is Don Caesar, whereupon the latter promptly replies, "Then I am the
King of Spain." Before further explanation can be made, a messenger
arrives from the Queen with the announcement that she awaits the King.
After his departure Don Caesar and Maritana mutually recognize each
other, and upon her advice he resolves to appeal to the Queen to save
her. He waits for her Majesty in the palace garden, and while
concealed, overhears Don José informing her that the King will meet
his mistress that night. He springs out, and denouncing him as a
traitor to his King slays him, and then returning to Maritana's
apartment finds the King there again, and tells him what has occurred.
He has saved the King's honor: will the King destroy his? The monarch,
overcome with Don Caesar's gallantry and loyalty, consigns Maritana to
him and appoints him Governor of Granada. The appointment does not
suit Don Caesar, for Granada is too near his creditors. The King,
laughing, changes it to Valencia, a hundred leagues away, and thither
Don Caesar conducts his happy bride.

The drama is one which is well adapted to bright, cheerful, melodious
music, and the opportunity has been well improved, for "Maritana" is
one of the sprightliest and brightest of all the English operas, and
contains several ballads which for beauty and expressiveness may well
challenge any that Balfe has written. The principal numbers in the
first act are Maritana's opening song in the public square ("It was a
Knight of princely Mien"); the romanza which she subsequently sings
for Don José, "I hear it again, 'tis the Harp in the Air," which is
one of the sweetest and most delicate songs in any of the lighter
operas; the duet between Maritana and Don José, "Of fairy Wand had I
the Power;" Don Caesar's rollicking drinking-song, "All the World
over, to love, to drink, to fight, I delight;" and the tripping
chorus, "Pretty Gitana, tell us what the Fates decree," leading up to
the stirring ensemble in the finale, when Don Caesar is arrested. The
first scene of the second act is the richest in popular numbers,
containing an aria for alto, Lazarillo's song ("Alas! those Chimes so
sweetly pealing"); a charming trio for Don Caesar, Lazarillo, and Don
José ("Turn on, old Time, thine Hourglass"); Don Caesar's stirring
martial song, "Yes, let me like a Soldier fall;" the serious ballad,
"In happy Moments, Day by Day," written by Alfred Bunn, who wrote so
many of the Balfe ballads; and the quartet and chorus closing the
scene, "Health to the Lady, the lovely Bride!" The second scene opens
with a pretty chorus in waltz time ("Ah, what Pleasure! the soft
Guitar"), followed by an aria sung by the King ("The Mariner in his
Bark"), and introduced by an attractive violin prelude. The finale is
a very dramatic ensemble, quintet and chorus ("What Mystery must now
control"). The last act falls off in musical interest, though it is
very strong dramatically. It contains a few numbers, however, which
are very popular; among them one of the most admired of all English
songs ("Scenes that are brightest"), which Maritana sings in the
King's apartments at the beginning of the act; the humorous duet
between the King and Don Caesar when they meet; the love-duet between
Don Caesar and Maritana ("This Heart with Bliss o'erflowing"); and Don
Caesar's song, "There is a Flower that bloometh," which is in the
sentimental ballad style. The freshness, brightness, and gracefulness
of the music of this little opera, combined with the unusual interest
and delicate humor of the story, have always commended it to popular
admiration.



WEBER.

Carl Maria von Weber was born Dec. 18, 1786, at Eutin, and may almost
be said to have been born on the stage, as his father was at the head
of a theatrical company, and the young Carl was carried in the train
of the wandering troupe all over Germany. His first lessons were given
to him by Henschkel, conductor of the orchestra of Duke Friedrich of
Meiningen. At the age of fourteen he wrote his first opera, "Das
Waldmädchen," which was performed several times during the year 1800.
In 1801 appeared his two-act comic opera, "Peter Schmoll and his
Neighbors," and during these two years he also frequently played in
concerts with great success. He then studied with the Abbé Vogler, and
in his eighteenth year was engaged for the conductorship of the
Breslau opera. About this time appeared his first important opera,
"Rubezahl." At the conclusion of his studies with Vogler he was made
director of the Opera at Prague. In 1814 he wrote a cantata, "The Lyre
and Sword," for a festive occasion, and it was greeted with the
wildest enthusiasm. In 1816 he went to Berlin, where he was received
with the highest marks of popular esteem, and thence to Dresden as
Hofcapellmeister. This was the most brilliant period in his career. It
was during this time that he married Caroline Brandt, the actress and
singer, who had had a marked influence upon his musical progress, and
to whom he dedicated his exquisite "Invitation to the Dance." The
first great work of his life, "Der Freischütz," was written at this
period. Three other important operas followed,--"Preciosa,"
"Euryanthe," the first performance of which took place in Vienna in
1823, and "Oberon," which he finished in London and brought out there.
Weber's last days were spent in the latter city; and it was while
making preparations to return to Germany, which he longed to see
again, that he was stricken down with his final illness. On the 4th of
June, 1826, he was visited by Sir George Smart, Moscheles, and other
musicians who were eager to show him attention. He declined to have
any one watch by his bedside, thanked them for their kindness, bade
them good-by, and then turned to his friend Fürstenau and said, "Now
let me sleep." These were his last words. The next morning he was
found dead in his bed. He has left a rich legacy of works besides his
operas,--a large collection of songs, many cantatas (of which "The
Jubilee," with its brilliant overture, is the finest), some masses, of
which that in E flat is the most beautiful, and several concertos,
besides many brilliant rondos, polaccas, and marches for the piano.


DER FREISCHÜTZ.

"Der Freischütz," a romantic opera in three acts, words by Friedrich
Kind, was first produced at Berlin, June 18, 1821. It is one of the
most popular operas in the modern repertory. It was first performed in
Paris, Dec. 7, 1824, as "Robin des Bois," with a new libretto by
Castile Blaze and Sauvage, and many changes in the score, such as
divertissements made up of the dance-music in "Preciosa" and "Oberon,"
and of "The Invitation to the Dance," scored by Berlioz. In 1841 it
was again given in Paris, with an accurate translation of the text by
Pacini, and recitatives added by Berlioz, as "Le Franc Archer." Its
first English performance in London was given July 22, 1824, as "Der
Freischütz, or the Seventh Bullet," with several ballads inserted; and
its first Italian at Covent Garden, March 16, 1850, with recitatives
by Costa, as "Il Franco Arciero." So popular was it in England in 1824
that no less than nine theatres were presenting various versions of it
at the same time. The original cast was as follows:--

  AGATHA      Frau CAROLINE SEIDLER.
  ANNCHEN     Frl. JOHANNA EUNIKE.
  MAX         Herr CARL STÜMER.
  CASPAR      Herr HEINRICH BLUME.
  OTTAKAR     Herr RUBINSTEIN.
  KUNO        Herr WANER.
  HERMIT      Herr GERN.
  KILIAN      Herr WIEDEMANN.

The text of the opera is taken from a story in "Popular Tales of the
Northern Nations," and is founded upon a traditionary belief that a
demon of the forest furnishes a marksman with unerring bullets cast
under magical influences. Kuno, the head ranger to the Prince of
Bohemia, too old to longer continue in his position, recommends Max, a
skilful marksman, who is betrothed to his daughter Agatha, as his
successor. The Prince agrees to accept him if he proves himself victor
at the forthcoming hunting-match. Caspar, the master-villain of the
play, who has sold himself to the demon Zamiel, and who also is in
love with Agatha, forms a plot to ruin Max and deliver him over to
Zamiel as a substitute for himself, for the limit of his contract with
the Evil One is close at hand. With Zamiel's aid he causes Max to miss
the mark several times during the rehearsals for the match. The lover
is thrown into deep dejection by his ill luck, and while in this
melancholy condition is cunningly approached by Caspar, who says to
him that if he will but repeat the formula, "In the name of Zamiel,"
he will be successful. He does so, and brings down an eagle soaring
high above him.

Elated with his success, Caspar easily persuades him that he can win
the match if he will meet him at midnight in the Wolf's Glen, where
with Zamiel's aid he can obtain plenty of magic bullets.

The second act opens in Kuno's house, and shows us Agatha melancholy
with forebodings of coming evil. A hermit whom she has met in the
woods has warned her of danger, and given her a wreath of magic roses
to ward it off. An ancestral portrait falling from the walls also
disturbs her; and at last the appearance of the melancholy Max
confirms her belief that trouble is in store for her. Max himself is
no less concerned. All sorts of strange sounds have troubled him, and
his slumbers have been invaded with apparitions. Nevertheless, he goes
to the Wolf's Glen; and though spectres, skeletons, and various
grotesque animals terrify him, and his mother's spirit appears and
warns him away, he overcomes his fright and appears with Caspar at the
place of incantation. Zamiel is summoned, and seven bullets are cast,
six of which are to be directed by Max himself in the forthcoming
match, while the seventh will be at the disposal of the demon. Little
dreaming the fate which hangs upon the seventh, Caspar offers no
objections.

The third act opens, like the last, in Kuno's house, and discovers
Agatha preparing for her nuptials, and telling Annchen a singular
dream she has had. She had fancied herself a dove, and that Max fired
at her. As the bird fell she came to herself and saw that the dove had
changed to a fierce bird of ill omen which lay dying at her feet. The
melancholy produced by the dream is still further heightened when it
is found that a funeral instead of a bridal wreath has been made for
her; but her heart lightens up again as she remembers the magic
rose-wreath which the hermit had enjoined her to wear on her wedding
day. At last the eventful day of trial comes, and the Prince and all
his courtiers assemble to witness the match. Max makes six shots in
succession which go home to the mark. At the Prince's command he fires
the seventh, Zamiel's bullet, at a dove flying past. As he fires,
Agatha appears to him as the dove, and he fancies he has slain her.
The wreath protects her, however, and Zamiel directs the bullet to
Caspar's heart. The demon claims his victim, and Max his bride, amid
general rejoicing.

The overture, which is one of the most favorite numbers of its class
in the concert-room as well as in the opera-house, is a masterpiece of
brilliant and descriptive instrumentation, and furnishes us with a key
to the whole story in its announcement of the leading themes. It opens
with an adagio horn passage of great beauty, giving us the groundwork
of the entire action; and then follow motives from Max's grand scena
in the first act, the Incantation music, Agatha's moonlight scene, and
other episodes connected with the action of Max and Caspar. Indeed,
the frequent and expressive use of the _Leit motif_ all through the
work seem to entitle Weber to the credit of its invention.

The first act opens with a spirited chorus of villagers, followed by a
lively march and a comic song by Kilian, in which he rallies Max upon
his bad luck. The next number is a trio and chorus, with solos for the
principals, Max, Kuno, and Caspar ("O diese Sonne, furchtbar steigt
sie mir empor"). Max laments his fate, but Kuno encourages him, while
Caspar insinuates his evil plot. The trio is of a sombre cast at the
beginning, but by a sudden change the horns and an expressive
combination of the chorus give it a cheerful character. It is once
more disturbed, however, by Caspar's ominous phrases, but at last Kuno
and his men cheer up the despondent lover with a brisk hunting-chorus,
and the villagers dance off to a lively waltz tempo. Max is left
alone, and the next number is a grand tenor scene. It opens with a
gloomy recitative, which lights up as he thinks of Agatha, and then
passes into one of the most tender and delicious of melodies ("Durch
die Wälder, durch die Auen"), set to a beautiful accompaniment.
Suddenly the harmony is clouded by the apparition of Zamiel, but as he
disappears, Max begins another charming melody ("Jetzt ist wohl ihr
Fenster offen"), which is even more beautiful than the first. As
Zamiel reappears the harmony is again darkened; but when despairing
Max utters the cry, "Lives there no God!" the wood-demon disappears,
and the great song comes to an end. In this mood Caspar meets him, and
seeks to cheer him with an hilarious drinking-song ("Hier im ird'schen
Jammerthal"), furious in its energy, and intended to express
unhallowed mirth. The act closes with Caspar's bass aria of infernal
triumph ("Triumph! die Rache, die Rache gelingt"), accompanied by
music which is wonderfully weird and shadowy in its suggestions.

The second act opens with a duet ("Schelm! halt fest") in which
Agatha's fear and anxiety are charmingly contrasted with the lightsome
and cheery nature of Annchen, her attendant, and this in turn is
followed by a naive and coquettish arietta ("Kommt ein schlanker
Bursch gegangen") sung by the latter. Annchen departs, and Agatha,
opening her window and letting the moonlight flood the room, sings the
famous scena and prayer, "Leise, leise, fromme Weise," beginning,
after a few bars of recitative, with a melody full of prayer and hope
and tender longings, shaded with vague presentiment. It is an adagio
of exquisite beauty, closing with an ecstatic outburst of rapture
("Alle meine Pulse schlagen") as she beholds her lover coming. The
melody has already been heard in the overture, but its full joy and
splendid sweep are attained only in this scene. In the next scene we
have a trio ("Wie? was? Entsetzen?") between Max, Annchen, and Agatha,
in which the musical discrimination of character is carried to a fine
point; and the act concludes with the incantation music in the Wolf's
Glen, which has never been surpassed in weirdness, mystery, and
diablerie, and at times in actual sublimity. Its real power lies in
the instrumentation; not alone in its vivid and picturesque
presentation of the melodramatic scene with its hideous surroundings,
but in its expressiveness and appositeness to the action and sentiment
by the skilful use of motives.

The last act has an instrumental prelude foreshadowing the Hunters'
Chorus. It opens with a graceful but somewhat melancholy aria of a
religious character ("Und ob die Wolke sie verhülle"), sung by Agatha,
in which she is still wavering between doubt and hope, and succeeded
by another of Annchen's arias, beginning with the gloomy romance,
"Einst traumte meiner sel'gen Base," and closing with a lively allegro
("Trübe Augen, Liebchen"), which is intended to encourage her sad
mistress. Then the bridesmaids sing their lively chorus, "Wir winden
dir den Jungfern-Kranz," so well known by its English title, "A rosy
Crown we twine for Thee." The pretty little number is followed by the
Hunters' Chorus, "Was gleicht wohl auf Erden dem Jägervergnügen,"
which is a universal favorite. It leads up to a strong dramatic
finale, crowded with striking musical ideas, and containing Agatha's
beautiful melody in the closing chorus.

Few operas have had such world-wide popularity as "Der Freischütz,"
and yet it is an essentially German product. The composer's son has
aptly characterized it, in his Biography of his father: "Weber did not
compose 'Der Freischütz;' he allowed it to grow out of the rich soil
of his brave German heart, and to expand leaf by leaf, blossom by
blossom, fostered by the hand of his talent; and thus no German looks
upon the opera as a work of art which appeals to him from without. He
feels as if every line of the work came from his own heart, as if he
himself had dreamed it so, and it could no more sound otherwise than
the rustling of an honest German beech-wood."


OBERON.

"Oberon, or the Elf King's Oath," a romantic and fairy opera in three
acts, words by J.R. Planché, was first produced at Covent Garden,
London, April 12, 1826, in English. Its first Italian performance was
given in the same city, July 3, 1860, the recitatives being supplied
by Benedict, who also added several numbers from "Euryanthe." The
original cast was as follows:--

  REIZA        Miss PATON.
  FATIMA       Mme. VESTRIS.
  PUCK         Miss CAWSE.
  HUON         Mr. BRAHAM.
  OBERON       Mr. BLAND.
  SHERASMIN    Mr. FAWCETT.
  MERMAID      Miss GOWNELL.

The librettist, Planché, in a tribute to Weber, gives the origin of
the story of "Oberon." It appeared originally in a famous collection
of French romances, "La Bibliothèque Bleue," under the title of "Huon
of Bordeaux." The German poet Wieland adopted the principal incidents
of the story as the basis of his poem, "Oberon," and Sotheby's
translation of it was used in the preparation of the text. The
original sketch of the action, as furnished by Planché, is as
follows:--

Oberon, the Elfin King, having quarrelled with his fairy partner, vows
never to be reconciled to her till he shall find two lovers constant
through peril and temptation. To seek such a pair his 'tricksy
spirit,' Puck, has ranged in vain through the world. Puck, however,
hears the sentence passed on Sir Huon of Bordeaux, a young knight,
who, having been insulted by the son of Charlemagne, kills him in
single combat, and is for this condemned by the monarch to travel to
Bagdad to slay him who sits on the Caliph's left hand, and to claim
his daughter as his bride. Oberon instantly resolves to make this pair
the instruments of his reunion with his queen, and for this purpose he
brings up Huon and Sherasmin asleep before him, enamours the knight by
showing him Reiza, daughter of the Caliph, in a vision, transports him
at his waking to Bagdad, and having given him a magic horn, by the
blasts of which he is always to summon the assistance of Oberon, and a
cup that fills at pleasure, disappears. Here Sir Huon rescues a man
from a lion, who proves afterwards to be Prince Babekan, who is
betrothed to Reiza. One of the properties of the cup is to detect
misconduct. He offers it to Babekan.

On raising it to his lips the wine turns to flame, and thus proves him
a villain. He attempts to assassinate Huon, but is put to flight. The
knight then learns from an old woman that the princess is to be
married next day, but that Reiza has been influenced, like her lover,
by a vision, and is resolved to be his alone. She believes that fate
will protect her from her nuptials with Babekan, which are to be
solemnized on the next day. Huon enters, fights with and vanquishes
Babekan, and having spell-bound the rest by a blast of the magic horn,
he and Sherasmin carry off Reiza and Fatima. They are soon
shipwrecked. Reiza is captured by pirates on a desert island and
brought to Tunis, where she is sold to the Emir and exposed to every
temptation, but she remains constant. Sir Huon, by the order of
Oberon, is also conveyed thither. He undergoes similar trials from
Roshana, the jealous wife of the Emir, but proving invulnerable she
accuses him to her husband, and he is condemned to be burned on the
same pile with Reiza. They are rescued by Sherasmin, who has the magic
horn. Oberon appears with his queen, whom he has regained by their
constancy, and the opera concludes with Charlemagne's pardon of Huon.

The overture, like that of "Der Freischütz," reflects the story, and
is universally popular. Its leading themes are the horn solo, which
forms the symphony of Sir Huon's vision, a short movement from the
fairies' chorus, a martial strain from the last scene in the court of
Charlemagne, a passage from Reiza's scene in the second act, and
Puck's invocation of the spirits.

The first act opens in Oberon's bower with a melodious chorus of
fairies and genii ("Light as fairy Feet can fall"), followed by a solo
for Oberon ("Fatal Oath"), portraying his melancholy mood, and "The
Vision," a quaint, simple melody by Reiza ("Oh! why art thou
sleeping?"), which leads up to a splendid ensemble ("Honor and Joy to
the True and the Brave"), containing a solo for Oberon, during which
the scene suddenly changes from the fairy bower to the city of Bagdad.
Huon has a grand scena ("Oh! 't is a Glorious Sight"), a composition
in several movements beginning with a dramatic bravura illustrative of
the scenes of the battlefield, and closing with a joyous, brisk
allegretto ("Joy to the high-born Dames of France"). The finale begins
with an aria by Reiza ("Yes, my Lord"), in the Italian style, passing
into a duet for Reiza and Fatima, and closing with the chorus ("Now
the Evening Watch is set.")

The second act opens with a characteristic chorus ("Glory to the
Caliph"), the music of which has been claimed by some critics as
genuinely Moorish, though it is probable that Weber only imitated that
style in conformity to the demands of the situation. A little march
and three melodramatic passages lead up to an arietta for Fatima ("A
lovely Arab Maid"), beginning with a very pleasing minor and closing
in a lively major. This leads directly to the lovely quartet, "Over
the Dark Blue Waters,"--one of the most attractive numbers in the
opera. It is a concerted piece for two sopranos, tenor, and bass,
opening with two responsive solos in duet, first for the bass and
tenor, and then for the two sopranos, the voices finally uniting in a
joyous and animated movement of great power. The music now passes to
the supernatural, and we have Puck's invocation to the spirits, whom
he summons to raise a storm and sink the vessel in which the lovers
have embarked. Puck's recitative is very powerful, and the chorus of
the spirits in response, a very rapid presto movement, is in its way
as effective as the incantation music in "Der Freischütz." The storm
rises, the orchestra being the medium of the description, which is
very graphic and effective. Huon has a short prayer ("Ruler of this
Awful Hour"), which is impressively solemn, and then follows Reiza's
magnificent apostrophe to the sea ("Ocean, thou mighty Monster that
liest curled like a green Serpent round about the World"). The scene
is heroic in its construction, and its effective performance calls for
the highest artistic power. It represents the gradual calm of the
angry waters, the breaking of the sun through the gloom, and the
arrival of a boat to the succor of the distressed Reiza. The immense
effect of the scene is greatly enhanced by the descriptive
instrumentation, especially in the allegro describing the rolling of
the billows and the recitative and succeeding andante picturing the
outburst of the sun. The mermaid's song ("Oh! 't is pleasant"), with
its wavy, flowing melody, forms a fitting pendant to this great
picture of elementary strife; and a delicate and graceful chorus
closes the act.

The third act opens with a lovely song for Fatima ("Oh! Araby, dear
Araby"), consisting of two movements,--an andante plaintively
recalling past memories, and an allegro of exquisite taste. The song,
even detached from the opera, has always been greatly admired in
concert-rooms, and, it is said, was a special favorite also with the
composer. It is followed by a duet for Sherasmin and Fatima ("On the
Banks of sweet Garonne"), which is of a vivacious and comic nature in
Sherasmin's part, and then passes into a tender minor as Fatima sings.
The next number is a trio for soprano, alto, and tenor ("And must I
then dissemble?"), written very much in the style of the trio in "Der
Freischütz," and yet purely original in its effect. Reiza follows with
a smooth, flowing, and pathetic cavatina ("Mourn thou, poor Heart"),
which is succeeded in marked contrast by a joyous rondo ("I revel in
Hope") sung by Sir Huon. The next scene is that of Sir Huon's
temptation, a voluptuous passage for ballet and chorus, interrupted at
intervals by the energetic exclamations of the paladin as he
successfully resists the sirens. The gay scene leads up to the finale.
Sir Huon and Reiza are bound to the stake, surrounded by slaves
singing a weird chorus. A blast from the magic horn sets them dancing,
and a quartet for the four principal characters based upon the subject
of the slaves' Chorus ensues. Oberon appears and takes his leave after
transporting the whole company to the royal halls of Charlemagne. A
stirring march opens the scene, a beautiful aria by Huon follows
("Yes! even Love to Fame must yield"), and a chorus by the whole court
closes the opera.


EURYANTHE.

The opera of "Euryanthe" was written for the Kärnthnerthor Theatre,
Vienna, where it was first produced Oct. 25, 1823, though not with the
success which afterwards greeted it in Berlin, owing to the Rossini
craze with which the Austrian capital was afflicted at that time. The
libretto is by Helmine von Chezy, an eccentric old woman who proved a
sad torment to the composer. The plot, which is a curious mixture of
"Cymbeline" and "Lohengrin," was adapted from an old French romance,
entitled "L'Histoire de Gerard de Nevers et de la belle et vertueuse
Euryanthe, sa mie," and is substantially as follows:--

In the palace of King Louis of France, where a brilliant assemblage is
gathered, Count Adolar sings a tribute to the beauty and virtue of
Euryanthe, his betrothed. Count Lysiart replies with a sneer, and
boasts that he can gain her favor; but Adolar challenges him to bring
a proof. The scene then changes to the castle of Nevers, and discloses
Euryanthe longing for Adolar. Eglantine, who is also in love with
Adolar, and who is conspiring against Euryanthe, soon joins her, and
in their interview the latter rashly discloses the secret of a
neighboring tomb known only to herself and Adolar. In this tomb rests
the body of Emma, Adolar's sister, who had killed herself, and whose
ghost had appeared to Euryanthe and her lover with the declaration
that she can never be at peace until tears of innocence have been shed
upon the ring which was the agency employed in her death. Lysiart
arrives from court with a commission to take Euryanthe to the King,
while Eglantine is left behind in possession of the secret.

In the second act Lysiart deplores his failure to obtain the favor of
Euryanthe; but his hopes are renewed when he meets Eglantine emerging
from the tomb with the ring, and learns from her that it can be made
to convict Euryanthe of indiscretion, or at least of breaking her
promise not to reveal the tomb secret. He obtains the ring, confronts
Euryanthe with it at the palace, and forces her to admit the broken
promise. Adolar, believing that she is guilty, drags her away to a
wilderness where it is his intention to kill her; but on the way they
are attacked by a serpent. Adolar slays the monster, and then, seized
with sudden pity, he abandons his intention of killing her, but leaves
her to her fate. She is subsequently found by the King while on a
hunting expedition, and to him she relates the story of Eglantine's
treachery. The King takes her with him to the palace. Meanwhile Adolar
has begun to suspect that Euryanthe has been the victim of her base
wiles, and on his way to Nevers to punish Lysiart he encounters the
wedding-procession of the guilty pair, and challenges him. The King
suddenly arrives upon the scene and announces Euryanthe's death,
whereupon Eglantine declares her love for Adolar. The furious Lysiart
turns upon her and stabs her. Euryanthe is not dead. She has only
fainted, and is soon restored to her lover, while Lysiart is led off
to the scaffold.

The overture, which is familiar in our concert-rooms, gives a sketch
of the principal situations in the opera. The first act opens in the
great banquet-hall of the King with a flowing and stately chorus ("Dem
Frieden Heil") alternating between female and male voices and finally
taken by the full chorus. Then follows Adolar's lovely and tender
romanza ("Unter blühenden Mandelbäumen"). The next number, a chorus
("Heil! Euryanthe"), with recitatives for Adolar, Lysiart, and the
King leads up to a vigorous trio ("Wohlan! Du kennst"). Euryanthe's
idyllic and touching cavatina ("Glöcklein im Thale") is a match in
beauty and tenderness for Adolar's romanza. The recitative which
follows introduces a sentimental aria for Eglantine ("O mein Leid ist
unermessen"), leading to a duet with Euryanthe ("Unter ist mein Stern
gegangen"). A scena for Eglantine, characterized by all the hatred and
fury of jealousy, introduces the finale, which consists of a vigorous
chorus ("Jubeltöne") accompanying Euryanthe's solo ("Fröhliche
Klänge").

The second act opens with a powerful recitative and aria for Lysiart
("Wo berg ich mich"), which is full of passion. A duet of a menacing
and sombre character between Lysiart and Eglantine ("Komm denn unser
Leid zu rächen") stands out in gloomy contrast with Adolar's aria
("Wehen mir Lüfte Ruh'") and the duet with Euryanthe ("Hin nimm die
Seele mein"), so full of grace and tenderness. They lead up to the
finale, a grand quartet ("Lass mich empor zum Lichte"), with powerful
chorus accompaniment.

The last act opens with the serpent episode, with characteristic
music, and a recitative scene between Euryanthe and Adolar leads up to
a pathetic cavatina for Euryanthe ("Hier am Quell wo Weiden stehn").
The ringing notes of the horns behind the scenes announce the approach
of the King's party, who sing a fresh and sonorous hunting chorus
("Die Thale dampfen"). The remaining numbers are a duet for Euryanthe
and the King with chorus ("Lasst mich hier in Ruh' erblassen"), a
lovely and melodious aria with chorus for Euryanthe ("Zu ihm"), a
bright wedding-march and scene with chorus, and a duet for Adolar and
Lysiart with chorus, leading to the grand quintet and chorus which
bring the opera to a close.



APPENDIX.

A work of this kind, by whomsoever written, must be somewhat arbitrary
in its selection of THE STANDARD OPERAS; and the writer has often
found it difficult to say where the line should be drawn,--what
excluded and what admitted. In addition to the operas treated of,
there are others, without a mention of which such a work as this would
scarcely be considered complete; and a list of these is herewith
submitted, together with the dates of their first performance. Many of
these are familiar to the public by their past reputation, while
others still hold the stage in Europe. Others have never been given
out of the native country of their composers; and still others, like
those of Mr. Sullivan, are in reality operettas, and cannot be classed
as standard, although their popularity is extraordinary.


ADAM - Le Postilion de Longjumeau (1835).

AUBER - Le Cheval de Bronze (The Bronze Horse) (1835); L'Ambassadrice
(1836); Le Domino Noir (The Black Domino) (1837); Zanetta (1840);
Manon Lescaut (1856).

BALFE - Enchantress (1845); Satanella (1858); Puritan's Daughter
(1861); The Talisman (1863).

BENEDICT - The Lily of Killarney (1862).

CORDER - Nordisa (1887).

DONIZETTI - Polinto (1840); Linda (1842); Maria di Rohan (1843); Don
Sebastian (1843); Gemma di Vergi (1845).

FLOTOW - L'Ombre (1869).

GOETZ - Francesca von Rimini (1874); The Taming of the Shrew (1874).

GOLDMARK - The Queen of Sheba (1875); Merlin (1886); Cricket on the
Hearth (1896).

GOMEZ - Il Guarany (1870).

GOUNOD - Polyeucte (1878).

HALEVY - L'Éclair (1835).

HEROLD - Zampa(1831); Pré aux Clercs(1832).

ISOUARD - Joconde (1814).

KREUTZER - Das Nachtlager in Granada (1834).

LEONCAVALLO - I Medici (1893).

MARCHETTI - Ruy Blas (1870).

MARSCHNER - Der Vampyr (1828); Hans Heiling (1833).

MASCAGNI - L'Amico Fritz (1892); I Rantzau (1892); Silvano(1895);
Guglielmo Ratcliff (1895).

MASSË - La Reine Topaze (1856); Paul et Virginie (1876).

MASSENET - Le Roi de Lahore (1877); Manon Lescaut (1884); Le Cid
(1886); Esclarmonde (1889).

NICOLAI - Merry Wives of Windsor (1849).

PACINI - Saffo (1840).

PLANQUETTE - The Bells of Corneville (1877).

PONCHIELLI - La Gioconda (1876).

RICCI - Crispino (1850).

ROSSINI - La Gazza Ladra (1817); Moses in Egypt (1818).

RUBINSTEIN - Dimitri Donskoi (1852); The Demon (1875); Feramors
(1863).

SAINT SAENS - Le Timbre d'Argent (1877); Étienne Marcel (1879); Henry
VIII. (1883); Proserpine (1887).

STRAUSS - Indigo (1871); Die Fledermaus (The Bat) (1872); Der Lustige
Krieg (The Merry War) (1875).

SULLIVAN - Trial by Jury (1875); The Sorcerer (1877); Pinafore (1878);
Pirates of Penzance (1880); Patience (1881); Iolanthe (1882); The
Princess (1883); The Mikado (1885); Ruddygore (1887); The Yeomen of
the Guard (1888); King of Barataria (1889); Hesse Halbpfennig (1896).

SUPPE - Fatinitza (1876); Boccaccio (1882).

THOMAS - Hamlet (1868); Françoise de Rimini (1882).

VERDI - The Sicilian Vespers (1855); La Forza del Destino (Force of
Destiny) (1862); Don Carlos (1867).

WALLACE - Lurline (1860).

WEBER - Abu Hassan (1811); Preciosa (1823).



INDEX.

Adam, 32, 63, 71, 277.

African, The, 160, 161, 185.

Aida, 239, 262, 272.

Albani, 79.

Alboni, 161, 162.

Alceste, 106.

Alvary, 121.

Anna Bolena, 75.

Appendix, 375.

Arditi, 284.

Armide, 106.

Attila, 238.

Auber, 9, 14, 16, 17, 18, 24. 258.

Bach, 126.

Balfe, 25, 26.

Balzac, 149.

Barber of Seville, 210, 212.

Beaumarchais, 192.

Beethoven, 36, 39, 209, 312.

Bellini, 43.

Benedict, 365.

Berlioz, 289, 358.

Bizet, 54, 57. 59, 138.

Bohemian Girl, 26, 31.

Boieldieu, 60.

Boito, 65, 239, 266, 267, 270, 271.

Bosio, 11, 244.

Braham, 15, 365.

Brandt, 117, 121.

Bulwer, 277.

Calvé, 149.

Carmen, 55.

Cavalleria Rusticana, 155.

Cenerentola, 211.

Cherubini, 60.

Chopin, 225.

Costa, 358.

Damrosch, 121.

Daughter of the Regiment, 76.

Delibes, 71.

Der Freischütz, 357, 358, 367.

Die Götterdämmerung, 309, 311, 315, 335.

Die Walküre, 309, 315, 323.

Di Murska, 284.

Dinorah, 160, 176.

Don Carlos, 239.

Don Giovanni, 191, 198, 219.

Donizetti, 75, 88, 95.

Don Pasquale, 76, 83, 91.

Don Sebastian, 85.

Dumas, 249.

Duprez, 80, 86.

Ernani, 238, 239.

Euryanthe, 357, 365, 371.

Falcon, Cornelia, 138, 161.

Faure, 176, 185.

Faust, 125, 132, 253.

Favorita, 76, 80.

Fidelio, 37.

Flotow, 96.

Flying Dutchman, 160, 275, 284, 294.

Formes, 98.

Fra Diavolo, 10.

Francesca di Rimini, 112.

Galli-Marie, 55, 232,

Garcia, 212, 213.

Gazza Ladra, 211.

Gluck, 105.

Goethe, 65, 127, 160, 232, 294.

Goetz, 111.

Goldmark, 116.

Gounod, 125, 138.

Grimm, 144.

Grisi, 44, 51, 80, 83.

Halevy, 137.

Hansel and Gretel, 143.

Harrison, 19, 27, 32, 176.

Hastreiter, Helene, 107.

Haydn, 36, 37.

Heine, 143, 284.

Hueffer, 276, 300, 309.

Hugo, Victor, 92, 239, 240, 244.

Huguenots, 160, 161, 180, 211.

Humperdinck, 142.

Idomeneo, 191.

I Medici, 148.

I Pagliacci, 149.

Iphigénie en Aulide, 106.

Iphigénie en Tauride, 106.

Jahn, 209.

Jewess, 138.

Juch, Emma, 107, 227.

Kellogg, Clara Louise, 79, 237, 284.

Lablanche, 44, 51, 83, 85, 238.

La Dame Blanche, 61.

Lagrange, 97.

Lakme, 72.

L'Allemand, 72, 112, 227.

L'Amico, Fritz, 155.

Last Rose of Summer, 100.

L'Éclair, 137, 138.

Lehmann, 117, 121.

L'Elisir d'Amore, 75, 89.

Leoncavallo, 148.

Lind, Jenny, 77, 79, 160, 167, 169, 170, 171, 238.

Liszt, 225, 276, 277, 294.

Lohengrin, 275, 294, 304, 309, 340, 371.

Lombardi, 238.

Lucca, 186, 237.

Lucia, 76, 86, 95.

Lucrezia Borgia, 75, 92.

Lurline, 350.

Luther, Martin, 164, 166.

Magic Flute, 191, 204.

Malibran, 38, 48.

Manon Lescaut, 137.

Mario, 15, 80, 83, 85, 92, 162, 244.

Maritana, 349, 350.

Marriage of Figaro, 191, 192, 198, 201.

Martha, 98, 253.

Masaniello, 14, 176.

Mascagni, 153.

Masked Ball, 239, 257.

Massé, 138.

Materna, 340.

Maurel, 267.

Meistersinger, 276, 303, 310.

Mendelssohn, 142.

Mendès, Catulle, 151.

Mephistopheles, 66, 239.

Mérimée, 55.

Merlin, 116, 121.

Meyerbeer, 138, 159, 161, 176, 185, 211, 277.

Mignon, 231, 232.

Miolan-Carvalho, 126, 131, 134, 176, 244.

Mireille, 126.

Mosenthal, 117.

Moses in Egypt, 211.

Mozart, 36, 37, 142, 190, 193, 204.

Nero, 226.

Niemann, 288.

Nilsson, 66, 237, 250.

Nohl, 318.

Norma, 44.

Nourrit, 138, 161, 171, 220.

Oberon, 357, 358, 365.

Orpheus, 106, 107.

Otello (Rossini), 211.

Othello (Verdi), 239, 266.

Pacini, 358.

Paisiello, 211.

Pantaleoni, 267.

Parepa-Rosa, 192.

Parsifal, 276, 340.

Pasdeloup, 276.

Pasta, 44, 48, 75.

Patti, 79, 250.

Persiani, 86.

Piccini, 106.

Piccolomini, 27, 250.

Preciosa, 357,358.

Prophet, The, 160, 180.

Puritani, 44, 50.

Pyne, 19, 32, 176.

Queen of Sheba, 117.

Rameau, 105.

Reeves, 19.

Rheingold, 309, 310, 314, 319.

Richings, Caroline, 79.

Richter, 276.

Rienzi, 160, 275, 277, 285.

Rigoletto, 88, 239, 244.

Ring des Nibelungen, 276, 300, 309, 341.

Robert the Devil, 160, 171.

Robin Adair, 63.

Romeo and Juliet, 131, 136.

Ronconi, 11, 244.

Rosa, Carl, 143, 284.

Rose of Castile, 32.

Rossini, 25, 44. 76, 82, 138, 174, 210, 266, 371.

Roze, Marie, 66.

Rubini, 44, 48, 51, 75.

Rubinstein, 225.

Salieri, 193.

Sammartini, 105.

Santley, 134, 284.

Scaria, 340.

Schickaneder, 204, 205.

Schiller, 36, 220, 312.

Schröder-Devrient, 277, 284, 288.

Scribe, 10, 14, 19, 48, 61, 82, 138, 160, 161, 166, 171, 172, 180,
  185, 258.

Semiramide, 211, 216.

Shakspeare, 97, 112, 131, 266.

Sicilian Vespers, 239.

Siegfried, 309, 310, 311, 315, 329, 337, 338, 340.

Sonnambula, 43, 48.

Sontag, 79.

Spohr, 285.

Star of the North, 160, 166.

Staudigl, 171.

Stradella, 102.

Stritt, 117.

Sullivan, 375.

Taglioni, 171.

Tamburini, 44, 51, 83, 162.

Taming of the Shrew, 111, 112.

Tancredi, 210, 216.

Tannhäuser, 275, 288, 294.

Tausig, 312.

Thalberg, 225.

Thillon, 19, 76.

Thomas, Ambroise, 231.

Thomas, Theodore, 54, 71, 107, 229, 276.

Tichatscheck, 277.

Titiens, 134.

Traviata, 239, 249, 253.

Trebelli, 134.

Tristan and Isolde, 276, 299, 310.

Trovatore, 239, 253, 262, 266.

Ulrich, 111.

Verdi, 238.

Viardot-Garcia, 107, 162, 180.

Vogler, 159, 356.

Von Bülow, 111, 277, 299, 304.

Wagner, 18, 58, 65, 70, 122, 142, 143, 144, 160, 220, 266, 272, 275,
  288, 312.

Wallace, 349.

Weber, 356.

Wette, Adelheid, 143.

William Tell, 138, 176, 211, 220.

Winckelmann, 340.

Zingarelli, 43.

Zucchi, 186.





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