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foresight must be tongue must make its
must remember that the section of the in quite recent years, it is certain that public for which the cheaper kinds of before long the nation will insist on reserved seats are intended at the other having an opera, not as the exclusive theatres is practically not considered enjoyment of the few for ten weeks in at all at the opera. The balcony stalls the year, but as a permanent instituat Covent Garden are, it is true, as tion, affording to the great bulk of comfortable as dress-circle seats else- educated people proper opportunities where, but they are issued at precisely for the study and enjoyment of operatic double their price. It is impossible to masterpieces; not merely for the conget a really convenient place for less templation of the latest Paris fashions, than fifteen shillings, as the glare of whether in millinery or music. the chandelier, even if the lights are At different times in the history of turned down during the performance, the Carl Rosa Company it has makes the long entr'actes extremely seemed as if a really national opera disagreeable to those who occupy the were just on the brink of getting itself ten-shilling seats; and even supposing established, and the energetic manager the average amateur of moderate means from which it is named had sufficient to be contented with a gallery place, in foresight to recognize that such an inorder that he may see as many operas stitution must be really national, and as possible, he must put up with a great that the English tongue must be the deal of discomfort; while to elderly vehicle in which music should make its people, or to those who are busy in the appeal to the English people. Unfordaytime, the necessary early attend- tunately, although he and his sucance makes unreserved seats an impos- cessors have always had the lower sibility. Now the opera, as an occa- middle classes in their favor, the insional treat to be enjoyed once or twice fluence of this section of the public has in the season, is of very little real use kept alive certain traditions which from an educational point of view; yet sadly hindered the cause of opera in the educational aspect of the opera is English. The silly dialogue of the one that should not be ignored. In one days of the poet Bunn is still relished of his famous rules for young mu- by the kind of audience to which Engsicians, Schumann, the one composer lish opera is at present supposed to apwho might have been expected to set peal; and any educated person, not least store by anything connected with especially musical, who should find theatrical display, laid it down that the himself present at a performance of student must “never neglect to hear “ The Bohemian Girl ” or “ Maritana," good operas." In England the greater would very naturally wonder at the tolpart, and those the best, of musical erance of a West-end public toward a amateurs are compelled to spend their style of declamation that would dislives in an assiduous transgression of grace the transpontine theatres. This this injunction; and even the rich sub- state of things will account, to his scribers to the opera of the fashionable mind, for the widespread impression world can only obey it for a space of that English is not a good language for three months in the year, or less. In serious operatic purposes. Yet even all parts of the continent, the intellec- supposing that operas with spoken diatual value of the opera is recognized, logue were to come back into fashion just as much as that of non-theatrical again, there is no possible reason why music or of the other arts. In England the dialogue should not be given with alone there still survives the curious the same care and precision that Mr. impression that music, and more espe- Gilbert insisted on in the early days of cially the opera, has some element of the Savoy operas. It is a strange dissipation about it. That this im- thing, but only one of many anomalies pression will some day die down, as we beloved by English people that their become more cosmopolitan, there is no own language should be considered reason to doubt; and with the gigantic quite suitable on the one hand to comic strides which musical culture has taken operas, and on the other to sacred ora
torios, but that for serious dramatic more widely throughout the nation, music it is viewed with disdain. Surely there will be more and more clear dea language which is good enough for mands for a regular, continuous, and, “The Messiah” or “ Elijah ” cannot be in one word, national institution, such so contemptible that its use in “Faust” as all other capitals of the world or “ Lohengrin” need be prohibited. possess. In ordinary affairs the law of After all, in objecting to their own lan- supply and demand is a good enough guage as a vehicle for serious art, the working principle, but here there is one English are only following the lead of very serious consideration, namely, nearly all nations that have gradually that the expenses of an opera season, emerged from a state of barbarism. It even without the gigantic salaries that is not a satisfactory reflection, but it is are paid to performers of European one that must be made, that this pref celebrity, are so heavy as to entail a erence for foreign languages is the great loss upon the manager who shall mark of all nations that have not com- attempt to give opera at theatre prices. pleted their civilization. In the Italian The problem has been tried over and Renaissance, those writers who gave up over again, both in England and elseLatin for Italian were at first thought where, and a very few words are needed extremely vulgar by their contempo- to explain why it is impossible. Among raries; in Germany, the gallicisms, the many lessons taught by the lamentwhich have so comic an effect upon able failure of the Royal English Opera modern ears in reading the historical House was one which throws a good documents of past centuries, were in deal of light on this. It is out of the fashion more or less into the present question to mount grand opera “ for a day. In matters of literature, science, run," that is to say, to attempt to reand the graphic arts we have long ago coup the original outlay in putting it passed the stage in which culture came on the stage by keeping it in the bills to us from without, and so have reached for six weeks or longer, as the theata condition in which we have, in these rical managers are wont to do. Yet things, a definite national existence. audiences have been so accustomed to In music alone a bastard cosmopolitan- seeing plays gorgeously produced that ism prevails among us even now, and they expect far more from operatic has doubtless much to say to the failure mounting than can possibly be given of English opera as a permanent and them apart from operatic prices. In self-supporting institution. The state the second place, the salaries of the of London at the present day, in regard singers must needs come to a sum far to operas, may best be illustrated by an in excess of the earnings of the heaviest analogy with the non-operatic theatre. cast in London, to say nothing of the Imagine a state of things in which no orchestra and chorus, two sources of theatre in London should devote itself expenditure of which the play-producer to serious drama, the admirers of which is scarcely conscious. By exercising a were compelled to derive their instruc- rigid economy in the department of tion in the great dramas of the world the orchestra during provincial tours from an annual visit of ten weeks, ar- it is no doubt possible to give even ranged by the combined forces of the grand opera in London for a few weeks Théâtre Français and the Meiningen at a time at theatre prices, if a large Court Theatre; and that during this enough theatre is available; but then short season the prices of seats in all the company must be formed of singers parts of the house should be doubled so fitted for a large theatre that their or more than doubled. Such a condi- voices can be trusted to fill it in one tion is incredible in the dramatic sense and their names in another. world, yet it is precisely analogous to Such a company is a far more exthat which we complacently accept in pensive luxury than a troupe of comicregard to the opera. As the taste for opera performers, who are at home in opera improves, deepening in the edu- a small theatre, but would be utterly cated classes, and spreading more and lost in Covent Garden or a house of similar size. It may be taken as proved, the demand for the raw material to without further demonstration, that an educate in one or other of the great attempt which has reduced some hun- music schools is a very large one, and dreds of enthusiastic managers to every inducement is held out to prombeggary must be ranked with the many ising students, but only during their chimerical schemes of which musical career as students. All the tedious people are so very fond. Yet the solu- 'time that must elapse before even a tion of the whole question, a solution musician with a certainty of ultimate which has been adopted in every capital success can begin to make his mark on of Europe, is only just beginning to be the great world of London musical life suggested here as a brand-new idea. is quite unprovided for; and many are Some kind of grant or subvention the cases of absolute penury that come from without is absolutely essential if to the knowledge of those who are opera as an institution is to do a really familiar with the seamy sides of the useful work, or to take a place among musical profession. Some means might national enterprises. A great many well be devised for hindering, rather Englishmen look askance upon any than encouraging, the entrance into the suggestion of a State subsidy for profession of all classes of incompetent theatres of any kind, partly from a performers, and at the same time of remnant of the puritanical feeling that providing help for those whose educaall such places are in themselves evil, tion in music is finished, and whose partly because they cannot dissociate chances of making an income are very the idea of theatrical art from the no- remote. tion of frivolous amusement, and partly T he establishment of a permanent. because they dread an increase in the opera house in London would mean a rates. But the general principle of great deal more than the existence of State or municipal aid for various a single institution where native talent things lying outside the domain of could be allowed to display itself. The practical business life, is already ac- principle of decentralization has lately knowledged in many ways, and ac- been illustrated in a very striking way cepted as a fact of our national exist.. by the success which has attended the ence. It would require a very bold erection of various theatres in the politician indeed to bring in a Bill for suburbs of London, and there are signs the abolition of the grant to the Na- that the whole aspect of our theatrical tional Gallery or the British Museum, life is shortly about to undergo a yet in truth these are not more strictly change. If an endowed opera became educational in their intention than an accomplished fact in London, there such institutions as the great opera is little doubt that the example of the houses of the Continent. Even in capital would soon be followed in the theatrical matters the idea of munic- chief cities of the Empire, so that that ipal aid is slowly but surely making part of a liberal education which conadvances toward realization; yet the sists in hearing good operas would be opera, if it is to exist at all as a per- brought within the reach of the large manent institution for the nation at majority of English people. A whole large, stands in far greater need of ex- group of permanently established opternal help than does any non-operatic eratic theatres would make a very sentheatre. There is a want of logic about sible difference in the financial condia system such as that which allows tion of the musical profession gengrants to be made to the two principal erally, and the elevation of the standinstitutions for teaching music in Lon- ard of excellence required by the classes don, without practically recognizing thus educated would of itself obviate the need for kindred help for the young the danger of a Klondike rush into a. musicians who are being turned out of profession where such inducements were these seminaries every year into a pro- held out. In ordinary parlance, the fession which is rapidly being over- position of music as an inferior memstocked beyond all remedy. At present ber of the circle of the arts is curiously
recognized by the English usage of the face the question of a national opera word “Art," as meaning only the art coming upon the rates, for it is certain of painting or sculpture. Music has that it could be contrived by other often been called the Cinderella of the means; but if it did come on the rates, Arts, in reference to her youth as com- it is worth while to point out that a pared with the other members of the rate of one-tenth of a penny in the family. In England she has for long pound on the ratable value of London been the most despised as well as the would be enough to raise the sum reyoungest of the sisterhood, but there quired. As the Free Library rate is are plenty of signs that she will not one farthing in the pound, it will be much longer be contented with her pres- seen that this latter luxury represents ent humble position. She is apparently just two and a half times the cost of waiting for the fairy godmother to ap- an opera. pear, and give her her opportunity by Supposing the principle of a subvenproviding her with a suitable equipage. tion, from whatever quarter, to be adThere is, perhaps, not much competi- mitted, there are naturally a good tion for the post at present, but there many points to be considered in regard are several quarters from which the to the policy of the institution, the kindly support might come. An actual principles on which it should be manGovernment subsidy may for the pres- aged, and the nature of the ideals which ent be too much to hope for, but either it is desirable to realize. Here there the Corporation of London or the Lon- is no lack of examples and warnings to don County Council could well afford be got from the experience of foreign to earn the gratitude of the cultivated nations. Unless it be founded on the part of the nation by providing a suit- widest possible basis—a basis of devoable home for opera, and the funds tion to no particular school, but to all wherewith London might be placed on schools of excellence of whatever date an equality with some of the less lux- and country—the scheme must fail, urious of European towns. Recent in though never so kindly a fairy godvestigations into the statistics of the mother were to come down the kitchen subject have shown that for an annual chimney. For a time the dictates of grant of 15,0001. an opera could be fashion must be disregarded; the maintained in such a way that the pub- classical repertory must be kept steadily lic need not pay at a higher rate than before the public, rather than the works for the theatre, while artists of the which come into vogue for a year or highest class would be engaged. 5,0001. two and are then forgotten; the lanof this would represent either the rent guage employed must be English, and of a theatre already existing, or in- the performers, as far as possible, must terest on the loan of a sum sufficient be chosen from among English artists. to build a proper theatre; the sum of There is, of course, a danger of fa10,0001. would then represent the sum voritism, and a certain opening for the needed to meet the deficit on a season elements of intrigue which have already lasting from October to Easter in each wrecked so many hopeful schemes; but year, leaving the height of the season if a large enough body were elected or free for the fashionable opera, the suc- appointed to govern the institution, cess of which need, therefore, not be and if the impresarios and managers affected, even though public taste were were paid servants of the governing to make the new undertaking fashion- body, not persons with interests of their ale as well as popular. Now 15,0001. own to serve, there is no reason why a may seem a large sum as the income of subsidized opera house should not be a private individual, or as the annual conducted on principles of absolute reccost of an establishment; but if it is titude and honesty. The reins of govcompared with the sums expended by ernment must, of course, be in the the nation on things of which the prac- hands of persons who should represent, tical utility is extremely doubtful, it is not merely the business side of the a mere nothing. It is not necessary to scheme as a pecuniary speculation, but
the various schools of thought in music. And not only these should have a voice in the control, but the claims of the many arts that are associated with opera must be fairly represented, and nothing must be omitted that can make for the maintenance of a high standard in all departments. For example, literary skill in the supervision of new librettos, or in the all-important point of providing decent translations of the words of classical foreign operas, must go hand in hand with artistic taste applied to the mounting of the works chosen for representation. And due encouragement must be given to that school of British composers which has now been in existence for the last quarter of a century, and to which the revival of musical culture in this country is mainly due. That series of fine operas which Mr. Carl Rosa was mainly
instrumental in bringing before the English public as the typical work of Englishmen, must be brought once more from the retirement where they have been left by so many managers, and the younger men in the English musical world must be encouraged to undertake the composition of operas by the knowledge that every worthy work will in time be produced at a national theatre. Those who best know the musical life of England in the present day have the most confidence in the powers of these younger men who are only waiting for opportunities which, under the present régime, can never come to them. There is no doubt that Cinderella must soon get her chance; the only question is, Who will be the fairy godmother?-Nineteenth Century.
BALLOONING is not an invention of their lives was to perfect Lana's rude later times. So far back as 1670 a Jesuit conception and to find some means by father, Pierre François Lana, pub- which the balloon could ascend aloft lished a folio entitled “Nuovo metodo and penetrate the vast region of cloudper poter viaggere in aria dentra una land. To this end they devoted their barea sostenuta de globbi volante." It time and their money. Their expericontains a curious and interesting en ments were in the direction of finding graving of the first rude idea of an air a gas strong enough to bear the balloon balloon. The inventor sustains his bark upward. In this they were long unin the air by four copper balls, in which successful. Their first balloon asa vacuum is formed through the me- cended by burning a heap of damp dium of water. Lana does not seem to straw mixed with wool underneath the have carried his idea into practice. His machine. The Montgolfiers were aware aerial voyage was only on the paper of that these fire balloons touched only his folio, but his picture-balloon and the fringe of the great question; they pamphlet caused a stir, and from this were not satisfied with so partial a suctime the subject appears to have seized cess, and sought with all the strength upon men's minds, and to accomplish of their intelligence to penetrate a voyage to the clouds was the cherished farther into what they felt sure was dream of many a scientist. But until hidden in the secrets of science. Their 1783 no decided success was achieved. experiments were many and arduous. In that year two brothers residing in Finally, in 1782, their efforts were rethe department of the Ardêche made warded by the discovery that by rarefya distinct advance upon Lana's idea. ing the air and then filling the balloon The Montgolfiers were rich paper man- it rose without any difficulty. ufacturers, men of thought and scien- This first experiment was tried in a tific research. For years their minds room at Avignon. The balloon was a had been absorbed in the fascinating small one, containing only two cubic subject of aerial voyages; the object of metres of air. The trial being success