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about. There has always been a restrictive and purifying potency in melody. It has that which has turned our souls to sympathy with the apotheosis of vice and pulmonary tuberculosis in Verdi's "Traviata," which has made the music of the second act and the finale of "Tristan und Isolde" the most powerful plea that can be made for Wagner's guilty lovers. Nowhere else is the ennobling and purifying capacity of music demonstrated as in the death song of Isolde. Without such palliation the vileness, the horror, the hideousness of a play like "Tosca" is more unpardonable in an operatic form than in the original. Its lust and cruelty are presented in their nakedness. There is little or no time to reflect upon the workings of perverted minds, to make psychological or physiological studies, to watch the accumulation of causes and their gradual development of effects, except in the moments, so plentiful in Puccini's operas, in which music becomes a hindrance and an impertinence. Dramatic action cannot be promoted by music. The province of the art is to develop and fix a mood or celebrate a deed. Tosca can sing of her love, her jealousy, her hate, her hope; she cannot sing her frantic efforts to escape the lustful arms of Scarpia; she cannot sing his murder (though she might have chanted its gory glory, if so she held it, after the fact); nor can she sing her own destruction. In fact, there is next to nothing in Sardou's drama fit for operatic song, either in the sense that prevailed at the time of Paisiello or prevails in the time of Wagner--which is now. In the opera a really fit incident for the lyric drama borrowed from Sardou is expanded adroitly into a scene which is both musically and dramatically effective. It is the scene in which the cantata is sung in the Queen's apartments while Scarpia is questioning Cavaradossi in his own. Here the set musical composition is a background for the dramatic dialogue. Parallel scenes provide most of the opportunities which Puccini has embraced for writing in what may be called a sustained effort outside of the scenes between Tosca and her lover in the first act. Thus the first finale has a pompous church office as its background, with tolling of bells, the booming of cannon, the pealing of a great organ, through all of which surges a stream of orchestral melody bearing the declamatory shrieks of Scarpia. All of this is purely irrelevant and external, and the device is cheap, but it serves. Similar in musical purpose, but at the opposite end of the color scheme, is the opening of the third act. The stage picture is one of great beauty. The foreground shows the platform of the Castle of St. Angelo. St. Peter's Cathedral and the Vatican are visible in the background. It is urban Rome alone that is visible, but there are sounds from the Campagna--the tinkling of sheep bells, the song of a shepherd lad mingling with a strangely languorous and fragmentary orchestral song. Then there arises from the distance the sound of church bells, large and small, while the orchestral song goes on. It is all mood-music, conceived with no necessary relationship to the drama, but providing an atmosphere which is really refreshing after the sup of horrors provided by the preceding act. Therefore, it must be accepted gratefully like the dance tune over which Scarpia and his associates declaim before the dreadful business of the second act begins, and the piteous appeal to the Virgin which Tosca makes before she conceives the idea of the butchery which she perpetrates a few minutes later.

And the melodramatic music upon which Sardou's play floats,--what is it like? Much of it like shreds and patches of many things with which the operatic stage has long been familiar. There are efforts at characterization by means of melodic, harmonic, and rhythmical symbols, of which the most striking, and least original, is a succession of chords which serves as an introduction to the first scene. This and much else came out of Wagner's workshop, and, like all else of the same origin in the score, is impotent because there is no trace of Wagner's logical mind, either in the choice of material or its development. Phrases of real pith and moment are mixed with phrases of indescribable balderdash, yet these phrases recur with painful reiteration and with all the color tints which Puccini is able to scrape from a marvelously varied and garish orchestral palette. The most remarkable feature, the feature which shows the composer's constructive talent in its brightest aspect, is the fluency of it all. Even when reduced to the extremity of a tremolo of empty fifths on the strings pianissimo, or a single sustained tone, Puccini still manages to cling to a thread of his melodramatic fabric and the mind does not quite let go of his musical intentions.

Reyer's "Salammb˘" was brought forward for the first time on March 20, 1901, with the following cast: Salammb˘, Lucienne BrÚval; Taanach, Miss Carrie Bridewell; Matho, Albert SalÚza; Shahabarim, Mr. Salignac; Narr-Havas, Mr. Journet; Spendius, Mr. Sizes; Giscon, Mr. Gilibert; Authorite, Mr. Dufriche; Hamilcar, Mr. Scotti. Signor Mancinelli conducted. The opera received a brilliant representation. Mr. Grau had piled up the stage adornments with a lavish hand, and, though it disappeared from the Metropolitan stage after two performances, material traces remained for years in the settings of other spectacular operas. The scenes were all reproductions of the Paris models and exquisitely painted; the costumes were gorgeous to a degree. Mlle. BrÚval's beauty (Semitic, as became the character) shone radiant in the part of the heroine, and she sang and acted with an intensity that in its supreme moments was positively uplifting. Flaubert's brilliant novel supplied the material out of which "Salammb˘" was constructed. The romance has a large historical incident for a background, namely, the suppression of a mutiny among the mercenaries of the Carthaginians in the first Punic war. Running through the gorgeous tissue which the French novelist wove about this incident is the thread of story which Camille du Locle drew out for Reyer's use--the story of the rape of the sacred veil of Tanit by the leader of the revolting mercenaries, his love for Salammb˘, daughter of the Carthaginian general; her recovery of the veil, with its consequence of disaster to her lover, and the pitiful death of both at their own hands. The authors of the opera were adepts in the field of what might be called musical spectacle. M. du Locle had a hand in both of the operas written for Paris, "Les Vŕpres Sicilienne," and "Don Carlos." Under the eyes of Verdi at Sant' Agata he wrote the prose scenario of "A´da," which Ghislanzoni turned into Italian verse for the composer. If a prodigal and sumptuous heaping up of stage adornments could make the success of an opera, "Salammb˘" would have been one of the greatest triumphs of the French lyric stage; but pompous pictures are not the be-all and end-all of opera, even in Paris, and the fortunate co-operation of du Locle and Verdi was not repeated in the collaboration of du Locle and Reyer.

There are, however, merits in "Salammb˘" which entitle it to a better fate than befell it in New York. The people in the story have marked dramatic physiognomies; indeed, had M. Reyer's skill in characterization been half so great as M. Flaubert's, and M. du Locle's, there would have been much to praise in the work. The characters are admirably drawn, and show as much individuality in their intellectual and moral traits as they do in their physical--the crafty Greek, the treacherous Numidian, the energetic and manly Carthaginian, the storm-tossed heroine, and the lovelorn Lybian are good dramatic types, even if stamped with stage conventions. A genius in musical characterization, like Mozart, Wagner or Verdi, would have found means for making their utterances as picturesque as their presences; but this was beyond the powers of Reyer. His tastes are modern, his aims far above the frivolity which afflicts some of his colleagues, but his abilities do not keep pace with his ambition. His models are easily found; he clasps hands most warmly with Berlioz, and has some of the Frenchman's peculiarly Gallic reverence for Spontini and Gluck. There are indications in the score that "Les Troyens" occupied much of his attention while he was engaged upon it, and I fancy that that ambitiously planned, but star-crossed work, was also familiar to the librettist. This need not excite special wonder, for the association of ideas was close enough. The second part of Berlioz's tragedy is also Carthaginian, and ends with Dido's prophetic vision of the hero who should avenge her wrongs on Rome. That Reyer also venerates Wagner but shows itself more in the use of the German master's harmonic progressions than in the adoption of his methods. He adopts the device of reiterated phrases, but his purpose in doing so I could not discover. Two short melodies, which are the themes of his brief instrumental introduction, are brought forward again and again, but fail to disclose their relationship to any of the agencies or elements in the story, and without a sign of that organic development which is the distinguishing characteristic of Wagner's creative style. Reyer's orchestration is discreet and free from all taint of that instrumental VolapŘk which is so marked in the Young Italian school. His subject invites the use of Oriental intervals, and he employs them with the discretion which is noticeable in "A´da," but not with Verdi's effectiveness. Some of his devices are admirable, others simply bizarre. As a whole the music is monotonous in character and color, but it is dignified and earnest, and for this it deserves praise.

Mme. Sembrich had absented herself from Mr. Grau's company in the season 1900-01 in order to make a tour of the country with a small opera company of her own; she returned to the Metropolitan fold in the next season, however, and has not been errant since. The newcomers in 1901-02 were de Marchi, the tenor, who sang first in "A´da" on January 17, 1902; Albert Reiss, a German tenor and specialist in Wagner's Mime, and Tavecchia, bass. The last-named made no deep impression, and faded out of view, but Mr. Reiss has been a strong prop of the Wagnerian performances ever since, and has proved himself an exceedingly useful artist in many respects. Mr. Walter Damrosch joined Mr. Grau's forces as conductor of the German operas; with him were associated Signor Sepilli and M. Flon. The record of the subscription season embraced thirty-three subscription evenings, eleven subscription matinÚes, the same number of popular priced performances on Saturday nights, nine extra performances, including four afternoons devoted to "The Ring of the Nibelung," and a gala performance in honor of Prince Henry of Prussia. The additions to the institution's repertory consisted of "Messaline," by Isidore de Lara, and "Manru," by Ignace Jan Paderewski. Concerning these novelties I shall have a word to say presently; the importance of the German prince's visit, from a social point of view, asks that it receive precedence in the narrative of the season's doings. This right royal incident took place on the evening of February 25, 1902. The opera house never looked so beautiful before, nor has it looked so beautiful since, as when it was garbed to welcome the nation's guest, a brother of the German Emperor. The material most used in adorning the house was Southern smilax, which all but hid all that is ordinarily seen of the auditorium and the corridors. All the box and balcony fronts were covered with it, and strings of it hung at the sides of the proscenium opening from the top of the opening to the stage. These strips of green foliage were thickly studded with white and green electric lights. The same scheme was carried out above the stage opening, where long garlands of smilax, gleaming with tiny white and green lamps, were hung in festoons, while the apex was formed by a standard of American and German flags and shields. On the balcony and box fronts the screens of smilax were relieved with frequent bunches of azaleas and marguerites, and with stars of white lamps shining through the green. The royal box was formed by removing the partitions separating five boxes in the middle of the lower tier. The front was decorated with American beauty roses, in addition to the smilax. The interior was hung with crimson velvet, and across its front was a canopy of crimson velvet and white satin. Behind the royal box the corridor on which it opened was cut off from the other boxes by hangings of tapestry. One of the most beautiful effects of all was made by the ceiling, where the chandeliers shone through a network of strings of smilax and white and green electric lights radiating from the center like the strands of a cobweb. As may be guessed, the brilliancy of the audience was in harmony with that of the audience-room. The price of tickets for the stalls on the main floor was thirty dollars, and the chairs in the other parts of the room cost proportionately. Persons who could pay such sums to witness the function could also afford to dress well, and at no public affair in my time has New York seen such a display of gowns and jewels. The musical program was elaborate, but that was the least important feature of the evening. Mr. Grau had determined to disclose the entire strength of his company, and to that end, settling the order in some diplomatic manner, into the


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