excerpt from 'Naples and the Campagna Felice. In a series of letters, addressed to a friend in England, in 1802' pp. 18-19 (335 words)

excerpt from 'Naples and the Campagna Felice. In a series of letters, addressed to a friend in England, in 1802' pp. 18-19 (335 words)

part of

Naples and the Campagna Felice. In a series of letters, addressed to a friend in England, in 1802

original language

urn:iso:std:iso:639:ed-3:eng

in pages

18-19

type

text excerpt

encoded value

[Letter II] Before I close this long letter, I must give you a short description of a curious theatrical representation, at which I was present some days ago. The title of Saul induced me to expect a sacred oratorio; instead of which, I found the whole of the biblical narrative dramatized into a complete opera, not even omitting the incantations of the witch of Endor. The Neapolitans are more unreasonable than the ancient Romans; they would have carnem et circenses even in Lent-time: the former, I understand, they have been indulged with by a special, but by no means gratuitous, dispensation from the Holy See; and their eagerness for the latter has been gratified by the sacred kind of opera just mentioned, in which Signora P. made her first debût as a singer, in the character of David, and, I am told, attracted the particular notice of a British officer of rank. She is not yet a great singer, but bids fair to be one; her intonation is full and sweet, and her compass great: science, and an action more dégagée and adapted to the stage, is all she wants; and which, at her age, she has time to acquire, for she does not appear to be more than sixteen. Add to this, a lovely face and figure, much resembling our Miss D.'s, and you will not tax me with unreasonable partiality. Mombelli, the first tenor, acted King Saul admirably: although he is d'un certain age, his voice penetrated every part of the house; but it is in the recitativos he is most impressive, and, I think, unrivalled: his figure, step, and action, frequently put me in mind of Kemble. The music, Guglielmi's as I am told, has great merit; and a harp air in particular, of David's (not a psalm) in a minor key, was extremely affecting. Upon the whole, justice was not done to the composer by the orchestra, which was sensibly inferior to our's at the King's Theatre.

 

[Letter II] Before I close this long letter, I must give you a short description of a curious theatrical representation, at which I was present some days ago. The title of Saul induced me to expect a sacred oratorio; instead of which, I found the whole of the biblical narrative dramatized into a complete opera, not even omitting the incantations of the witch of Endor. The Neapolitans are more unreasonable than the ancient Romans; they would have carnem et circenses even in Lent-time: the former, I understand, they have been indulged with by a special, but by no means gratuitous, dispensation from the Holy See; and their eagerness for the latter has been gratified by the sacred kind of opera just mentioned, in which Signora P. made her first debût as a singer, in the character of David, and, I am told, attracted the particular notice of a British officer of rank. She is not yet a great singer, but bids fair to be one; her intonation is full and sweet, and her compass great: science, and an action more dégagée and adapted to the stage, is all she wants; and which, at her age, she has time to acquire, for she does not appear to be more than sixteen. Add to this, a lovely face and figure, much resembling our Miss D.'s, and you will not tax me with unreasonable partiality. Mombelli, the first tenor, acted King Saul admirably: although he is d'un certain age, his voice penetrated every part of the house; but it is in the recitativos he is most impressive, and, I think, unrivalled: his figure, step, and action, frequently put me in mind of Kemble. The music, Guglielmi's as I am told, has great merit; and a harp air in particular, of David's (not a psalm) in a minor key, was extremely affecting. Upon the whole, justice was not done to the composer by the orchestra, which was sensibly inferior to our's at the King's Theatre.

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excerpt from 'Naples and the Campagna Felice. In a series of letters, addressed to a friend in England, in 1802' pp. 18-19 (335 words)

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