excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 243-4 (334 words)

excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 243-4 (334 words)

part of

Reminiscences of the Opera

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

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243-4

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In the meanwhile, one step had already been taken by Mademoiselle Lind, in retractation of her resolution to appear no more upon the boards of a theatre. After considerable discussion between the gentleman with whom the future destiny of the young singer was then under- stood to be linked, and myself — the stipulation that the concerts in which she was to take part, should take place at Exeter Hall and at Exeter Hall alone, was waived; and it was announced in the managerial prospectus that Mademoiselle Lind would sing in six concerts at Her Majesty's Theatre. The first of these "Grand Classical Performances," as they were termed, took place (within two days of the first appearance of Mademoiselle Parodi) on Thursday, the 15th April. The concert consisted of a "recital," as it would be called in modern musical phraseology, of Mozart's opera of "Il Flauto Magico" in its entirety, in the ordinary concert form, without "scenery, dresses, or decorations."

The result of this experiment was a perfect failure. Could it have been otherwise? Any device to treat a lyrical drama as if it were not a drama, or, in other words, to cheat a theatrical representation of its necessary appliances, so as to evade the "stage," could be nothing but a failure. The great masterpiece of Mozart without the essential accessories of scenery and action, without the illustrative resources which the composer himself contemplated, was simply rendered dreary and incomprehensible. Where was the well-known "Jenny Lind" crush? The house was comparatively empty. Where was the customary enthusiasm amounting to a mania? The applause was cold and feeble. The singer, who had been accustomed to hear those same walls ring with plaudits, could not but feel chilled at the faint and rare echoes of that night, so different from the noisy demonstrations of the previous year. The "Flauto Magico" was accordingly the first and last of these disappointing "grand classical performances," permission for which had been with so much difficulty wrung from Mademoiselle Lind.

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excerpt from 'Reminiscences of the Opera' pp. 243-4 (334 words)

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