excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 25-26 (308 words)

excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 25-26 (308 words)

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Thirty Years of Musical Life in London

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The terrors of the Franco-Prussian war (1870-1871) drove to London large numbers of refugees, many of them celebrities connected with the leading musical and dramatic institutions of Paris...Then it was that I went to Covent Garden and heard for the first time Adelina Patti, Pauline Lucca, Scalchi, Tamberlik, Mario, Bettini, Faure, Cotogni, Tagliafico; or, at Her Majesty's, Christine Nilsson, Tietjens, Trebelli, Marimon, Lima di Murska, Mongini, Gardoni, Capoul, Wachtel, Agnesi, Eota, Santley, Foli, Carl Formes. Then it was that in the concert-room I listened to the still marvellous voices of Alboni, Carlotta Patti, and Sims Reeves; heard delightedly the glorious playing of such violinists as Sivori, Vieuxtemps, Wieniawski, Neruda, and Joachim ; and reveled in the never-to-be-forgotten art of Clara Schumann and Alfredo Piatti. Looking back after thirty years, and with every wish to avoid the objectionable manner of the laudator temporis acii, it seems to me that that was a veritable "age of giants," a period of artistic constellations which, as far as London at least is concerned, has never since been approached. Among the most interesting of the French refugees of 1871 were the members of the Comedie Franchise. They gave a memorable series of representations at one of the London theatres, selecting for it most of the gems of their matchless repertoire, with casts that included such artists as Got, Delauny, Mounet-Sully, Worms, Febvre, the Coquelins, Mmes. Sarah Bernhardt, Blanche Pier- son, Bartet, Barretta, Keichemberg, and Samary. If I am not mistaken, it was during this season that Sarah Bernhardt made her London debut. I saw her for the first time in her exquisite embodiment of Dona Sol in Victor Hugo's "Hernani." My father, who saw her in "Andromaque" and "Phedre," told me that he considered her little, if aught, inferior to the celebrated Rachel, whose triumphs he had often witnessed in Paris during the "forties."

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excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 25-26 (308 words)


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