excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 19-20 (303 words)

excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 19-20 (303 words)

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Thirty Years of Musical Life in London

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Theresa Tietjens was one of the few leading sopranos of her time (Adelina Patti was also one; Emma Albani, another) who could be regarded as equally distinguished interpreters of oratorio and opera. If Lemmens-Sherrington, being a born Englishwoman, could claim to be the legitimate successor of Clara Novello, the position of the dramatic "star" of oratorio was no less truly shared by Rudersdorff and Tietjens, until the former took up her residence in the United States (1872), leaving her friend and rival to reign supreme. Hearing Tietjens as I did in oratorio, then, some years before I knew her in opera, I was enabled to judge even more accurately of the wonderful effect that resulted from the combination of her histrionic and vocal powers. On the stage she was a tragedienne in the highest sense of the term. The opportunity of arriving at that conclusion was afforded me by the artist herself when I was in my sixteenth year. And the memory of her glorious impersonation, on that occasion, of Valentine ("Les Huguenots") has never faded, notwithstanding the profound impression subsequently created by her embodiments of Lucrezia Borgia, Norma, Medea, Donna Anna, Semir amide, Countess Almaviva, Ortrud (one of her later efforts), and, perhaps greatest of all, Leonora in "Fidelio." I witnessed two of her performances as Lucrezia Borgia which deserve special mention. The first of these (May 4, 1872) took place at Drury Lane, and was remarkable not only for the exceptional beauty and grandeur of Tietjens's assumption, but because on that night Italo Campanini made his debut in London as Gennaro, and was forthwith hailed (somewhat prematurely, however) as the successor of Mario and Giuglini. The cast further included Faure as the Duke and the ever-delightful Zelia Trebelli as Maffio Orsini, while Sir Michael Costa was the conductor. That was a night of triumphs.

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excerpt from 'Thirty Years of Musical Life in London, 1870-1900' pp. 19-20 (303 words)


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