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Forest Shadows ") ; and the act closes with a beautiful
concerted finale, quintet and chorus, which is worked up
with great power. In this finale the despairing Lionel
bethinks him of his ring. He gives it to Plunkett, desir-
ing him to present it to the Queen. By means of the
jewel it is discovered that he is the only son of the late
Earl of Derby, and she orders his estates, of which he has
been unjustly deprived, to be restored to him.

The last act is not important in a musical sense, for the
climax is attained in the previous finale. The dramatic
denouement is soon reached, and the Lady Henrietta,
who has for some time been seriously in love with Lionel,
is at last united to him ; and it is almost needless to add
that the fortunes of Plunkett and Nancy are also joined.
The charm of " Martha " is its liveliness in action and
tunefulness in music. Though not a great opera from a
musical point of view, it is one of the most popular in the
modern repertory, and though few others have been per-
formed so many times, it still retains that popularity. Its
melodies, though sung in every country of the civilized
world by amateurs and professional artists, have not yet
lost their charm.

Stradella

" Stradella," romantic opera in three acts, was first
written as a lyric drama and produced at the Palais Royal
Theatre, Paris, in 1837, and was subsequently rewritten in
its present form under the title of " Alessandro Stradella "
and produced at Hamburg, December 30, 1844. The
English version, which was somewhat altered by Bunn,
was produced in London, June 6, 1846. The story follows



96 THE STANDARD OPERAS

the historic narrative of Stradella, the Italian musician,
except in the denouement. Stradella woos and wins
Leonora, the fair ward of Bassi, a rich Venetian nobleman,
with whom the latter is himself in love. They fly to
Rome and are married. Bassi hires two bravoes, Bar-
barino and Malvolio, to follow them and kill Stradella.
They track him to his house, and while the bridal party
are absent enter and conceal themselves, Bassi being with
them. Upon this occasion, however, they do not wait to
accomplish their purpose. Subsequently they gain admis-
sion again in the guise of pilgrims, and are hospitably
received by Stradella. In the next scene Stradella,
Leonora, and the two bravoes are together in the same
apartment, singing the praises of their native Italy. Dur-
ing their laudations the chorus of a band of pilgrims on
their way to the shrine of the Virgin is heard, and Leo-
nora and Stradella go out to greet them. The bravoes
have been so moved by Stradella's singing that they hesi-
tate in their purpose. Bassi enters and upbraids them,
and finally, by the proffer of a still larger sum, induces
them to consent to carry out his design. They conceal
themselves. Stradella returns and rehearses a Hymn to the
Virgin which he is to sing at the festivities on the morrow.
Its exquisite beauty touches them so deeply that they
rush out of their hiding-place, and falling at his feet con-
fess the object of their visit and implore his forgiveness.
Leonora enters, and is astonished to find her guardian
present. Explanations follow, a reconciliation is effected,
and the lovers are happy. The denouement differs from
the historical story, which, according to Bonnet, Bourdelot,
and others, ends with the death of the lovers at Genoa, at
the hands of the hired assassins.

The opera is one of the most charming of Flotow's
works for its apt union of very melodious music with dra-
matic interest. Its most beautiful numbers are Stradella's



FLOTOW 97

serenade ("Horch, Liebchen, horch!"), the following
nocturne (" Durch die Thaler, iiber Hiigel "), the brilliant
and- animated carnival chorus (" Freudesausen, Jubelbrau-
sen ") of the masqueraders who assist in the elopement, in
the first act ; the aria of Leonora in her bridal chamber
(" Seid meiner Wonne"), the rollicking drinking-song of
the two bravoes (" 'Raus mit dem Nass aus dem Fass ")
and the bandit ballad ("Tief in den Abruzzen") sung by
Stradella, in the second act ; an exquisite terzetto (" Sag
doch an, Freund Barbarino ") sung by Bassi and the two
bravoes when they hesitate to perform their work, and
Stradella's lovely Hymn to the Virgin ("Jungfrau Maria!
Himmlisch verklarte"), in the last act.



GENEE

FRANZ FRIEDRICH RICHARD GENEE, a Ger-
man light opera composer, was born at Danzig,
February 7, 1823, and died at Baden, June 15, 1895.
His first studies were in medicine, but he soon aban-
doned them and went to Berlin and studied music.
Between the years 1848 and 1867 he was theatre capell-
meister in ten different places in Germany, Bohemia,
and Holland, and from 1868 to 1878 held the same
position at the theatre An der Wien, Vienna. His prin-
cipal operas are "Der Geiger aus Tirol" (1857); "Die
Generalprobe," and "Am Runenstein," — the last with
Flotow (1868); "Der Seekadett" (1876); " Nanon,"
"Die Piraten," and "Die Dreizehn " (1887). Besides
his operettas, he wrote several librettos for Millocker,
Suppe, and Strauss, J.

Nanon

"Nanon," opera comique, in three acts, text by Zell,
was first produced in Vienna in 1877. The scene is laid
in Paris in the time of Louis XIV. The first act opens at
the inn of the Golden Lamb, near the gates of Paris, kept
by Nanon, who has become so famous for her wit and
beauty that the Marquis de Marsillac, director of the Royal
Theatre, takes his nephew Hector there to see her. Thither
also goes Ninon de l'Enclos, the famous beauty, to get a
sight of Nanon, who, she suspects, has attracted the atten-
tions of her own lover, the Marquis d'Aubigne. She is told
that Nanon is to be married to Grignan, the drummer, and
returns to the city with her suspicions allayed. Grignan,



GENEE



99



however, is in reality the Marquis, who, in the disguise of
a drummer, intends to abduct Nanon. After a serenade
to her she surprises him with a proposal of marriage ; but
when everything is ready for the ceremony, the Marquis
secures his own arrest by his colonel on account of a duel.
While grieving over the arrest, Nanon receives a ring and
some friendly assurances from Gaston, the page of Ninon
de PEnclos, and thereupon turns to her for help in rescuing
the supposed Grignan from death, which is the penalty for
duelling.

The second act opens in Ninon's salon. Marsillac, his
nephew, and an abbe, who is one of Ninon's lovers and
confessor of Mine, de Maintenon, are present at a ball,
likewise D'Aubigne, who is reproached by Ninon for having
remained away so long and forgotten her birthday. To
escape embarrassment he sings to her the same serenade
he had sung to Nanon. Shortly afterwards Nanon arrives
to seek Ninon's aid in saving Grignan. In the meantime
D'Aubigne, jealous of Hector, because he pays court both
to Nanon and Ninon, challenges him, and they hurry into
the latter's garden and settle their quarrel with the sword.
During their absence Marsillac, who has noted Grignan's
serenade, also sings it, accompanied by the musicians of the
court chapel, but is only laughed at for his trouble. When
D'Aubigne returns from the duel, he is asked to clear up the
mystery of this song ; but before he can do so the guard,
who has seen the duel, enters and arrests Hector, who
has been wounded, and refuses to give the name of his
opponent.

The third act opens in the private chapel of Mme. de
Maintenon, where the Abbe sings to her the same serenade
in the form of a hymn. Marsillac appears to ask for
Hector's pardon, and receives it, when it appears that
D'Aubigne was the challenging party. D'Aubigne there-
upon congratulates Ninon upon her birthday with the



ioo THE STANDARD OPERAS

serenade, and Marsillac repeats it. Ninon and Nanon next
appear to intercede for their lovers, D'Aubigne and Grig-
nan. The King presents Nanon with the life of Grignan,
and she in turn, recognizing Grignan, presents the pardon
to Ninon. Touched by her generosity, Grignan offers
Nanon his hand, and Mme. de Maintenon, who is some-
what uneasy at the King's evident admiration for Nanon,
gives her consent, and she is made Marquise d'Aubigne.

The music of " Nanon " is gay and brilliant throughout.
The principal numbers are the serenade, a minstrel's song,
as it is usually designated ("Ah ! what a joyful Day is this ;
I am so full of Glee"), which is heard in various forms in
all three acts \ the opening drinking-choruses ; Nanon's
ballad ("Once before this Tavern straying"); the jolly
chorus of the country relatives (" Here we come in Troops
of Dozens, Uncles, Nephews, Aunts, and Cousins ") ;
Gaston's ballad ("All that Frenchmen now will heed") ;
Hector's song ("Young appearing"), in the second
act; and the lively concerted finale of the last act.



GLUCK

CHRISTOPH WILLIBALD GLUCK, one of the
most eminent of German operatic composers, was
born at Weidenwang, in the Upper Palatinate, July 2, 1714.
He began his musical studies in a Bohemian Jesuits' School
at the age of twelve. In his eighteenth year he went to
Prague, where he continued his education with Czern-
horsky. Four years later he was fortunate enough to
secure Prince Melzi for a patron, who sent him to Milan,
where he completed his studies with Sammartini. From
1 741 to 1745 he produced numerous operas, which were
well received, and in the latter year visited London, where
he brought out several works, among them "La Caduta
de' Giganti." His English experience was far from satis-
factory, and he soon returned to Germany, stopping at Paris
on the way, where Rameau's operas had a strong influence
upon him. From 1746 to 1762 he wrote a large number
of operas, with varying success so far as performance was
concerned, but with great and lasting benefit to his style
and fame, as was shown when his " Orpheus " was first pro-
duced, October 5, 1762. Its success determined him at
once to acquaint the musical world with his purpose to re-
form the opera by making it dramatically musical instead
of purely lyric, thus paving the way for the great innovator
of Baireuth. "Alceste," produced in 1767, was the first
embodiment of these ideas. Strong criticism greeted it,
to which he replied with " Iphigenie en Aulide," written
in 1772, and performed for the first time in Paris two years
later, under the auspices of Marie Antoinette, who had
once been his pupil. It was followed by "Orpheus and



102 THE STANDARD OPERAS

Eurydice," adapted from his earlier work of the same name,
which met with brilliant success. In 1777 he brought out
"Armide." It aroused an unprecedented excitement.
Piccini was at that time in Paris. He was the representa-
tive of the old Italian school. His partisans gathered about
him, and a furious war was waged between the Gluckists
and Piccinists for three or four years ; the combatants dis-
playing a bitterness of criticism and invective even worse
than that which Wagner brought down upon his devoted
head. When Gluck brought out his great work, " Iphigenie
en Tauride," in 1779, however, the Piccinists quitted the
field and acknowledged the reformer's superiority. "Echo
et Narcisse " was written in the same year, but " Iphigenie
en Tauride " was his last great work. He retired shortly
afterwards to Vienna, where he died November 15, 1787.

Orpheus .
"Orpheus," the libretto by the Italian poet Calzabigi,
was first produced at Vienna, October 5, 1762, and for
the first time outlined the new ideas which Gluck had ad-
vanced for the reform of the lyric stage. Twelve years
later the composer revised the work. Several new num-
bers were added, its acts were extended to three, and the
principal role was rewritten for a high tenor in place of the
alto, to whom it had been originally assigned. In this
form it was brought out at the Paris Academie, August 2,
1774. In 1859 it was revived in Paris, for which occasion
Berlioz restored the original alto part for Mme. Viardot-
Garcia. With its performances in this country by the
American Opera Troupe, during the season of 1 885-1 886,
under the direction of Mr. Theodore Thomas, the Ameri-
can public is familiar. The three soloists during that
season were Helene Hastreiter, Emma Juch, and Minnie
Dilthey, and its first performance was in New York, January
8, 1886.



GLUCK



103



The story, except in its denouement, closely follows the
antique legend. After performing the funeral rites of
Eurydice, Orpheus resolves to seek for her in the world of
Shades, having received permission from Zeus upon con-
dition that he will not look upon her until they have safely
returned. Orpheus descends to Hades ; and though his
way is barred by phantoms, his pleading appeals and the
tender tones of his lute induce them to make way for him.
He finds Eurydice in the Elysian fields, and taking her by
the hand leads her on to the upper world. In a fatal
moment he yields to her desire to see him, and she sinks
back lifeless. Love, however, comes to the rescue, and
full of compassion, restores her. Thus the happy lovers are
reunited ; and the opera closes without the tragic denoue-
ment of the old myth. In the American performances
the opera was divided into four acts, which is the order
followed here.

The short overture is characterized by a grandeur and
solemnity that well befit the pathetic story. The curtain
rises upon a grotto containing the tomb of Eurydice,
against which Orpheus mournfully leans, while upon its
steps youths and maidens are strewing flowers as they
chant the sombre song, " Ah ! in our still and mournful
Meadow." The sad wail of Orpheus upon the single
word " Eurydice " is heard through its strains, which con-
tinually increase in solemnity. At last, as if too much to
bear, Orpheus interrupts their threnody with the words,
" The Sounds of your Lament increase my bitter Anguish."
The chorus in reply resumes its melancholy tribute to
Eurydice and then retires, leaving Orpheus alone, who in
a monologue full of pathos and sorrow (" My Eurydice !
my Eurydice ! lost forever"), sings his grief and implores
the gods to restore his loved one. In answer to his prayer,
Amor, god of love, appears and announces that the gods
have been moved to compassion ; and if his song and lyre



io 4 THE STANDARD OPERAS

can appease the phantoms, death shall give back Eurydice
upon the conditions already named. The act closes with
the joyful song of Orpheus, " Will pitying Heaven with
wondrous Favor restore mine own?"

The second act opens in the abysses of the underworld.
Flames shoot up amid great masses of rock and from
yawning caverns, throwing their lurid glare upon the phan-
toms, who, writhing in furious indignation, demand in wild
and threatening chorus, as the tones of Orpheus's lyre are
heard, " Who through this awful Place, thinking alive to
pass, rashly dares venture here?" Madly they call upon
Cerberus " to kill thy new Prey here." The barking of the
triple-headed monster is heard in the tones of the orches-
tra. They surround Orpheus as he approaches, and with
renewed clamor continue this thrilling chorus. In the
midst of its cruel intensity is heard the appealing voice of
Orpheus (" In Pity be moved by my Grief"). With over-
whelming wrath comes the reiterated monosyllable, " No,"
from the Furies, — one of the most daring and powerful
effects ever made in dramatic music, — followed by an-
other appalling chorus, as they announce to him, " These
are the Depths of Hell, where the Avengers dwell." At
last they are touched by the charm of his music and the
sorrow of his story ; and as their fury dies away, the song
of Orpheus grows more exultant as he contemplates the
reunion with Eurydice.

The gates of the lower world are opened, and in the
third act Orpheus enters Elysium. The "scene begins with
a tender, lovely song by Eurydice and her companions
("In this tranquil and lovely Abode of the Blest"), the
melody taken by the flute with string accompaniment.
All is bright and cheerful and in striking contrast with the
gloom and terror of the Stygian scene we have just left.
After a short recitative (" How mild a Day, without a
Noon "), Orpheus seeks her. She is brought to him by a




Schalchi as Oi'Pheus



GLUCK 105

crowd of shadows; and breaking out in joyful song he
takes her by the hand and turns his face to the upper
world.

The fourth act is almost entirely an impassioned duet
between Orpheus and Eurydice. He releases her hand
for fear that he may turn and look upon her. Eurydice
chides him ("Am I changed or grown old that thou wilt
not behold me?"). In vain he urges her to follow him.
She upbraids him for his coldness, and demands one
glance as a test of his love. He still refuses, and then
she sorrowfully bids him farewell. At last, overcome with
weariness and sorrow, he gazes upon her ; and at that in-
stant she falls lifeless. Then Orpheus breaks out in that
immortal song, the " Che faro senz' Eurydice " (" I have
lost my Eurydice"), the beauty and pathos of which
neither time nor change of musical custom can ever mar.
He is about to take his life with his sword ; but Amor
suddenly appears upon the scene, stays his hand, and tells
him the gods are moved by his sufferings. He restores
Eurydice to life, and the opera closes with a beautiful
terzetto in Love's temple. The denouement is followed
by ballet music. *



GOETZ

HERMANN GOETZ, to whose life attaches a mourn-
ful interest, was born at Konigsberg, December 17,
1840. He had no regular instruction in music until his
seventeenth year. At that period he began his studies
with Kohler, and then passed successively under the tuition
of Stern, Ulrich, and Von Btilow. At the age of twenty-three
he obtained a position as organist at Winterthur, and also
taught at Zurich. It was during this time that he com-
posed his opera, " The Taming of the Shrew," while strug-
gling with actual poverty. For years he attempted to secure
a hearing for his opera; but it was not until 1874 that its
great merit was recognized, for in that year it was produced
at Mannheim with instant success. Its fame travelled all
over Germany. It was performed in Vienna in 1875, and
the same year in Leipsic and Berlin, and reached London
in 1878. It was not heard in this country until the season
of 1 885-1 886, when it was produced by the American Opera
Company. The composer did not live long enough, how-
ever, to enjoy the fruits of his work, as he died in 1876.
He also left behind him an unfinished score of a second
opera, " Francesca di Rimini," which was completed by
his friend Franke at his request, but proved a failure. His
other works include a symphony in F, a suite for orchestra,
and many chamber compositions.

The Taming of the Shrew

"The Taming of the Shrew," as related in the sketch
of the composer's life, was written about the year 1863,
and first produced at Mannheim in 1872. Its first



GOETZ 107

performance in this country was in January, 1886, when
the cast was as follows :

Katharine Pauline L'Allemand.

Bianca Kate Bensberg.

Petruchio William H. Lee.

Baptista W. H. Hamilton.

Litcoitio W. H. Fessenden.

Hortensio Alonzo Stoddard.

A Tailor John Howson.

The libretto is freely adapted from Shakespeare's comedy
by Joseph Victor Widmann. The plot is very simple.
Baptista, a rich Paduan gentleman, has two daughters, —
Katharine, the shrew, and Bianca, of sweet and lovable
disposition. Both Hortensio and Lucentio are in love
with Bianca; but the obdurate father will not listen to
either until Katharine shall have been married. In this
apparently hopeless situation a gleam of comfort appears
in the suit which the rich gallant Petruchio of Verona pays
to Katharine, in disgust with the sycophants who have
been manifesting such deference to his wealth. The re-
mainder of the story is occupied with the details of the
various processes by which he breaks and tames the shrew,
and the ingenious ruse by which Lucentio gains the hand
of the lovely Bianca.

The curtain rises upon a night scene in Padua, with Lu-
centio before Bianca's house singing a melodious serenade.
Its strains are interrupted, however, by a hurly-burly in
the house, caused by the shrew's demonstrations. The
tumult is transferred to the street, and gives occasion for
a very vigorous ensemble. When the crowd disperses,
Lucentio resumes his serenade, Bianca appears upon the
balcony, and the two join in a very pleasing duet. The
number is also interrupted by Hortensio, at the head of a
band of street musicians, who has also come to serenade
his mistress. The encounter of the two lovers brings on a



108 THE STANDARD OPERAS

quarrel, which is averted, however, by the interposition of
Baptista. A duet follows between them, at the close of
which Lucentio retires. Petruchio now appears upon the
scene, and learns from Hortensio of Katharine's vixenish
disposition, which determines him to woo her. With a
stirring song (" She is a Wife for such a Man created"),
the act comes to an end.

The second act opens in a chamber in Baptista's house,
where Katharine is berating Bianca for accepting serenades
from suitors, and abuses her even to blows. The scene
closes with a vigorous song for Katharine (" I '11 give my-
self to no one "), which is greeted with cynical applause by
Petruchio, Baptista, Lucentio, and Hortensio, who enter,
the last two disguised as teachers. In the next scene,
Petruchio and Katharine alone, we have the turbulent
wooing, which is accompanied throughout by characteristic
music. As the others return Petruchio announces his suc-
cess in the song, " All is well," the theme of which is taken
by the quintet, closing the act.

The third is the most interesting act of the three. It
opens on the day selected for the wedding of Katharine
and Petruchio, in Baptista's garden; the first, number
being a charming quintet for Katharine, Bianca, Lucentio,
Hortensio, and Baptista. The guests are present, but
Petruchio is not there. An explanation is made, followed
by a chorus as the guests leave ; and then Bianca is free
to take her lessons, in one of which Lucentio makes his
avowal of love to her. The arrangement of the two lessons
is both unique and skilful. Lucentio turns the familiar
opening lines of the yEneid (" Arma virumque cano," etc.),
into a love song by declarations interposed between them ;
while Hortensio explains the mysteries of the scale to her,
each line of his love song beginning with one of its letters.
It is soon found, however, that Lucentio is the accepted
lover. Baptista now enters and announces Petruchio's



GOETZ



109



return, which leads to a charming quartet. The finale
of the opera, which is very spirited, includes the prepara-
tions for the marriage feast, the wedding, and the scene
in which Petruchio abruptly forces his bride to leave with
him for his country house.



GOLDMARK

KARL GOLDMARK was born at Keszthely, Hungary,
May 1 8, 1832. He first studied with the violinist
Jansa at Vienna, and in his fifteenth year entered the Con-
servatory in that city. Little is known of the events of his
early life. Indeed, his success in his profession is gen-
erally credited more to his native ability and industry than
to the influence of teachers or schools. He began compo-
sition at an early period, and produced his works in con-
certs with much success under the encouragement of
Hellmesberger and others, who recognized his ability
before he had made any impression out of Vienna. Four
of his compositions, the " Sakuntala " overture, the operas
"The Queen of Sheba" and "Merlin," and "Die land-
liche Hochzeit " (" The Country Wedding ") symphony
have made a permanent reputation for him. The overture
and operas have been performed many times in this country.
Besides these he has written several pieces of chamber
music.

The Queen of Sheba

" The Queen of Sheba " was first produced in Vienna,
March 10, 1875, an< ^ was ^ rst near d in this country at New
York, December 2, 1885, when the cast was as follows:

King Solomon Herr Robinson.

High Priest Herr Fischer.

Sulamitk Frl. Lehmann.

Assad Herr Stritt.

Baal Hanan Herr Alexi.

Queen of Sheba Frau Kramer-Weidl.

Astaroth Frl. Brandt.

The libretto by Mosenthal is one of rare excellence in
its skilful treatment of situations and arrangement of scenes



GOLDMARK in

with the view to spectacular and dramatic effect. The
Biblical story has but little to do with the action of the
opera beyond the mere fact of the famous visit of the
Queen of Sheba to Solomon. The stirring episodes during
the journey and the visit spring from the librettist's imag-
ination. The story in substance is as follows :



Online LibraryGeorge P. (George Putnam) UptonThe standard operas: their plots, their music, and their composers → online text (page 8 of 37)