Most Brilliant Season Pre
dicted What Is Being
Done to Make Classic
By E S A EDGERTON.
year the general Amer
ican reading public is becoming
mor and more interested in
grand opera. This is not only
true in the larger cities where classic
music is now heard, but in all sections
and among all classes. While some
who speak no tongue but English re
fuse to grow wildly enthusiastic over
songs sung in Italian, French or tier
man, others recognize that music has
a. universal language that transcends
any mere differences in words. No
one who loves a concourse of sweet
sounds could fail to be moved by the
mystic significance of Wagner's "Par
sifal" or Gounod's "Faust" or to re
spond to the magnificent sextet in
"Lucia," the duet in the "Marriage of
Figaro" or half a hundred other splen
did passages, even though these were
rendered in Choctaw or Chinese.
The year now opening promises to
be the most brilliant in the history of
grand opera in America. The center,
of course, is New York, where both
the Manhattan and Metropolitan have
put on several of the new successes of
Europe and have gathered the leading
singers from all the world. The Man
hattan singers.will also appear at Mr.
Hammerstein's branch house in Phil
adelphia, while the Metropolitan is
keeping up a chain of opera houses
one in Baltimore, one in Boston and
one in Brooklyn. In addition, it will
give two operas each week in the New
theater of New York, the famous house
that was built by J. P. Morgan, the
iVanderbilts and other New York mil
lionaires and at its opening was pro
nounced by the regular theatrical
critic of the London Times, who came
across the ocean to witness the event,
the equal of anything in Europe. The
New theater is the first endowed
amusement house in America.
A Milder Salome.
The opening at the Manhattan on
Monday evening. Nov. 8, was as full of
color, sparkle and enthusiasm as any
over witnessed at the Metropolitan,
with its famous horseshoe diamond
and all the rest. There was a packed
house notwithstanding the fact that
on the same evening the New theater
*vas formally opened to the public and
*ihe Metropolitan Opera company start
ed its season at the Academy of Music
"In Brooklyn. The opera was Masse
net's "Herodiade," given for the first
time in America. "Herodiade" is a
milder and less erotic form of the
""Salome" theme which stirred up such
a riot in the musical and religious
"worlds a few years ago. Massenet's
Salome is conventional and respectable
compared to the one created by Oscar
Wilde and Strauss. Indeed, she is al
most a perfect lady. For my single
self I prefer the Massenet version
even if it does lack, or, rather, because
:it lacks, the disgusting scene of slab
'bering over the bloody head of John
"the Baptist. In the Manhattan open
ring Salome was sung by Lina Cava
lieri, who gained her triumph last
year in the same house, Herodias by
Mme. Gerville-Reache, Herod by Mau
.rice Renaud and John the Baptist by
'Charles Dalmores, who lent dignity to
ithe character and dominated the entire
The sensation of the Manhattan sea
son will be Richard Strauss' "Elektra."
As Strauss before gave such a boost
to the Hammerstein opera he will be
depended on to do it again. Not only
"Elektra," which, was a European suc
cess of last year, but "Feuersnoth," an
earlier work of Strauss, will also be
on. In addition will be other op
eras by Massenet and all the old fa
vorites, such, as "Thais," "Faust,"
"Aida." "The Daughter of the "Regi-
ment." "Lucia," "Cavalleria R"~
cana, "Lohengrin" and many
iThe leading singers, besides t!ir
World's Leading Singers En
gaged-Several New Song
BirdsTo Extend Chain
of Opera Houses.
ready mentioned as appearing in the
opening, are the old Manhattan favor
ites, like Mary Garden, Tetrazzini and
Mme. d'Alvarez, who sang in the pre
liminary season last fall and made
such a favorable impression that she
was retained as one of the leaders for
the regular season. In this she was
more fortunate than others of large
promise who were tried out in the
preliminary affair, such, as Carasa, who
was widely heralded as a newly risen
star, but proved a disappointment.
How Hammerstein Makes Money.
On the last night of his preliminary
season Hammerstein made his inevita
ble speech, In which, he congratulated
himself that 150,000 people had attend
ed this popular priced opera, and he
therefore considered that he had edu
cated 150,000 people into a higher ap
preciation of classic music. Financial
ly he had succeeded also. He had ex
pected to lose $75,000, but had lost only
$50,000 therefore he had made $25,000.
Too high a tribute cannot be paid
to Oscar Hammerstein. When he
started the Manhattan Opera House
a few years ago it was generally pre
dicted that it could not last a year.
Today it is one of the most famous
houses of its kind in the world. It
was and is Hammerstein's ambition to
popularize grand opera with the
masses. If he does that America
should rise up and call him blessed.
He has already made great strides to
ward, the goal. In the general artistic
movement now going on throughout
the nation the best music will play an
ever increasing part. Mr. Hammer
stein is not alone in the work of popu-
THE 0PEEATIC SEASON'S SONG
larizing grand opera. The Metropoli
tan has also extended its work to other
cities and is now planning to enter
Chicago in 1910. In the next few
years there will probably be a chain
of grand opera houses in all the large
cities of the land, just as there now
is in Europe.
A Bevy of Song Birds.
The Metropolitan program for the
year is equally notable with that at
the Manhattan, and its singers, espe
cially its men singers, are even more
famous. Among the new talent are
several Americans. In the list are
names already well known, although
they appear this year for the first time
in grand opera. Jane Noria, Alice
Neilsen, Anna Case and Vera Courte
nay are Americans who have won
fame. They are now being put on by
the Metropolitan. Of foreign new tal
ent are Mme. Delna, the foremost
French contralto, and Edouard Cle
ment, the famous tenor of the Opera
Comique of Paris. Among the old
favorites who return are names famil
iar to all music lovers. Enrico Caruso,
Alessandro Bonci, Antonio Scotti, Ger
aldine Farrar, Olive Fremstad, Jo
hanna Gadski and Mme. Nordica are
on the list.
Among the new singers there is one
at the Manhattan who should not be
overlooked. He is a young Irishman,
John McCormack, only twenty-five
years of age, but with several London
successes behind him. The story of
his rise is romantic. Born of poor par
ents, he was one day singing for a sick
person when he was overheard by a
woman of means. Struck by his voice,
she sent him to a famous music mas
ter of Italy, with whom he remained
two years. He scored a signal triumph
ton his intial performance In London,
and on his first appearance in New
York with Mme. Tetrazzini in "La
Traviata" this London triumph was
more than repeated.
Many of the new operas to be given
by the Metropolitan company will be
pfrt on at the New theater. Perhaps
the chief of those rendered at the Met
ropolitan itself will he "Germania," an
Italian composition, In which Caruso
Ballet and Comic Opera.
At both the Metropolitan and the
Manhattan the ballet will be given a
more prominent place than before, and
the opera comique will be introduced.
For the last Mr. Hammerstein is re
sponsible, as he is also for the bring
ing in of more French opera than has
previously been heard on the American
stage. This year the Metropolitan
makes it a rule to have each composi
tion sung in the language in which it
was originally written, a plan which
requires a largely increased number of
singers of different nationalities. This
is made possible by Its chain of opera
houses in other cities, allowing simul
taneous engagements. Thus while it
gives an Italian opera in New York it
can render one in German at Philadel
phia and perhaps one in French at the
New theater. The salaries of the sing
ers have a monotonous and heart
breaking habit of continuing whether
the recipients sing three times a week
or once a month. As some of these
salaries are up in the big figures and
none of them beggarly, it is to the in
terest of the company to use its talent
as much of the time as possible and
thus get the worth of its money.
The chain of opera houses is there
fore a godsend, and for this reason, if
for no other, there will be every effort
to extend it. The branching out will
be done by both the Metropolitan and
Manhattan. Hammerstein has already
tried Philadelphia, Boston and Chicago,
and, as already mentioned, the Metro
politan is running in Philadelphia,
Baltimore, Brooklyn and Boston, with
an eye toward Chicago. It is only a
question of time when Pittsburg, S
Louis and Washington will be added
to one or both circuits, and other cities
Some Operas In English.
It is a mistake to imagine that all
grand opera is sung in a foreign
tongue. This year the Metropolitan
will put on some English selections,
and if the Americans and British want
more of this sort all they need do is
to write operas of a grade that will be
acceptable and produce the singers to
render them. In the past very many
of the great composers have been Ger
mans and of the great singers Italians.
We have had some American compo
sers of a sort and not a few American
singers. Perhaps when we as a people
come to the full appreciation of grand
opera we shall also gain the power to
create and interpret it, but we are
hardly at that stage yet. Therefore
we have no right to complain if it is
not done in our language. Besides,
who cares for the language of an op
era? It has been said of the theater,
"The play's the thing," and just as
truly can it be said of the opera, "The
music's the thing." If we want to
read the actual words, which often are
commonplace and trite enough, we can
follow them in the printed translations.
Love and harmony form the burden of
grand opera, and love and harmony are
the same in all tongues. They belong
to the universal language of the heart.
Stamp For Tuberculosis Crusade.
The Red Cross Christmas stamp
crusade against tuberculosis promises
this year to be broader in extent than
ever before. While last year fewer than
20,000,000 stamps were sold, the pres
ent Indications point to a sale of near
ly 50,000,000 for this year. The Red
Cross stamps are issued by the Amer
ican National Red Cross and are sold
for 1 cent each. They are designed to
be placed upon letters and mail mat
ter during the holiday season. The
money derived from the sale of these
stamps will be devoted to tuberculosis
work in the localities in which the
stamps are sold. In this manner it is
expected that about $400,000 will be
realized for the campaign against tu
berculosis in all parts of the United
Use of Glass Bricks In Germany.
Glass bricks are coming Into com
mon nse In Germany to admit light
through walls that are required to be
fireproof and windowless.
T111C PK1JNUJBTQ3S UJN1UJN: ^flfrttBPAY, KQYEMBEB 1^1909.
wut take the leading role. For the
most part, however, reliance will be
placed on the old favorites,. Including
Wagner's, Gluck's and Von Suppe's S
masterpieces and others whose music 5
has been played by orchestras around jfE
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Princeton Minnesota 2
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