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answer the requirements of artistic that stand out above the general level. reasonableness, and are, at the same Gluck's Orfeo is even more interesttime, beautiful. This cannot be said of ing since the dark shadow of Strauss's
. Cavalleria Rusticana (Rustic Chivalry Electra has appeared to throw it into
( - Heaven save the mark!), La Bo- relief. Once in a decade or two Orfeo hème, La Tosca, The Girl of the Golden is revived to reveal anew how nobly West, Thaïs (poison, infidelity, suicide, Gluck interpreted the old Greek story. sorcery, and religion mixed up in an in- And it must be remembered that Gluck tolerable mélange), Contes d'Hoffman (a lived in the latter part of the eightDon Juan telling his adventures in de eenth century, when music was quite tail) — these are bad art, not because inflexible in the matter of those dissothey are immoral, but because they are nances which are considered by moduntrue, distorted, without sense of the ern composers absolutely necessary to value of the material they employ. the expression of dramatic passion.
Operas which are both beautiful and After Gluck came Mozart with his reasonable do exist, and one or two of Don Giovanni, preserving the same balthem are actually in our present-day ance between action and emotion, with repertoire. The questions we have to an even greater unity of style and the ask are these: Can a highly imagina- same sincerity of utterance. Mozart tive and significant drama, in which possessed a supreme mastery over all action and reflection hold a proper bal- his material, and a unique gift for creance, in which some great and moving ating pure and lucid melody. In his passion or some elemental human mo- operas there is no admixture: his tragtives find true dramatic expression - edy and his comedy are alike purely can such a drama exist as opera ? Is it objective — and it is chiefly this quality possible to preserve the body and the which prevents our understanding them. spirit of drama and at the same time to We, in our day and age, cannot project preserve the body and spirit of music? ourselves into Mozart's milieu ; the Does not one of these have to give way tragedy at the close of Don Giovanni to the other? We want opera to be one moves us no whit because it is devoid thing, and not several. We want the of shrieking dissonances and thunders same unity which exists in other artis- of orchestral sound. Our nervous systic forms. We want to separate classic, tems are adjusted to instrumental cataromantic, and realistic. If opera chan- clysms. (We are conscious only of a ges from blank verse to rhymed verse, falling star; the serene and placid so to speak, we want the change to be Heavens look down on us in vain.) dictated by an artistic necessity as it is Could we hear Don Giovanni in a small in As You Like It. We want, above all, opera house sung in pure classic style, such a reasonable correspondence be- we should realize how beautiful it is; tween seeing and hearing as shall make we should no longer crave the overit possible for us to preserve each sense excitement and unrestrained passion unimpaired by the other. A few such of La Tosca; we should understand operas have been composed. A consid- that the deepest passion is expressible erable number approach this ideal. without tearing itself to tatters, and From Gluck's Orfeo (produced in 1762) that music may be unutterably tragic to Wagner's Tristan (1865) the pure in simple major and minor mode. Don conception of opera has always been Giovanni is a type of operatic hero, kept alive. Gluck, Mozart, Weber, he may be found in some modified Wagner, and Verdi are the great names form in half the operas ever written,
but Mozart lifts him far above his Meanwhile, in the early part of the petty intrigues and makes him a great nineteenth century, opéra comique was figure standing for certain elements flourishing in France. Auber, Hérold, in human nature. (It is the failure of Boieldieu, and other composers were Gounod to accomplish this which puts producing works in which the imposFaust on the lower plane it occupies.) sible happenings of grand opera were The stage setting of Don Giovanni, made possible by humor and lightness the conventional rooms with gilt of touch. The words of these comchairs, and the like, — the costumes, posers are full of delightful melody and the acting, the music (orchestral and are more reasonable and true than are vocal), are all unified in one style. And many better-known grand operas. this, coupled with the supreme mastery
Then comes the Wagnerian period, and the melodic gift of its composer, with its preponderance of drama over makes it one of the most perfect, if not music. In Tristan und Isolde Wagner, the most perfect, of operas.
by his own confession, turned away Beethoven's Fidelio (produced in from preconceived theories and com1805) celebrates the devotion and self- posed as his inner spirit moved him. sacrifice of a woman - and that devo- Tristan is, therefore, the work of an tion and self-sacrifice actually have for artist rather than of a theorist, and altheir object her husband! It is a noble though it is based on the leit-motif and
a opera, but Beethoven's mind and tem- on certain other important structural perament were not suited to the oper- ideas which belong to the Wagnerian atic problem, and Fidelio is not by any scheme, it rises far above their limitameans a perfect work of art. The Bee- tions and glows with the real light of thoven we hear there is the Beethoven genius. In Tristan the action is suited of the slow movements of the sonatas to the psychology. It is a great work of and symphonies; but we could well art and the most beautiful of all recanhear Fidelio often, for it stands alone in tations. In it we realize how finely its utter sincerity and grandeur. means may be adjusted to ends, how
The romantic operas of Weber tend clearly music and text may be united, toward that characterization which is how reasonable is the use of the leit. the essential equality of his great suc
motif when it characterizes beings cessor, Wagner, for Der Freischütz and aflame with passion; how the song, un. Euryanthe are full of characteristic der the influence of great dramatic sitmusic. Weber begins and ends roman- uations, can be expanded; how vividly tic opera. (Romantic subjects are com- the orchestra can interpret and even mon enough, but romantic treatment is further the actions; how even the cha exceedingly uncommon. Scott's Bride rus can be fitted into the dramatic of Lammermoor, for example, in passing scheme - everywhere in Tristan there through the hands of librettist and com- is unity. This is not true of most of poser becomes - in Donizetti's Lucia Wagner's other operas. Die Meisterdi Lammermoor — considerably tinged singer comes nearest to Tristan in this with melodrama.) There is evidence respect. May we not say that of all the enough in Der Freischütz and Euryan- music-dramas of Wagner, Tristan and the of Weber's sincerity and desire to Die Meistersinger lay completely in his make his operas artistic units. Each of consciousness unmixed with philosothem conveys a definite impression of phical ideas and theories? In them the beauty and avoids those specious ap- leit-motif deals chiefly with emotions peals so common in opera.
or with characteristics of persons rather
than with inanimate objects, or ideas; Many of them are practically out of the in them is no grandiose scenic display, present repertoire of our opera houses. no perversity of theory, but only beau- Were we to assert ourselves
were the tiful music wedded to a fitting text. general public given an opportunity
Wagner's reforms were bound to to choose between good and bad bring about a reaction, which came in should hear them often. And who shall due season and resulted in shorter and say what results might not come from more direct works, such as those of the a small and properly managed opera modern Italians. No operas since Wag- house, with performances of fine works ner, save Verdi's Otello and Falstaf, at reasonable prices? approach the greatness of his music- Opera is controlled by a few rich men dramas, and the tendency of many of who think it a part of the life of a great these later works has been too much city that there should be an opera toward what we mildly call deca- house with a fine orchestra, fine scendence.' But there is a great difference ery, and the greatest singers obtainbetween the truthfulness and artistic able. It does not exist for the good of validity of Carmen and that of La Bo- the whole city, but rather for those of hème and La Tosca. The former is plethoric purses. It does not make any packed full of genuine passion, how- attempt to become a sociological force; ever primitive, brutal, and devastating it does not even dimly see what possiit may be; and its technical skill is un- bilities it possesses in that direction. doubted.
Opera houses and opera companies are The most interesting phase of mod- sedulously protected against any socioern opera is found in the works of the logical scrutiny. They are persistently Russians. It was inevitable that they reported to be hot-beds of intrigue; should overturn our delicately adjust they trade on society and on the love ed artistic mechanism. Dostoievsky's of highly paid singing; they surround The Brothers Karamazov is as though themselves with an exotic atmosphere there never had been a Meredith or a in which the normal person finds diffiHenry James, and Moussorgsky's Boris culty in breathing, and which often Godounov is as though there had never turns the opera singer into a strange been a Mozart or a Wagner. It has specimen of the genus man or woman; something of that amorphous quality they go to ruin about once in so often, which seems to be a part of Russian and are extricated by the unnecessarily life, but, on the other hand, it has im- rich; they are too little related to the mense vitality. How refreshing to see community that supports them save in a crowd of peasants look like peasants, the mediums of money and social conand to hear them sing their own peas- vention. ant songs; and what stability they These artificial and false conditions give to the whole work! Boris Godounov are bound to bring evils in their train, gravitates, as it were, around these but these conditions and these evils folk-songs, which give to it a certain are chiefly the result of our own comreality and truthfulness.
placency. Were opera in any sense domestic; were opera singers to some
extent, at least, human beings like ourV
selves, moving in a reasonable world; These various works have long since did we go to hear opera as we go to been accepted by the musical world as a symphony concert, or to an art muthe great masterpieces in operatic form. seum, - to satisfy our love of beauty, and quicken our imagination by con- And finally we come to that point in tact with beautiful objects; were the our argument where reasoning must conditions of performance such as to stop altogether. For opera is to many enable us to hear the words, then people a sort of fascination entirely outwould opera become a fine human in- side reason. They refuse to admit it as stitution, then would it take its place a subject of discussion; they enjoy the among the noble dreams of humanity. spectacle on the stage and the spec
In my endeavor to make some dis- tacle of which they are a part; the sight tinctions between good and bad opera of three thousand people well dressed I have drawn a somewhat arbitrary like themselves comforts them; the fine line. I do not wish to give the impres- singing, costumes, and stage-setting, sion that I think all opera on one side the gorgeous orchestra throbbing with of the line is bad and on the other good. passion entirely unbridled — all these I have tried to strike a just balance by they enjoy in that mental lassitude applying certain admitted principles which is dear to them. They are, perof artistic contruction and expression. haps, slightly uncomfortable at a symFrom these principles, which are the phony concert; here there are no obligabasis of life and, therefore, of art, opera tions. Opera is, in short, to such people has unjustly claimed immunity. a slightly illicit æsthetic adventure.
PREPAREDNESS AND DEMOCRATIC DISCIPLINE
BY GEORGE W. ALGER
its success, through its practical reI
sults, a far wider sphere of power and “The great word of the present day,' influence in world-civilization than it said Emerson in 1838, 'is Culture.' It has yet received. was the same word with a different Some of these claims of Kultur we meaning with which the war began. have forgotten, as they were not often Some of the defenses of Germany by repeated after the first few months of which her statesmen and professors the war. sought then to justify her in the eyes of The Germans said, in effect: We the world raised not merely issues of alone of the great nations of modern right and wrong as to the war itself, times have succeeded in evolving a but issues as to fundamentals in civil- great organization of government, a ization.
perfection of administration, unequalThe Germans asserted a high claim ed in the whole history of the world. for world-power for the Teutonic race, We have done it against tremendous based upon a superior Kultur, a civili- odds and in an incredibly short time. zation which Germany has evolved and France is a decadent and corrupt buwhich they declared demands through reaucracy, masquerading as a democ
racy. England is a patchwork of dis- and many more beside. Yet, at the beorganized law, feudal survivals, and ginning of this great war, she was claimprecedents patched with clumsy adap- ing in sincerity and good faith the right tations of transplanted modern Ger- to a world-domain as justified by the man ideas — a civilization gone to results of a superior world-civilization. seed. What right does her civilization This is no place to consider the accurgive her to the choice place in the sun? acy of the Teuton's prefatory estimate What is there about the organization of his civilization. No other country of English government which justifies has made a similar contention. No its continuance except on the basis of other nation has sufficient confidence sea-power and force? Rome lived and and pride in its accomplishments in the spread her eagles through the ancient organization of national life to make world by the superior genius of Roman such a boast, even if, indeed, it would law, by the civilizing power of that be willing to concede that such a stanlaw which lived even after the barba- dard alone is a sufficient test for civilrian laid his hands upon the city of ization. Last of all would democratic the Cæsars. The Teutons, declared the America make such a claim.
a German professors, are the successors Yet the issue is one which we cannot of the Cæsars. The right to world-do- blink, and which has not changed simminion belongs and rightly belongs to ply because we have ceased to think this race, the race alone capable of about it. The fundamental postulate evolving a superior world-civilization. of this war is the failure of democracy
So we in America were compelled to as a system of human government; that think hurriedly, and for too short a we need in place of it, in place of its period, of world-civilization. The train wasteful, shiftless, haphazard characof our reflection — if we reflected ter and methods, a civilization of inwas not entirely pleasant. We remem- tense and practical efficiency based upbered that ours is not the youngest, on autocracy and to the existence of but the oldest of modern democracies. which autocratic discipline is essential. We remembered that many, if not most, This issue should make us, even in the of the general principles of democracy midst of the smoke and thunder of war, were born, or first practiced, on our self-critical. On the accuracy of this soil; that these ideas were, a hundred fundamental postulate the future hisyears and less ago, the great contribu- tory of democracy will largely be detertion of America to the transformation mined - our own as well as the demoof Europe. The revolutionary prin- cratic spirit in other lands. ciples which Metternich and the con- When we marvel at Germany in this cert of Europe a hundred years ago war, at her wonderful capacity for carstrove to stamp out had thriven on the nage, at the terrible efficiency and comnew and favored soil. We had no feu- pleteness of her mechanism for destrucdalism to overcome. Our press was not tion; when we see the disorganization fettered; our religion was free. No of England, the long wait for the develbonds of caste and heredity gripped us opment of sufficient ammunition, the to the past. We had no white peasants attitude of the trade-unions, the strikes attached to the soil. We had a new of the workers, the fumbling with the rich continent of unlimited wealth. We drink problem in a national crisis, the preached to the world the promise of lack of adequate enlistments — the
democracy. All the handicaps from claims of the German professors come which we were free bound Germany, back to us; for in the final analysis this