Some Interesting Novelties
Dohnanyi has entered the operatic field with an apparent success, the one-act Tante Simona. The aunt is a rather prim specimen, embittered in youth by the unexplained departure of her lover, and she brings up her niece, Beatrice, in strict seclusion from the men. Beatrice even has to ask the maid Giacinta what a kiss is like, and learns that it “tastes sweet.” As she is enjoying the arrival of spring in the garden, she meets a young man who seems a gardener’s assistant, but is really a nobleman in disquise. He winds her love, but the aunt discovers the affair, and threatens to send Beatrice to the cloister. Meanwhile, an elderly stranger appears, who proves to be Simona’s long-lost love. The old folks revive their romance, as in the play of Sweethearts; and Simona, in her new happiness, no longer opposes Beatrice’s love. The music is simple and direct, and gives to modern harmonies an almost Mozartian grace. Some dainty lyrics are wrought into the pleasing background of parlando, and the work ends with a madrigal in praise of spring. There is an effective and rhythmic overture.
Aubert’s Foret Bleue (Fairy Forest) was given at Geneva. Its plot, with the love of Petit Poucet and Red Ridinghood, the dread ogre, and the Sleeping Beauty, takes well enough on the stage. The music is an echo of Haensel and Gretel in a modern French vein, though not at all lacking in originality.
Other new operas include Kurt Hosel’s Wieland the Smith the successful comedy Kasperle, by Gustav Lazarus, and Gala Placidia, a Guimera subject set by Jaime Patrissa at Barcelona. The Bohemian Academy of Science and Art has given prizes for Der Maler Rainer, by Franz Picka, and Die Knospe, by Ottokar Ostrcil; also for Jaroslav Kricka’s overture to The Blue Bird. Karl Kovarovik, whose fiftieth birthday was celebrated at Prag, numbers among his operas The Dog’s Head, Graquita, and Through the Window. Wolf-Ferrari has now finished his Amour Medecin.
For orchestra, Vienna thinks the Serenade of Braunfels the most interesting novelty for some time; while Hamburg enjoyed his Ariel’s Song. Zoellner’s symphone, Op. 100, was well received in Bonn, while Bremen found Hugo Kaun’s second symphony clear and pleasing. Busoni’s Brautwahl suite won favor, while his Turandot as incidental music is rated as a wonderful example of whole-tone effects. Behring, of Zurich, received much praise for his Fantasie Befreiung. Oskar Fried’s melodrama, Der Auswanderer, proved rather heavy. The success of Mraczek’s Max and Moritz, an apparently unmusical subject, moves August Spanuth to sugggst setting the Almanac. In Paris, Marie Endormie, by Ropartz, and a dainty Madrigal Lyrique by Grovlez, proved attractive. England is represented by Lady Dean Paul’s delicate Night on a Scottish Isle, and Bainton’s three Celtic Sketches.
Ghent is to have an interesting device at its exhibition next summer. A large mast will be arranged to take the sounds from the opera house at Rome by wireless telephony; and individual booths with receivers will enable exhibition patrons to hear the performances.
Another Massenet anecdote. An Argentine inpressario sent the composer a photo with a request for autograph signature, and enclosed three francs for postage. As there is no royalty agreement between France and the Argentine states, Massenet replied, “I will keep the three francs as something on account for what you owe me.” This reminds one of a Kipling incident. Some one wrote that author, enclosing a shilling, “I hear you get a shilling a word; please send me a word.” Kipling replied with a single word, “Thanks,” and kept the shilling.