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(musical, Dramatic, And Literary.)
BY E. HISCOCK MALCOLM.
How largely the stage, alike musical and dramatic, derives its aliment from the literature of diablerie may be judged by the most cursory glance at any one of Mr. Lacy's catalogues of modern plays, or Mr. Davidson's Opera Libretti. The Fausts, Mephistophiles', Robert-theDevils, Zampas, Don Giovannis, Manfreds, the Devils on Two Sticks, Little Devils, Leviathans, Satans, Belzebubs, Evil Eyes, the Angel and Devils, Olympic Devils, &c, &c, chequer the catalogues of Lacy, Cumberland, and Davidson with a lurid effect of nomenclature which we should feel it unpleasant to contemplate anywhere else than by open daylight, and in a bookseller's shop. The aforesaid theatrical publisher (Mr. Lacy) having, the other day, satisfied our curiosity by affording us the run of his library of plays (which includes productions in the drama as early as Gammer Gurton's Needle, and as late as the last version of Faust), electrified us by placing in our hands a volume of a most unexpected character; this was nothing less than the "Memoirs of the Devil!"—and the same obliging bibliopolist also called our attention to proofs of the present popularity of the diabolic drama. He produced a heap of those illuminated scrolls of the drama, commonly called playbills, to show that, while he spoke, there were being played or enacted, contemporaneously, at the several theatres of the town the following "stock pieces," developing the devil's character in every phase, and idiosyncrasy; id est — a Faust at Drury Lane, a Der Freischutt, as an opera, at Her Majesty's Theatre; two Der Frieschutz,' as burlesques, at two of the minor theatres; a Don Giovanni as a musical extravaganza, at another minor house; and a Lady and the Devil at the Adelphi. Indubitably, we reflected, there is something fascinating in satanic subjects for the -stage—it must be a vestige of the Old Adamite (and Adullamite) spirit within us, which, cleaving to our poor humanity, fills it with admiration and awe of the supernatural and the terrible!—delights it with the contemplation of the Evil One's attractive but deluding powers—the tempter's subtle character and sardonic intelligence f
We are free to confess that we can comprehend and even admire the terrible grandeur and tlio scathing intellect of Goethe's Mephistophiles as eliminated by those very matrices or types which were the invention of the devil, or, rather, of one whose intellect he is supposed to have inspired, viz., Doctor Faustus! We love, too, to listen to the mysterious "Faust" music of
Spohr and Gounod. We see in their operas scenes delineative of all that gratifies the senses —scenes of voluptuous enjoyment! earthly pleasures! forbidden and fearful joys! We say we are charmed with the music that illustrates the scenes which the tempter throws in the way of his forever-proscribed pupil. We know the unsubstantial and deceptive character of the meretricious world, conjured up for the behests of the condamne: yet we are not deterred from recognizing the brilliant art which throws around the creations of demon power the graces, refinements, and delights of music! However, there is one thing we never could tolerate in the musical "Faust," and that is the Mephistophiles; he being at all times converted on the stage into such a horrid griffin of a character. Doubtless this defect arises from the usual histrionic deficiencies of the baritone vocalist who plays the part; but it is a blot on Gounod's magnificent opera. Du reste, the opera is charming in its scenery, dreamy and deliciously soft in melody, full of character and couleur locale. The very first scene of all bespeaks for the work the highest kind of interest, by the introduction of such a congeries of fine and noble choruses, the music of which illustrates or pourtrays the successive happy incidents of the German khermis or fair. -A chorus of students is followed by one of village maidens, and to the latter succeeds the weird-like chorus of toothless old men. Then comes, if we remember rightly, the military chorus or march; however, the tout ensemble of this remarkable chain-work of choral music remains with us "a memory"—a recollection of delicious melodies and beautiful harmonies that we would not willingly let die! We recall with pleasure, too, the lively German ballad of Margaret at her spinning-wheel, the "King of Thulej" the spirited chorus of Valentine's troop on their return home from the wars; the brilliant concerted music in the " garden scene" ; the fine scene in which the lovers, with impassioned expression, plight their troth to each other. We may not dwell longer upon the opera, as we have yet to consider other parts of our subject.
The idea has never been absent from our minds when witnessing the dramatic form of representing the Faust of Goethe, how utterly beyond and aboveall powers of at least histrionic characterisation the work has proved to be. We can suggest an excuse and an apology for the mere playwright who adapts the poem to the stage, by asking, How can the stage and its mimic forces indicate the fancy and the wonderful play of thought which irradiate with meteoric effect scenes and dialogue replete with wit, satire, humour, and sentiment? We ask again, How can the accessories of the mimic scene, mechanical as they necessarily are, evolve the elements of the "divine comedy "—a term that may as reasonably be employed to designate Goethe's Faust, as Dante's masterpiece. Amongst actors who has adequately expressed the demoniac genius of Mephistophiles? That Mr. Phelps skilfully and faithfully represents the mere material character of the demon we grant; but he is called upon to do no more by the dramatist. We submit a succinct epitome of the poem, and leave to the reader to judge how nearly its realisation may be carried out on the stage and by the actors.
"In the first part of the poem or drama, Faust has seen the life of a man. In the second part he is sung to sleep by the fairies on a Swiss grass plot, and awakes at sunrise to a future of hope. Then Mephistophiles is active in a satire of life at the emperor's court, followed by a mask and more satire. Faust calls up Helen of Troy for the Emperor, and causes an explosion by bis rapture at her classical beauty. Then he is in bed in his study, where his old pupil Wagner is great, and, after long search how to make a man, has produced a homunculus—an imp who carries Faust and Mephistophiles to see a classical Walpurgis Night. Then there are Helena, Sparta, Feudal Castle, German Empire, Arcadia, and modern poetry typified in Eupborium, with special reference to Lord Byron. There is discussion on geology: a battle won by magic ; Faust—active in his last days, spectre - haunted — dies strong in his energies. Then there is a strange contest between devils and angels, who carry away with them the immortal part of Faust; a penitent angel, formerly Margaret, asks to be his teacher, and love leads him onward. In the second part of 'Faust (utterly unactable, and really without dramatic relation to the first) there is a symbolizing, through Faust, of the German people, and of all German speculations and aspirations."
It is recorded that it was never the wish of Goethe that his chef d'ceuvre, should be converted to the purposes of the theatre. The first performance of Faust as a drama in Germany proved unsatisfactory. The students of Leipsic applauded it on the occasion of its production, but Goethe characterised the experiment as a mistake, saying that "the devil ought not to be painted on the wall." The Dresden Town Council, after its first production, forbad Faust from being acted at Leipsic.
Much praise and compliment have been passed on the "Drury" version of Faust—the romantic drama of Mr. Bernard; but we have nowhere met with the acknowledgment that there exists in modern poetical literature a very fine translation of Goethe's poem by Mr. Theodore Martin. We believe that without this production the new play would not have been the creditable piece of literary manufacture it is
considered on all hands to be. Moreover, the costumes and poses of Mephistophiles and Fault being adopted from "Redtch's Outlines," are invested with the fine fancy of a most original German artist. Redtch's " studies" of Fantt, of Mephistopheles, that mocking spirit of evil, of Margaret, the simple, trustful maiden, " who is wrecked with all her wealth of peace, innocence, and love in the mighty elemental conflict of the powers of good and evil"—have attained by their fancy and suggestiveness a world-wide celebrity; and it was a happy idea that sought them as models of style and character for the stage. Much of this it is beyond, we say, the command of the actors to reflect. Even the simple character (by comparison with Mephistophiles) of the re-habilitated student Faust finds no adequate representative on the stage; surely Mr. Edmund Phelps is not one, that actor not even caring to pourtray the high animal spirits—the elan—that would be manifested by one who has received a new lease of life, and is invested with youth, manly beauty, and all the joyous capacities of the young heart and pristine life, health, wealth, and power.
The general tone of the dialogue of Mr. Bayle Bernard's drama is somewhat monotonous; and the characterisation is, with the exception of Mephistophiles, colourless; but the piece is occasionally lightened by flashes of wit and satire contributed by the Evil One himself; and a vein of fine reflection runs through the parts of Faust, Margaret, and Mephistophiles. The character of Margaret is one of much natural beauty and tenderness: it is really a reminiscence of the Gretchen of Goethe. Mrs. Herman Vezin displays the true genius of the actress in her perfect comprehension and realisation of the part. The simplicity and purity of Margaret in her affection* and \ her love—the remorse with which she contemplates her shame—are depicted by Mrs. Venn alike with versatility and power. The idiosyncrasy of the actress happens to be exactly adapted to the part she performs in the instance of Margaret.
It is, however, chiefly in the material sur\ roundings of the piece that we recogniie its J most popular elements. The grand tableaux o ! the Walpurgis Night realise the scenes o diablerie and faerie life with a supernatural i effectiveness that strikes the spectators with terror, and even horror. Indeed the spectacle, scenery, and music of the Drury Lane Fn» are upon so broad a scale as to appear almost to swamp the mere dramatic elements. Weber, Spohr, Mendelssohn, Bishop, Haydn, have all been laid under contribution to supply «* Faust music, which is certainly beautiful: particularly so are the choruses. The romantic situations of the drama are produced on the stage of Old Drury with surpassing effectiveness, the scenery fully interpreting the air-built visions of the poet. The Brocken tableaux are grand in their picturesque rendering by Beverley. A sense of the deepest desolation, of the mo*' depressing sadness, is produced by the appearance of Margaret to Faust as a shadow standing on an isolated peak of the witch-haunted mountain. As Faust pursues the syren who is leading him on to destruction, from crag to crag of the Brocken, we feel that the temptress, with; all her voluptuous beauty and fascinations, is, however beautiful, a spirit of evil leading her
victim on to his destiny—perdition! What a desolation is thewitches' haunt at one moment— what a scene of weird, supernatural revelry and riot (like the route of Comus) in the next! The apotheosis of Margaret crowns the whole. It is a highly fanciful scene, suggestive of beatification.
OUR PARIS CORRESPONDENT.
My Dbar C ,
Dancing, dining, and singing continue right and left in every nook and corner of our festive capital, and carnival is galloping fast away without leaving Ub a moment for breathing. Balls at the Tuileries, balls at the Hotel de Ville, balls at all the Ministers of State, at all the grand personages in Paris, both in the real "Monde" and in the "demi Monde." It is a regular whirl of pleasure, and the more our moralists cry out against the pomp and luxury displayed, the more pomp and luxury go ahead and invent new splendours for our insatiable appetites, until one wonders what fre9h magnificence can be invented. And as for masqued balls, it is a complete "furia." Until this season the opera alone opened its doors to this display of human folly; but this winter, every theatre nearly gives a series of masqued balls, and are crowded with company eager for this kind of pleasure. It is really curious to pass in the streets at night, and to see the medley of grotesque and sometimes not very choice costumes paddling through the mud to the rendezvous of wild mirth, and, too frequently, haunts of vice. As usual all kinds of anecdotes, true or imagined, are current on the mishaps of honest women curious to be spectators of these scenes of revelry, and whose husbands refuse to conduct them there. Thus one night two "dominos" were seen hurrying down "rue de Rivoli," closely followed by a man who seemed to annoy them very much, addressing them in the language permitted, it appears, in carnival. In vain the "dominos" cast frightened glances around in search of a cab, the only means of escape; all were full. A gentleman from one, however, seeing their embarrassment, called out to the cabman to stop, and alighting, very politely offered his cab to the ladies, "for I see what is the matter," said he, casting a furious look on the fellow behind them. "Oh! Monsieur, how very kind!" "Don't name it,
ladies; it is a great pleasure; step in I beg."
And with many hows and smiles our dominos mounted and ordered: "bal de l'Opera I" complimenting themselves on their good luck and full of Rratitude for the very great politeness of the "Monsieur Ten minutes after the cab stopped at the door of the Opera, the dominos aliKhted :— How much, 'cocher?'" Cocher drew out J'18 watch, reckoned a moment—" i\
francs, mesdames." "41 francs," cried the dominos, "for bringing us here from rue de Rivoli I" "Yes, and for driving the 'bourgeois* (the gentleman) about all day, besides the 20 francs I lent him because he could not change the 1,000 franc note. Come pay, for you won't hoof me." The dominos had only 25 francs between them. A "sergent de ville" was called. In vain the ladies protested that they did not know the gentleman who had resigned his cab to them; they were conducted to the "commissaire de police." There they related what had happened, and one lady gave her name and begged the "commissaire" to send to her husband, a man occupying an elevated position, and
who was at that moment at the ambassador's,
at a diplomatic soiree, thinking his wife at home. The commissaire sent to the husband, who, exasperated at what he heard, refused to go and claim his wife, but determined to leave ber a night locked up for punishment. A young man at the ball heard the tale, and very gallantly went to the poor ladies' relief, paid the 41 francs, and set them at liberty. Our dominos' curiosity had received a damper: they immediately returned home, and when Monsieur N., exulting in his barbarity, entered bis bedroom at three in the morning, after the soiree, he found his wife fast asleep in bed. "Who set you at liberty?" stormed he. The innocent dear opened her eyes in wonder, and burst out laughing when her husband related the message he had received at the soire'e. "It is a carnival hoax, no doubt, dear; some one has been amusing himself at your expense." "Laisse mai dormir, je fen prie," and the good man took it for granted that he had been hoaxed, and so he had.
There is to be a fancy ball at the Tuileries during the jours gras. The costumes of Henry II.'s time will be imposed. Their Majesties gave a scientific /etc the other night. Monsieur Leveirier rambled amongst the stars, of course. A few nights after, L'Abbe Moigno treated of electricity ,and Monsieur Achard explained his electric brake for railroads. It isextraordinary that this frein—the best by far of any yet invented, and which stops in less than half the time of any other—has not been adopted on all railroads. The splendid throne-room in the Tuileries was turned into a laboratory, the waxlights were extinguished, and the electric light cast its soft yet brilliant hue on the ladies and gentlemen of the Court, surrounding the Emperor and Empress and their son. The Empress wore a sky-blue satin dress—my love of science, you see, does not make me forget les chiffons nature will ooze out. The little Prince was so exceedingly charmed with the different effects wrought by the electric fluid that her Majesty was obliged to hold him from his eagerness to approach the galvanic pile. The ladies in waiting took hold of each other's hands, and, half-laughing, half-screaming, received the electric shock. At a quarter-past ten His Majesty very graciously thanked Monsieur l'Abbe Moigno and the other savants present, after which their Majesties retired to their apartments.
The Emperor's Equerry, General Fleury, gives a fancy children's ball at the Louvre, the Monday before Shrove Tuesday, at which ball the Prince Imperial is to be. He looked very pretty at the ceremony of the opening of Parliament, walking a few steps before his father, when they passed from their carriage to the throne-room at the Louvre, dressed in black velvet, red silk stockings, the star of diamonds, and the grand cordon de TOrder Imperial, with his pretty little smiling face and soft blue eyes. The Empress wore a white satin dress trimmed with sable, and was of course charming; she arrived a few minutes before the Emperor and Prince. It was a lovely day, and the place du Carrousel was crowded With eager spectators to
fet a glimpse of the Imperial family. The mperial speech is, as usual, commented on in various manners. It seems that we are, and are to be, at peace with every one: so much the better. As for the promised liberty, we do not pay much attention to that, it has been promised so ofien.
The annual ball given by Madame O'Connel, an artist of distinction, was one of the most piquant of the season. The invitations were issued for a pic-nic fancy ball, where everyone was begged to bring their mite, and a most laughable affair it was: such a medley of good things and wax candles, received with bursts of hilarity as each guest arrived. There is a new fashion introduced this winter in the invitations for gentlemen: at the bottom of the invitation the letters "C. B." (cravate blanche) or ,rC.N." (cravate moire) are inserted; so that a man no longer runs the risk of being the only wearer of a black cravat or a white one in a ball-room: see the force of civilization!
The debut of Cora Pearl, the red-haired queen of the demi-monde, at the Bouffes Parisiens, has been oneof the topics of this month's conversation in every salon, and to read the papers one would have thought that the question was a very important one. On the first night of her appearance the theatre was crowded with grand personages—gentlemen — and the numerous friends of the lady, whom some declare to be neither young nor pretty; while others find her charming. She, however, only played a few nights, and has again retired into private life.
A gentleman offered her 50,000 francs for tie boots she wore: it is true they were ornamented with diamond buttons. After Cora Pearl, Verdi is now the hero of the day; his "Don Carlos" ii finally delivered to the opera, and is, they say, a chef-d'oeuvre. At the premier repetition, without the effect of scenery and dress, the enthusiasm was so great that the actors themselves applauded the maestro several times after singing his admirable music. Just as he wis leaving his residence en route for the operahouse, he had received a cheque from Boulogne, on a bank in Paris, for a considerable sum of money: he, in a hurry, put the letter and cheque in his pocket, and thought no more of it During the repetition, Escudier, the hanker, who knew that Verdi had received the cheque, joined him at the opera, and after the repetition asked him for the cheque. "Cheque, cheque! why, where did I put it?" said he, searching his pockets in vain. At last several bits of paper were found. Verdi had, during the repetition, torn both letter and cheque into atoms without thinking of what he was doing. We have also had another new opera, at the Theatre-Lyrique, "Sardanapale," by a young composer, Monsieur Victorine Joucieres, and to which Mdlle. Nilsson lends her admirable voice. Sardanapale has been Well received, and promises a good run. We have an avalanche of German violinists, all first-rate, according to the papers. First we had Joachim; then Wilhelm; now it is Kompel that delights our ears with melody. A young English girl—Miss Harris—has also arrived to join the chorus of songstresses now in the capital; and we are promised a young Prussian lady, Edwige Riccopi&ri, another Pasta, the only existing rival for Mdlle. Patti. Report says that we are to have a grand oratorio by Costa—" Naaman," known to you in London, in which Patti, Alboni, Faure, and Nicolimi are to sing. But this, perhaps, will be for the coming Exhibition —a word that of late makes our blood run cold ; when I say our, I mean the Parisians who have nothing to let or sell, for those who have expect to make their fortune in six months; while we, who have only to spend, expect to he ruined in that time at the price everything will be according to Parisian imagination. So much indeed is this expected that several administrations intend to raise the salary of their "employe's" during that epoch; and people who can will fly from the capital at the first ray of sunshine. A very grand ttte is announced for the 1st July, a fete that is to be called the "fete de la paix," the day that the Emperor is to award the recompenses and prizes. It is to be something marvellous, and is to be held at the Palais de l'lndustrie, aux Champs Elysees. which is to be turned into an immense circus, with 16,000 stalls for those who have a season ticket and for the exhibitors; no place will be given to any others, and as the season ticket* are to be accompanied with the photograph of the persons who take them, no fraud will he possible. There will also be an orchestra of 800 musicians; the Palace will be hung with crimson velvet and gold ornaments j the Whole to cost 700,000 francs. It is thought that other fetes will be given here during July. Half the monarchs of Europe are expected to come to lend their little light round the luminous star Napoleon III., when from his throne he rewards the arts and industry. Victor Emmanuel, the King of Prussia, Greece, Victoria, &c, are already announced. Fancy if Monsieur Hausstnann has time to sleep now that he has to ornament his city for so many royal eyes. Workmen work day and night at our poor Luxembourg, to have all even, to have everything the same height, the ideal of beauty in our prefet's eyes ; trees, that have allowed themselves to surpass their neighbours, are cropped or hewn down; masses of trees that have been ages in growing are unmercifully cut up, because they are on ground that is higher than the other part of the garden, which is to be levelled. If the dear man could but make us all enter the same mould, what a relief it would be to his eye! The amusing part of it is that the other day his Majesty sent for Monsieur Haussmann, and begged that gentleman to pay more attention to public opinion in his demolitions and embellishments! He took good care to let him destroy one Luxembourg before reprimanding.
Poor Monsieur Havin, the proprietor of the "Siele," has drawn on his head the mockeries of his fellow-journalists because he has opened a subscription to raise a statue to Voltaire, and God knows when he will hear the last of it. We have also discovered that Queen Victoria's publication, "Meditations on Death and Eternity," ia pure plagiarism: a German of the last century, named Zscokke, is the true author.
Monsieur Louis Venillot is on the eve of publishing a new work, "Leg Figures d'a Present," and has also obtained permission to revive his newspaper, L'Univeri. The Provencial poet, Minstral, the author of "Mireio," or "Mirailie," has just published a new poem in the Provencial language, "Calendau:" true poesy that.
And now a bon mot of Auber:—" Prodigious man that you are," said a friend to him. "You have made 'Fra Diavolo,' * La Muette,' •Haydee,' &c." "Friend," answered Auber, "what I have done best is never to have married." Cranky old bachelor! And this: A charming little "marquise" said the other day to her doctor, "Doctor, you who have acquired a profound knowledge of your art to cure, now tell me frankly, What do you do when you have a cold? "I cough or sneeze, madame." "I say, neighbour, how you smell of garlic," said a conductor to a boy getting into his omnibus. "Oh, I don't care a fig about that; I am accustomed to it," answered the boy, comfortably seating himself amongst the company as if the whole omnibus belonged to him.
Madame de Peraigny has just been sued for payment of a dressmaker's bill. The lady takes after her grandmother, the Marechale Ney, very fond of line dresses, but a great dislike to pay for them. This is a disease very prevalent at the present Court.
The white marble bust of the Prince Imperial by Carpeaux, is finished, and now ornaments the gallery of Diana at the Tuileries. And now adieu,
LEAVES FOll THE LITTLE ONES.
(Translated from the German of Christoph row Schmid.)
Minna was a very good-natured, benevolent little girl. She was very willing to share with others everything she had. She prepared garments for poor children, she made nice dishes for the poor sick, and often carried them to their destination herself. It gave her real pleasure to be able to relieve suffering with her pocketxnoney. Now it will hardly be believed that in spite of all her kindheartedness, she gave cause of sorrow to many a good person, for she was— very forgetful. She made many a promise
which by the next day she had forgotten entirely. She often thoughtlessly bought some article for which she had no use, then when help was besought by the needy, would first remember how much good she might have done with the money she had wasted. Sometimes she would forget to water the flowers before the window of the great saloon of the castle, and they would wither and die, to the great distress of her mother, who had placed them in her charge; sometimes she, who would not intentionally harm one of the meanest of God's creatures, would let her canary bird almost starve to death because she had forgotten to give him food.
In a village not far from Minna's castle lived a poor little girl named Sophie. Her father,