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La Blache. Angrisani's style of singing is admirably suited to the nature of his voice; his action is intelligent, natural, and characteristic, particularly, we think, in the Barber of Seville ; and, on the whole, we doubt whether the part of Don Basilio has ever been more ably sung, or more successfully performed.
With the buffo Rosich we professed ourselves in every respect satisfied. He has a command of muscle and gesture truly surprising, with the power of ludicrous expression never surpassed, and seldom equalled on our boards. His voice is as good as his part requires, and although unequal to any piece of difficult execution, it rarely fails of producing an effect greater than what mere voice could ever have accomplished. To the amateurs of buffoonery (for the opera has pleasures for all tastes) nothing can be more ludicrous than the expression of Rosich's face when Rosina acknowledges she has seen the barber, and adds, moreover,
Gli ho parlato, mi piace, m' è simpatico
Il suo discorso, il suo gioviale aspetto. The song Se ho da dirla, &c. introduced by Rosich, partly we presume because he could not sing A un dottor della mia sorte, and partly because the former air is better adapted to an exhibition of his comic powers, was given with complete success, and would have been rapturously encored by the ordinary pit. A good comic song is excellent in its way, but for own part we cannot but approve the taste that does not insist upon its repetition. In the finale of the first act, (one of the most masterly finales that ever was composed,) Rosich, from the beginning to the end, is all that can be asked, giving every night a new specimen of first rate comic talent, with such effect that every alteration seems better than what was done before. In short, he has already safely established himself in the good graces of his audience, and we have no doubt will long continue to remain so.
Signora Garcia has little to do in the Barber of Seville, and that little does not permit her to do justice to herself. What she does is done as it ought to be; and the ingenious critics who say they do not like her singing in this opera, because she sings for all the world like an old woman, pay her, without intending it, precisely the compliment she would herself most willingly receive.
As Chiara, in the Cunning Lover, of which piece we may probably have room to speak, she soon convinced the audience that she was an actress of no ordinary talent, and that nothing was wanting to establish for her a distinguished reputation, but a fair opportunity of exhibiting her powers.
The same, with some qualification, may be said of Signor Crivelli, who has so little to do on the stage, either in the Barbiere or in Tancredı, that we defer all remark upon his singing until he gives us a better opportunity of making up our judgment. As far as acting is concerned, he deserves his share of praise, and his figure and walk alone qualify him for a more distinguished part than Fiorello or Ruggiero. Off the stage, Signor Crivelli has something more responsible and difficult to do. He trains the choruses; and those few who know the enormous toil of disciplining a corps of raw musical recruits, into any thing like a tolerable chorus, will give him credit for unremitted industry, and inexhaustible patience. We urge him to go on, and persevere ; for his pupils, although they do as well as could have been expected, have a vast deal yet to learn. Two or three of them, who contrive, we scarcely know how, to sing their parts in a wrong key, ought to be dismissed, and they should all be taught to walk off the stage, as well as to
They seldom accomplish their retreat without jostling the other performers, and, in Tancredi, on one occasion, half of them marched, with unrelenting feet, directly across Amenaide's ample train. With Ritchings, Constantini, and Ferri, however, there is no fault to be found, and to the latter gentleman we are particularly obliged, for the ready acquiescence he has shown, in submitting, for the benefit of the company, to hide a very good voice in the noisy discords of an undisciplined chorus.
The Amanté Astuto is an operetta without chorus, of little pretension as far as dialogue or plot is concerned. The story, which resembles that of the first opera, is taken from a Spanish play, and would be amusing enough if pains had been taken to contrive such scenes as might have explained themselves at once without sending the spectator to his book. A comic opera, in a country where the language is not understood, should partake, as much as possible, of the pantomime. If this is done, the objection (which is a trifling one at best) against a musical entertainment sung in a foreign language, is completely done away with, as the sentiment, which is all that the words can give, becomes, in this case, equally intelligible to all. The music of this opera is by Garcia, and does him the highest credit. That it was able to please, and, some part of it, to give the greatest delight, after the audience had just heard the exquisite melodies of Rossini, is a convincing proof that the piece has merits of a very superior order. The air Placida chiedo l'onda, contains many beautiful passages, and we greatly regretted the omission of it on the second represen
tation. The terzetto, Deh tu ci assisti, which is sung, as is usual, in prayers and invocations, without accompaniment, is finely harmonized, and is remarkable for its well constructed fugue. The gipsey song, Ahi giovinetta sventurata, is an instance of the charming taste which Garcia shows in all his lighter compositions, and the first finale is full of life, variety, and character. Oh per Bacco Signor mio is a sprightly little air, and was well sung by Signora Garcia.* The duetto L'oro Carletto, between Rosich and young Garcia, is composed in excellent comic style, and was very well received by the audience. Son Muestro di Cappella gave the elder Garcia, whose personation of Raimondo in this opera admits of no improvement, a fair, opportunity of showing the versatile powers of his voice, an opportunity of which he availed himself with the greatest effect. But the quintetto Bel piacere was decidedly the favourite piece, and was encored with the most tumultuous applause. Rosich acts in this as well as the Signorina sings, which is as high praise as he can receive. In the second finale, Garcia seems to have laid out all his strength in the production of a rich and brilliant melody, for the purpose of showing off his daughter's unrivalled powers. We regret to say, that on both nights of this opera, (either in consequence of indisposition, or of the length and difficulty of the preceding part, or for some other cause with which we are not acquainted, this young lady was so completely exhausted before she had even begun the finale, that, in spite of her admirable performance of many striking passages of extraordinary elegance and difficulty, we witnessed the exhibition of her astonishing execution, with infinitely less of pleasure, than of painful sympathy with what appeared to us to be a very dangerous determination to go resolutely through with an oppressive and unnecessary task. Some parts of this opera, it must be confessed, are cold; the terzetto in the introduction had no effect; the spoken dialogue, in place of musical recitative, is flat and unimpressive; and a spirited air of Carletto's, Che m' importa che faccia la fiera, is ruined by its abrupt and frigid termination. But these are trifling faults, and are ten thousand times repaid by the numerous beauties of the composition. For ourselves, (shall we frankly confess it ?) we were incomparably more affected by the air in the ninth scene, (as sung by Signorina Garcia,) Ah per pietà cedete! than by any thing of the same kind we recol.
* In this air, which is in 6-8 time, there is introduced an anomalous bar of three crotchets, which is several times repeated. It has a curious, but we do not think a pleasing effect.
lect ever to have heard. The melody itself seems to be the very language of the tenderest entreaty, and nothing can be imagined more irresistibly touching than the powerful pathos with which it was sung. The humble attitude, low at her father's feet, the earnest and desperate clinging to her father's cloak, the upward look of innocent supplication as long as there is hope, and then, when there is none, the bowing of the head to the very ground in misery and despair; all this together formed the most beautiful dramatic picture we have ever looked upon; while the tears of the rejected suppliant, (for in this scene we believe she actually sheds tears,) no less than the plaintive tones of an exquisite contralto, successfully exerting all the wonderful power which voices of that quality have above all others of moving the affections, made upon the minds of the whole audience a deep and indelible impression, such as the drama, we seriously believe, without the aid of music, could never have produced.*
We ought next to speak of Tancredi, one of the most im. posing, if not one of the most original of Rossini's compositions. Of this .opera there have been five representations, and to judge from the full and fashionable houses it has attracted every night, it promises to be an established favourite with the audience. It was our intention in this paper, to state what we consider to be the respective merits of Signorina Garcia as Tancredi, and Madame Barbieri as Amenaide, with some remarks upon the more interesting airs, and pezzi concertati. We should, at the same time, have taken the opportunity to express our admiration of Garcia's masterly personation of Argirio, and should have given a hearty tribute of praise to the two truly splendid drop scenes, designed and painted by Signor Ferri ; but the necessary limits of our articles make it impossible for us to enter upon these subjects for the present.
* Part of the effect of this air is owing to the introduction of a beautiful chromatic passage, which, difficult as it is, was sung to perfection by Miss Garcia, apparently without the smallest effort. This produced, as it always does, when skilfully thrown in, an effect absolutely electrical, felt, perhaps, most sensibly, by those whose little knowledge of the rules of music made them ignorant of the artifice by which it was brought about.
FROM THE SPANISH,
HERE will I make my home-for here at least I see, Upon this wild Sierra's side, the steps of Liberty ; Where the locust chirps unscared beneath the unpruned lime, And the merry bee doth hide from man the spoil of the moun
tain thyme; Where the
and the wild vine gads at will, An outcast from the haunts of men she dwells with Nature still.
I see the valleys, Spain! where thy mighty rivers run, And the hills that lift thy harvests and vineyards to the sun, And the flocks that drink thy brooks and sprinkle all the green, Where lie thy plains, with sheep-walks seamed, and olive shades
between : I see thy fiy-trees bask, with the fair pomegranate near, And the fragrance of thy lemon groves can almost reach me here.
III. Fair-fair-but fallen Spain! 'tis with a swelling heart, That I think on all thou might'st have been, and look at what
thou art; But the strife is over now—and all the good and brave, That would have raised thee up, are gone, to exile or the grave. Thy fleeces are for monks, thy grapes for the convent feast, And the wealth of all thy harvest-fields for the pampered lord
But I shall see the day-it will come before I dieI shall see it in my silver hairs, and with an age-dimmed eye;When the spirit of the land to liberty shall bound, As yonder fountain leaps away from the darkness of the ground; And, to my mountain cell, the voices of the free Shall rise, as from the beaten shore the thunders of the sea.