Modern German and Slavonic Opera


(This is taken from R. A. Streatfeild's The Opera, originally published in 1907.)

 

CORNELIUS—GOETZ—GOLDMARK—HUMPERDINCK—STRAUSS— SMETANA—GLINKA—PADEREWSKI

 

The history of music furnishes more than one instance of the paralysing effect which the influence of a great genius is apt to exercise upon his contemporaries and immediate successors. The vast popularity of Handel in England had the effect of stunting the development of our national music for more than a century. During his lifetime, and for many years after his death, English-born musicians could do little but imitate his more salient mannerisms, and reproduce in an attenuated form the lessons which he had taught. The effect of Wagner's music upon German opera has been something of the same description. As soon as his works gained their legitimate place in the affections of his countrymen, his influence began to assume formidable proportions. The might of his individuality was irresistible. It was not possible, as in Italy and France, to combine the system of Wagner with other elements. In Germany it had to be Wagner or nothing, and thus, except for the writers of sentimental Singspiele, a form of opera which scarcely comes into the province of art at all, German musicians have vied with each other in producing imitations of their great master, which succeeded or failed according to the measure of their resemblance to their model, but had very little value as original work. The production of Humperdinck's 'Hänsel und Gretel' gave rise to a hope that the merely imitative period was passing away, but it is plain that the mighty shadow of Wagner still hangs over German music. Strauss's 'Salome' may be the herald of a new epoch, but on that subject it is too soon to indulge in prophecy.

Wagner had completed what, for the sake of convenience, we have called his earlier period, before his influence began to make itself felt in German opera. 'Lohengrin' was performed for the first time under Liszt's direction at Weimar in 1850. Eight years later Cornelius's 'Barbier von Bagdad' was performed at the same theatre under the same conductor. This was Liszt's last production at Weimar, for the ill-feeling stirred up by Cornelius's work was so pronounced that the great pianist threw up his position as Kapellmeister in disgust, and took refuge in the more congenial society of Rome. Peter Cornelius (1824-1874) was one of the most prominent of the band of young men who gathered round Liszt at Weimar, and by means of their music and writings sought to further the cause of 'New-German' art. 'Der Barbier von Bagdad' was immensely in advance of its time. It failed completely to attract the public of Weimar, the most cultivated in Europe, when it was originally produced, but it is now one of the most popular operas in Germany. The beauties of the score are doubly astonishing when it is remembered that when it was written 'Die Meistersinger' had not been composed. The germs of much that delights us in Wagner's comic opera may be found in 'Der Barbier,' and it is certain that if Cornelius received his initial impulse from 'Lohengrin,' he himself reacted upon Wagner to a very remarkable extent. The plot of 'Der Barbier' is long-winded and puerile, and the interest is entirely centred in the music, Noureddin loves Margiana, the daughter of the Cadi, and is bidden to an interview by Bostana, her confidante. He takes with him Abul Hassan, a talkative fool of a barber, who watches in the street while Noureddin visits his sweetheart. Suddenly the cries of a slave undergoing the bastinado are heard. The barber jumps to the conclusion that Noureddin is being murdered, summons help and invades the house. Noureddin takes refuge from the wrath of the Cadi in a chest. The commotion and tumult end in bringing the Caliph upon the scene, and the unfortunate youth is discovered half dead in his hiding-place. He is revived by the barber, and presented with the hand of Margiana. To this silly story Cornelius wrote music of extraordinary power and beauty. Much of it is of course light and trivial, but such scenes as that of the Muezzin call, or the wild confusion of the last finale, are fully worthy of the master upon whom Cornelius modelled his style. Cornelius had a pretty gift for humorous orchestration, and his accompaniments often anticipate the dainty effects of 'Die Meistersinger.' 'Das Rheingold' being still unwritten in 1858, it would be too much to expect a systematised use of guiding themes, but they are often employed with consummate skill, and in the Muezzin scene the music of the call to prayer forms the basis of a symphonic passage, which is thoroughly in the style of Wagner's later works. Cornelius left two posthumous works, 'Der Cid' and 'Gunlöd,' which have been produced during the last few years. They are little more than imitations of Wagner's maturer style. Hermann Goetz (1840-1876) was a composer whose early death cut short a career of remarkable promise. He produced but one opera during his lifetime, but that displayed an originality and a resource for which it would be vain to look in the multifarious compositions of the Kapellmeisters of the period. 'Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung' follows the incidents of 'The Taming of the Shrew' very closely. The action begins at night. Lucentio is serenading Bianca, but his ditty is interrupted by a riot among Baptista's servants, who refuse to submit any longer to Katharine's ill-treatment. Peace is restored, and Lucentio resumes his song. A second interruption is in store for him in the shape of Hortensio, another of Bianca's suitors, also upon serenading bent. Baptista, angry at being disturbed again by the quarrels of the rival musicians, dismisses them with the information that Bianca shall be bestowed upon neither of them until Katharine is wedded. Petruchio now enters, and fired with Hortensio's description of Katharine's beauty and spirit, vows to make her his own.

The second act begins with a scene between Katharine and her sister, which conclusively proves that the reports of the former's shrewishness have not exceeded the truth. Hortensio and Lucentio, disguised respectively as a music master and a teacher of languages, are now ushered in, and receive most uncourteous treatment at Katharine's hands. The act ends with Petruchio's wooing of Katharine, and the settlement of their wedding-day. In the third act comes the marriage of Petruchio and Katharine, and the fourth act shows the taming of the shrew in strict accordance with Shakespeare's comedy. Goetz's music brims over with frolicsome humour and gaiety, and the more serious portions are tender without being sentimental. The influence of Wagner is more plainly seen in the musicianly development of the melodies than in their employment as guiding themes, though of this, too, there are not a few instances. But the parts of the work in which Goetz's indebtedness to Wagner are most apparent are the choruses, which, both in their tunefulness and in the elaborate nature of the part-writing, often recall 'Die Meistersinger,' and in the orchestration, which is extraordinarily fanciful and imaginative. 'Der Widerspänstigen Zähmung' has never been properly appreciated in this country, in spite of the familiar nature of the libretto. Goetz left another opera, 'Francesca da Rimini,' unfinished. This was completed by his friend Ernst Frank, but has never met with much success.

Cornelius and Goetz would have been the first to admit the influence which Wagner's works exercised upon their imagination, yet their admiration for his music never seduced them into anything like mere imitation. The operas of Carl Goldmark are founded far more directly upon the methods and system of Wagner. Yet it would be unjust to dismiss him as a mere plagiarist. In his first work, 'Die Königin von Saba' (1875), there is a great deal which is entirely independent of Wagner's or any one else's influence. The plot of the work has really nothing Biblical about it, and if the names of the characters were changed, the work might be produced to-morrow at Covent Garden without offending the most puritanical susceptibilities. Sulamith, the daughter of the high priest, is to wed Assad, a Jewish warrior, upon his return from a military expedition, but Assad has fallen in with the Queen of Sheba on her way to Jerusalem, and her charms have proved fatal to his constancy. Sulamith is prepared to forgive him, but his love for the queen is irresistible, and even at the altar he leaves Sulamith for her embraces. Finally Assad is banished to the desert, where he is overwhelmed by a sandstorm. 'Die Königin von Saba' is a strong and effective opera. The local colour is managed very skilfully, and the orchestration is novel and brilliant. Yet there is very little of that indefinable quality, which we call sincerity, about the score. It was happily described at its production as a clever imitation of good music. The influence of Wagner is strongest in the love music, which owes much to 'Tristan und Isolde,' 'Merlin' (1886), Goldmark's second opera, has not been as successful in Germany as 'Die Königin von Saba,' The libretto, which is founded upon the Arthurian legend of Merlin and Vivien, shows many points of resemblance to Wagner's later works, and the music follows his system of guiding themes far more closely than in the earlier work. 'Merlin' may stand as an instance of the unfortunate influence which a man of Wagner's power and originality exercises upon his contemporaries. There is little in it which cannot be traced more or less directly to a prototype in the works of Wagner, and it need scarcely be said that Goldmark does not improve upon his model In 'Das Heimchen am Herd' (1896), the libretto of which is founded upon Dickens's famous story 'The Cricket on the Hearth,' Goldmark seems to have tried to emulate the success of Humperdinck's 'Hänsel und Gretel,' There are suggestions in it, too, of the influence of Smetana who dawned upon the Viennese horizon in 1890. In this work, which has been performed with great success in Germany, and was produced in English by the Carl Rosa Company in 1900, the composer contrived very cleverly to put off the grandiose manner of his earlier operas. Elaborate as the orchestral part of the score is, it is never allowed to overpower the voices, and the general impression of the opera is one of rare simplicity and charm. Goldmark's later works, 'Die Kriegsgefangene' (1899) and 'Götz von Berlichingen' (1902), have been less successful.

Cyrill Kistler (1848-1907) was spoken of some years ago as the man upon whom Wagner's mantle had fallen, but his recent death has shattered the hopes founded upon the promise of his early works. 'Kunihild,' a work dealing with a heroic legend, was produced in 1883. It is a clever imitation of the Wagnerian manner, except as regards the choruses, which scarcely rise above the standard of the Liedertafel; but neither at its production nor at an elaborate revival, which took place at Würzburg a few years ago, did it meet with more than a succès d'estime. There seems to be better work in 'Eulenspiegel,' a comic opera founded upon Kotzebue's comedy. The music is instinct with genuine humour, and though but remotely suggesting the methods of Wagner shows complete mastery of technical resource.

The most important contribution to German opera made during the decade that followed the death of Wagner was Humperdinck's 'Hänsel und Gretel,' which was produced in December 1893. Before that time the composer was known to fame, at any rate so far as England is concerned, only by a couple of cantatas and some arrangements of scenes from Wagner's works for concert purposes, but at one bound he became the most popular living operatic composer of Germany. The libretto of 'Hänsel und Gretel' is a very charming arrangement, in three scenes, of a familiar nursery tale. The action opens in the cottage of Peter the broom-maker. Hänsel and Gretel, the two children, are left to keep house together. They soon tire of their tasks, and Gretel volunteers to teach her brother how to dance. In the middle of their romp, Gertrude their mother comes in, and angrily packs them off into the wood to pick strawberries. Tired and faint she sinks into a chair, bewailing the lot of the poor man's wife, with empty cupboards and hungry mouths to be fed. Soon Peter's voice is heard singing in the distance. He has had a good sale for his besoms, and comes back laden with good cheer. But his delight is cut short by the absence of the children, and when he finds that they are out in the wood alone, he terrifies his wife with the story of the witch of Schornstein, who is given to eating little children, and they both hurry off to bring Hänsel and Gretel home. Meanwhile, out in the forest the children amuse themselves with picking strawberries and making flower garlands, until the approach of night, when they find to their horror that they have lost their way. They search for it in vain, and at last, completely tired out, they sink down upon the moss beneath a spreading tree. The Dustman—the German sleep-fairy—appears and throws dust in their weary eyes. Together they sing their little evening hymn, and drop off to sleep locked in each other's arms. Then the heavens open, and down a shining staircase come the bright forms of angels, who group themselves round the sleeping children, and watch over their innocent slumbers until the break of day. Hänsel and Gretel are aroused by the Dew-fairy, who sprinkles his magic branch over them and drives the sleep from their eyes. They tell each other of the wonderful dream which came to both of them, and then, looking round for the first time, discover a beautiful gingerbread house, close to where they were sleeping. This is where the witch of the forest lives, who bakes little children into gingerbread in her great oven, and eats them up. She catches Hänsel and Gretel, and nearly succeeds in her wicked schemes, but the children, with great presence of mind, defeat her malice by pushing her into her own oven. Then they free the other children who have been turned into gingerbread through her magic spells, and the father and mother opportunely appearing, all join in a hymn of thanksgiving for their deliverance.

Humperdinck's music reproduces, with infinite art, the tender and childlike charm of the delightful old fairy tale. His score is amazingly elaborate, and his treatment of the guiding themes which compose it is kaleidoscopic in its variety, yet the whole thing flows on as naturally as a ballad. The voice-parts are always suave and melodious, and the orchestral score, however complicated, never loses touch of consummate musical beauty. Humperdinck's melody is founded upon the Volkslied, and he uses at least one nursery tune with charming effect. The framework of 'Hänsel und Gretel' is that bequeathed by Wagner, but the spirit which animates and informs the work is so different from that of the Bayreuth master, that there can be no suspicion of imitation, much less of plagiarism. Humperdinck is the first German operatic composer of distinct individuality since the death of Wagner. He has shown that the methods of the great composer can be used as a garment to cover an individuality as distinct as that of any writer in the history of opera.

Humperdinck's share of 'Die sieben Geislein,' a children's ballad opera which was published some years ago, consists only of a few songs of an unimportant character, which will not enhance his reputation. 'Königskinder,' which was produced in 1897, must be classed as a play with incidental music rather than as an opera. The composer directed that the accompanied dialogue, of which there is a good deal, should be rhythmically chanted, but when the work came to be performed these directions were practically ignored by the players. 'Königskinder' was followed in 1902 by 'Dornröschen,' another fairy play accompanied by incidental music, which won little success, nor has good fortune attended his latest opera, 'Die Heirath wider Willen' (1905).

Among the younger generation of German composers, mention must be made of Max Schillings, whose very promising 'Ingwelde' (1894) has recently been succeeded by a remarkable work entitled 'Moloch' (1907); and of Wilhelm Kienzl, the composer of 'Der Evangelimann' (1895). In 'Ingwelde' Schillings followed the Wagnerian tradition almost too faithfully, but 'Moloch' is a work of very distinct individuality. 'Der Evangelimann,' on the other hand, is thoroughly eclectic in style, and the influence not only of Wagner, but of Meyerbeer, Gounod and even Mascagni, may be traced in its pages. Kienzl's later works have met with little favour. 'Donna Diana' (1895), by a composer named Reznicek, is a comic opera founded upon a Spanish subject, which has had a most successful career in Germany during the past few years. It is elaborate in construction, and indeed the score seems to be too complicated to harmonise well with the comic incidents of the story. More recently the composer has won success with a work on the subject of Till Eulenspiegel. Heinrich Zöllner came to the front in 1899 with 'Die versunkene Glocke,' an opera founded upon Gerhart Hauptmann's famous play, which is said to reproduce the symbolic charm of the original with conspicuous success. Eugene d'Albert, though English by birth, has for so long identified himself with Germany, that the success of his comic opera, 'Die Abreise' (1898), may most suitably be recorded here. His more ambitious works have been less favourably received. Siegfried Wagner, in spite of his parentage, seems to have founded his style principally upon that of Humperdinck. His first opera, 'Der Bärenhäuter' (1899), was fairly successful, principally owing to a fantastic and semi-comic libretto. 'Herzog Wildfang' (1901) and 'Der Kobold' (1904) failed completely, nor does his latest work, 'Bruder Lustig' (1905), raise very sanguine hopes as to its young composer's future career. Another follower of Humperdinck is Eduard Poldini, whose clever and charming 'Der Vagabund und die Prinzessin,' a graceful version of one of Hans Andersen's stories, was given in London with success in 1906.

Mention must also be made of Felix Weingartner, whose 'Genesius' (1892) and 'Orestes' (1902) are said to contain much fine music; of August Bungert, whose trilogy founded upon the Odyssey has been received with favour in Dresden, though it does not appear to have made much way elsewhere; and of Hans Pfitzner, whose 'Rose von Liebesgarten' (1901) is one of the most promising operas of the younger generation.

The most important figure in the world of German opera to-day is unquestionably that of Richard Strauss. This is not the place to dilate upon Strauss's achievements as a symphonic writer, which are sufficiently well known to the world at large. His first opera, 'Guntram' (1894), was hardly more than an exercise in the manner of Wagner, and made comparatively little impression. 'Feuersnoth' (1901) was a far more characteristic production. It deals with an old legend of the love of a sorcerer for a maiden. The sorcerer is rejected, and in revenge he deprives the town in which the maiden lives of fire and light. The townspeople press the maiden to relent, and her yielding is signalised by a sudden blaze of splendour. Strauss's score shows to the full the amazing command of polyphony and the bewildering richness and variety of orchestration which have made his name famous. The plot of 'Feuersnoth,' however, was against it, and it does not seem to have won a permanent success. 'Salome' (1906), on the other hand, has triumphed in Italy and Paris as well as in Germany, and succeeded in scandalising New York so seriously that it was withdrawn after a single performance. 'Salome' is a setting, almost unabbreviated, of Oscar Wilde's play of that name, which itself owed much to a tale by Flaubert. The scene is laid upon a terrace of Herod's palace, where soldiers are keeping watch while the king holds revel within. Salome, the daughter of Herodias, issues from the banquet chamber, troubled by Herod's gaze. The voice of Jochanaan (John the Baptist), who is imprisoned in a cistern hard by, is heard. Salome bids Narraboth, a young Assyrian, bring him forth. Dragged from his living tomb, Jochanaan denounces the wickedness of Herodias, but Salome has no ears for his curses. Fascinated by the strange beauty of the prophet, she pours forth her passion in wild accents. Jochanaan repulses her and retreats once more to his cistern. Herod and Herodias now come forth from the banquet, and Herod bids Salome dance. She extorts a promise from him that he will give her whatever she asks, even to the half of his kingdom, and dances the dance of the seven veils. The dance over, she demands the head of Jochanaan. Herod pleads with her in vain, the executioner is sent into the cistern and the head of Jochanaan is brought in upon a silver charger. Salome kisses the lifeless lips, but Herod in wrath and horror cries to his soldiers: 'Kill this woman,' and as the curtain falls she is crushed beneath their shields. Strauss is the stormy petrel of modern music, and 'Salome' has aroused more discussion than anything he has written. Many critics quite the reverse of prudish have found its ethics somewhat difficult of digestion, while conservative musicians hold up their hands in horror at its harmonic audacity. The more advanced spirits find a strange exotic beauty in the weird harmonies and infinitely suggestive orchestration, and contend with some justice that a work of art must be judged as such, not as an essay in didactic morality. The 'Salome' question may well be left for time to settle, more especially as the subject and treatment of the work combine to put its production upon the London stage beyond the limits of immediate probability.

In modern times Singspiel has for the most part become merged in comic opera, which, though originally an importation from France, has become thoroughly acclimatised in Germany, and in the hands of such men as Johann Strauss, Franz von Suppé, and Carl Millöcker, has produced work of no little artistic interest, though scarcely coming within the scope of this book. To the Singspiel, too, may be traced an exceedingly unpretentious school of opera, dealing for the most part with homely and sentimental subjects, of which the best-known representative is Victor Nessler (1841-1890). Nessler's opera, 'Der Trompeter von Säkkingen,' is still one of the most popular works in the repertory of German opera-houses, and his 'Rattenfänger von Hameln' is scarcely less of a favourite. The first of these works is founded upon Scheffel's well-known poem, and tells in artless fashion of the love of Jung Werner, the trumpeter, for the daughter of the Baron von Schönau; the second deals with the story of the Hamelin rat-catcher, which Browning has immortalised. Nessler has little more than a vein of simple melody to recommend him, and his works have had no success beyond the frontiers of Germany; but at home his flow of rather feeble sentimentality has endeared him to every susceptible heart in the Fatherland.

Closely allied to the German school of opera is that of Bohemia, of which the most famous representative is Smetana (1824-1884). Outside the frontiers of his native land, Smetana was practically unknown until the Vienna Exhibition of 1890, when his opera, 'Die verkaufte Braut,' was produced for the first time in the Austrian capital. Since then it has been played in many German opera-houses, and was performed in London in 1895, and again in 1907. The story is simplicity itself. Jeník, a young peasant, and Marenka, the daughter of the rich farmer Krusina, love each other dearly; but Kezal, a kind of go-between in the Bohemian marriage-market, tells Krusina that he can produce a rich husband for his daughter in the shape of Vasek, the son of Mícha. The avaricious old man jumps at the proposal, but Marenka will have nothing to say to the arrangement, for Vasek is almost an idiot, and a stammerer as well. Kezal then proceeds to buy Jeník out for three hundred gulden. The latter, however, stipulates that in the agreement it shall only be set down that Marenka is to marry the son of Mícha. The contract is signed and the money is paid, whereupon Jeník announces that he is a long-lost son of Mícha by a youthful marriage, and carries off the bride, to the discomfiture of his enemies. If Smetana owes anything to anybody it is to Mozart, whose form and system of orchestration his own occasionally recalls, but his music is so thoroughly saturated with the melodies and rhythms of Bohemia, that it is quite unnecessary to look for any source of inspiration other than the composer's own native land. But although Smetana's music is Bohemian to the core, he brings about his effects like a true artist. The national colour is not laid on in smudges, but tinges the whole fabric of the score. Smetana's other works are less known outside Bohemia. 'Das Geheimniss' and 'Der Kuss' are comic operas of a thoroughly national type, while 'Dalibor' and 'Libusa' deal with stirring episodes of Bohemian history.

More famous than his master is Smetana's pupil Dvorak (1841-1904), yet the latter seems to have had little real vocation for the stage. His operas, 'Der Bauer ein Schelm' and 'Der Dickschädel,' appear to follow the style of Smetana very closely. They have been favourably received in Bohemia, but the thoroughly national sentiment of the libretti must naturally militate against their success elsewhere.

In Russia the development of opera, and indeed of music generally, is of comparatively recent date. Glinka (1803-1857), the founder of the school, is still perhaps its most famous representative, although his operas, in spite of frequent trials, seem never to succeed beyond the frontiers of Russia. The splendid patriotism of 'Life for the Czar' (1836), his most famous work, endears him to the hearts of his countrymen. The scene of the opera is laid in the seventeenth century, when the Poles held Moscow and the fortunes of Russia were at the lowest ebb. Michael Fedorovich Romanov has just been elected Czar, and upon him the hopes of the people are centred. The Poles are determined to seize the person of the Czar, and some of them, disguised as ambassadors, summon the peasant Ivan Sussaninna to guide them to his retreat. Ivan sacrifices his life for his master. He despatches his adopted son to warn the Czar, and himself leads the Poles astray in the wild morasses of the country. When they discover that they have been betrayed they put Ivan to death, but not before he has had the satisfaction of knowing that the Czar is in safety. The opera ends with the triumphal entry of the Czar into Moscow.

'Russian and Ludmila' (1858), Glinka's second work, is founded upon a fantastic Russian legend of magic and necromancy. It has not the national and patriotic interest of 'Life for the Czar,' but as music it deserves to rank higher. Berlioz thought very highly of it. Nevertheless it may be doubted whether, at this time of day, there is any likelihood of Glinka becoming popular in Western Europe. Glinka had an extraordinary natural talent, and had he lived in closer touch with the musical world, he might have become one of the great composers of the century. Melody he had in abundance, and his feeling for musical form is strong, though only partially developed. He had little dramatic instinct, and it is singular that he should be known principally as a composer for the stage. His treatment of the orchestra is brilliant and effective, but the national element in his music is the signe particulier of his style. He rarely used actual Russian folk-tunes, but his music is coloured throughout by the plaintive melancholy of the national type. A composer, whose music smells so strongly of the soil, can scarcely expect to be appreciated abroad.

Dargomishky (1813-1869) and Serov (1818-1871) are unfamiliar names to Englishmen. The former during his lifetime was content to follow in the steps of Glinka, but his opera, 'The Marble Guest,' a treatment of the story of Don Juan, which was produced after his death, broke entirely fresh ground. This work is completely modern in thought and expression, and may be regarded as the foundation of modern Russian opera. Serov was an enthusiastic imitator of Wagner, and even his own countrymen admit that his works have little musical value.

Rubinstein (1829-1895) wrote many works for the stage, and during the last years of his life founded something like a new form of art in his sacred operas, 'Moses' and 'Christus,' the latter of which was produced after his death at Bremen. Critics differ very much as to Rubinstein's merits as a composer, but as to the quality of his work for the stage there can hardly be two opinions. His music is essentially undramatic. None of his works, at any rate outside Russia, has achieved more than a passing success. 'The Demon,' a strange story of the love of a demon for a Russian princess, has some fine music in it, but the story is almost totally devoid of incident, and the opera as a whole is intolerably wearisome.

Of the younger school of Russian operatic composers it is almost impossible to speak with any authority, since their works are rarely performed in Western Europe. Tchaikovsky's 'Eugene Onegin' is occasionally given in London, but has won little success. Much of the music is interesting, but the disconnected character of the libretto and the lack of incident fully account for the scanty favour with which it is received. 'Le Flibustier,' an opera by César Cui, was performed in Paris a few years ago with even less success. Borodin's 'Prince Igor,' and 'Die Mainacht' by Rimsky-Korsakov, are thought highly of by the fellow-countrymen of the composers, but neither work has succeeded in crossing the frontier of Russia.

Poland has not hitherto taken a prominent place in the history of opera, and the successful production of 'Manru' (1901), an opera by Ignaz Paderewski, the world-famous pianist, is hardly to be taken as the foundation of a new school. The story deals with the fortunes of a gipsy, Manru, who marries Ulana, a peasant girl, but is won back to gipsy life by the fascinations of Asa, the princess of his tribe. He rejoins his own people in spite of Ulana's entreaties and a love-potion which she administers, but is killed by a gipsy rival, while Ulana in despair throws herself into a lake. Paderewski's music is thoroughly German in style, but he makes clever use of gipsy tunes and rhythms, which give a welcome variety to the score.

The genius of Scandinavian musicians seems to have little in common with the stage. The works of Hartmann and Weyse are not known beyond the boundaries of Denmark. Of late years, however, works by August Enna, a young Danish composer, have been performed in various German towns. 'Die Hexe' and 'Cleopatra' won a good deal of success, but the composer's more recent operas, 'Aucassin und Nicolette' and 'Das Streichholzmädel,' have met with little favour.

 

 



 

 

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