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Le domaine et les origines du duché de Limbourg. George Philippe éd. La vie économique et sociale - Het economische en sociale leven. Entre service militaire à cheval et activités civiles lucratives. La perspective des rapports ville-campagnes. Cahiers Bruxellois. Tijdschrift voor Stadsgeschiedenis, XLI,pp. Antwerpse poorters uit Kalmthout in de periode Tijdschrift van de Oudheidkundige Kring van Kalmthout, 61,2, pp.
Het ontstaan en de betekenis van het Herentalse vrijheidscharter van De stadsrekeningen van Leuven en Tienen voor de jaren in vergelijkend perspectief. Eigen Schoon en de Brabander. Driemaandelijks tijdschrift van het Koninklijk Geschied-en Oudheidkundig Genootschap van Vlaams-Brabant, 92,3, pp. Consumption patterns and living conditions inside Het Steen, the late medieval prison of Malines Mechelen, Belgium.
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Opstellen over de geschiedenis van Turnhout, de Antwerpse Kempen en het hertogdom Brabant aangeboden aan Harry de Kok. Jaarboek Mechelse veehandelaars op de Ossenmarkt te Lier Brussel Cahiers bruxellois. Tijdschrift voor Stadsgeschiedenis, XL,pp.
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Schriften des Archäologischen Landesmuseums: Ergänzungsreihe 5. Een akkoord tussen de heer en de gemeente van Genoelselderen over hun heerwagen. Het archeologisch onderzoek van het koor en het kerkhof van de Catharinakerk in de middeleeuwse stadskern van Eindhoven. In: Goris Jan-Modest ed. Facetten van Kempische geschiedenis. Centralité religieuse et développement urbain. Notes sur la fixation du doyenné de Bruxelles aux 11ee siècles. Entre France et Empire.
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Tijdschrift voor Rechtsgeschiedenis. The Legal History Review, 77, pp. Het Kortrijkse notariaat tijdens de late middeleeuwen Vereniging voor Geschied- Taal-en Volkskundig onderzoek in het Kortrijkse, 51,1, pp. De oorkonden der graven van Vlaanderen juli -september Regering van Filips van de Elzas, tweede deel, Recueil des actes des Princes belges 6. Thérèse, Ferrand, Isabelle et leurs époux. Les alliances matrimoniales portugaises des comtes et comtesses de Flandre Daelemans FrankKelders Ann eds.
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Waterbeheer en rurale samenleving in de Vlaamse kustvlakte Woord vooraf. In: Soens Tim. La vie religieuse - Het godsdienstig leven. Hoofdcijnsplichtigen van de Sint-Baafsabdij van Gent in Laarne en Kalken in de tweede helft van de 14de eeuw. Kurrer Karl-EugenLorenz Werner eds. The particular innovations due to Piccinni and Paisiello have already been mentioned. Cimarosa composed the best overtures which, up to his time, the Italian school could boast of, and he was the first to introduce quartets and other concerted pieces in the midst of dramatic action; not, that is to say, as ornaments at the end of an act, which hitherto had been the place conventionally assigned to them, but as integral parts of the musical drama.
This innovation occurs for the first time in Il Fanatico per gli antichi Romaniwhich Cimarosa composed in It was not until nineteen years afterwards that this master produced his Matrimonio Segreto.
But meanwhile Cimarosa had been completely distanced by Mozart, who, himself a great inventor, and, so to say, anticipator, adopted moreover everything that was worth adopting in the methods of all his contemporaries and predecessors. To resume, in as few words as possible, the history of opera in Italy up to the time of Rossini, this form of art was at first nothing but recitative, or recitative with a chorus at the end of each act.
Then occasional airs were introduced, then duets; and it is not until the middle of the eighteenth century that we find an example of an operatic trio. Quartets and dramatic finales followed in due course; and while the Italians had been developing new methods of employing the solo voices, Gluck had given prominence to the chorus as a dramatic factor, and had cultivated choral writing with the happiest effect. Other Germans, with Haydn foremost among them, had produced new orchestral combinations, until at last Mozart joined to the vocal forms of the Italians the instrumental forms of the Germans, while developing and perfecting both.
Rossini introduced quite gradually into Italian opera those reforms which are particularly associated with his name; and perhaps in no other way could he have got them accepted. But he might, had he felt so disposed, have borrowed them one and all in a piece from the works of Mozart. Let it be remembered, however, as a matter of fact, that when in Rossini produced Tancrediwhich marks the commencement of the reforms introduced by him into serious opera, he had enjoyed no opportunity of seeing any of Mozart's works on the stage.
Probably he had studied the music of Mozart, as we know him to have studied that of Haydn, in score; but it was not until that Don Giovanninor until that the Marriage of Figarowas performed for the first time in Italy at the Scala theatre. Rossini's success, due above all to the fascinating character of his easily appreciable melodies, was instantaneous; and it spread like wild-fire from Italy all over Europe.
More than a quarter of a century, however, passed before Mozart's great works made their way from Vienna to the chief cities of Italy, and to the capitals of France and England. This tardy recognition of Mozart's dramatic genius may be explained in part by the outbreak of the French revolution soon after their production, and by the wars which distracted Europe from the time of the French revolution until the pacification of Tancredicomposed a year after La Pietra del Paragonewas Rossini's first serious opera.
It was also the first opera by which he became known throughout Europe. To amateurs of the present day its melodies appear of old-fashioned, or at least of antique cast. The recitatives seem long, and they are interminable compared with those by which Verdi connects his musical pieces.
But when Tancredi was first brought out opera seria consisted almost entirely of recitative, relieved here and there and only at long intervals by solo airs. For much of this declamation Rossini substituted singing; for endless monologues and dialogues supported by a few chords, concerted pieces connected and supported by a brilliant orchestral accompaniment.
Rossini, in fact, introduced into serious opera the forms which comic opera already possessed. The parts were at that time differently distributed in opera seria and opera buffa ; and in the latter less restricted style the bass singer was not as a matter of course kept in the background. Tancredi was the first serious opera in which a certain prominence was given to the bass, though it was not until some years later—in Otello, in La Gazza Ladra, and in Mosè—that Rossini ventured to entrust bass singers with leading parts.
Opera seriawhen Rossini was beginning his career, was governed by rules as strict, as formal, and as thoroughly conventional as those which gave so much artificiality and so much dulness to the classical drama of France.
The company for comic opera consisted of the primo buffo tenorprima buffabuffo caricato bassseconda buffaand ultima parte bass. The company for serious opera was made up of the primo uomo sopranoprima donnaand tenor, the secondo uomo sopranoseconda donnaand ultima parte bass ; and in serious opera the ultima parte was not only kept in the background, but, except in concerted pieces, was scarcely ever heard.
Saint agaune regime a solo singer, the bass in serious opera had no existence. Gradually Rossini brought him forward, until he became at last as prominent as the tenor, or even more so.
In Semiramidefor instance, the principal male character is Quels aliments pour maigrir des cuisses interieur. In Tancredifrom which Semiramide is separated by an interval of ten years, the bass has little to do.
He already, however, possesses an importance which was denied to him in the serious operas of Rossini's predecessors. In Tancrediagain, the composer introduces concerted pieces in situations where, had the ancient method been followed, there would have been only monologues. In these concerted pieces, moreover, the dramatic action is kept up, whereas the endless monologues and long sequences of airs which gave such character as they possessed to the operas of Rossini's immediate predecessors had the effect of delaying it.
To musical reformers of a later period Rossini himself seemed to insert songs in his operas merely for the sake of singing, and greatly to the injury of the drama.
But he diminished considerably the number of formal airs which, until he began to write, were included as a matter of course in every opera. He increased the number of characters, and made, for the first time in Italian opera, a free use of the chorus, which in the works of the old school plays quite a subordinate part and has no dramatic functions assigned to it at all. Rossini's innovations are well described by Lord Mount-Edgcumbe, who has no praise, however, to bestow upon jr botox dangerous dans, but on the contrary, condemns them without measure.
Indeed, the more he blames Rossini, the more he calls attention to what are now recognised as his chief merits. When Lord Mount-Edgcumbe undertakes to show how Rossini was ruining the musical drama, he in fact points out how he was reforming it. One of the most material alterations is that the grand distinction between serious and comic operas is nearly at an end, the separation of the singers for their performances entirely so.
Not only do the same sing in both, but a new species of drama has arisen, a kind of mongrel between them, called semi-seriawhich bears the same analogy to the other two that the nondescript melodrama does to the legitimate tragedy and comedy of the English stage. The construction of these newly invented pieces," continues Lord Mount-Edgcumbe, "is essentially different from the old. The dialogue, which used to be carried on in recitative, and which in Metastasio's operas is often so beautiful and interesting, is now cut up and rendered unintelligible if it were worth listening to into pezzi concertatior long singing conversations, which present a tedious succession of unconnected, ever-changing motivoshaving nothing to do with each other; and if a satisfactory air is for a moment introduced, which the ear would like to dwell upon, to hear modulated, varied, and again returned to, it is broken off, before it is well understood, by a sudden transition into a totally different melody, time, and key, and recurs no more, so that no impression can be made or recollection of it preserved.
Single songs are almost exploded In his valuable attack upon Rossini, Lord Mount-Edgcumbe is admirably sincere. After condemning Rossini for his new distribution of characters, and for his employment of bass voices in leading parts, "to the manifest injury of melody and total subversion of harmony, in which the lowest part is their peculiar province," he calls attention to the fact that Mozart has previously sinned in like manner; and he cannot help expressing some astonishment when he reflects "that the principal characters in two of Mozart's operas have been written for basses.
In Italy, where Mozart's works were at the time unknown, Rossini may well have appeared a perfectly original genius, not only by his richness of melodic invention, but also by the novelty of his forms. But it is strange that an amateur, acquainted, as Lord Mount-Edgcumbe was, with the works of Mozart, should not at once have perceived that Rossini, in introducing so much which was new only to the Italians, was making no bold experiment, but was merely following in the wake of a greater inventor than himself.
The success, however, of Rossini's first serious opera was due less to new methods of distributing parts and of constructing pieces than to the beauty of the melodies. Not at all: I found they were much madder than I was. Azevedo, "on the stage and in the universe, it has been made the subject of a canticle for the Catholic Church, like all other successful airs. But a litany before the air, and a canticle after the air, are not the same thing. In connection with Tancredimention has been made of Rossini's reforms in serious opera, which he found too serious.
Comic opera, on the other hand, as it existed up to his time, seemed to him too comic or rather, too extravagant.
We have seen that the old opera buffa had its separate set of characters and singers, and its own separate style, musical as well as dramatic. Rossini raised the level of the style, and for farce substituted comedy. In the midst, too, of comedy airs, he introduced, from time to time, a sentimental one such as "Ecco ridente" in Il Barbiereand "Languir per una bella," in L'Italiana in Algeri —which Rossini brought out at Milan soon after the production of Tancredi at Venice, and which holds among his comic operas the same position that belongs to Tancredi among his serious ones.
Italian audiences had been trained to disapprove of the same singer appearing one night in a comic and the next in a tragic part; and critical hearers are said to have been shocked at seeing the same artist appear successively as Figaro and as Assur, as Dr. Bartolo and as Mosè. Apart from the substitution of the comic for the farcical in the general treatment, L'Italiana in Algeri is remarkable as the first comic opera in which Rossini introduced that crescendowhich was soon recognised as a characteristic feature in all his works.
He had already tested its effect in the overture to Tancredi —the first Italian overture which became popular apart from the work to which it belonged—and in the concerted finale of the same opera.
Rossini is said to have borrowed this effect from Paisiello's Re Teodoro. But the invention of the crescendo was energetically claimed by Mosca, who had certainly employed it before Rossini, and who regarded it as his own private property; circulating, in order to establish his prior right, copies of a piece composed long before Tancredi was brought out, in which fully developed crescendi occurred. This did not prevent Rossini from continuing to write crescendinor from being satirised and caricatured as "Signor Crescendo," when, some ten years afterwards, he went to Paris.
Methode amaigrissement wrap traduction HE year after the production of TancrediRossini, inbrought out Aurelianowhich was not successful.
It contained, however, at least one piece of music which the composer, with due regard to economy, was determined not to waste. This was the introduction itself, borrowed from Ciro in Babiloniawhich, when Rossini afterwards adapted its melody to words written for Count Almaviva in the Barber of Sevilleobtained lasting success in the form of the charming cavatina "Ecco ridente il cielo. The overture, moreover, to Aureliano in Palmiraafter serving as instrumental introduction to Elisabettaproduced a year later at Naples, found ultimately a permanent position as musical preface to the Barber of Seville.
The failure of Aureliano in Palmirawhich Rossini attributed in a great measure to the liberties taken with the music by at least one of the performers, caused him to adopt the practice of writing for the singers the very notes he intended them to sing. Strange innovation! But, until Rossini's time, the vocalists were really the composer's masters, and regarded his airs merely as so much canvas for embroidery.
To Rossini belongs the honour of having helped greatly to expel the sopranists from the operatic stage. The Church, with a view to soprano voices in choirs, from which women were excluded, had introduced them; and ultimately the Church pronounced against them. But nothing could have had a greater effect in putting them down than Rossini's absolute refusal to write for them, or to allow them to sing in those of his operas performed under his direct superintendence.
The circumstances under which Rossini broke with the most celebrated sopranist of his time—that Velluti, whom a wit described as " non vir sed veluti "—are worth relating. Rossini had written for this personage a part in his Aureliano in Palmirathe most celebrated of his very few failures; and the composer soon found that the singer had no respect for his music, which he treated as so much substance for elaboration and pretended adornment; while the singer discovered that the composer was so narrow-minded as to require his melodies to be sung as he had thought fit to write them.
In those days dramatic propriety and music itself were sacrificed to the vocalists, who, far from studying parts, do not seem, in any true spirit, to have mastered airs.
We read of singers having been kept to scales and passages for years at a time; and every one who takes an interest in musical history must remember the burlesque exclamation of Porpora, who, when Caffarelli had practised nothing but exercises with him for no less than five years, cried out: "You have nothing more to learn!
Caffarelli is the first singer in the world! Aureliano was not played after the first night: and Rossini had the satisfaction of hearing that though his opera had failed, Velluti had made a brilliant success in the principal part.
Velluti had, in fact, astonished and delighted the public by his vocal gymnastics. But it was not Rossini's music, it was really his own music, suggested by Rossini's, that he had sung. Unable—perhaps even unwilling—to run altogether counter to the prevailing taste, Rossini continued to write highly florid music. But he supplied his own decorations, and made them so elaborate that the most skilful adorner would have found it difficult to add to them. Writing for a French public Rossini showed, in William Tellthat he was as much a master of the simple dramatic style in which the singer has not to display vocal agility, but to express human emotion, as he was already known to be of the highly decorative style admired by the Italians.
He respected the voices, and only thought of bringing about the triumph of singing. Rossini had found La Marcolini, La Malanotte, La Manfredini, the Mombelli family, why should he not endeavour to give prominence to the singing—he who is such a good singer, and who when he sits down to the piano to sing one of his own airs, seems to transform the genius we know him to possess as a composer into that of a singer?
The fact is, a little event took place which at once changed the composer's views Rossini arrived at Milan into write Aureliano in Palmira. There he met with Velluti, who was to sing in his opera; Velluti, then in the flower of his youth and talent, one of the best-looking men of his time, and much given to abuse his prodigious resources. Rossini had never heard this singer.
He wrote a cavatina for him. At the first rehearsal, with full orchestra, he heard Velluti bpm regime general it, and was struck with admiration.
At the second rehearsal Velluti began to embroider fiorire. Rossini found some of his effects admirable, and still approved; but at the third rehearsal, the richness of the embroidery was such that it quite concealed the body of the air.
At last the grand day of the first representation arrived. The cavatina, and all Velluti's part, was enthusiastically applauded; but Rossini could scarcely recognise what Velluti was singing; he did not know his own music. However, Velluti's singing was very beautiful and wonderfully successful with the public, which, after all, does no wrong in applauding what gives it so much pleasure. The pride of the young composer was deeply wounded; the opera failed, and the sopranist alone succeeded.
Rossini's lively perception saw at once all that such an event could suggest. The danger to my unfortunate music is the more imminent, insomuch as there are no more singing schools in Italy. The theatres are full of artists who have picked up music from singing-masters about the country. This style of singing violin concertos, endless variations, will not only destroy all talent for singing, but will also vitiate the public taste.
ROSSINI AND HIS SCHOOL
All the singers will be imitating Velluti, each according to his means. We shall have no more cantilenas; they would be thought poor and cold. Everything will undergo a change, even to the nature of the voices, which, once accustomed to embroider and overlay a cantilena with elaborate ornaments, will soon lose the habit of singing sustained legato passages, and be unable to execute them.
I must change my system then. I know how to sing; every one acknowledges that I possess that talent; my fioriture will be in good taste; moreover, I shall discover at once the strong and weak points of my singers, and shall only write for them what they will be able to execute. I will not leave them a place for adding the least apoggiatura. The fioriturethe ornaments, must form an integral part of the air, and be all written in the score.
The sopranists might, at an earlier period, have been sent with advantage to Berlin, where, as Dr. Burney tells us, Frederick the Great, taking up his position in the pit of his opera-house immediately behind the conductor of the orchestra, on whose score he kept his eye, would never allow a singer to alter a single passage in his part.
The conductor's authority does not seem to have been sufficient, for, according to Burney, it was the king who, when the vocalist took liberties with the score, called upon him to keep to the notes as written by the composer. He rose anti ride japonais,  "were at all times extremely insolent.
They forced the greatest masters to conform to their caprices. They changed, transformed everything to suit their own vanity. They would insist on having an air or a duet placed in such a scene, written in such a style, with such an accompaniment. They were the kings, the tyrants of theatres, managers, and composers; that is why, in the most serious works of the greatest masters of the last century, there occur long cold passages of vocalisation which had been exacted by the sopranists for the sake of exhibiting, in a striking manner, the agility and power of their throats.
In fact the vocal music, and the whole Italian lyrical system of the eighteenth century, was much more the work of the singers than of the composers. After the production of Aureliano in PalmiraRossini for about eighteen months was comparatively idle; for during this period he only produced two operas, Il Turco in Italiaand Sigismondoof which the former has long ceased to-be played, while the latter was never at any time much performed.
Il Turco in Italia was a pendant to L'Italiana in Algeribut it obtained no greater amount of public favour than continuations usually meet with.
The hero of the work was supposed to have been wrecked on the Italian coast, and a like fate awaited the work itself. Rossini, according to his custom, saved what he could from the wreck, and the overture to the Turk in Italy was, some years later, when Otello was brought out, made to do duty as introduction to the story of the Moor of Venice.
As for Sigismondothe story of its failure was graphically recorded by Rossini himself; who, writing to his mother the same night, enclosed her the outline of a small bottle or fiasco. Rossini's increasing fame had, among other effects, that of making him visit all the principal cities in Italy.
As in his youth he had moved about in his character of conductor from one little town in the Romagna to another, so now, when he had attained his full powers, he was called upon to travel from Bologna to Venice, from Venice to Milan, from Milan to Naples, from Naples to Rome.
The former received a subvention of 12, l. These opera-houses, at that time the first in the world, received additional support from public gambling saloons adjoining them; and it was as a waiter at one of these auxiliary establishments that Barbaja, the most illustrious impresario of his own or of any other time—Barbaja, who is mentioned in one of Balzac's novels, and introduced by Scribe in his libretto of La Sirène —commenced his career.
Besides the cities already named, Turin, Florence, Gopro adventure rides, Genoa, Leghorn, Sienna, Ferrara, had all their opera-houses; some of which were supported by state grants, others by grants from the municipality.
Occasionally, too, the necessary operatic subvention was furnished by some local magnate, who either made a liberal donation or constituted himself director of the theatre. The chief towns maintained several opera-houses. Next to San Carlo and La Scala ranked the Fenice, and next to the Fenice the Court Theatre of Turin where, inasmuch as it formed part of the king's palace, it was considered 'disrespectful to appear in a cloak, disrespectful to laugh, and disrespectful to applaud till the queen had applauded.
From to Rossini wrote principally for Naples. But we have seen that he also worked for Bologna, Venice, and Milan; and he composed for the opera-houses of Rome, Il Barbierebrought out at the Argentina Theatre, La Cenerentolaproduced at the Valle Theatre, and Matilda di Sabranperformed for the first time at the Apollo Theatre. At the Fenice of Venice, Rossini's first opera in the serious style, Tancrediand also his last in that style, Semiramidewere produced.
For the Court Theatre of Turin Rossini wrote nothing. Each of the great Italian opera-houses made a point of bringing out at least two new operas every year; and as the minor theatres were also frequently supplied with new works there was no lack of opportunity for composers anxious to place themselves before the public. The composers were not liberally paid by managers—40 l. It has already been mentioned that Rossini never troubled himself about the publication of his works, and that he profited by the fact of their not having been engraved to borrow from his failures pieces which, had the scores been before the public, he must have hesitated to re-adopt.
The operas of that day were in two acts; a division which, when the subject was an important one, scarcely conduced to the maintenance of dramatic interest. It was the custom of the time, however, to separate these two acts by a ballet; and thus kept apart they were not found so long, so interminable, as, performed one after the other without a break, our modern audiences would find them. The year following was not for Rossini a very brilliant one; and neither Aureliano in Palmiranor a cantata called Egle e Irenewritten for the Princess Belgiojoso, nor Il Turco in Italia —all of the year —did much to increase his reputation.
But the success of Tancredi and of L'Italiana in Algeri was enough for Barbaja, who accordingly invited Rossini in to come to Naples and compose something for the San Carlo. On his arrival Rossini signed a contract with Barbaja for several years; binding himself to write two new operas annually, and to re-arrange the music of any old works the manager might wish to produce, either at his principal theatre or at the second Neapolitan opera-house, the Teatro del Fondo, of which also Barbaja was lessee.
Rossini's emoluments were to be 40 l. Such an engagement would not seem very magnificent to a second or third rate composer of our own time. But it was better than 40 l. Provided, moreover, that he supplied Barbaja with his two new operas every year he was at liberty to write for other managers.
In the ski pour maigrir wrap day it is not uncommon to find an operatic manager of enterprise directing two lyrical theatres in two different countries. The late Mr. Gye entered into an arrangement which however was not carried out for directing the Imperial Opera House of St.
Petersburg, while he was at the same time managing the Royal Italian Opera of London. But these feats are nothing compared with the performances of Barbaja in the managerial line.
Petersburg, than it was in the days of Barbaja to move from Naples or even from Milan to Vienna; and a manager must have augmentation mammaire prix smartphone nokia great administrative ability who could direct three operatic enterprises in three different capitals at the same time.
Barbaja had in his employment all the great composers and all the best singers of his native Italy. So numerous was his company that he scarcely knew who did and who did not belong to it; and a story is told of his meeting one day a singer of some celebrity, and offering him an engagement—when, to his consternation and horror, the vocalist informed him that he had been drawing a regular salary from the theatre for the last three months. On one occasion Donizetti, engaged at that time as accompanist at the Scala Theatre, had been requested to try the voice of a lady who had come to Barbaja with a letter of recommendation.
Another time, when a favourite vocalist complained that the piano, to whose accompaniment she had been rehearsing her part, was too high, Barbaja at once promised that before the next rehearsal he would have it lowered.
The following morning the instrument was, as before, half a note above the requisite pitch. It was pointed out to Barbaja that the piano still wanted lowering; upon which he flew into a violent passion and, summoning one of the stage carpenters, asked him why, when he had been told that the piano was too high, he had not shortened it by two or three inches instead of doing so only by one.
When his singers were genuinely successful he would take their part under all circumstances, and defend them against every attack. A popular prima donna told him one day, on arriving at the San Carlo Theatre, whither she had been borne in a sedan-chair, that one of the carriers had been very negligent in his duty, and had allowed her several times to be bumped on the ground. Barbaja called the porters to his room and, giving each a box on the ears, exclaimed, "Which of you two brutes was in fault?
For the sake of teasing Barbaja, a few of the subscribers to the Scala Theatre agreed one night to hiss Rubini in one of his best parts. Barbaja, perfectly aghast, looked from his box, shook his fist at the seeming malcontents, and, alike indignant and enthusiastic, called out to the universally-admired tenor: "Bravo, Rubini, never mind those pigs!
It is I who pay you, and I am delighted with your singing. In spite of his long-continued success, Barbaja ended, like so many managers, by failing; and but that he stood well with the Austrian Government, who gave him a contract for building barracks at Milan, he might have died in poverty. There is nothing, however, to show that his collapse was due to ignorance of music. It would be probably nearer the truth to attribute it to that loss of energy and tact by which advancing years are generally accompanied.
Among the prime donne of the San Carlo Theatre Barbaja's favourite, in the fullest sense of the word, was Mademoiselle Colbran, who, after studying under Crescentini and Marinelli, made her first appearance with brilliant success at Paris in She was then but sixteen years of age, having been born at Madrid in When Rossini, then, first met her at Naples inshe was already thirty.
Her voice began to deteriorate soon afterwards, if we are to believe Stendhal—who, much as he had in common with the Abbé Carpani including nearly the whole of the materials for his Life of Rossinidid not share that writer's admiration for a singer whom it was the fashion for royalists to laud, for republicans to decry. Stendhal, though he feared that opera, accustomed to subventions and to patronage of all kinds, could not flourish under republican institutions, was nevertheless inclined towards republicanism.
Mademoiselle Colbran has been described as a great beauty in the queenly style—dark hair, brilliant eyes, imposing demeanour; and though Stendhal is under the impression that her voice began to fall off soon after Rossini's arrival at Naples, it seems certain that she must have preserved it in all its beauty until long afterwards.
Rossini in any case wrote for her many of his best parts which, had they not been perfectly sung, could scarcely have met with the success they actually obtained. The artistic merits of Mademoiselle Colbran were, however, as has already been mentioned, discussed habitually from a political point of view. Revolutionists hissed her because the king admired her, while royalists were ready under all circumstances to applaud her.
The first part which Rossini composed for Mademoiselle Colbran, his future wife, was that of Elisabetta in the opera of the same name; a work founded on Scott's novel of Kenilworthand written appropriately enough by a certain Signor Smith. Smith's knowledge of the English language seems, in spite of his name, to have been imperfect; for, instead of taking his story direct from the original, he borrowed it in an adapted shape from a French melodrama.
The Neapolitans, up to this time, had not heard a note of Rossini's music. He had conquered the hearts of the Venetians and the Milanese. But he was unknown at Naples; and not to have earned the applause of the Neapolitan public was not to have achieved an Italian reputation.
The connoisseurs of Naples were by no means disposed to accept Rossini on the strength of the success he had achieved at Milan and Venice; while the professors of the famous Conservatorio, whose classes he had not followed, were incredulous as to his being a composer of any sound musical learning, and were quite prepared to find him a much overrated man.
Rossini began by playing a trick on the Neapolitan audience; for in lieu of an original composition, he prefaced Elisabetta with an overture which he had written the year before at Milan for Aureliano in Palmira —and which he was to offer to the Romans a year afterwards as overture to Il Barbiere. The Neapolitans were delighted with the overture; but it has been surmised that had they known it to have been originally composed for an opera which had failed at Milan, they would not, perhaps, have applauded it so much.
The first piece in the opera was, as Stendhal tells us, a duet for Leicester and his young wife, in the minor, which, says Stendhal, was "very original. Mademoiselle Colbran's greatest success, however, was not achieved until the second act where, on the rising of the curtain, Elisabetta, attired in an historical costume—warranted authentic and ordered expressly from London by a fanatical English admirer—had a grand scena.
The concerted finale to this act was another triumph both for the composer and for the singers. Elisabetta made but little mark beyond the frontiers of Italy. It contains much beautiful music; but the distribution of characters is not all that could be desired.
Thus the parts of Norfolk, and of Leicester, are both given to tenors; though Norfolk as a wicked personage should have been represented by a baritone or bass. The bass singer, however, was still kept in the background; and at the San Carlo, though there were three admirable tenors—Davide, Nozzari, and Garcia,—there was no bass singer capable of taking a leading part.
But for Rossini the bass singer might have remained indefinitely in obscurity. Gradually, however, he was brought to the front, not only in comic operas, where the Italians already tolerated him, but also in serious operas like Otello and Semiramideand in half-character works such as Cenerentola and La Gazza Ladra.
Elisabetta was the first Italian opera in which recitative was accompanied by the stringed quartet in place of the double bass and piano previously employed. Rossini had plenty of work to do at Naples, for, besides composing two new operas every year he had to transpose parts and to correct and complete operatic scores.
But in addition to all this he found time to write two works for Rome, which were produced recette regime yaourt recetteduring the carnival.
One of these, Torvaldo e Dorliskawas brought out at the Teatro Valle where it met with so little success that the composer informed his mother of the fact by sending her the drawing, not this time of a full-sized fiascobut of a small fiasco or fiaschetto.
Torvaldo e Dorliskain which the principal parts were written for Remorini and Galli, the two best bass singers of their time, and for Donzelli, the celebrated tenor, must in spite of its failure have possessed some merit. It was performed at Paris in for the first appearance of Mademoiselle Garcia, the future Malibran; and Rossini borrowed from it the motive of the admirable letter duet in Otello.
Torvaldo e Dorliska was followed, after but a short interval, by Il Barbierefor which a contract was signed the very day, Dec. The contract was in the following terms:—. The Maestro Rossini engages himself to deliver his score in the middle of the month of January, and to adapt it to the voices of the singers; obliging himself, moreover, to make, if necessary, all the changes which may be required, as much for the good execution of the music as to suit the capabilities or exigencies of the singers.
The 20th January is mentioned in order that the partial and general rehearsals may be commenced at once, and that the piece may be brought out the day the director wishes, the date of the first representation being hereby fixed for about the 5th of February. And the Maestro Rossini shall also deliver to the copyist, at the time wished, his second act, so that there may be time to make arrangements, and to terminate the rehearsals soon enough to go before the public on the evening mentioned above; otherwise the Maestro Rossini will expose himself to all losses, because so it must be and not otherwise.
In reward for his fatigues the director engages to pay to the Maestro Rossini the sum and quantity of Roman scudi, as soon as the first three representations which he is to direct at the piano shall be terminated. It is not certain, however, that Rossini received as much as scudi about 80 l. He did not even take the trouble to get it engraved; and two of the pieces, the overture for which the overture to Elisabettapreviously known as the overture to Aureliano in Palmirawas afterwards substituted and the scene of the music lesson which Rossini had treated as a trio for the music-master, his pupil, and the pupil's guardianwere somehow lost in the theatre.
What the manager, on his side, purchased from Rossini, was the right of representation for two years; after which the work might be played by any one, as it might from the first moment be engraved by any one, without payment of any kind. The manuscript could not naturally find its way into the publisher's hands without the composer's consent.
But as a matter of custom composers received nothing from the publishers. In England, curiously enough, operatic composers have hitherto, with scarcely an exception, looked exclusively to the publishers for their profits, and have received nothing from the managers.
The representation, according to the English view, serves to advertise the work, and to cause a demand at the music shops for the principal pieces.
In Italy the engraved music did not apparently find many purchasers. The public cared above all things to hear the music executed on the stage; and with a view to the gratification of this desire the directors found it necessary to provide them constantly with new works, which they moreover found it necessary to order and to pay for.
The manager of the Argentina Theatre had experienced some trouble in procuring a suitable subject for the libretto he wished Rossini to set. The censorship was exercised with great severity, or rather with great scrupulosity, by the so-called Patriarch of Constantinople— Patriarchus in partibus infidelium and if, instead of Beaumarchais' Barber of SevilleCesarini had proposed the same author's Marriage of Figaroit is tolerably certain that the Patriarch would have refused to license so revolutionary a drama.
When the politically harmless Barber of Seville was suggested, the censor at once approved. But it was now for Rossini to hesitate. To object, he had by the terms of his agreement no right; since he had undertaken to set any libretto that might be given to him, "new or old. Almost every composer, for instance, had tried his hand on Dido Abandoned, or on the Descent of Orpheus into the Infernal Regions; and we have seen that the story of Dido and the story of Orpheus were both treated by Rossini in his early days.
Rossini, however, had now ideas of his own on the subject of musical setting, on the subject of dramatic propriety, and probably also on that of the propriety of taking for his theme one that had already nu skin anti cellulite rapidement dealt with very successfully by a composer of high repute. Doubtless, in spite of his agreement, he would have refused altogether to take the Marriage of Figaro as subject of an opera, for we know by his recorded conversations with Ferdinand Hiller, that he regarded Mozart as the greatest of all dramatic composers.
He felt, too, some delicacy, perhaps even some diffidence, in adopting the verses on which the illustrious Paisiello had already worked. He explained to Cesarini how impossible it would be for him to attack the identical libretto which Paisiello had set; and it was arranged that Sterbini, the poet who had furnished Rossini with the "words" as musicians say of Torvaldo e Dorliskashould perform a like service for him in connection with the Barber.
Sterbini and Rossini understood one another as librettist and composer always should do; and they lived together in the same house—"the house assigned to Luigi Zamboni," as the contract has it—until the work was finished.
The admirable unity of the Barberin which a person without previous information on the subject could scarcely say whether the words were written for the music or the music for the words, may doubtless in a great measure be accounted for by the fact that poet and musician were always together during the composition of the opera; ready mutually to suggest and to profit by suggestions.
Nor was it a slight advantage that the two operatic partners were living together "in the house assigned to Luigi Zamboni. Poet and composer had with them Beaumarchais' comedy of the Barber of Sevilleand Paisiello's opera founded thereupon. Paisiello's opera was already known to Rossini, but he does not seem to have been quite familiar with Beaumarchais' comedy.
Sterbini read it to him from beginning to end, and it was then decided what in Beaumarchais' comedy should be adopted—the principal dramatic scenes had of course to be taken—and what in Paisiello's libretto should be rejected. The queer incidental scenes for La Jeunesse who does nothing but sneeze, and L'Eveillé who does nothing but yawn, were cut out; and the work was so divided as to give Rossini the opportunity of composing a far greater number of musical pieces than are to be found in Paisiello's work.
In dialogue scenes where Paisiello had contented himself with making the interlocutory personages exchange long passages of recitative, Rossini allowed the characters on the stage to declaim, but supported their declamation, not by a succession of chords, but by brilliant themes for the orchestra. No such thoroughly musical opera had before been composed. The series of melodies was almost continuous, and the characters on the stage only ceased to sing for tuneful strains to be executed by the instrumentalists.
This transfer of the current of melody from the voices to the instruments was new in Italy; but brilliant examples of it are of course to be found in Mozart's operas which were performed for the first time in Italy, just before Rossini's Barber of Seville. Sterbini was a most accommodating poet. He was quite prepared to carry out the composer's ideas, and did not object to alter, curtail or add to his verses with a view to increasing the effectiveness of Rossini's music.
After writing "Largo al fattotum," with the rapidity of an improvisator he handed the verses to Rossini, remarking—as Leopold II. Something of the light-hearted elastic character of the constantly changing air must doubtless be attributed, not only to the verve with which Sterbini had written the words, but also to the impulsiveness and volubility with which Rossini knew beforehand that Zamboni would sing them.
Rossini worked so quickly that at times he found himself ahead of his poet—though, as regards the mere putting down on paper, the writing of verses is but trifling labour compared to that of composing music. Thus, without waiting for verses, he found a melody or devised a form for the next musical piece in the order agreed upon, and thereupon asked the obliging Sterbini to furnish him with suitable "words.
For thirteen days the joint authors had scarcely time to eat, and M. Azevedo asserts that they slept but little, and then only on a sofa, when it so happened that they could no longer keep their eyes open. For thirteen days Rossini did not shave; and when some one observed how strange it was that the Barber should have caused him to let his beard grow, he replied, that if he had shaved he should have gone out, and that if he had gone out he should not have returned as soon as he ought to have done.
It seems incredible that in thirteen days the whole of the Barber should have been composed in score; but it is certain that the contract binding Rossini to compose it was only signed on the 26th December, and that he directed the first, second, and third performances of Torvaldo e Dorliska on the 27th, 28th and 29th.
Some days, too, were lost in discussing various subjects for the proposed opera with the Roman censorship; and finally, when the Barber of Seville had been decided upon, Rossini had to read the comedy and to compare it with the libretto of Paisiello's opera, and to arrange with his own librettist a new distribution of scenes. The date of the first representation had been fixed for February 5th, and it was customary at the Italian theatres to allow fifteen days for rehearsals.
He must then have finished the work in less than a month—between December 29th and January 24th; and one month is the time given by M.
Castil-Blaze in his Histoire du Théâtre Italien. Stendhal, however, says after Carpani that the Barber was composed in thirteen days; and this statement is repeated—not, it must be presumed without verification—by M. On one point connected with the production of the new BarberStendhal and Azevedo are quite at variance. According to the former, Rossini, as a matter of politeness, went through the unnecessary form of asking Paisiello's leave to reset the work, and received from him full permission to do so; the ancient master nourishing the hope that in recomposing a work which had already, as he believed, received its permanent musical form, the young composer would bring himself to grief.
Azevedo denies that Rossini asked Paisiello's consent in the matter. But he adds that the venerable maestro knew of Rossini's intention, and not only looked forward to the failure of his youthful rival, but was even prepared to lend a helping hand thereto. R OSSINI did not bring out his Barber without addressing a few words of explanation, if not of apology, to the public; and by way jeune amaigrissement disclaiming all idea of entering into rivalry with Paisiello he announced his opera under a new title.
The courteous public is informed of this beforehand, that it may also excuse the author of the new drama who, unless obliged by these imperious circumstances, would never have ventured to introduce the least change into the French work, already consecrated by the applause of all the theatres in Europe.
When, in the above announcement, Rossini speaks of "new situations for the musical pieces which are required by the modern theatrical taste, entirely changed since the time of Paisiello;" and again of the necessity of introducing loréal soins du visage québec, "both for conformity with modern usage and because they are indispensable for musical effect in so vast a theatre," he describes changes which he himself introduced.
The "modern theatrical taste" of Rossini's time was the taste he had himself created. That Paisiello's forms, and especially his formlessness as in long scenes of recitative were already considered old and were indeed obsolete, though his Barber had only been thirty-five years before the public, was implied rather pointedly in the sub-title of Sterbini's libretto, which was described as follows: "Comedy by Beaumarchais, newly versified throughout, and arranged for the use of the modern Italian Musical Theatre.
Paisiello's Barber had decidedly grown old. But as it was no longer played, people, by reason of its ancient reputation, continued to hold it in esteem; and the Roman public considered it very audacious for a young composer like Rossini to have ventured into competition with so illustrious a master.
The young librettist Sterbini was considered quite as impertinent in his way as his musical associate. Among the Roman public a compact body of Paisiello's friends, with the spirit of Paisiello in the midst of them, formed a dangerous clique of enemies; and so determined was the opposition that Rossini had to meet on the occasion of his work being represented for the first time that the overture—an original work composed expressly for Il Barbiereand not the overture to Aureliano and to Elisabetta afterwards substituted for it—was executed in the midst of a general murmuring; "such," remarks Zanolini, "as is heard on the approach of a procession.
According to M. Azevedo the original overture was lost through the carelessness of a copyist; but the work could scarcely thus have disappeared unless not only the score, but also the band parts, had vanished. Stendhal says that the overture at the first representation was that of Aureliano in Palmira —the one performed even to the present day.
He adds that the audience recognised, or fancied it recognised, in the overture the grumbling of the old guardian and the lively remonstrances of his interesting ward.
However that may have been the overture was scarcely listened to; nor did the introduction meet with any better fate, nor, indeed, could even the appearance of Garcia on the stage dispose the public in favour of the new work.
Garcia, the most famous tenor of his time, was of course the Almaviva of the evening. It has already been seen that Luigi Zamboni, Rossini's fellow-lodger during the composition of the work, was the original Figaro. The part of Rosina was assigned to Mme. Giorgi-Righetti, who has left a very interesting account of the first representation of the opera.
The composer had been weak enough, says the prima donna of this historical evening, "to allow Garcia to sing beneath Rosina's balcony a Spanish melody of his own arrangement.
Unfortunately he forgot to tune his guitar, and this indispensable preliminary operation had to be performed by Rosina's serenader on the stage. The public began to laugh; then a string broke, and the public began to hiss.