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TO CORRESPONDENTS. ke la with regret that we are obliged to defer, till our December
issue, the very able letter from the pes of a Soukron, en Sie morality, and neersity of the Institution, anesioned by the Delty, approved by the legislators and sages of antiquky, and cely
We regret being again obliged to lay orer. till our next number, ihe very masterly and excellent address on the Genius of its Federativa System of the Uoked States, by Professor Beverley Tucker, or William & Mary College, read before the Young teen
The conclusion of Lucile" may certainly be calculated on in the December No. "Frencia dmini” shall be cazuleted by " A Native of Goochlund," on the Benefits of Knowledge on Morala,'
shall also appear in December. Sa sbal} the Reviete Bulwer's "Felklund," which has been so long neglected. It is a sensible paper, and the writer a good-natured mas, ele ta would have 'cut our acquaintance twelve months ago. "New
View of the Tidee" shall, iris be possible, also appear in our December No.
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most distinguished were Rubini, Galli, Tamburini, THE ITALIAN OPERA,*
Garcia and Zuchelli. There were many other secondary One of the greatest enjoyments of a European resi- the first class elsewhere, but whose talents were here
performers of great merit who would have ranked in dence, to a person of natural or cultivated taste, is derived from the opportunity which it affords, of hear eclipsed by superior luminaries. The edifice, approing the best music , by the best performers. Without the other day, when the acting manager, Severini, lost
priated to the opera, (which was burnt to the ground pretending to the exquisite ear or exalted passion, of his life,) was of moderate dimensions, constructed a professed dilettante, I can truly say that I deemed chiefly with a view to musical effect, and ornamented this one of the greatest of my privileges and plea- with taste and characteristic propriety. It was the sures. It was in Paris, where I resided during the first years of adolescence, that I chiefly enjoyed the resort of the best company of the metropolis, who gratification of which I speak. The Italian opera there is not the custom in French theatres, except at the first
always made their appearance en grande toilette, which is constantly supplied with the most eminent artists, representation of new pieces, and on benefit nights, and was during the greater part of my time, under the This promotes the enjoyment and profit of theatrical direction of the celebrated Maestro Rossini himself
. entertainments not a little, by the absence of restraint, He was not exactly the manager, the impresario as the and by obviating the necessity of tedious or expensive Italians phrase it ; but a sort of general superintendent preparation. The spectacle presented by the audience who directed the choice and the getting up of the per- of the Italian opera, was always exceedingly striking formances, which were composed, chiefly, of his own and attractive. The élite of Parisian society, not to pieces. This was obviously a great and rare advan
speak of distinguished strangers, was always to be tage. It was like Shakspeare or Moliere, superintend.
seen assembled there. There was something exceeding the production of his own immortal works. It may ingly fascinating, nay, intoxicating, in the spectacle of noc be a little curious to know, that so far from pre- so much distinction, beauty and fashion, heightened by senting the refined or intellectual appearance which we the etherial strains of music, would be apt to attribute to him, the great composer is
" Which into souls doth creep, of a rubicund, jolly countenance, and of gross corporeal
Like to a breeze from heaven." proportions. His tastes and habits are in accordance, for he has the reputation of being one of the greatest Some of the most beautiful women, both French and epicures or rather gastronomes of the day. In the foreign, I ever beheld, frequented the Salle Favart, as it quaint language of Charles Lamb, he is a great lover of was called, and contributed much to the gratification of " the delicious juices of meats and fishes." It dimin. the audience. Among these, two Spanish ladies, Anda. ishes our interest in eminent musicians, to learn that lusians I believe, always attracted much attention. They their minds and habits are, generally, but little in har
high damas,” of stately form and rather masmony with the etherial character of their pursuits. sive proportions, with the raven hair, proudly flashing They are certainly with many honorable exceptions, eyes, and soft brunette complexion of their country, and apt to be intemperate, and are rarely intellectual, though an almost imperceptible down, slightly shading the I am not disposed to judge them so harshly as Dr. John- upper lip, as I have often observed in Spanish women, son, who observed, if I am not mistaken, that Dr. Buro which adds to the imposing character of their faces. ney was the only musician he ever knew, who was not But the “observed of all observers” was a young a fool. The former unfortunate propensity may, per- English lady of rare beauty. She generally made her haps, be explained by the necessary conviviality of their appearance late, in company with a fine looking marhabits, and the latter defect attributed to the absorbing ried sister, and her entrance was always announced by character of their studies. When alone, a musician, a murmur of applause from the whole assembly; an instead of thinking, hums an air, or sings with his mind, involuntary, but respectful homage, to the power of lo employ with some modification a celebrated figure of beauty. Fair, with the fresh, yet delicate complexion Milton, who says “the hand sang with the voice.” and slightly expanded form of her countrywomen, she
To return to the Italian opera in Paris, the celebrated possessed that indescribable refinement or rather purity female performers in my time, were Pasta, Sontag, of air, which imparts something angelical to the whole Malibran, Pisaroni, and Cinti; of the other sex, the person. She was always attired with simple elegance,
simplex munditis, and wore her hair, which was almost * We are indebted to a distinguished literary gentleman, now of the hue and transparency of amber, (the flavus of a resident of Washington city, for these truly interesting and brilliant recollections of the Italian Opera. But, in the store from the ancients, the capelli d'oro of the Italians,) parted á which these strains proceed, there must be a thousand others, la Madonna upon the forehead, on which was placed, in and of every description, lingering behind. Such a memory accordance with the fashion of the day, a gem of antique must be a treasure, that abounds in riches of various sorts. Give fashion, supported by a single strand of those delicate us reminiscences of scenes and persons, of literature and art- Venetian chains, light and exquisite as frostwork. As I the stock cannot be easily exhausted, and the favor he will confer upon the public cannot be too highly appreciated. We ask gazed, enchanted, upon this beautiful creature, how it for ourselves-we ask it for others.—Ed. So. Lit. Messenger, often did I wish for the “art that can immortalize" of a
Titian or a Lawrence-but I have her portrait vividly rally the case, for it requires a rare combination of adpainted upon my mind, I cannot say my heart, for 1 vantages to assume this exalted position, the enthusiasm did not know her, and worshipped her only as a Chal with which she inspires her admirers, is unbounded. dean would a star. She was to me a cynosure. She is the favorite of kings and prinees; she has the
Among the company which frequented the opera nobles of the land in her train; she never appears, unless were always to be distinguished the professed amateurs, thronged by a crowd of impassioned devotees. Wealth or dilettanti, as the Italians call them. These persons is poured at her feet like water; the most costly preare invariable attendants, occupying always the same sents, from every source, are heaped upon her; jewels places, from which they could scarcely be missed with without number, “ pearls and barbaric gold” are liteout a loss of caste or reputation. They are character rally showered upon her laurelled head.* Her attendized by an air of intense, yet chastened enjoyment, ant is a prince; her humblest servant some haughty which rarely exhibits itself in boisterous applause. The ambassador. She feeds upon the perfumed breath of chariness of their praise renders it the more acceptable applause, and lives and moves and has her being in the to the performers, whose reputation and success de “purple light of love.” Duels are fought for her ; sui. pend very much upon the fiat of these gentlemen, who cides are committed on her account; she has her faction are “nothing if not critical.” They are, for the most which divides the state, with the zeal and bitterness of part, Italians, who, all the world over, are recognized Whig and Tory, Democrat and Federalist. Beware, as arbiters in such matters. Byron has a very amusing in a mixed company how you disparage her merils, or description of one of these judicial gentlemen, in the exalt her rival: you may receive a cartel upon the spot, following lines from Beppo, the happiest specimen of and the dawning light of the morrow shine through your the seriocomical or Pulci verse in the English language, body. Such a life must indeed be a fascinating one, to if we except the Rape of the Lock, which, however, is a proud and beautiful woman, but it has its drawbacks rather a poem of the mock heroic order.
and disadvantages like the humblest condition. It is He was a critic upon operas, too,
difficult to maintain a position of such giddy height, And knew all niceties of the sock and buskin;
and the necessity of sooner or later descending from the And no Venetian audience could endure a
pedestal, and retreating again among the undistin. Song, scene, or air, when he cried “ seccatura.”
guished multitude, must be humiliating, not only to His “ bravo” was decisive, for that sound
submit to, but even to think of. This was the fate of Hush'd “ academia'' sigh'd in silent awe; The fiddlers trembled as he look'd around,
the distinguished Fodor, shortly before the period of
which I speak, who was deprived of the powers of her For fear of some false note's detected flaw. The “prima donna's" tuneful heart would bound, voice, which, not even a residence in the pure and Dreading the deep damnation of his " bah!”
balmy air of Parthenope, could restore. Soprano, basso, even the contra-alto,
To return to Pasta, though not precisely handsome, Wish'd him five fathom under the Rialto.
she was a woman of most noble face and figure, formed Distinguished from these again are the enthusiasts ; by nature to personate the queenly characters which the passionate admirers, who are very aptly termed were generally allotted to her. She was considered, by musical fanatics, fanalici per la musica. They make up many, the first tragic actress of the age, nor was there by intensity of enjoyment for the less fastidious delicacy much exaggeration in the estimate. There was someof their taste, and are more anxious, or capable, of feeling thing high and majestical in her air, and it might be a great deal, than of judging with extreme nicety. Their said of her, as of Venus, by Virgil" incessu patuit Dedahabit is to go into ecstasies at every touching note or her gait bespoke the goddess. Her voice, which, if I brilliant passage, and to exhibit the varying, impas. recollect right, was what is called a mezzo soprano, that sioned effects, attributed, by Dryden, to the divine is, one embracing the intermediate portion of the fe. Timotheus. Their delight seems to be absolutely con- male scale, was of great volume, force and flexibility, vulsive, and their sensibility to music the true hysterica though in its lower notes a little husky (relata) which passio. One elderly gentleman of this class, used to very defect, however, she was skilful to turn to dra. amuse me, particularly. His appearance was distin. matic effect. Never shall I forget her personation of guished by nothing but a singularly long, flexible nose, the queen in Rossini's noble opera of Semiramide, the which seemed to be the receptacle of a vast quantity of finest, in my humble opinion, of his serious works. snuff. This Slaukenbergius redevivus of most unroman- Pride, ambition, love, remorse, despair, were depicted, tic aspect, regularly accompanied the prima donna with as if felt, in turn, with a fervor and force, to which muthe tap of his hand upon the box, increasing constantly sic seemed to add tenfold expression and power. So in vehemence as she proceeded, until he lost all control highly was she esteemed by her admirers, that they of himself, and would throw his body backward and for- gave her the title of la diva, the divine, which became ward and laterally, like a person with St. Vitus' dance; the customary prefix to her name. This recalls to my and then at length, absolutely overcome by the violence mind, the profane enthusiasm of the admirers of a great of his sensations, would fall back, and explode in a storm singer, who were in the habit of exclaiming “one God, of brava bravissimas, gradually dying away in faint mur-one Farinelli !" In the sublime opera of Mosé in Egitto, wurs of palpitating emotion, like one tickled into a fit. I once had the rare good fortune to hear Pasta, in com
When I arrived in Paris the celebrated Pasta was 'I think it was Sontag, who, before her marriage, exposed to the reigning prima donna. But first, let me tell what a sale the various presents she had received during her short, but prima donna is. A prima donna, then, is the high priestess brilliant career. The quantity of jewels, watches
, rings, chains, of music ; a sort of profane St. Cecilia, who is absolutely handkerchiefs, and ermined cloaks, and boxes of costliest perdeified and worshipped by the devotees to the “concord fumes, and packages of gloves without number, &c. &c. was of sweet sounds.” If she be handsome, which is gene. Tineredible.
pany with Cinti, Rubini, Galli, Zuchelli and other philosophy, that virtue was a vice in an actress; as it artists of distinction, a combination of talent which rendered her liable to be married by some man of rank made an impression not easy to be effaced.
or opulence, to whose private gratification the pleasures Cinti, whom I have just named, was a beautiful Ita- of nations were thus sacrificed. “ C'est le plus affreux des lian, of rather diminutive height, yet slightly massive monopoles,” “it is the most detestable of monopolies,” proportions, whose clear, melodious and graceful soprano he exclaimed, citing to me at the same time, the instance was always listened to with delight. In the French of the singer Naldi, who married the Count de Sparre, opera of Le Rossignol, in which she “ trilled her thick and that of the beautiful dancer, Mercandotti, the Tagwarbled notes” in emulation of the nightingale, her perlioni of her day, who became the wife of the rich Ball formance rose to the highest grade of art.
Hughes, or Hughes Ball, I forget which, more generally I shall never cease to remember, the first appearance, known as Golden Ball; not to mention other examples. in Paris, of the inimitable Sontag, whose early retire It was my good fortune to hear Sontag, several ment from the stage, to quote with slight modification times in company with Malibran, whose organ was Johnson's remark upon Garrick, eclipsed the gaiety of perhaps, not so extraordinary, but, who excelled her the musical world. It was the day before I set out distinguished rival, in passion, expression and dramatic upon a tour to Italy, and I made no small effort to be talent. She made her debut in America, with great present, upon the eventful occasion, the “dramatic applause, and fleshed her maiden sword, if I may be solemnity," as the French phrase it. She came, pre- allowed the figure, upon the boards of New York. ceded, indeed, by a brilliant reputation, but which had Here she was induced to contract a marriage with not yet undergone the severe test of a Parisian audi- an old French merchant, who proved a bankrupt, a few ence, composed, as it is, of distinguished connoisseurs, days after the completion of this ill-starred and illa from all parts of Europe. The opera chosen for her assorted union. Availing herself of some informality débât, was la Cenerentola, in which, as is well known, in the procedure, she succeeded in getting the marriage the heroine makes her first appearance in a rustic dress, annulled by the French tribunals, when she bestowed to which and to domestic drudgery, she has been con her hand freely, upon de Beriot the violinist, who was demned by her proud, unfeeling sisters. The first so much censured, by the English public, though pertones which streamed from her lips, clear, brilliant and haps unjustly, for his alleged insensibility after her dashing, electrified the house, and at once insured a melancholy death. Her first appearance in Paris, success, which went on increasing, until she quitted the though indicating great talent, was not decidedly sucscene of her uninterrupted triumphs. Her voice cannot cessful. She had the good sense to retire for a season, easily be defined, or even described. It was one of and improve her wonderful faculties by thorough train. unrivalled power and compass; clear, full and sweet; ing, the consequence of which was, that at her reapof rare flexibility and wonderful precision. Her staccato pearance, she at once captivated all ears and hearts, notes were particularly striking and came sparkling and placed herself in the front rank of performers. She out, with the clearness and brilliancy of the diamond. was indeed a genius in the truest sense of the word. The management of her voice was admirable. She all the powers and effects of her voice seemed to would run up and down the chromatic scale with won- emanate from the soul within. Every thing which she derful rapidity and distinctness ; dashing in quick tran- did, appeared to come from inspiration; like the Pythosition between the most distant notes; jumping whole ness, she seemed, agitated, rapt, possessed. When octaves at a leap, yet lighting upon the most remote kindled by the enthusiasm of her nature or the paspoints, with an agility and accuracy which seemed to sions which she represented, she would often produce be the effect of magic. Her execution of the variations effects as surprising to herself as to others, and which of Rode, in the piano scene of the Barber, was a rare seemed ever new and inexhaustible. She seemed to tour de force, a perfect legerdemain of the voice. She give herself up, se laisser aller, to the illusion of the was, withal, a lovely woman, with the simplicity, yet moment, and really, feel all and more than she reprenot the coarseness, perhaps erroneously attributed to sented. She had all the qualities of soul and person to the fair of Germany; of sweet manners, modest deporto make a great actress. She was literally consumed by ment and perfect propriety of life. These attractive enthusiasm, and the harsh treatment of her father, qualities, proved a general misfortune, for they won together with the events of her early life, had made her the hand of the young Count Rossi, Piedmontese her deeply familiar with tragic emotions. Her ambi. minister, I believe, at the court of Berlin, which she is tion, too, was so great, that she would sometimes said to adorn by her talents, beauty and virtue. This actually faint upon the scene, from the earnestness of marriage, which was for a long time kept secret, at one her efforts and the intensity of her feelings. Her face time threw a cloud upon her character, as she was was faultlessly classical, with a chiselled definiteness compelled to retire for some months from the scene, for of outline, and her figure chaste and graceful as those
reason which nothing but matrimony can justify. sometimes seen upon an antique vase. Every year The scandal, however, was at length happily cleared added to the talent and reputation of this unsurpassed up, by the avowal of the honorable connection. I never queen of song, until she perished at length, amidst the fail to smile, when I recollect a conversation, which I smoke and steam of Beotian Manchester, in the full had with a Frenchman, who sat next to me, at her blaze of her fame, a victim to the euthusiasm of her reappearance after this event, and before the éclaircisse- temperament and her devotion to the sublime art of ment. He applauded her with peculiar vehemence, as which she was so illustrious a votary. “Whom the he told me, for that very cause, because it would secure gods love die young.” Melancholy consolation! May her services to the public, as long as the duration of flowers of softest hue and sweetest fragrance spring her delightful talent. He maintained with true French from the dust of her who was the pride and delight of
nations! Fit emblem and mourner, may the night. , Paris, having eloped from the court of the Grand Duke ingale warble sadly among the branches which shade of Hesse Cassel, to whose chapel she had been attached. a tomb, so often moistened with "melodious tears.” She was a remarkably fine, luxuriant looking person, Alas, poor Malibran!
which circumstance, though she possessed considerable I must not omit to mention Pisaroni, the most cele professional cleverness, gave her for a short time, a brated contrallo of her day. Her voice, which was success, to which perhaps the order of her talent did full, strong, and solemn, might not be unaptly called a not entitle her. But what excited the public strongly female bass, and she generally appeared in male cha- in her favor, was the circumstance, that the Grand racters, many of which were written expressly for Duke caused his resident in Paris to insert a publicaher. She was as remarkable for ugliness as talent. tion in the papers, complaining in no measured terms Her face, which was broad, coarse and swart, and dis- of the treachery of her escapade, and it was even hinttorted by the most horrible grimaces when singing, wased that a formal demand for her, was to be made to in keeping with her low squat figure—whose attitudes, the government. The French, who immediately susto make use of an inelegant comparison, reminded one pected, that the regrets of his Highness proceeded of those of a cow. There could not be greater evidence from a cause more tender than her voice, (whether of her talent than the high gratification which she uni- excited by retrospect or anticipation, it was hard to formly afforded, notwithstanding such repulsive disad. say,) made themselves very merry at the expense of vantages. She had much intelligence--combined with the petty German prince, and swore sloutly that he sensibility, which qualities were exhibited with the great should not have her back without her consent. “Ce est effect in the fine character of Arsace, in the opera of n’esi pas là une affaire du ressort de la diplomatic.” “This Semiramide, to which I have already alluded, and in is not a diplomatic matter,” they exclaimed; "his Serene which I several times heard her sing with Pasta. The Highness is very ridiculous in endeavoring to captivate unfeminine character of her low, rich, sonorous voice, no a lady by such means." What became of her, I do not doubt contributed not a little, to her success. I cannot know. Not having met with success equal to her forbear to relate an anecdote regarding her, which I expectation, I think it probable that she finally listened had, but the other day, from the person who is the to the solicitations of the Duke, and returned to delight principal subject of it. An American gentleman who the stately court of Hesse Cassel and its susceptible fills with distinguished ability an honorable station in master. his native state, was travelling a few years since, from Of the gentlemen I will not speak particularly. Bologna to Venice. Upon entering the coach, at the Tamburini, whose name is a very appropriate one, is former place, he observed among the passengers, a the first bass of his age, if Lablache whom I have not lady, whose singular ugliness made a very disagreeable heard, be excepted, and Rubini without comparison, impression upon him. The purity of her accent and the best tenor. elegance of her conversation combined with her en. It was indeed a privilege, a rich banquet for the soul, gaging manners, soon however reconciled him to her to hear the graceful melody of Cimarosa, the touching appearance, and they were not long together ere she notes of Paisiello, the unearthly strains of Mozart, and became quite a favorite with him. To while away the rich, various and brilliant music of Rossini, executed the tedium of the route, my friend, among other expe. by such accomplished artists. Often when exhausted dients, proposed singing, to which the lady, after some by excitement, or vexed by the lurmoil and cares of hesitation consented, archly, however, making it a con- life, have I soothed my ruffled feelings, and recruited dition that he should take the first turn. Mutual press my jaded spirits, by a resort to ibis highest and most ing and bantering ensued, and the worthy Virginian, intellectual of the pleasures of the sense, if music can who probably did not know b from a bull's foot, in be so called. Of all my enjoyments abroad, (I speak music, (as the schoolboys say,) was upon the point of of mere enjoyments,) that which I best remember, and favoring the company with a specimen of transatlantic most regret, is the one I have just described. vocalization, when fortunately for himself and the musi Before I close, though not strictly in accordance with cal reputation of our country, the coach reached the my subject, I must say a few words about the celebrabank of the Po, where it was detained a few moments ted Paganini, who has attracted so much attention in by the preparations for passing the ferry. Here the the last few years. I had the pleasure of hearing him accidental sight of her passport, revealed to the asto- before he left Italy, and can truly say, he is the most nished Virginian, that it was the famous Pisaroni, wonderful person I ever met with. I cannot mistrust whom he was about to favor with a song by way of the impression he produced upon me, because it was encouragement! Upon re-entering the coach, he ex. made before I had heard of his reputation or even his pressed to her his gratification at the good fortune name. During a short residence in Florence, with which had thrown him into the company of so cele. boyish curiosity, I managed to obtain admission to brated a person, good-humoredly upbraiding her, at the morning rehearsals at the opera. On one of the same time, for the ridiculous position in which these occasions, Paganini who, as I said before, was she had nearly placed him. She acknowledged his entirely unknown to me, presided at the repetition of a compliments with becoming politeness, observing that concert, which he was to give in the evening. I think I she preferred maintaining her incognito in travelling, as was the sole auditor, besides the performers, vocal and it saved her from much embarrassment, and the preju- instrumental. The instant he touched the violin, I felt dices of those who had no tolerance for her vocation. the effect of his wonderful talent. I have heard the
A little incident of harmless scandal may not be most celebrated violinists in Europe, but he is beyond out of place here. Emulous of the success of Sontag, a all comparison with them. In his hands the instrument countrywoman, Mademoiselle Heinefetter, came to becomes something else and more. The manner in