The Music Criticism of Hugo Wolf

By Henry Pleasants; Hugo Wolf | Go to book overview

say once and for all: "always in the right place at the right time. 4 Signora Malvezzi, too, managed the thankless part of Inez expertly.

There remains to mention a young singer who sang Princess Isabella in Robert le Diable. She is Fräulein Baier5 from the Landestheater in Graz. Her singing betrays good schooling, but every tone also tells us that she is still a student. Her movements are immature, awkward and hesitant. Time will take care of that. She was cordially received, and had a nice success with the "Mercy" aria. Fräulein Baier will fit well into smaller roles, and as she is already engaged at the Court Opera, we will have occasion to renew her acquaintance in more suitable roles.

1.
Romilda Pantaleoni ( 1847-1917) created the role of Desdemona in Verdi's Otello. She was also much admired for her Gioconda and for her Margherita in Mefistofele.
2.
Eugène Dufriche, a distinguished French baritone who was to have many seasons at Covent Garden and two at the Metropolitan.
3.
Presumably Fernando Valero ( 1854-1914), a Spanish tenor, pupil ofTamberlik, who sang at the Metropolitan during the season of 1891-92. He was La Scala's first Turridu in Cavalleria Rusticana. Four sides he recorded in London in 1902-03 are collector's items.
4.
I.e., like Walther von Stolzing in Die Meistersinger (Act 1, scenes 1 and 3).
5.
Anna Baier ( 1860- ? ), a Viennese contralto who was to remain for many years a resident member of the Court Opera.

17. Mefistofele

May 11, 1884

Characteristic of the corruption into which our theater public has fallen are the continuing performances of Mefistofele, a work so infamous that no invective can do justice to the subject. That Vienna is not a German city, or that it has, at least, no German theater public, has been demonstrated with lamentable certainty, unfortunately, by the applause accorded this miserable caricature of Goethe's Faust.

The German, patient and long-suffering as he may be, would never consent to see his nation's pride, Goethe's Faust, violated before his very own eyes. Nor would he accept the indignity of beholding himself in the grimace to which Boito has degraded the Goethean Faust, that stirring image of the German species. Fortunately, the German people have preserved their innocence, the integrity | Faust | of their way of thinking, the purity of their sensibility in artistic matters, as shown by the fact that Boito's monstrous Mefistofele finds no public in Germany, and probably would not find one if it tried. 1 Only the Viennese public has a proper understanding for Boito's vile

-48-

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