SOME FAMOUS SINGERS
A LITTLE over two centuries ago, a young student of singing went to a famous Italian teacher for lessons. The teacher accepted the pupil, and wrote him out a set of exercises for practice. Although these exercises covered no more than a single page, the pupil was kept at them for a year. At length he mustered up courage enough to ask, "When may I sing?" "Not yet," was the reply, and more work on the exercises followed. In another year the pupil repeated his query, but received the same answer,-- "Not yet." Still a third year was spent on the exercise sheet, sung with syllables instead of vowels. Again came the question, "When may I sing?" This time the teacher answered, "You are now the greatest singer in Italy." The teacher was Porpora, the singer Farinelli. Some doubt has been cast upon this anecdote; but it deserves to be true, if only as an example showing students how valuable it is for them to stick to their exercises.
Farinelli sang in the operas of Handel, and made a tremendous success in England. An enthusiastic woman once spoke of "One God, one Church, and one Farinelli." Yet be was not the "only one," though perhaps he was the greatest of his class. Senesino was another favorite in England, and was made the recipient of many attentions and laudatory verses. Caffarelli, too, grew famous. All of these stars belonged to the extinct class of male sopranos, who were prevented, by surgery, from having the usual change of voice during youth. One of them, Bernacchi, founded a famous singing school.
With the adulation that singers of both sexes received, it was no wonder that some of them indulged in rivalries worthy of spoiled children. Even to-day the singers do not all love one another with genuine fervor. In Handel's time, the greatest disagreement came between the two most famous sopranos, Francesca Cuzzoni and Faustina Bordoni. Each of these two supplemented an enthusiastic