himself to be the devil, so Signor Castelmary excellently realized this figure, so blatantly tossed off by the composer-poet, with the appropriate bleat. Signor Valero sang Faust comically enough. Just imagine a gray-bearded, bent-over old man lost in dour meditation, and, on top of that, the mutating voice of a fourteen year-old boy and the forever bewildered countenance of Signor Valero as Faust, the widely learned, widely travelled Faust! Very funny! And, in fact, very characteristic. What kind of two poor souls Boito conjured up from purgatory to fashion Faust is hard to determine. Presumably those of a diver and a balloonist. No one will be able to figure out what this brother's heart contains. 3
May 18, 1884
With the performance of Verdi's Aida, this year's stagione came to an end. The departure of the Italians, as far as we are concerned, is a matter of utter indifference. Quite aside from their hardly notable individual achievements, seldom surpassing the level of mediocrity, we could not accept the grotesquely ludicrous overall impression of the Italian productions, adequately prepared as we were by analogous proceedings in our own German performances. There is no cause for surprise, however, in the manner in which the stagione was welcomed by our opera public, nor in the fact that even bad Italian performances were found preferable to good German performances (and there are such from time to time).
We are, in any case, pretty clear about the character of this public. As we pointed out in our last issue, it is made up for the most part, of the so-called modern Young Germany, i.e., German-Humanitarian-Liberals and Christianity-professing foreigners or intruders (call them what you will). What other business such people have with the intellectual productions of our German masters is hard to imagine. A certain sheer admiration, perhaps, or the