April 10, 1887
It takes no special gift of divination to pronounce with the utmost precision, even before the premiere, the fate of a new German opera. One need know neither the title nor even the subject matter. The composer's nationality alone suffices. Is there any need to spell out the fate of Wagner's numerous successors in the field of opera, the still white-hot Armins, Kunihilds Sakuntalas, Urvasis and however — God knows — they are all called? 1
Poor Harold! A splendid title, to be sure, for a grand historic-romantic opera, compared to which Der Ring des Nibelungen must appear almost puny. One can understand a young conservatory student on the battlefield of his bloodthirsty fantasy, and with all the enthusiasm of which such dangerous people are capable, doing Harold in once again, and all for the sake of so imposing a title. 2 Only the motley mob excites the bloodlust of these mass murderers, for they are nulls, aroused to aggression at best by some superficial bauble, among which the nomenclature of their operas plays a far from insignificant role.
But now what in heaven's name could have prompted our excellent chorus director, Herr Pfeffer, 3 to the composition of so absurd and silly a libretto as that here under discussion, a libretto in which there is absolutely nothing that could awake a musical echo in the breast of even the most highly gifted, a