But a full and critical inquiry into this question would absorb more space than what we could conveniently devote to the subject in our pages, and we must, therefore, be coutent to resume it in succeeding numbers, limiting ourselves for the present to some points which require more immediate attention.

Mr. Mason, we must confess, has evinced no small ambition in his musical enterprize. He has offered to the public three distinct opera companies-Italian, German, and French. The inefficiency of the first has been proved on more than one occasion. Such a list of failures has scarcely been known in the King's Theatre. The commencement of the season was indeed ominous. Our hopes were successively raised by a new candidate, and as regularly disappointed. Thus we were tantalized with a Lazise, an Angelina, a Grandolfi, &c. Even the Tosi, the praise of whom had been so loudly sung previous to her début, failed to realize the public expectation.

The German opera, however, came out opportunely to soothe the almost exhausted patience of the public, and also to turn the strain of favour towards the hitherto unsuccessful director. Mr. Mason, on this head, deserves the greatest praise, and whoever has seen the performance of Der Freischutz, or Fidelio, will not be slow in granting the meed of approbation. This por tion of our subject is, however, too important to be treated in a summary manner, and we must postpone the consideration of the German opera to a future number.

Let us at present occupy ourselves with the latest novelty, the impression of which is freshest in our mind. We allude to the French opera.

But, perhaps, there is no instance in the annals of the stage of a more loudly announced and tremendously puffed affair than the production of the celebrated Robert le Diable. No sooner did it make its appearance in Paris, than the rival powers of Drury and Covent Garden sent messengers to inquire whether all the wonderful things that were related concerning the satanic opera was strictly correct.

Every one knows the celebrated race undertaken by Messrs. Bishop and Lacy. On that memorable occasion bets ran high; but, as it is generally the case at Epsom and Ascot, a horse that no one thinks much about generally comes in for the prize. This was precisely the case. The Adelphi was first in the field, then every other of the minor theatres, and, at last, the majors. Robert le Diable was a failure. But the most cruel part of the business was that of Meyerbeer being obliged to answer for the sins of his arrangers, or, rather, derangers. A mutilated version of the opera was given, the score of which was supplied by the arrangers. This proceeding requires little comment. Some of the critical press pronounced loudly against this unfairness towards the composer, and every one was reconciled to the fact that Robert le Diable was yet to be heard before a judgment could be passed on its merits. The public was from that moment kept in a constant thrill of anxious curiosity. The arrival of Nourrit, Levasseur, and Cinti Damoreau, were duly announced in almost every public journal. Puffs performed a laborious daily task, and, in fact, no means were neglected to excite the interest of the public to a pitch of almost painful longing.

The cholera morbus and the bill came, fortunately, to divide with his satanic majesty the attention of the people; otherwise Heaven only knows what mischief a monopoly of diabolical musical anticipation might have produced in the brains of British subjeets! The preparations in getting up the opera proceeded at an extraordinary slow pace; indeed, at one time, persons began to doubt whether Robert would appear at all. The expense incurred by Mr. Mason in this instance is said to amount to seven thousand pounds; but, surely there must be great exaggeration in this. One thing, however, is sure, and that is, that he must be a great loser by the speculation. Turn we now to the first representation at the King's Theatre of this far-famed composition.

On Monday, June the 11th, 1832, the weather being remarkably wet,

the sky gloomy, and the whole aspect of London dreary and cheerless, the harmonious demon made its first appearance in the Haymarket. We sup. pose that the uncomfortableness of the weather was meant to keep in accordance with the forthcoming event. We entered the theatre; the pit was crammed-crammed-but, Heaven save the mark !-with what? With loqua cious Frenchmen, who were singing forth the praises of the opera in a variety of keys. It was insufferably hot-the theatre wore a remarkably dingy appearance; not above ten females were seen in the pit; the boxes were miserably thin, and, to crown all, we missed almost every one of the regular opera goers! The tailor, too, was not ready, we believe, with the dresses-the performance was delayed, and a scene-witnessed for the first time at the King's Theatretook place. An incipient gale of hisses was gradually converted into a tremendous storm of cries, vociferations, and cat-calls!-Cat-calls at the King's Theatre! Oh, Grey ! oh, Brougham! Oh, Russell! is this reform !

Mr. Mason came forward-said a few words-made some rather awk ward bows, and retired amidst cries of bravo!-Here was a transition! Indeed the whole affair bore a decided French character. There was the impatience - the sensitiveness the warmth and the early deprecated indulgence which characterizes French audiences, and which gives an air of frivolous importance to their theatricals. The opera commenced at a quarter to nine, and ended at a quarter to two, P. M.!! Again we repeat, is this reform !-But the music? Real ly we almost hesitate to give an opinion, but we must fulfil our task courageously. The music then is, in our humble apprehension, very much overrated. It possesses, certainly, passages of great power and beauty. There is grace in the song by Alice in the third act-a good deal of spirit in the whole of the gambling scene; the music appertaining to the Diablerie is also effective from its strangeness, and the last grand trio of the opera is a masterly composition. But when we have bestowed these praises, we JULY, 1832.

must add, that a sense of heaviness is perceptible throughout this drearily long composition! An opera in five acts! It is really too much. Again-there is not any remarkable portion of originality in the music, and originality was the merit on which great stress was laid by its admirers. They mistook singularity for originality; of the former there is, certainly, much in Robert, but they are very different things. The melody is often very common-place; but, like a plain woman, is allowed to pass muster by the help of art and ornament. proof we may mention L'or est une chimère, which was encored, and elicited great applause. The mottivo is essentially vulgar; it might have been produced by a third-rate composer when writing a tune for a jig, or a country dance; but then the skill and science of Meyerbeer covers the indifference of the melody with the richness of its attire.

As a

But the great merit of Robert le Diable rests on its masterly instrumentation. Meyerbeer possesses the science of music in no ordinary degree, but he has attempted what we consider almost an impossible enterprize-that of combining solemn, profound, and severe harmony, with light, frivolous, not to say valgar, melody. Such marriage is absurd, injudicious, and must be unfortunate, like all ill-assorted unions. Without meaning any disrespect to the celebrated composer, we think that he wants the fire, fecundity, and brilliancy of Rossini, as well as the depth, pathos, and intensity of Beethoven. Nothing less than all this was requisite to achieve, with complete success, the attempt which he has made.

The execution of the opera gave general satisfaction. Nourrit, Levasseur, Cinti Damoreau, and her husband, received great praise, and not without justice. The scenery was excellent; but we differ from the general opinion on this point. The grand scene of the resuscitation of the nuns was far better managed at Covent Garden. The scene, as a painting, may, perhaps, possess greater merit at the King's Theatre, but it assuredly is not half so effective in producing the


feelings meant to be excited. One feels admiration for the beauty of the diorama, and the skill of the painter, at the Opera; but the same scene at Drury or Covent Garden inspired awe and a sort of religious gloom-sensations more in accordance with the nature of the piece.

In our next we shall pursue the

subject of the Opera, by enumerating all the performers that have composed, or compose, its company. Due attention shall also be given to the Ballet, and we shall touch on certain abuses which, as they are growing to an unreasonable degree, it is high time they should be checked in their growth.



SISTER of Sylphs-My heart is glad!
To see thee bound to-night-
Away, away,-
-like a child at play,
When it's path is smooth and bright;
And its lips of beauty warble out
Their lispings of delight!

There is no sadness in thy smile-
That seems to banish ours!

I love to see thy fair brow wear
Its diadem of flowers!

Thy warm young cheek-that roses woo,
Whose bloom hath no alloy;

And the laughter on thy lips that breathe

An atmosphere of joy!

A thousand eyes are bent on thee,

As thou wert their Terpsichore !

At even time thou comest here,
By hand-maid Graces led;
And thy little fairy fluttering feet,
Wake music with their tread;
As tho' Space were attuned by thee
To viewless, voiceless melody!

A moment more, and thou art gone,

Like nature's pearls that melt with morn.
When Dian's echo wakes the dell,
The fleetness of the young gazelle

Is mockery to this!—

A race along some daisy field

With thee, would teach the fawn to yield!
Whose highest and whose lightest bound,
Doth leave upon the lawn-like ground
The imprint of-a kiss!

Oh, thou art Cupid's dancing bride,
And Joy sits singing by thy side!

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