THELMA TUSON (Soprano)
JOSEPH FARRINGTON (Baritone)
CALLENDER'S CABLE WORKS BAND
(Conducted by Tom MORGAN )
WHEN Mozart's Figaro was produced in Prague, in 1876, it was so pronounced aild immediate a success that the authorities at once asked him to write them another opera. Don Giovanni was the chosen work. and Mozart composed the music in Prague itself within little more than a month. Much of it was written in the vineyard of an old friend, and they still show you a little stone table at which Mozart sat writing, often while talk was going on round him or even while skittles was being played in the open air.
The day before the date fixed for the first performance, the Overture had not even been begun. Mozart finished it during the night, and by seven in the morning his MS. was handed out for copying, and the Overture was played that evening without rehearsal. It bears no trace of such hasty work, full of his own inimitable brightness and grace, it has always held a place of honour among the great masterpieces.
The introduction, in solemn measure, is taken from the music of the last act, where the statue of the Governor, slain by Giovanni in the course of one of his intrigues, comes at the Don's invitation to sup with him. And, though the main body of the Overture is made up of melodies which trip along on dainty, graceful feet, there is ever and anon a heavy-handed reminder of stern destiny. This theme is only two bars long, but Mozart uses it in a most interesting way, the instruments imitating one another with impressive effect, and the effect of the whole Overture is a wonderfully complete picture of the bustle and gaiety of the lighter moments of the opera, with the shadow of the final tragedy hanging over it.
FOUR of the five people in Leoncavallo's one really successful Opera are Strolling Players, and the fifth, who completes the caste, is a Peasant. It is his unauthorized love affair with Nedda, the Columbine of the Troupe, which brings about the final tragedy. Canio, the leader of the players, her husband, discovering their intrigue, kills first his wife and then the lover.
The first act tells of the arrival of the little troupe in the village, and in the second they act their play on a small stage before the villagers. The little piece which they perform is in effect the same tale of jealousy and passion which is the plot of the whole work, and the drama, though somewhat crude and brutal, is so vivid that the popularity of the Opera has never been difficult to understand. The last line for Canio, after he has killed his wife and her lover, is a particularly effective ' curtain.' Coming forward to the audience on the stage, who have thus seen the little play turned so suddenly into the drama of real life, he tells them, ' The Comedy is ended.'
WITHIN the past few months listeners have had several opportunities of hearing something of the brilliant music of Josef Holbrooke , one of the native composers who works on a large scale, choosing big and impressive subjects, as well as large and imposing forces to present them. Within the past season parts of the three operas in his great trilogy, The Cauldron of Anwym, have been broadcast.