Discussing his venture on one occasion, Mr. Scotti said:
“It was an experiment in several ways. First, I had an all-American company, which was indeed an experiment. I had some fine artists in the principal roles, with lesser known ones in smaller parts. With these I worked personally, teaching them how to act, thus preparing them for further career in the field of opera. I like to work with the younger and less experienced ones, for it gives me real pleasure to watch how they improve, when they have the opportunity.
“Of course I am obliged to choose my material carefully, for many more apply for places than I can ever accept.
ITALIAN OPERA IN AMERICA
“So closely is Italy identified with all that pertains to opera,” he continued, “that the question of the future of Italian opera in America interests me immensely. It has been my privilege to devote some of the best years of my life to singing in Italian opera in this wonderful country of yours. One is continually impressed with the great advance America has made and is making along all musical lines. It is marvelous, though you who live here may not be awake to the fact. Musicians in Europe and other parts of the world, who have never been here, can form no conception of the musical activities here.
“It is very gratifying to me, as an Italian, to realize that the operatic compositions of my country must play an important part in the future of American musical art. It seems to me there is more intrinsic value—more variety in the works of modern Italian composers than in those of other nations. We know the operas of Mozart are largely founded on Italian models.
“Of the great modern Italian composers, I feel that Puccini is the most important, because he has a more intimate appreciation of theatrical values. He seems to know just what kind of music will fit a series of words or a scene, which will best bring out the dramatic sense. Montemezzi is also very great in this respect. This in no way detracts from what Mascagni, Leoncavallo and others have accomplished. It is only my personal estimate of Puccini as a composer. The two most popular operas to-day are Aida and Madame Butterfly, and they will always draw large audiences, although American people are prone to attend the opera for the purpose of hearing some particular singer and not for the sake of the work of the composer. In other countries this is not so often the case. We must hope this condition will be overcome in due time, for the reason that it now often happens that good performances are missed by the public who are only attracted when some much heralded celebrity sings.”
Asked for his views regarding American operatic composers, Mr. Scotti said: