“It is well I am blessed with good health, as my task is extremely arduous. When on tour, I sing every night, besides constantly rehearsing my company. We are ninety in all, including our orchestra. It is indeed a great undertaking. I do not do it for money, for I make nothing personally out of it, and you can imagine how heavy the expenses are; four thousand dollars a week, merely for transportation. But I do it for the sake of art, and to spread the love of modern Italian opera over this great, wonderful country, the greatest country for music that exists to-day. And the plan succeeds far beyond my hopes; for where we gave one performance in a place, we now, on our second visit, can give three—four. Next year we shall go to California.
“So we are doing our part, both to aid the young singer who sorely needs experience and to educate the masses and general public to love what is best in modern Italian opera!”
To the present day opera goers the name of Rosa Raisa stands for a compelling force. In whatever role she appears, she is always a commanding figure, both physically, dramatically and musically. Her feeling for dramatic climax, the intensity with which she projects each character assumed, the sincerity and self forgetfulness of her naturalistic interpretation, make every role notable. Her voice is a rich, powerful soprano, vibrantly sweet when at its softest—like a rushing torrent of passion in intense moments. At such moments the listener is impressed with the belief that power and depth of tone are limitless; that the singer can never come to the end of her resources, no matter how deeply she may draw on them. There are such moments of tragic intensity, in her impersonation of the heroine in Jewels of the Madonna, in Sister Angelica, in Norma, as the avenging priestess, in which role she has recently created such a remarkable impression.
[Illustration: Rosa Raisa]
If one has pictured to one’s self that because the Russian prima donna can show herself a whirlwind of dynamic passion on the stage, therefore she must show some of these qualities in private life, one would quickly become disabused of such an impression when face to face with the artist. One would then meet a slender, graceful young woman, of gentle presence and with the simplest manners in the world. The dark, liquid eyes look at one with frankness and sincerity; the wide, low brow, from which the dark hair is softly drawn away, is the brow of a madonna. In repose the features might easily belong to one of Raphael’s saints. However, they light up genially when their owner speaks.