Madame Louise Homer is a native artist to whom every loyal American can point with pardonable pride. Her career has been a constant, steady ascent, from the start; it is a career so well known in America that there is hardly any need to review it, except as she herself refers to it on the rare occasions when she is induced to speak of herself. For Mme. Homer is one of the most modest artists in the world; nothing is more distasteful to her than to seek for publicity through ordinary channels. So averse is she to any self-seeking that it was with considerable hesitation that she consented to express her views to the writer, on the singer’s art. As Mr. Sidney Homer, the well known composer and husband of Mme. Homer, remarked, the writer should prize this intimate talk, as it was the first Mme. Homer had granted in a very long time.
[Illustration: LOUISE HOMER]
The artist had lately returned from a long trip, crowded with many concerts, when I called at the New York residence of this ideal musical pair and their charming family. Mme. Homer was at home and sent down word she would see me shortly. In the few moments of waiting, I seemed to feel the genial atmosphere of this home, its quiet and cheer. A distant tinkle of girlish laughter was borne to me once or twice; then a phrase or two sung by a rich, vibrant voice above; then in a moment after, the artist herself descended and greeted me cordially.
“We will have a cup of tea before we start in to talk,” she said, and, as if by magic, the tea tray and dainty muffins appeared.
How wholesome and fresh she looked, with the ruddy color in her cheeks and the firm whiteness of neck and arms. The Japanese robe of “midnight blue,” embroidered in yellows, heightened the impression of vigorous health by its becomingness.
“There is so much to consider for the girl who desires to enter the profession,” began Mme. Homer, in response to my first query. “First, she must have a voice, there is no use attempting a career without the voice; there must be something to develop, something worth while to build upon. And if she has the voice and the means to study, she must make up her mind to devote herself exclusively to her art; there is no other way to succeed. She cannot enter society, go to luncheons, dinners and out in the evening, and at the same time accomplish much in the way of musical development. Many girls think, if they attend two or three voice lessons a week and learn some songs and a few operatic arias, that is all there is to it. But there is far more. They must know many other things. The vocal student should study piano and languages; these are really essential. Not that she should strive to become a pianist; that would not be possible if she is destined to become a singer; but the more she knows of the piano and its literature, the more this will cultivate her musical sense and develop her taste.