“Mme. Homer holds the banner at the Metropolitan, for rapid memorizing,” said her husband. “On one occasion, when Das Rheingold was announced for an evening performance, the Fricka was suddenly indisposed and unable to appear. Early in the afternoon, the Director came to Mme. Homer, begging her to do the part, as otherwise he would be forced to close the house that night. A singer had tried all forenoon to learn the role, but had now given it up as impossible. Mme. Homer consented. She started in at three o’clock and worked till six, went on in the evening, sang the part without rehearsal, and acquitted herself with credit. This record has never been surpassed at the Metropolitan.” “I knew the other Frickas of the Ring,” said Madame, “but had never learned the one in the Rheingold; it is full of short phrases and difficult to remember, but I came through all right. I may add, as you ask, that perhaps Orfeo is my favorite role, one of the most beautiful works we have.”
“What do I understand by Vocal Mastery? The words explain themselves. The singer must master all difficulties of technic, of tone production, so as to be able to express the thought of the composer, and the meaning of the music.”
“Don’t forget that the singer must have a musical nature,” added Mr. Homer, “for without this true vocal mastery is impossible.”
“LET US HAVE PLENTY OF OPERA IN AMERICA”
Said the Professor: “How well I remember the first time I heard Martinelli. We were traveling in Italy that summer, and had arrived in Verona rather late in the afternoon. The city seemed full of people, with many strangers, and we could not at first secure accommodations at the hotel. Inquiring the cause, the answer was: ’Does not the signer know that to-day is one holiday, and to-night, in the Amphitheater, Aida will be sung, under the stars.’ We finally secured rooms, and of course heard the opera that night. Young Martinelli was the Rhadames, and I shall never forget how splendidly his voice rang out over those vast spaces of the Arena. It was a most unusual experience to hear that music sung in the open—’under the stars,’ and it was unforgettable.”
[Illustration: GIOVANNI MARTINELLI]
Giovanni Martinelli, who has been for several years one of the leading tenors at the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, has warmly entrenched himself in the hearts of music lovers in America. To be a great singer, as some one has said, requires, first, voice; second, voice; third, voice. However, at the present hour a great singer must have more than voice; we demand histrionic ability also. We want singing actors as well as great singers.