Before parting a final question was asked:
“What, in your opinion, are the vital requisites necessary to become a singer?”
Almost instantly came the reply:
“Brains, Personality, Voice.”
With this cryptic answer we took leave of the fair artist.
English by birth, American by marriage, beloved in every country where her art is known, Florence Easton, after ten years of activity in the music centers of Europe, is now making her home in America. Mme. Easton is a singer whose attitude towards music is one of deepest sincerity. No one could witness her beautiful, sympathetic investiture of the Saint Elizabeth, of Liszt, or some of her other important roles, without being impressed with this complete, earnest sincerity. It shines out of her earnest eyes and frank smile, as she greets the visitor; it vibrates in the tones of her voice as she speaks. What can even a whole hour’s talk reveal of the deep undercurrents of an artist’s thought? Yet in sixty minutes many helpful things may be said, and Mme. Easton, always serious in every artistic thing she undertakes, will wish the educational side of our talk to be uppermost.
“I have a deep sympathy for the American girl who honestly wishes to cultivate her voice. Of course, in the first place, she must have a voice to start with; there is no use trying to train something which doesn’t exist. Given the voice and a love for music, it is still difficult to tell another how to begin. Each singer who has risen, who has found herself, knows by what path she climbed, but the path she found might not do for another.
“There are quantities of girls in America with good voices, good looks and a love for music. And there are plenty of good vocal teachers, too, not only in New York, but in other large cities of this great country. There is always the problem, however, of securing just the right kind of a teacher. For a teacher may be excellent for one voice but not for another.
[Illustration: FLORENCE EASTON]
“The American girl, trained in the studio, has little idea of what it means to sing in a large hall or opera house. In the small room her voice sounds very pretty, and she can make a number of nice effects; she may also have a delicate pianissimo. These things are mostly lost when she tries them in a large space. It is like beginning all over again. She has never been taught any other way but the studio way. If young singers could only have a chance to try their wings frequently in large halls, it would be of the greatest benefit. If they could sing to a public who only paid a nominal sum and did not expect great things; a public who would come for the sake of the music they were to hear, because they wanted the enjoyment and refreshment of it, not for the sake of some singers with big names, they would judge the young aspirant impersonally, which would be one of the best things for her.