“Among the composers in Spain who have turned their gifts toward operatic channels I can mention Pedrell, Morea, Falla, Vives and Breton. Vives is now writing an opera for me, entitled Abanico. Gradually, no doubt, the music of our country, especially its opera, will find its way to other lands. Even in England, I am told, Spanish music is very little known; our many distinguished modern musicians are hardly even names. Of course the world knows our Toreador songs, our castanet dances, and the like; perhaps they think we have little or no serious music, because it is still unknown. Spanish music is peculiar to the country; it is permeated with the national spirit and feeling.”
Asked if she would sing in South America during the vacation, the singer answered:
“I have sung there with great success. But I shall not be able to go there this summer. My little boy has been placed in a school in France; it is the first time we have been separated, and it has been very hard for me to have the ocean between us. I shall sing at Atlanta, the first week of May, and then sail the middle of the month for France. Yes, indeed, I hope to return to America next season.
“I trust you have been able to understand my poor English,” she said smiling, as she parted with her visitor; “we speak several languages here in my home—Spanish with my mother and friends, French and Italian with others in the household. But there seems little necessity for using English, even though I am living in the heart of the metropolis. Perhaps next year, I shall master your language better.”
And the picture of her, as she stood in her artistic, home-like salon, with its lights, its pictures and flowers, is even more lasting than any to be remembered on the operatic stage.
[Illustration: CLAUDIA MUZIO]
In tales of romance one reads sometimes of a gifted girl who lives in a musical atmosphere all her life, imbibing artistic influences as naturally and almost as unconsciously as the air she breathes. At the right moment, she suddenly comes out into the light and blossoms into a full fledged singer, to the surprise and wonder of all her friends. Or she is brought up behind the scenes in some great Opera House of the world, where, all unnoticed by her elders, she lives in a dream world of her own, peopled by the various characters in the operas to which she daily listens. She watches the stage so closely and constantly that she unconsciously commits the roles of the heroines she most admires, to memory. She knows what they sing, how they act the various parts, how they impersonate the characters. Again, at the right moment, the leading prima donna is indisposed, there is no one to take her place; manager is in despair, when the slip of a girl, who is known to have a voice, but has never sung in opera, offers to go on in place of the absent one. She is finally permitted to do so; result, a popular success.