“It is now ten years since I began to study the art of singing. I came to America soon after the eventful night which changed my whole career; my teacher also came to this country. I had everything to learn; I could not even speak my own language; my speech was a dialect heard in that part of the country where I was brought up. I have had to cultivate and refine myself. I had to study other languages, Italian, French and German. I learned them all in America. So you see there is no need for an American to go out of his own country for vocal instruction or languages; all can be learned right here at home. I am a living proof of this. What I have done others can do.
“As for technical material, I have never used a great quantity. Of course I do scales and vocalizes for a short time each day; such things are always kept up. Then I make daily use of about a dozen exercises by Rubini. Beyond these I make technical studies out of the pieces. But, after one has made a certain amount of progress on the technical side, one must work for one’s self—I mean one must work on one’s moral nature.
“I believe strongly that a singer cannot adequately express the beautiful and pure in music while cherishing at the same time, a bad heart and a mean nature behind it. Singing is such a personal thing, that one’s mentality, one’s inner nature, is bound to reveal itself. Each one of us has evil tendencies to grapple with, envy, jealousy, hatred, sensuality and all the rest of the evils we are apt to harbor. If we make no effort to control these natural tendencies, they will permanently injure us, as well as impair the voice, and vitiate the good we might do. I say it in all humility, but I am earnestly trying to conquer the errors in myself, so that I may be able to do some good with my voice. I have discovered people go to hear music when they want to be soothed and uplifted. If they desire to be amused and enjoy a good laugh, they go to light opera or vaudeville; if they want a soothing, quieting mental refreshment, they attend a concert, opera or oratorio. Therefore I want to give them, when I sing, what they are in need of, what they are longing for. I want to have such control of myself that I shall be fitted to help and benefit every person in the audience who listens to me. Until I have thus prepared myself, I am not doing my whole duty to myself, to my art or to my neighbor.
“We hear about the petty envy and jealousy in the profession, and it is true they seem to be very real at times. Picture two young women singing at a concert; one receives much attention and beautiful flowers, the other—none of these things. No doubt it is human nature, so-called, for the neglected one to feel horribly jealous of the favored one. Now this feeling ought to be conquered, for I believe,