His performance of the quack doctor Dulcamara, in “L’Elisir d’Amore,” was no less amazing as a piece of humorous acting, a creation matched by that of the haggard, starveling poet in “Matilda di Shabran” and Papageno in Mozart’s “Zauberflote.” Anything more ridiculous and mirthful than these comedy chef-d’ouvres could hardly be fancied. The same critic quoted above says: “One could write a page on his Barber in Rossini’s master-work; a paragraph on his Duke in ’Lucrezia Borgia,’ an exhibition of dangerous, suspicious, sinister malice such as the stage has rarely shown; another on his Podesta in ‘La Gazza Ladra’ (in these two characters bringing him into close rivalry with Lablache, a rivalry from which he issued unharmed); and last, and almost best of his creations, his Masetto.” Ronconi is, we believe, still living, though no longer on the stage; but his memory will remain one of the great traditions of the lyric drama, so long as consummate histrionic ability is regarded as worthy of respect by devotees of the opera.
Mme. Viardot’s name is, perhaps, more closely associated with the music of Meyerbeer than that of any other composer. Her Alice in “Robert le Diable,” her Valentine in “Les Huguenots,” added fresh luster to her fame. In the latter character no representative of opera, in spite of the long bead-roll of eminent names interwoven with the record of this musical work, is worthy to be compared with her. This part was for years regarded as standing to her what Medea was to