Great Singers, Second Series eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 209 pages of information about Great Singers, Second Series.

A tour through Belgium and the Rhenish provinces, partly operatic, partly concertizing, which she took with Rubini in the summer and fall of 1841, was highly successful from the artistic point of view, and replete with pleasant incidents, among which may be mentioned their meeting at Wiesbaden with Prince Metternich, who had come with a crowd of princes, ministers, and diplomats from the chateau of Johannisberg to be present at the concert.  At the conclusion of the performance, the Prince took Rubini by the arm, and walked up and down the salon with him for some time.  They had become acquainted at Vienna.  “My dear Rubini,” said Metternich, “it is impossible that you can come so near Johannisberg without paying me a visit there.  I hope you and your friends will come and dine with me to-morrow.”  The following day, therefore, Rubini, Mme. Persiani, etc., went to the chateau, so celebrated for the produce of its vineyards, where M. Metternich and his princess did the honors with the utmost affability and cordiality.  After dinner, Rubini, unasked, sang two of his most admired airs; and the Prince, to testify his gratification, offered him a basket of Johannisberg, “to drink my health,” he laughingly said, “when you reach your chateau of Bergamo.”  Rubini accepted the friendly offering, and begged permission to bring Mme. Rubini, before quitting the north of Europe, to visit the fine chateau.  Metternich immediately summoned his major-domo, and said to him, “Remember that, if ever M. Rubini visits Johannisberg during my absence, he is to be received as if he were its master.  You will place the whole of the chateau at his disposal so long as he may please to remain.”  “And the cellar, also?” asked Rubini.  “The cellar, also,” added the Prince, smiling:  “the cellar at discretion.”


The characteristics of Mme. Persiani’s voice and art have already been generally described sufficiently to convey some distinct impression of her personality as a singer, but it is worth while to enter into some more detailed account of the peculiar qualities which for many years gave her so great a place on the operatic stage.  Her acute soprano, mounting to E flat altissimo, had in it many acrid and piercing notes, and was utterly without the caressing, honeyed sweetness which, for example, gave such a sensuous charm to the voice of Mme. Grisi.  But she was an incomparable mistress over the difficulties of vocalization.  From her father, Tacchinardi, who knew every secret of his art, she received a full bequest of his knowledge.  Her voice was developed to its utmost capacity, and it was said of her that every fiber in her frame seemed to have a part in her singing; there was nothing left out, nothing kept back, nothing careless, nothing unfinished.  So sedulous was she in the employment of her vast and varied resources that she frequently rose to an animation which, if not sympathetic, as

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Great Singers, Second Series from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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