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posed that M. Boisgerard, who held, under the new management, the situation of second Ballet-Master, which he had before filled, should proceed to Paris. It was rightly supposed, that his practical knowledge, and, the consideration in which he was held in Paris, would enable him to enter into treaty for performers with some chance of success. This plan was warmly approved of by the noble Lords on the Committee, who assisted in its execution, by furnishing M. Boisgerard with introductions, which proved of great service, to those personages who might be considered most willing and able to forward the object of his mission.
M. Deshayes, afterwards engaged as first Ballet-Master, was then at Paris, and would aid Boisgerard in his undertaking.
So important do all matters connected with their ballet appear to the French, that the correspondence incident to these negociations was required to be transmitted, through the medium of the English Ambassador, at Paris, to the Baron de la Ferté, the intendant of the Royal Theatres.
Boisgerard, having arrived at Paris, lost no time in commencing his labours in conjunction with Deshayes. They directed their endeavours towards forming an engagement with Albert, premier danseur, and Mademoiselles Bigottini and Noblet, from all of whom, in the first instance, they received a refusal to quit Paris. This ordinary method of angling for advanced offers did not discourage our agents, who finally agreed with all three, conditionally on their congés being obtained from the administration of the Academy of Music. This was a task of more difficulty, and as to Bigottini, their endeavours were rendered nugatory, at first by hesitation, and, finally, by the decided refusal of the administration to allow her to visit England.'-pp. 63-66.
The result of the negociations was, that Albert and Noblet were permitted to come over for two months only-the former at the moderate sum of fifty pounds a night, and the latter for thirty-five! These were to be succeeded by Coulon and Fanny Bias, and, upon the whole, a capital ballet-school was furnished out. It was crowned with brilliant success. Noblet was greatly and deservedly admired-almost worshipped. Lord Fife, a celebrated connoisseur, presented her with a carriage for her accommodation during her residence here. He gave a dinner on Sundays, at the Pulteney Hotel, where he then lived, at which Noblet and the other principal dancers were regular guests, to testify his regard for the talents of this accomplished performer.'
The wardrobe of the theatre was replenished-an improvement much wanted the scenery, which had absolutely faded from old age, was retouched; and the dingy red, in which the audience part of the house had appeared from time immemorial, was replaced by a light blue ground, and it was opened on the 10th of March, with La Gazza Ladra. The house overflowed. Every thing went on with flying colours. On the 20th, the King visited the theatre, and all our new manager's anticipations of prosperity seemed likely to be more than realized.
The next opera was that of Agnese, in which Madame Camporese's performance of the principal character was universally applauded. The story is taken from Mrs. Opie's "Father and
Daughter. "The part of Hubert was sustained by Ambrogetti, who was said to have studied this horrible character in a madhouse.' His performance of it was sometimes too painfully correct. The King again visited the theatre on the 15th of May. Il Don Giovanni, and Le Nozze di Figaro were revived with great success, and such was the reception experienced by Noblet and Albert, and so profitable did they find their pirouettes, that when the term of their congé expired, they were very willing to remain longer. The French administration was enraged; we were almost threatened with a renewal of the war; the Baron de la Ferté was sent over to negociate for the restoration of the absentees,' but as the English manager had now the cards in his own hands, a com-promise was agreed to, by which it was arranged that the absentees' should remain until the end of the season, and that 'two first, and two second dancers should be allowed annually to come to London, from the schools of the academy.' This was a great point gained in the Terpsichoral intercourse of the two countries. Upon the conclusion of a season, apparently crowned at all points with entire success, our manager was overwhelmed with congratulations. He only lost, upon the whole, about seven thousand pounds! The abstract of his accounts for the season, which was a remarkably short one, having terminated on the 18th of August, is a curiosity.
0 Engagements for
9,714 12 0
1,017 15 0
31,248 8 0 Expenses of Bene
Masquerade Concerts, &c.
975 5 1
1,737 12 10
Balance, being the loss on the Sea
- Police,and other
742 0 1
£39,298 18 1
£39,298 18 1
'The total number of persons who attended the theatre this season, was calculated to be 82,632. p. 113.
One would think that his first year's experience would have deterred our manager from seeking a renewal of his lease. His pecuniary losses were by no means the only désagréments of his situation.
The jealousies, the intrigues, perpetually at work behind the scenes of a theatre, cannot be detailed, any more than the fluctuations of the currents of air along the streets. They form the atmosphere of the place.
'Let a new opera be intended to be brought forward. Signor This will not sing his part, because it is not prominent enough; so, to enrich it, a gathering must be made of airs from other operas, no matter whether by the same composer or not, nor whether there be any congruity between the style of the original piece and the adventitious passages introduced. De Begnis, who, from some cause, or no cause, was disliked by other performers, chose Il Turco in Italia,' for his own and his wife's debut. Every obstacle was thrown in the way of its representation; at last, all the best parts of La Cenerentola' were forced into it, to add importance to the parts of the other performers. Indeed, from the same cause, I never had the full advantage of that valuable performer's services. If the sense of an opera is worth any thing, let the effect of this curious process be imagined. Do not let it be supposed that the manager has any power to decide in a case like this. Probably the opera is already advertised for performance, in which case, "I will not play this part," must have its way. The opera being announced, must go on, and concessions must be made, as it cannot be represented without the performer in question.
Imagine the Director entering: "Sir, Mr. A. B. won't go on with the rehearsal." Indeed? why not?" "He says you ought to do so and so for him, and he refuses to go on till it is done." While this is in discussion, behold an ambassador from the other performers. "The singers, Sir, say they can't wait at the Theatre all day; if the arrangement with Mr. A. B. is not settled, they must go home." What is the refuge of the manager? If he remains steadfast, an appeal to the committee is an engine of confusion quite at hand, especially if the complainant happen to be a jolie danseuse.
It is the office of the ballet-master to design the ballets, to lay out in detail the story they involve, and direct the character of dance appropriate to each step of the piece. Here, as in the opera, a performer who imagines his part too meagre in opportunities of display, makes no scruple of introducing an excrescence in the shape of a pas seul, or whatever else may strike the fancy; and unless this is consented to, there is an end of the performance. Hence it is not very unusual to see a despairing lover express his grief in a pirouette, or a beauty, flying from pursuit, effect her escape in a minuet, so judiciously are these gratuitous additions often introduced.
'The ballet-master, knowing too well that he cannot guard against these derangements of his productions, consoles himself by making his ballet as splendid and decorative as possible, in order to reap some credit from his performances. The expense of all this, not being borne by himself, is, of course, no object, though he may consult the manager as to the limits of expenditure. If he does this, it is, however, only to go beyond the prescribed boundaries in every way. A composer is to be engaged to furnish the music for the ballet. "Give him twenty pounds," says the manager;
and the ballet-master forthwith goes to him, and says, "Write down thirty, and let the music for my ballet be so much the better." The day before the performance the composer presents his demand; being half as much again as the manager prescribed, he demurs; "Very well," says the composer," then my music shall not be played to-morrow night." But no other music can be got in time, and, par consèquence-the conclusion is obvious.
Thus it is, that from the prima donna to the guardian of the lamps, every body has views to answer, and a reputation to support or extend, at the expense of the unfortunate individual who is blamed for every failure, but not credited for any success.
I was dining one day with Taylor, when the subject of capital punishments was started; during the discussion of which Taylor remained in a reverie. A gentleman at table strongly advocated the abolition of capital punishments in all cases.
"What would you inflict, then, on a criminal of the worst kind?" asked another.
"By ," said Taylor, starting up, "make him manager of the Opera House."-pp. 116–120.
Taylor said something worse, but we cannot quote it. Nevertheless, such was the fascination which his new pursuit possessed for Mr. Ebers, that he resolved to continue in it, although his rent was raised to ten thousand pounds, and he had lost the benefit of Mr. Ayrton's services.
Paul and Mercandotti were the principal new stars of the ballet in 1822; in the opera, Caradori appeared, who is still a great favourite, and Zuchelli, who left us too soon. The most delightful opera of the season was Pietro l' Eremita, which still supplies our drawing rooms with pieces of exquisite music, that never tire on repetition. The loss on the season amounted to upwards of five thousand pounds. The loss on the succeeding season (1823), was still larger, upwards of nine thousand pounds; yet such was the general impression in favour of the state of the property, that Mr. Ebers had several applicants who wished to take it off his hands. Among these were Mr. Benelli, who ultimately obtained the transfer of Mr. Ebers' interest in it for the sum of ten thousand pounds. This arrangement which, at first, promised to afford some compensation to our author for his losses, only led him into new embarrassments. Into the history of these it is not our province to enter. Suffice it to observe, that at the termination of 1824, the situation of Mr. Ebers was a great deal worse than ever. The season had been a disastrous one; notwithstanding that Benelli's experience, as a theatrical agent, had enabled him to engage a brilliant list of performers :-Čatalani, Pasta, Madame de Begnis, and Caradori; however, all failed, from some cause or another, to attract full houses, and Benelli decamped.
Mr. Ebers, however, still persevered under circumstances of difficulty that would have appalled any other man. The season of 1825 was rendered particularly disadvantageous, the opera having
been removed for a while to the little theatre in the Haymarket, in consequence of the King's Theatre having been surveyed and reported insecure. The necessary repairs were, however, rapidly made, and the Opera was restored to its own stage in April, under the direction once more of Mr. Ayrton. But though every exertion appears to have been made to attract the public, the conclusion of the season exhibited a loss of more than six thousand pounds. The loss of the season 1826, was upwards of seven thousand five hundred pounds; that of 1827, was under three thousand, although in point of novelty and talent, with the exception of Pasta alone, little was done with the view of exalting the merits of the performance. That distinguished woman is, indeed, a host in herself, and when we remember the dense houses which she usually draws, we are surprised on looking at the accounts to see the balance so constantly against the manager. Well might Mr. Ebers exclaim, on concluding his narrative of misfortune
ART. VI.-1. Memoires du Duc de Rovigo, Ministre de la Police sous Napoleon. 2 vols. 8vo. Paris: Bossange. 1828.
2. Memoirs of the Duke of Rovigo (M. Savary,) written by himself, illustrative of the History of the Emperor Napoleon. Vols. 2 and 3. London: Colburn. 1828.
THE first volume of the Duke of Rovigo's Memoirs was noticed in our number for July. The most interesting portion of its contents were the defences set up for Napoleon by M. Savary, against the accusations which have strongly affected his character in every country in Europe. The affairs of the Duc D'Enghien, of Captain Wright, and of the massacre of the three thousand prisoners, are those from which by far the greater proportion of the public in