Educating the troops
HOW TO LISTEN TO OPERA N. 4
As I have said before, this time which you are spending in Italy gives you a unique opportunity to hear opera under what are almost the best possible surroundings. Not quite the best, for those days belong to the time before the war, when opera was making a great and successful «come back». Italian operatic productions had always been good, but in the last twenty years there had been what the Italians themselves called a « risorgemento» of opera. A revival, a renewal of intense popularity. a perfection of production, and a magnificent collection of splendid voices. In these days, many of these voices cannot be heard by us, these unfortunate people are still living in occupied Italy - Malipiero, Passero, Cigna, one of the greatest living conductors who shared the honours only with Vittorio Gui Gui, Maestro Gino Marinuzzi all these are denied to us through the war. Fortunately there are still many fine artists who will sing to you and for you in Southern Italy. Among them Maria Caniglia who recently appeared here, also there have been and let us hope will be again concerts conducted by Maestro Vittono Gui. When you have the opportunity to go to the S. Carlo, don't go because «there is nothing better to do», don't go in the belief that you may be bored. Go with the idea in your minds that you are going to see a play, with the added attraction of music to go with the drama. As you go further north, there are other splendid opera houses waiting for you. Last week I stood in the Real Opera House in Rome listening, for a short time to a rehearsal of the fine orchestra. Later, there will be opera for. you in Florence, Turin. Milan, and Venice. There will be opera in the open air as the days grow longer and warmer; there are few finer sights than the great Arena at Verona, filled with people, where the stage is so immense that it is possible to have a chorus of nearly two hundred people. To watch «Aida» in this setting is unforgetable; the return of the victorious troops with elephants, camels, horses and the like on the stage, makes the whole scene tremendously real and actual. Italy has several of these «open air» opera houses, and owing to the fact that they are built or adapted with such care, the sound is perfect. On no account miss seeing one of these open air performances if the opportunity offers.