THE GRAMOPHONE Incorporating VOX. T H IE RA D I 0 C R ITI C an d B ROA D CAST RE VI EW
London Office : 10a Soho Square London. W.1
Gerrard 2136. 2137
COMPTON MACKENZIE and CHRISTOPHER STONE Parmaxto. Rath London
I HAD hoped to get a chance of seeing all three of the
Italian operas which were performed at Covent Garden this season, but in the end only succeeded in seeing Rigoletto twice. While I think i t is obviously advisable that every devotee of the operatic record should give himself an opportunity of seeing every opera at least once I believe that the ideal condition for opera will be provided when television has advanced sufficiently to allow of perfect acting, appearance, and scenery being fitted to ideal voices not belonging to the perfonners we watch, or at any rate not necessarily belonging to them. Gigli for instance with all his beauty of voice and technical accomplishment as a singer is not really an actor at all. There was hardly a moment when he was not somebody on a concert platform dressed up in doublet and hose. Lina Pagliughi with a really beautiful voice and considerable accomplishment as an actress could not look the part of Gilda, and Gigli as the Duke was not actor enough to bewitch the audience out of the evidence of their eyes. At the third performance Luella Paikin took the part of Gilda and not only acted and sang delightfully but really did look like Gilda, so much like that she was able to bewitch the audience into thinking that Gigli was giving a better performance of the Duke than he really was. !talo Tagliabue, a grand Rigoletto, is so good an actor that he could almost convince us that Lina Pagliughi was his young daughter, and when he had the ideal Gilda in Luella Paikin the last two acts were profoundly moving. The gramophone renders us independent of tenors who at an angle of forty-five degrees make love to sopranos, and I feel sure that the latest H.M.V. album of Boheme with Gigli as Rodolpho and Albeness as Mimi has given me more pleasure than I should have had on hearing the same performance in the opera house. Nevertheless I repeat that i t is essential for the highest enjoyment of a recorded performance to have seen an actual performance. For instance the famous quartet in the third act of Rigoletto Bella figlia dell' amore loses immensely if the listener does not visualise the Duke and Maddalena singing on one side of a wall quite unconscious that Rigoletto and Gilda are singing away on the other side.
The difficulty of writing an editorial this month will be appreciated by readers who know what an important book I have been getting ready for press. E.M.G. Hand-made Gramophones have most kindly fitted me up for my stay in London with one of their magnificent Radiograms, and I am glad that I shall have an opportunity of giving an account of some of my adventures with electrically reproduced music next month. But in order to make any useful comparison with the big-horned acoustical instruments at Barra I shall have to play through a quantity of the music I know best and there has been no t ime to consider doing that for this month. So once again I must beg the indulgence of our readers for this very brief editorial, and though i t is rash to make promises in these days I will do my best to write an extra long one next month the labour of which will be very considerably lightened by the pleasure I am going to enjoy from this E.M.G. D.R.5 instrument.