スーザ自叙伝「進め!Marching Along!」英日対訳


第9章(2)英日対訳・スーザ自叙伝「進め! Marching Along」

On December 28, 1897, The Bride Elect for which I wrote libretto and music, was produced in New Haven, by Klaw and Erlanger. A number of New York critics attended that first performance. So great had been the success of El Capitan that naturally there was great interest everywhere as to whether “he could do it again.” The piece soared completely over the top, although the cast boasted not a single star. At the finale of the second act Unchain the Dogs of War, the enthusiasm of the audience was tremendous, and Mr. Bunnell, owner of the Hyperion theater, came to my box and said, “Mr. Sousa, I'll give you a hundred thousand dollars for your opera.” “Thanks very much,” was my reply, “it is not for sale.” 



Next morning, a newspaper man who had overheard our conversation bewailed in print the fact that poor Bizet died in poverty three months after the production of Carmen while I, a far lesser luminary, had been offered a hundred thousand dollars for The Bride Elect. I afterwards said to the sympathetic scribe,  



“I do not know whether your remarks about Carmen were meant as a reflection on my opera or on Mr. Bunnell's judgement in offering me a hundred thousand dollars for it. I think the real reflection is on the French managers who failed to see the beauties of Carmen and to offer Bizet a huge sum for it!” 



America is willing to pay for good music. Europe may call us an infant in musical art, but America today is the Mecca of every European musician who has anything to offer. Of course some theatrical managers drive close bargains, but there are many who display a gratifying generosity. My experience with Messrs. Klaw and Erlanger was a happy one. When I wrote The Bride Elec, the first opera I had ever done for them, a formal contract was drawn up, every provision of which was carried out to the letter. For the same firm, I wrote The Free Lance and Chris and the Wonderful Lamp. The day after I had played over a new score for them, there would be a ring at the telephone, and either Mr. Erlanger or Mr. Klaw would say, “Well, we're going to produce that opera of yours very soon. How much do you want for it?” 



“The usual terms,” I would reply, and I am confident that every dollar which should have been mine was given me to the last penny, by Klaw and Erlanger. 



We started in 1897 under the management of Everett R. Reynolds, who had been the manager of the Long Island Railroad and the Manhattan Beach Hotel all the years I played at the Beach, and who came with me after Mr. Corbin's death. 



When we reached Providence, “Bob” Fitzsimmons, the new world's champion, announced himself at the box-office.  

“I'm Bob Fitzsimmons, champion of the world. I want a box to see this show.”  

“I'm awfully sorry, Mr. Fitzsimmons,” said the ticketseller respectfully, “but all the boxes are taken.”  

“Then give me an orchestra seat.” 

“I regret to say that I haven't one left; in fact, there is only standing room.” 

“Then give me a 'standing-room.'” And Fitzsimmons attended the concert, standing! At its close, he said to my manager, 

“Let me see that little fellow that led the band. I just want to shake hands with the man who can draw more people than the Champion of the World. I had a rotten matinee today!” 








He was ushered to my dressing room and there we chatted of prize-fighting, past and present. We became so interested that the meeting finally adjourned to the Narragansett Hotel where Ed Corliss and Wallace Reeves joined in the conversation. Naturally we talked of the recent encounter between Jim Corbett and Fitzsimmons. Fitz could not forgive Jim the memory of the little playful rubbing of the laces of Jim's glove on his nose, which resembled raw beef for days afterwards. Ed Corliss, who weighed at least two hundred pounds, was much interested and wondered how Corbett had managed to do it. Eager to oblige, Fitz rose, pulled Ed close to him, placed one hand against his mouth (the first finger of his right hand pressing under Ed's nose) and with the other hand pressing against his victim's back, the champion raised him off the ground. Once released from the torture, poor Corliss immediately felt his nose, fearing that it had been torn off! Ed afterwards declared that it was so sore he could not bear to touch it for a month. 



Not only did Fitzsimmons and I dine together, but we met after our respective performances, and had supper. Events were at that time leading up to the Spanish War, and nearly every conversation would either begin or end with an allusion to Spain or Cuba. It was not so many days previous to the destruction of the Maine. 



I had imbibed much knowledge of Spanish history from my father, whose Spanish birth and love of study had made him an able teacher. So I began to recite the salient points of the history of Spain. Fitzsimmons was a most attentive listener. I finally got to the Saracens, and began to expound the glories of El Chico, the last Moorish king, more commonly known as Boabdil, who finally was defeated by Ferdinand of Aragon and forced to leave the land where he and the Saracens had been masters for half a thousand years. I dramatically intoned my story: “Whipped and disgraced, Boabdil, riding towards the mountains, turned to take a last lingering look at Granada, and cried in despair, 'Allahu akhbar!' (God is great!) and then burst into violent and uncontrolled sobs. His mother, standing beside him, said angrily, 'Do not weep like a woman for that which you could not defend like a man!” 



Fitzsimmons had shut his eyes during this recital. I thought he might be dozing. But suddenly he shook his head, looked around and said raptly, “Sousa, tell us again about poor Boabdil and his mother!” Someone started to make a joking remark, but Fitz stopped him sternly with, “Don't you say a word. Let the little fellow talk!” 



About this time, Mr. Reynolds and I began to plan a European tour for 1898. We employed Colonel George Frederick Hinton to go over and make the necessary arrangements. Col. Mapleson, the well-known manager, became interested in the tour, but with the breaking-out of the Spanish War, we found it wise to change our plans. Col. Mapleson cabled that there was an anti-American feeling on the Continent, and advised the band not to try Europe for a while. So we made a tour of the States instead, which covered January, February, March and April. 



I wrote a show-piece called Trooping the Colors, which started with a company of trumpeters proclaiming in a fanfare, Liberty throughout the world! Then each nation friendly to the United States was represented by a tableau - The British Grenadiers for England, the Marseillaise for France, then Cuba, Belgium, and many others, winding up with the entrance of Columbia, singing The Star Spangled Banner, with band and chorus. The effect was electrical and the performance proved to be a tremendous success financially. 



I sent John Braham, the well-known Boston conductor, ahead to rehearse the chorus. Cuba was represented by a company of Cuban patriots protecting a pretty mestiza girl from the onslaught of the Spanish. Braham telegraphed from Louisville: “Fine chorus, but they refuse to appear if you have colored girl in production. I believe in holding out.” John was born in New England; I, however, having been born south of Mason and Dixon's Line, knew that no Southern lady or gentleman would ever agree with his radical ideas, however well-disposed they might be toward the African race. I telegraphed back, “Request the prettiest girl in the chorus to make up for the colored girl, but be sure you get the prettiest one.” When we gave our performance in Louisville, feminine Cuba was represented by a dazzling beauty, skillfully powdered to an Indian copper!