英日対訳:トーマス・ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第22章(1/2) 「エレクトラ」パリ公演が…








I ended the year 1910 in a very different mood from that in which I had begun it. I had plunged head foremost into the operatic arena under the cheerful conviction that I had only to present any work of fair renown in a tolerably adequate way for the public to crowd my theater in gratitude and appreciation. The principal reason for the failure of other men's ventures, so I had been told, was that they had been too sporadic or limited in scope. But this could hardly be urged against me, for during a period of twelve months I had given an almost uninterrupted sequence of nearly two hundred performances, had produced over a score of operas not heard before in London, revived many others that were hardly better known and had made use of virtually all the British singers qualified to appear on the stage, as well as a large contingent of front rankers from France, Germany, and Italy. In spite of all this, it was evident that for the support of opera run on a scale like this, there was not nearly enough living interest in the existing state of London's musical culture. Out of something like fifty works there had been unqualified approval of four only, the short and sensational bloodcurdlers, Salome and Elektra, and the tuneful lightweights The Tales of Hoffman and Die Fledermaus. Something was wrong somewhere and I was not at all sure where the fault lay, with the public or myself. One thing though was clear enough: it would be courting disaster to continue along the same lines until my varied and comprehensive experiment had been submitted to a critical inquiry from which might be forthcoming some useful hints for the future.  




Some months earlier I had been approached by the directorate of the Grand Opera Syndicate of Covent Garden, whose main enterprise was the summer season of three months, with a proposition to unite our rival forces and eliminate competition between us during this period. I had already made provisional plans for a season at Drury Lane Theater during the summer of 1911, in which the Russian Ballet would make its first appearance in London, and the Syndicate had viewed with concern this intended encroachment on what had hitherto been its inviolate domain. The offer was not disadvantageous to my own organization, and I decided to accept it provided my contract with the Ballet was adopted by the new partnership. This was agreed, upon the condition that for the ballet performances I would make a present of the services of my own orchestra, as the addition of a dozen or more unfamiliar pieces to the normal program of work would be too much of a strain upon the regular body of players engaged for the opera itself. 




During the spring, I went over to Paris at the invitation of my friend Andre Messager to prepare a series of performances of Elektia at the Grand Opera, for which I was to furnish the cast of singers who had made the success of the work in London, my orchestra and the whole production. As there was much talk in circulation about the beauty and fitness of the Anglo-French Entente, it seemed to both Messager and myself that this pleasant little manifestation should be welcomed in the city of light. But we were mistaken. The musicians of the town, who were just then indulging in a particularly violent orgy of chauvinism, protested vigorously against this invasion of the sacred precincts of the Academie Nationale de Musique et de Danse by an alien mob under what one imaginative journalist dubbed “a Saxon chef.” In the interests of public peace the Minister of Fine Arts felt bound to intervene, and I terminated a delicate situation by withdrawing from the scene before things became worse. I was less concerned over this fiasco than Messager, who was genuinely chagrined and rather ashamed of his countrymen. Several years previously he had been musical director of Covent Garden, his operettas were popular in London, and an exhibition of nationalistic prejudice such as this was as much against his interests as his taste and good sense.  

年が明けて、季節が春を迎えた頃、私はパリへ渡った。友人のアンドレ・メサジェの招待で、パリ国立オペラでの「エレクトラ」連続公演の準備をするためだ。私はこの公演のために、この作品をロンドンで上演した際に成功を収めた歌手達、管弦楽、そしてプロダクション全体を提供することになっていた。イギリスとフランスは、英仏協商を締結している国同士である。そのハマり具合や、芸術に関する美的感覚について、2人で大いに会話が繰り広げられた。メサジェも私も、今回の喜ばしくもささやかな公演は、パリという、啓発的理解のある都市では歓迎されるはず、そう思っていた。だがそれは誤りだった。パリの音楽家連中は、当時は自国至上主義の熱中ぶりが特にひどく、パリ・オペラ座、正式名称「国立音楽舞踊学院」がひいた境界線を、機略縦横たる一人のジャーナリストが「Saxon Chef」(味覚に鈍感と言われているイギリス人が料理長を調子に乗って名乗る者)と命名する「ガイコク(外国)」の暴徒共が、侵攻してくると激しく抵抗した。世間を騒がせてはいけないとして、時のフランス文化大臣が介入を要すると判断した。結局私は、ことが大きくならないうちに、その場から身を引くことで、この微妙な事態を収集することとなった。この挫折を私よりも気にしたのは、メサジェである。彼は心から悔しがり、自国民をむしろ恥じる気持ちさえ抱いた。この騒動の数年前、彼はコヴェント・ガーデンで音楽監督を務めていたのである。彼がプロデュースしたオペレッタの数々は、ロンドンで人気を博している。今回のような、自国偏重主義から生まれた偏見の意が表されたことは、彼の思考や良識と同様に、その興味関心とも、大いに相反することであったのだ。 



During my stay there I took every opportunity that offered itself of inspecting the private musical life of Paris, particularly in the drawing rooms of the great, as I was curious to see how they compared in this respect with those of London. There was very little difference between them so far as I could discover, Paris having a certain advantage over us in the perceptibly larger number of those well-intentioned persons who, professing to take an interest in art, sometimes carry it to a point where it bears more resemblance to interference than assistance. Most of these naturally were ladies who required very little encouragement to constitute themselves protectors of the whole family of Muses, and shortly after my arrival there was a vigorous movement to revive the glory of the ancient salon. Few of the enthusiasts had knowledge of the social conditions which gave birth to that institution in the seventeenth century and prolonged its existence until the close of the eighteenth, and small account was taken of the vast changes since that time which made any actual revival of it next to impossible. One and all were convinced that there was somefliing hopelessly corrupt in all modern culture, which could be redeemed and regenerated only through the benignant wisdom of half a dozen new Egerias.  




One noble dame had long been troubled by the obsession that what was lacking in all latter day art was the imponderable element of style. She reflected often and seriously on the best way of recapturing this unsubstantial sprite, which had somehow lost its way in the turmoil of our crowded life, and was at last seized with a remarkable inspiration. Summoning a choice company of her intimates she addressed them as follows: ''Each one of you knows at least one man of genius; a poet, a musician or anything else of the sort. Let us assemble them under this roof and set them in company to the task of creating a new style in each of their respective arts.” This original proposition was received with joyful acclamation and the listeners departed to search the highways and byways of the capital for all the available genius that could be lured within the new sanctuary of Apollo. By one means and another a fairly large troop was brought together, and all intellectual Paris awaited with high expectation the results of the great experiment, regretting only that there was no Moliere at hand to do it full justice.  




Set in a large hall were thirty or forty little tables on which had been deposited pen, ink, paper and all other necessary materials. At each table a genius was invited to seat himself and remain for a couple of hours in complete silence, while he concentrated his faculties on the discovery of a new style. Whether it was imagined that the presence of so many first-class brains in close proximity would stimulate each one of them to heights of accomplishment hitherto unimagined, or that some large stream of mingled inspiration might be presently released and put into circulation, as is alleged to occur at other similar gatherings of the mystical sort, was never made clear to us. But the results were certainly not those which had been anticipated. For none among the painters or designers succeeded in turning out anything better than a recollection of the latest objects they had seen in some shop window which caught their eye while on the way to the assembly, and the poets and musicians appeared to be hypnotized by the haunting jingle of verses and tunes heard in the latest revues and cabaret shows. In spite of this setback the idea was considered too good to be abandoned without a further trial which was duly held a little later. But the sacred flame of inspiration remained as dormant as before, and it had to be acknowledged with reluctance that the formula for creating a new style would have to be discovered by some other method. 





THE TALES OF HOFFMAN (LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN), Act I: Ballad of Kleinzack (sung in English) 

Hoffmann: Walter Hyde 

Thomas Beecham (conductor) 

Beecham Light Opera Co. Chorus 

Beecham Symphony Orchestra 

recorded in London, 27.07.1910