英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第31章(2/2)ローマを饗す/エドワード・ジョンソン








For my second symphony concert at the Augusteo I eschewed anything in the way of dangerous novelty, relying upon pieces which had the maximum of “cantilena” and the minimum of polyphonic complexity. About the most advanced item in the program was Balakirew's “Thamar,” -and the performance threw a flood of light on the ways of Roman orchestral musicians, and their attitude to the obligations of public appearance. In this work there is a third clarinet part of some importance as it contains a small solo passage, and the player of it who had attended all the rehearsals was missing at the concert. No satisfactory explanation was forthcoming from the management, every other member of the orchestra professed total ignorance of the cause of this defection from duty, and I had nearly forgotten all about it when ten days later I ran into the absentee at a street corner and inquired what had happened to him. He looked distinctly embarrassed for a moment but, deciding to make a full and frank confession, said with the most engaging simplicity, “You see. Signor, it was like this. My wife reminded me on the morning of the concert that I had promised to take her to a Fiesta, and I couldn’t disappoint her, could I?” With this burst of confidence he looked at me with such anxious entreaty that I hadn’t the heart to do more than compliment him on this touching sacrifice of art upon the altar of conjugal devotion, which I felt must be unique in the annals of modem Italy. 




In the intervals between public performances I had plenty of time to probe the state of feeling in the various social circles of Rome on the subject of the war, but I failed to discover any strong prejudice one way or the other, the prevailing sentiment being a mild indifference, with here and there a gently expressed regret that Italy had been dragged into it at all. There was a wholesale fear of the might of the Central Powers and little confidence in the capacity of their own forces to cope with the Austrians should an invasion take place. A few super-pessimists declared that such a disaster would be the end of all things, and, one among them, the son of a former Prime Minister, vowed that on the day it happened he would blow his brains out. The dreaded event did  

take place and he kept his word.  




While I could discover little danger to the Allied cause from anything the Romans might or might not do, I did learn much about the tenacious hold which the Germans had over large masses of the agricultural population through a widespread system of purchase by installment. This was operated through the big business banks of the country, the travelers granting the easiest terms to the rural client, who never having been treated so pleasantly before, blessed and revered the name of the kindly Fatherland. One large commercial house was financed almost entirely by German capital, which concealed its existence behind a fagade of Italian nomination. Before long however there was an exposure of this ingenious deception, Teutonic influence was eradicated, and a British bank took over control until the end of the war.  




Shortly after the turn of the thirties German economic influence, which with our help had been extirpated from one end of the peninsula to the other, began to lift its head again, and allying itself with a powerful industrial group in the North, made such rapid headway that a few patriots, who had poignant memories of the first war, traveled to France and England with the object of once more enlisting aid to resist the new incursion. In neither country were they received with anything but languid indifference, and the ultimate result was that a few years later, Italy passed under the alien commercial yoke more completely  

than twenty-five years earher. In the spring of 1940 the Anglophile editor of one of the leading Roman newspapers told me that the Italo-German combines headed by Count Volpi were more powerful than either the King or Mussolini, who were now almost figureheads without actual power. 




For a great capital there was very little public entertainment in Rome, not even the opera being open, although at any time one could view the manager (a lady) sitting all day on the steps of the front entrance and indulging in the unusual pastime of watching the funerals go by. The most interesting theatrical show was II Teatro Dei Piccoli, where marionettes gave delightful performances of some old operas never seen on the living stage. Among these was 11 Barbiere of Paisiello; a charming work and worthy to be remembered, if for nothing else, for having suggested to Mozart the key, the time, and the mood of Voi Che Sapete. Once I had acquired a little knowledge of the habits of the noble Romans, I adapted myself to them to the best of my capacity. My new circle of friends liked music a little but dinners and suppers much more, especially if there was no stint of champagne. I therefore gave some concert-dinners, where the provision for the carnal man exceeded in length and importance that for the spiritual, and this concession raised my stock appreciably in the eyes of my guests, who began to look upon me as “gentile,” “amabile” and almost un-English. It was at one of these that the celebrated artist Gemma Bellincioni appeared, she who in the early nineties had created the part of Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana. Although the freshness and purity of the voice were no longer there, she sang with charm and understanding and was still a very handsome woman. Two other distinguished singers were in Rome about this time, Titta Ruffo and Edouardo di Giovanni, better known to Anglo-Saxons as Edward Johnson. This excellent tenor, the best yet born and bred on the American continent (he is actually a Canadian) was enjoying an unquestionable success, notably in the Manon Lescaut of Puccini, in which as Des Grieux he surpassed all other interpreters of the role in romantic grace and delicacy of emotion. If it had been foretold to us two in the year of grace 1916 that after the passing of another generation we should be in the grip of a second world war, that he would be in command of the Metropolitan Opera House of New York and that I should be conducting there, I think that we should have given the prophecy as little credence as Caesar gave to the warning against the Ides of March.  




Tenore EDWARD JOHNSON - Manon Lescaut "Ah! Manon, mi tradisce..." (1914)