英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝「A Mingled Chime」第32章(2/2)新聞取材の愚/ミニョン・ネヴァダの母








Is it possible that there may be some connection between this phenomenon of the resurgence of the Celt and the steady decline visible in every part of the Empire during that period, similar to that which has overtaken France? For a decline there has been  unmistakably, not so much moral as intellectual, and manifested  most conspicuously in the decrease of the capacity to govern wisely and well. In no quarter is there satisfactory evidence that we retain undebilitated that instinctive gift for successful administration which in former years extorted the unwilling admiration of most other nations. In Canada there is the spectacle of a disunited people that local statesmanship has signally failed to adjust. In Australia we view the unpleasing predicament of a small community in a large continent, retarding its population, discouraging immigration and resenting every effort from outside to relieve its statically backward condition. In India, although we have made a prolonged, honest, and gallant attempt to solve the problem of its racial tangle which is understood and appreciated by no one, the plain fact remains that we have so far failed. Lastly, but worst of all, we stand convicted before the civilized world of want of will to prevent the recovery of a beaten and powerless Germany as a stronger menace to the peace of the world than ever before. What is the cause of it all? There is only one answer. The want of will to govern firmly and the absence of the ability to make clear decisions. The time spirit will overlook mistakes but it never pardons inactivity, and the Empire will have to breed a different class of ruler if it is to survive. The so-called professional politician is the dismalest failure of the ages in all countries; he is not only dead but damned, and until the people full realize it there will be no hope of a saner, wiser, and stronger system of government.  




If any of my readers should begin to wonder what all this has to do with the occupation of an artist, I might remind them of the title of this work, which suggests a selection of topics without  limit. But why should an artist be talking about politics and statecraft? Precisely for the same reason that vitally concerns the fishmonger, the cab driver, and the railway porter. Not less than these is he interested in how his country is run, and his opinions are not inevitably of less consequence.  




I have frequently been struck by the singular attitude adopted towards persons of my profession, or indeed of any other artistic profession, by so-called businessmen. Members of Parliament and journalists. For instance, when in 1940 I was in Australia, a  Sydney newspaper asked me for an interview, and under the mistaken impression that it was interested in the war, I spoke at some length about my experiences in Germany which I had visited annually between 1929-1938. I recounted how my numerous appearances at some of their great festivals such as Gologne, Salzburg, and Munich had brought me into touch with all classes of the people, how on one occasion I had spent two months working in the State Theater of Berlin, how I had met Hitler personally as well as nearly all the other members of the Nazi party, and I made special reference to my meeting with Rudolf Hess at Munich in 1936. In the published account of the interview next day there was not a single reference to any of these matters. All that the reporter had thought fit to relate for the edification of his readers was a description of my buttoned boots and the particular brand of cigar I was smoking. Had I been a politician who had never been to Germany in his life and  who betrayed an obvious ignorance of eveiy'thing that had to do  with its public and private life, my windy platitudes would have  found a welcome in about three columns of the front page. I am  uttering no grievance, for it was not I but the newspaper which had sought the interview, and it was a matter of total indifference to me whether it printed my remarks or not.  




But, returning to the spiritual condition of England in 1916 and the progress of opera in particular, the combination of a high mood of idealism in the public and economic stringency in the  musical profession were effective in enabling me to create and  develop the finest English singing company yet heard among us.  In war time the temper of a section of the people for a while becomes graver, simpler and more concentrated. The opportunities for recreation and amusement are more restricted, transport is limited, and the thoughtful intelligence craves and seeks those antidotes to a troubled consciousness of which great music is perhaps the most potent. But whatever the reason may have been, the public for opera during war time was everywhere greater than it had been before 1914 or than it became after 1919. Although it is true that there was a good deal of new money being made through war industries, that, I like to think, was a collateral cause only. The artist for his or her part, owing to the paucity of work occasioned by the closing down of so many concert societies, was happy to remain in one organization, where a satisfactory if not handsome remuneration for the greater part of the year could be gained. Had the musical machine of the country been running at normal speed, I could never have retained the almost exclusive services of such a fine group of vocalists, for half a hundred towns would, in competition with me, have been offering fees that would often have been beyond my capacity to pay. The importance of the Manchester venture in my plan of operations was that it functioned as a kind of pointer for the other great provincial cities. London I knew would support only so much opera in the year, and if I were to  maintain the company for most of the twelve months I could do so only by a series of seasons elsewhere.  




The performance of Boris had proved to be an auspicious opening, and I followed it up shortly afterwards with a new production of Verdi’s Otello executed by the Russian painter Polunin. It was sung in its original tongue with Frank Mullings in the title role, Bouillez as Iago, and Mignon Nevada as Desdemona. Of these three artists Bouillez was the least successful, his downright delivery and robust deportment being less suited to the sinuous line of lago than to Boris. The Otello of Mullings was a striking study in drama, and the vocal part of it improved fifty per cent when later on the work was sung in English, in the use of which his accomplishment matched that of John Coates. The Desdemona of Mignon Nevada was the best I have seen on any stage. The gentle helplessness of the character and its simple pathos were rendered with perfect judgment and art, and the voice in the middle and upper middle registers had an appealing quality evocative of a tender melancholy admirably suited to this part or that of Marguerite in Faust As compared with most other sopranos, its color was as ivory is to white, and what it lacked in brightness and edge was more than set off by the charm of its subdued and creamy vocal tone. Both of these highly gifted artists suffered from the same serious weakness, an unsound vocal method. In the case of Mullings I do not think he ever had one at all, and when he tackled or rather stormed certain high passages in Otello, Aida, or Tristan, I used to hold my breath in apprehension of some dire physical disaster, averted only by the possession of an iron frame that permitted him to play tricks which would have sent any other tenor into the hospital for weeks. But in the center his voice had ease and uncommon beauty, and his singing of quiet passage had a poetry, spirituality, and intelligence which I have never heard in any other native artist and in very few elsewhere. Like most large men he was also a first-rate comedian, and his fooling in Phoebus and Pan as Midas was a joy to all who saw it and has come down as a legend to the present generation.  




The case of Mignon Nevada was wholly different. She had been trained exhaustively and exquisitely, but along the wrong lines. Her mother, Emma Nevada, had been a light soprano of beautiful quality and a natural coloratura equal to any of her contemporaries. But on taking up teaching she had contracted the pious belief that every soprano, without exception, should be a model of herself, and she strove with zest and ardour to make them into such. This worked out all right in the case of those who had been created and dedicated by Providence to this end, for within these limits Emma Nevada really knew how to teach. For those, however, who were otherwise endowed, this application of the methods of the Procrustean bed was less successful. Her daughter was naturally a lyric soprano with a unique quality about as far removed from the typical light coloratura as is possible to imagine, and upon this foundation the zealous Emma had striven to superimpose a top that would enable Mignon to sing all those parts dear to her own heart, like Somnambula, Linda di Chamomix or La Perle de Bresil. This maternal ambition to see her daughter go one better than herself was frustrated by the stubborn refusal of Nature to submit to such an arbitrary experiment, and the unlucky subject of it ended by not singing at all: just one more sacrificial victim on the altar of misguided enthusiasm.  






Johann Sebastian Bach: "Der Streit zwischen Phoebus und Pan" 

(Weltliche Kantate BWV 201) Pergamon-Museum Berlin 1984  

(Schreier - Nossek, Liebold; Schreier, Ude, Lorenz, Wlaschiha) 

Carola Nossek, Soran (Momus) 

Angela Liebold, Alt (Mercurius) 

Peter Schreier, Tenor (Tmolus) 

Armin Ude, Tenor (Midas) 

Siegfried Lorenz, Bariton (Phoebus) 

Ekkehard Wlaschiha, Bariton (Pan) 

Berliner Solisten (Einstudierung: Dietrich Knothe) 

Kammerorchester Berlin 

Dirigent: Peter Schreier 




condensed score