英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝 A Mingled Chime 第34回(1/2) 父の跡/首相失脚騒動/オケに歌劇に大成功








The unexpected death of my father, due to heart weakness, deeply affected me. Out relationship had been a strange one; outwardly there was an apparent formality, but inwardly an actual sympathy, almost an affinity between us. He was, I think, inclined to be a little afraid of me; and I, for some reason I could never explain to myself, generally felt rather sorry for him. Even in the years when I never saw him, he had been a vivid personality in my mind, and it took me quite a time to realize that I should never see him again. Although I knew that without his all-important participation the scheme which had taken nearly a year to bring to fruition was definitely at an end, I did not yet comprehend all the implications of his disappearance from the scene. What further consequences of the disaster might be in store for us no one could foretell until the true position of his estate was known. Several weeks would have to elapse before this point was reached and for some time longer no business outside the preliminary duties of administration could be imdertaken.  




James White had acted as general business adviser to my father over his London interests, and he now proposed, and I and my brother agreed, that he should look after ours in the same way. Impressed by his conviction that he could handle successfully the problem of the Covent Garden Estate, this seemed a satisfactory  

arrangement at the time, and for a while it worked well and pleasantly enough. But his was not the sort of intelligence to guide us safely through the complications of the intricate tangle in which we were involved. He was dashing and effective enough in the opening stages of a proposition, but later on, and especially if there were occasion to make a wise retreat, he was apt to become apprehensive, sometimes to the point of panic. Such dispositions in business are akin to those who in military tactics are invaluable when on the advance, but of small use if forced to take the defensive or play a waiting game. He had the minimum of education but a considerable charm of manner; an easy capacity for making money, and one still easier for spending it. He once confessed to me that life without £100,000 a year was not worth living, but how he could ever have got through such an income I do not know, for he lived in a very modest way. For a brief period he owned a steam yacht which was intended to serve as a retreat from the bustle and flurry of city life, but the first thing he did when arriving on board was to have a wireless fitted up so that he could be in continual touch with his office. Later on he acquired and ran personally a theater, about the least unexciting diversion to be imagined. His office in the Strand had become a rendezvous for all sorts and conditions of Londoners, politicians, newspaper proprietors, actors, jockeys, and prize fighters, and through this variety of acquaintanceship he sometimes acquired information on current events of importance before the outside world had any inkling of them.  




It was during the late autumn that he one day startled me by saying “Your friend, Mr. Asquith, won’t be long where he is.” I asked him what he meant, but he affected a casual air and said it was just a rumor. I knew his manner too well to be put off like this, and at last wormed out of him a story so extraordinary that, had it not been for the names of his informants with whom I knew he was on intimate terms, I should have looked upon it as a fairy tale. Satisfying myself that he was perfectly serious about it, I sought out a member of the Cabinet, a close friend of the Prime Minister, told him in detail of the existence of an intrigue to oust his leader in favor of Mr. Lloyd George, and that this and that person were in it up to the neck. He said that he would make inquiries from his end and would see me about it again. The days went by and White one evening confided to me that the bomb was shortly due for bursting and that if any counter move were intended, the time had come to make it. As I had heard nothing from the Minister, I passed on to him the further facts which had come into my possession, but he replied cheerfully that he was convinced that there was nothing really to worry about and that Mr. Asquith was never in a stronger position. Just previously I had caused the whole story to be communicated through an influential friend who might succeed in making a more serious impression to Mrs. Asquith, whose only comment was “Nothing but death can remove Henry.” Within a week Mr. Asquith was forced to resign the premiership and Mr. Lloyd George stepped into his shoes.  




In Manchester the affairs of the orchestra were flourishing, for in addition to its usual concert series, it now had the opera season (the company was to make a longer return visit at Christmas), and I had recently inaugurated a season of Promenade Concerts in the building of ill-fame, which had now been rechristened the Opera-House. The cotton and mining industries were booming throughout Lancashire and money was flowing plentifully. In London the concerts of the Royal Philharmonic Society were on a sound footing, and I had extended my interest to those of the London Symphony Orchestra which had been making a gallant fight all this time to keep its head above water. The opera company had increased its popularity and enlarged its audience so widely that I decided to move for the summer season from the Aldwych to the much larger Drury Lane where I had spent such pleasant days in 1915-14. As shortly before this we had increased our Provincial connection by taking in Birmingham, Glasgow, and Edinburgh, the barometer for the future seemed to be set at fair and I saw no reason why it should not remain there. For the migration to Drury Lane, it was essential to provide something in the nature of a “coup” that would place tiie reputation of the company on a pinnacle higher than any it had yet reached. I again called to my aid Hugo Rumbold and requested him to prepare designs for a new production of Figaro that would surpass all that he had hitherto done for me. A fresh translation was made of the text to include the whole of the trial scene in the Third Act, which is usually curtailed and sometimes omitted, and then came the all-important question of stage representation, for I had in mind to reproduce as far as possible the style, and gesture of the Theatre Francais with singers who could also act. We approached Nigel Playfair, who agreed to cooperate on the condition that I would let him have the artists selected for the performance every day for at least three months. But I had to tell him that their necessary appearances in other operas prevented such an exclusive absorption in one work, and that he must be content with having them some of the time for five. And throughout this period, two and often three times weekly the chosen band turned up for rehearsals and worked away enthusiastically to fulfill every direction of the first authority in England on the comedy of the eighteenth century.  




It was generally allowed that this production topped a peak so far unsealed in the annals of any native opera company. Outside the Russian seasons nothing like it had been seen before, and certainly nothing has appeared since to excel it. And yet the cast, which had been selected more for appearance than voice, contained hardly one of the better vocalists of the company, although the singing was both adequate and stylish. But no one felt poignantly ihe lack of a higher level of vocalism in an entertainment replete with charm and elegance and providing an object lesson in what can be done with a piece like Figaro or Cos'i Fan Tutte, given a bold and novel approach to a fitting method of presentation. There was however a distinction of the highest merit common to every member of the cast, a first rate diction. One evening I went up to the top gallery and stood right at the back to listen, and from there I could hear not only every syllable of the songs, but of the ensemble pieces as well, all being as clearly enunciated as if it had been spoken instead of sung.  



MOZART: Violin Concerto No. 4 in D major KV 218  

Jascha Heifetz (vn)  

Thomas Beecham (cond) 

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra