英日対訳:T.ビーチャム自叙伝A Mingled Chime第36章(2/2)平和ゆえの/緑の楽屋/緑のピアノ/緑は嫉妬?








About this time I was fortunate in being able to form a small syndicate to take over the opera company, for I had come nearly to the end of my resources and should not have been able to continue unassisted much longer. As it was I was heavily in debt, but for the moment was not greatly concerned about that as, the war over, I like most others was expecting a rapid return to the conditions of 1914. A part of the recent estate transactions had been the formation of a Covent Garden Estate Company which, upon the payment of a further sum of £500,000 to the vendors, who granted a mortgage for the balance, became the proprietors of the Opera House in addition to Drury Lane Theater and several other theaters. But the possession of the opera house was more honorable than profitable as the Grand Opera Syndicate had an old lease of the building which still had twenty years to run and for which they paid the modest sum of £750. a year. During the war it had been used as a storehouse so that a good deal of refurnishing and redecorating was required to restore it to its former condition, and while this was being done, I renewed my former association with the lessees for the purpose of a Victory season in the summer. It was a few weeks before its opening that an angry figure stormed into my office and asked what the deuce I meant by painting her room green. It was Nellie Melba, and very upset she seemed to be. I had never before come into working contact with this formidable personality although I had heard something of her autocratic ways; and considering the best method of defense here was attack, I pretended not to remember who she was, and asked what the deuce she meant by entering my office unannounced, adding that I knew nothing of private ownership of rooms in the building. This produced a fresh explosion of wrath which, as I remained grimly silent, gradually subsided and was eventually succeeded by an aspect of resignation and the remark that she would not have minded so much if the green had been of a cheerfully light instead of depressingly dismal hue. I thought of the gentleman in Patience who suffered from a similar prejudice—  




I do not care for dirty greens  

By any means 




and as she was going to sing on the opening night under my direction, I thought I would be magnanimous as well as diplomatic to the extent of offering to repaint “her” room any color she liked. This little concession dehghted her more than the most costly present could have done and we soon became excellent friends. Melba was a singer who had nearly all the attributes inseparable from great artistry. The voice was beautiful and bright, of uncommon evenness throughout; and she handled the whole range of it with complete skill except in measured coloratura passages such as those at the end of the Waltz Song of Romeo and Juliet. She was extremely aceurate, insisted on her fellow-artists being equally so, was punctual to the tick at rehearsals and while at work was a shining example in discipline to everyone else. But there was always some element lacking in nearly everything she did, and it is not easy to say just what it was. It was hardly lack of warmth, because many an artist has had the same deficiency without one being  made uncomfortably aware of it. Of the mysterious quality known as temperament she had certainly a little, and her aceent and rhythm were both admirable. I am inclined to think that she was wanting in a genuine spiritual refinement, which deprived the music she was singing of some element essential to our pleasure; and perhaps it was for this reason that in the maturer musical culture of the Continent she had comparatively little success, her popularity being confined to England and those other Anglo-Saxon communities where the subtler and rarer sides of vocal talent are less valued.  




This season was in every way a pleasant and successful affair, notable chiefly for the appearance of four unknown tenors, all of them good, Burke, Hislop, Dolci, and Ansseau. The old Covent Garden favorites reappeared from various comers of the earth, most of them none the better for the lapse of time, although the charming Edvina gave admirable performances of Manon and Thais. The Therese of Massenet was among the novelties, of which the more interesting were the Iris of Mascagni and L’Heure Espagnole of Ravel, and for the latter work Hugo Rumbold furnished a setting of the greatest brilliance and charm, perhaps his “chef d’oeuvre.” Iris contains so much beautiful and poetical music that its incapacity to maintain a regular place in the repertoire must arouse some of our sympathy. But it convincingly points the old maxim that metaphysics and the theater, especially the lyric theater, hardly ever go comfortably hand in hand, as Strauss also discovered in the case of his A Woman without a Shadow. The English section of the company distinguished itself in a translated version of Prince Igor conducted by Albert Coates, who had not been seen in England since 1914, and in a splendid production, with scenery and costumes by Charles Ricketts, of Isidore de Lara's Nail.  




A holiday spirit was everywhere in the land, and those portions of the community who during the war had been making a good deal of money for the first time in their lives were spending it with a fine freedom. The high wages earned by many of the cotton operatives and miners in the North produced some singular manifestations of the use of it. One day I was in the principal music shop of Manchester when a couple entered, the lady wearing a shawl on her head and a fur wrap around her shoulders, and asked to see a piano. On being asked what sort of piano, the man replied that they were not particular, but it must be upright and have a green marble top. The director of the establishment who was also the manager of the Halle concerts was about to say that they had nothing in stock answering to that description, when I whispered to him that it was quite easy to have it painted to resemble marble and they might never know the difference. He then assured the intending buyer that although there was not at that moment in the showroom anything exactly like the article he wanted, one would be procured for him within a few days. My curiosity aroused by this unusual preference, I inquired the reason of it, and learned that having recently taken a house in the parlor of which there was a fireplace with a green marble top, they must have a piano to match it properly.  




There was an equally interesting sequel to this event although I was unfortunately unable to take part in it. Some weeks later the pair visited the shop again and ordered a second piano to correspond with the first in every particular. In the course of conversation they volunteered the surprising information that it was going in the same room on the other side of the fireplace. They had spent most of the intervening time in looking for a piece of furniture that would suitably fill the vacant space, but finding nothing to their satisfaction had decided that the only solution of the problem would be a replica of their original purchase!  




歌劇「オテロ」より 柳の歌 

Nellie Melba sings 'Salce, Salce,' recorded at Camden on 25 August 1910.