THE OPERA — DON GIOVANNI AND TAGLIONI.
CONSIDERABLE ingenuity has been shown in so disposing of the several talents of MALIBRAN, LALANDE, LABLACHE, DONZELLI, and CURIONI, as to produce a decided failure in effect; and such has been the performance of Don Giovanni. The opera needs a few seasons of repose on the library shelf—it has been repeated till familiarity has dulled the relish of its beauties, and nothing but a cast of extraordinary force could render it attractive. Ample power there has been in the performance, but it has all been misplaced. DONZELLI'S Giovanni is the worst we have ever seen, and not the best we have ever heard. He threw no reckless gayety into the part, and sang the music of the profligate gallant with an air of sentiment that might have befitted a Romeo. A performer more free from any touch of the comic we have never seen on the Opera boards. LABLACHE is out of place as Leporello. The appropriateness of the personation is decided in the first scene, where we hear this tun of a man lamenting his night watches, bad living, and little rest. Instead of a libertine's harassed scout, he looks like the hall-porter of a great house, whose flesh has conceited the ambition of filling the huge chair of janitory office. The music is as ill-suited to his voice as the character is to his peculiarities of person. If the manager insists indeed on thrusting his performers into parts for-which they have no qualifi- cation, we recommend him to make DONZELLI Leporello, and LA- BLACHE Giovanni. There will be some amusement at least in seeing the man-mountain running after the ladies ; and DoisrzErzi's tristesse may appear proper to the fatigues of Leporello's irksome employments. The only effect produced by LABLACHE, worthy of his reputa- tion and talents, was on the announcement of the Statue's arrival to supper in the last scene. His expression of consternation, and his imitation of the horrid apparition's stalk and stony tread, were exquisitely ludicrous. MALusaArt's Zerlina is less fantastic than when we first saw her in the character; but it is still extravagant in action, and not eminently successful in the vocal part. Her gayety is much of the kind of the German who jumped over chairs and tables to make himself sprightly. We never beheld any one labour liveliness so manually as does this lady. She expresses sentiment with the mechanism of a telegraph. Every meaning; has its distinct action : there is a flap, a flurry, a point, and a change, such as may be seen at the top of the Admiralty. CuitioNi and LALANDE are at home in their parts. The lar- tnoyante character of Donna Anna suits the tremulous voice of LALANDE; and Curticai's subdued manner seems of sympathetic propriety in her lover. GRAZIANI'S Mazetto is ,rod. Of Miss BELLCHAISIBERS it is most agreeable to say nothing. Elvira is always so presented as to offer Giovanni' s apology. What a series of them we have beheld, from Signora HUGHES down to the present time ! The matrimonial cause suffers by this repre- sentation of the libertine's wife.
All the world is nowraving of the new dancer, TAGLIONI. An English assembly is peculiarly obtuse to the merit of dancers ; but TAGLIONI has been sufficiently advertised as first of the first-rate, and she is accordingly admired. Yet it is pleasant to remember that three seasons ago the same people thought BROCARD a per- fect artiste, because she has handsotne eyes. TAGLIONI is the best specimen of the French school that has appeared in our time. Her figure is elegantly proportioned, her air winningly modest, and her - skill consummate. The per- formance, however, is liable to the objections to all perfor- mances for the display of execution instead of the communication of pleasure ; and we feel disposed to adopt the criticism of JOHN-. SON, who, in reply to a commendation on the score of difficulty, observed, "Would to Heaven it were impossible !" The accom- plishment of moving on the very nails of the toes is doubtless ex- tremely rare, and the result of vast practice ; but there is no beauty in the motion, and in truth only the negative praise belongs to it of making an unnatural movement to the least degree disagreeable to the eye. But in most arts, as they advance, there is the same tendency to lose sight of their objects, and to apply to difficulties merely for the sake of the 'barren triumph over difficulties. After all, we suspect that the difficulties chosen are not the difficulties which the best ambition would propose. The distinction of greatly excelling in natural movements, would probably be more arduous than that of spinning to any degree of gyration, or caper- ing on extreme tiptoes. Thus, for example, it would be more easy for a person to distinguish himself by standing on his head, than by carrying his head more nobly or gracefully than the rest of mankind. RONZI VESTRIS, the most delightful, if not the best dancer we ever saw, excelled in movements whose beauty only was extraordinary. We never thought of their difficulty, but only of the effect, which indeed excluded the idea of difficulty, by their graceful boldness and superb ease. Her style was aptly described as "the arrowy, or darting style." It was the bound of the wild deer. TAGLIONI'S style is far different from this—it is set, artificial, and minutely studied, according to what we consider as bad objects of study; yet the effect is as perfect as the effect of misdirected art can possibly be. Her manner, as we have before said, is delicately modest ; and no one would suppose, from her unaffected carriage, and the simplicity of her air, that she was the wonder of the evening. Indeed, we know that people who looked for the marks of pretension in connexion with great fame, were impatiently expecting the appearance of TAGLIONI many minutes after she had been dancing before them.