13 FEBRUARY 1904, Page 16


SIR,—I should not in the least grudge the money that would be required for a State opera, and should, indeed, welcome a proposal for the reasonable expenditure of public money on the encouragement of this branch of musical art. But I dread the frigid academical art—what Henan called l'art sec et administratif—which is usually associated with State aid. Would it not be possible to build and equip a really fine opera-house, and then lease it for a season at a time to any Committee or Syndicate, commercial or artistic, which would guarantee to produce good opera,—say, an opera by Mozart, Beethoven, Gluck, Wagner, or other admittedly classical composers twice a week, and once a week an opera by some new musician, British or foreign? I should like to know your readers' experience of State music ? I expect it means perpetually playing for safety on the part of the management. Imagine the kind of books that would be produced by a State publisher charged to encourage high-class poetry.—I am,