13 MAY 1848, Page 10


The debfit of Madame Pauline Viardot Garcia, at the Royal Italian Opera, on Tuesday, took place under very unfavourable circumstances, and was not attended with the success due to the high reputation of the debu- tante. The part she performed was Amina in La Sonnambula, in which Jenny Lind had made her first appearance this season only a few nights before; and the "sudden indisposition" of Mario on the day of performance rendered it necessary to put into the part of Elvin°, without rehearsal, a Signor Flavio, who had only arrived that morning from Naples. This was an untoward event which could not be foreseen or avoided; but in brining out the debutante in Amino—contrary, we have heard, to her own earnest wish—the management of the theatre did her a great in- justice; in the first place, because Amina is not one of the parts in which she has gained her greatest triumphs, and moreover because they must have been (as she herself was) well aware of Mademoiselle Linda unap- proachable excellence in it. This was one of those acts of purblind oppo- sition which we had occasion to notice in several instances last season. Jenny Lind had appeared at the one house, and Madame Viardot Garcia was brought forward against her, in ostentatious rivalry, at the other. To no other motive can a proceeding at once so ungracious and so unwise be as- cribed. It ought to have been the policy of the management of the new thea- tre—as, indeed, it was their professed intention at the outset—to take differ- ent ground from the old, and to be guided in the formation of their reper- toire, not by the fashion of the day, but by the intrinsic quality of its con- tents. The public were led to expect the revival of many great works of the older masters, and the production in an Italian dress of some of the masterpieces of the German school. Last season this expectation was dis- appointed: the operas performed at the two theatres were with only one or two exceptions the same, including at both houses the most hackneyed pieces of the day. For the present season the same expectations have been held out: we have been told of Fidelio, of Iphigenia in Tauria, of the Huguenots; in all of which Madame Viardot Garcia has her greatest parts. But, though the season is half over, their production is deferred sine die; while she is, against her will, thrust into a character unsuited to her, in order that she may sustain an unequal conflict with Jenny Lind. The question whether London can sustain two great Italian theatres, is not yet decided by the experiment now going on: but we are very certain that, if two such theatres can permanently coexist, it must be by their following distinct objects, each having its own special purpose, calculated to meet a particular want.

Madame Viardot Garcia's unfavourable position, of which she evidently was most painfully conscious, greatly injured her performance on Tues- day evening, and indeed for a time almost paralyzed her faculties. Such being the caae, her xepassentation of Amino is hardly a subject for critical examination. This heroine of a hundred battles, who has gained laurels in every part of Europe, was as frightened and flurried ex a recruit under fire for the first-time. Her nervous breathlessness made her unable-to produce a sustained tone; and her first air, a long and difficult one, was a series of almost convulsive efforts, and of imperfect attempts to introduce some of those uncommon embellishments for which she, like her-sister _Mantuan, is famous. In the scenes with Elvin° her acting cannot be criticized, for its total want of ease and abandon; qualities it could not possibly possess when her fellow actor was a total stranger. It was probably on this account that the pretty scene of the quarrel and reconciliation between the lovers was omitted; for, though this scene is frequeutly and most improperly lea out, it could not have been omitted in a theatre which claims and generally deserves credit for the care and completeness of its performances, without some special and sufficient reason. When left to herself, the debutante was more successful. When Amine, in sleep, enters the Count's elem. her, Madame Garcia did not represent the pluenomena of somnam- bulism with Mademoiselle Lind's singular truth and discrimination; but when, springing from her couch, she gazed, bewildered, on the crowd around her, the rush of overwhelming feelings was painted with real tragic genius. La the last scene she seemed to have re- covered all her powers; and in the final air, whether regarded as a vocal performance or as a burst of the most impassioned joy and love, she was equal to any prima donna we have heard. We shall not deduce from this performance any general estimate of Madame Viardot Garcia's qual4. cations for the lyrical drama, but wait for some fitter opportunity; though we may say, that under no circumstances however favourable, could her Amine have that exquisite and indescribable charm which Jenny Li.ud alone throws over the character.

Signor Flavio is a singer of the old florid school, making almost constant use of the falsetto. He sometimes sang very well, but his slowness mid formality must have been a great impediment.to Madame Viardot Garcia in the principal scenes. Tamburini acted the Count -pleasantly. The oho- ruses were correctly and beautifully sung.

Le Noses di Figaro was performed with great excellenee and-complete- ness, on Thursday, by the Covent Garden troupe. The caste was the same as last year—every part being ably and effectively sustained. The con- certed pieces and orchestral accompaniments were executed with that clearness, force, and delicacy, which result from Coeta's admirable disci- pline.