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certainly she was in these performances the most fascinating creature that ever stepped on the stage.
Madame Pasta is unquestionably the first tragedian of the age : she is the only prima donna that combines the highest powers of singing and acting. Although she has been preceded by Grassini, Catalani, Fodor, Ronzi, Bellochi, and Camporese, yet, great as these vocalists have been, she has surpassed them all. When she first appeared in this country, she made little impression; but in her retirement she has formed her voice upon the finest model. Though naturally a mezzo soprano, by indefatigable practice she has carried her tones into the highest octave, with a beauty of form and cleverness of production never elicited by nature.* Her tones of the chest are full of the deepest passion, while those of the upper voice are sparkling with brilliancy. In fact she seems to possess two distinct voices—using them at pleasure; as, upon the repetition of a passage, you might suppose it proceeded from the voice of another person. In scenes of ter
* Her tones may be compared to the following figure, broad and full at the bottom, assuming all the richness of purple, diminishing in size as they ascend, and increasing to the highest point of brightness.
ror, she has the faculty of shading her tones, or throwing a veil of huskiness over them, which adds much to the tragic effect. This peculiar expression is uttered with such intense feeling as to produce in her countenance a wild and savage stare, often accompanied with frantic degrees of passion. Her inventive faculties are of the highest order, and she fearlessly indulges in the suggestions of her imagination. The manner in which she decorates the music of Rossini, which is already hung round with every possible ornament, is so ingenious and new, that we are convinced that she feels infinitely more than she has power to express. It is only in the theatre that Madame Pasta is seen to the greatest advantage; she seems out of her element in any other place—she wants the area of the stage to move upon, its attendant bustle and scenery to excite her to action. There, and there only, can we hear the powers of her voice. In the concert-room she is comparatively cold and lifeless. The wildness of her mind, like the leopard's eye, is looking for motion, upon which her energy and imagination depend. In the church she is more animated than in the concert-room; and in a stupendous building like York Cathedral, she would be excited to launch her powers to their utmost extent. She is great in proportion to her excitement; and had she lived in the days of ancient Rome, and appeared upon the vast stage of the Coliseum, before an audience of one hundred thousand persons, she would have drawn down thunders of applause, and would have been deified by the Roman people.
By this term is meant, that extempore flourish upon a voice or instrument which is introduced at the will of the performer to exhibit a display of taste or talent. When this is made the vehicle of new and appropriate effects, and conducted with skill, it may be tolerated; but when it is reserved for the unpremeditated flights of illiterate musicians, who fain would treat us with their facilities, it too often proves but the mere empty wandering of ignorance and folly..
Great science is requisite for the introduction and management of this species of embellishinent, as the ear is sensible of any deviation from that course which a correct harmony prescribes. Good taste requires that the style of the cadenza should be drawn from the ideas of the piece it is intended to adorn. Madame Pasta's invention in this department of singing is felicitous in the extreme.
There is also a sort of minor cadence which singers are constantly seeking opportunities to introduce; if these are not rightly applied, they rather injure than improve the effect. As an instance, we may quote that passage in the Creation,
With softer beams and milder light,
Steps on the silver Moon through silent night,' where a singer of great estimation, not contented
with what Haydn had written, ran a chromatic cadenza upon the word silent-utterly destroying that soft and beautiful effect which the author had achieved by a gentle inflection of the voice. Rather than simplicity should be so offended, it would be better to concede the right of a terminating cadence to the singer altogether, as a tribute to his vanity. To secure the purity of art from these merry-andrew tricks, Rossini has scarcely left a loophole in his compositions into which they can be thrust; and Weber was so highly offended with two of our first-rate vocalists at a rehearsal, that he took them severely to task for attempting to improve his compositions.
The highest delicacy of style is required in the execution of these embellishments, which the singer is only enabled to give by the selection of a proper vowel on which they are performed. Camporese, though generally refined, literally worried the end of her cadences, and disgusted when she might have charmed.
Already exhibits most extraordinary powers : to tread the stage with Pasta, to enter the lists and prove a formidable rival, are circumstances unlooked for in so young a person. As a tragedian, she cannot rank with Pasta, but Pasta is only a tragedian
-Malibran promises the most diversified talents. Her performance of Ninetta, in La Gazza Ladra, melts you to tears; and her playfulness as Zerlina, in Don Giovanni, is quite enchanting. Her voice has great beauty and freshness, but in compass.it scarcely reaches that of a soprano, as it is evident she performs with more ease the parts of a mezzo. As a musician, she evinces considerable knowledge, and as an actress a sensibility and vivacity that is perfect nature. These accomplishments, added to a pleasing person and an interesting face, must ultimately place her at the head of the dramatic art in this and every other country.
APPOGIATURA, OR LEANING NOTE. This grace is derived from nature, and belongs to that class of sounds that lie above or below the harmonic tones of the speaking voice: we never hear it but when the voice is under the dominion of the passions; as in the feelings of joy, supplication, despair, rage, &c. The voice then, by exceeding its usual limits, glances upon this upper tone before it rests upon the natural one; but when the spirits are languid, as in a state of sorrow, it is but by an effort that we reach the natural tone, first stepping upon the semitone below, which latter effect may be termed the sub-appogiatura. As this grace springs from the passions, it will be found to enter into all those expressions in which the heart is concerned. It is one of the first tones which children use, for in their ecstacies or imaginary woes it forms the most prominent feature of their