By ERNFST MOSS The operas at Covent Garden this season have shown some slight effort to introduce works which are comparatively fresh to London. But what is probably the most notable of them, Gluck's superb Alceste, was given only one performance, and even then the B.B.C. broadcast only a bit of it.
It is vain obviously to hope to be able to restore in this country the appreciation of " the sublime in the old sense." In any case we shall never do much with opera until we have a permanent company and orchestra, with its own theatre in central London, backed by plenty of money. And no one is going to spend money on what ,would most likely be a financial failure.
Sa.dler's Wells, besides being awkwardly situated, has to spend its money carefully. And Glyndebourne, which probably more than pays its way and can thus concentrate on constant improvement, only does so by appealing to those who are prepared to spend freely on their luxuries.
Glyndebourne has the added advantage of being in the quiet setting of the South Downs, which provide a mental preparation for musk which more than compensates for the trouble of going there.
All the Year Round
The real necessity, apart from the enormous difficulty of finding people who can sing, it to make opera sufficiently permanent (that is, given regularly all the year round) that its familiarity will lead to its being taken at its true entertainment value. At present a good many people who go to opera go from motives of intellectual pride. Yet it should not be impossible, if the operas are given in English, to persuade people. to go to the opera in the same spirit as they go to the pictures.
The success of tap-dancing, fantastic comedy, and musical films, suggests that realism isn't the sole attraction of the cinema. And in fact a good deal of modern cinema has more in common with the traditional entertainment method of opera than with the typical West End play.
The Hammond Organ
Those who thought that the Hammond electrical organ had struck a death blow at the old wind and pipe method will he interested to read a report in the Musical Times of the comparative merits of the Hammond and common organ as arrived at by a committee of scientists and music ians. While there were plainly interests at stake, the result was convincingly devastating to the illusion that it is easy to imitate complete sounds on loud speakers.