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SIGNOR FOLI'S CONCERT.

The distinguished basso, Signor Foli, and his company gave their second concerb in the Opora Houso, on Saturday evening. Though the audience was a fair ono, it was not what one expects on the last nighb of the week, when all bhe world and his wifo are abroad on pleasurable thoughts intent. Bub bhe reason for the moderate attendance is not that we in Auckland are ignorant of the Signor'a European reputation, _or thab we are incapable of appreciabing musical gifts, the display of which has called forth tho highesb praise from tho besb judges all over bho world ; wo both know and aro capable of fully enjoying bhe rarity which is oll'ered to us, but our purses ore not like thab of Fortunatus, and they havo been drawn on for the lasb fow months to an unprecedented extent. If, howevor, after this thorough drainage of our resources on the part of operas and othor amusomonts.thore should still remain a few looso shillings in tho toe of bho sbocking there could hardly be a more pleasant place to spend them than ab the Opera House. Singors of Signor Foli's stamp are essentially birds of passage, thoir talents are too woll recognised in the centres of tho world for thorn to sing for any lougth of time in out of tho way corners liko Now Zealand, and it is often partly chance that brings bhem here at all. Opportunities for hearing tho best singers aro rare, and must be rare until our city has five times tho number of inhabitants it now has. Ib would bo woll for us bhon to mako the mosb of them when they occur. Signor Foli will be here but a short time—ho only intonds to givo sevon concerts in all—and as the chances of hearing a singer of his calibre for somo timo to como are very fow indoed, we should advise tho musical public to give themselves the benefit of a pleasure of a very refined kind. If the Opera House was nob so crowdod as ib mighb have been on Saturday night, tho enthusiasm of the audience, as displayed in rounds of applause and demands for reappearances, was unexpectedly greab. Signor Foli certainly merited all he got. Amongst those who have never listened to a first-class singor, expectation is generally on tip-too whon he makes bis appoarance. All aro anxious to know how the voico, which has found favour with tho highest judges, will sound when ib issues from bho singer's lips, and in whab particular way ib will difiorentiate itself from that of a first-class amateur. Ttuß curiosity was felb by a good many of bhe audienco on Saturday night, and it was with perhaps a little impatience thab they looked forward to the fifth item on the programme, when Signor Foli should appear. Tho firsb few notos of his singing revealed at onco tho gulf which is fixed between the bost trained amateur and the born singor. With tho greatest of ease and in the most natural manner, Signor Foli poured forth a deep musical volume of sound, every noto of which was as round, as clear, and as fresh as thab of a blackbird, with tbe depth of an organ chord. No trace of effort was visible, the impression conveyed boing that of groat force held in reserve. Ib is a groat thing for a singer to have this force, bub ho will never be an artist unless ho knows how to hold ib in reserve. Aa many actors tear a passion to rags merely to catch tho ears of tho groundlings, so many singers delighb tho gods by bellowing like bulls of Bashan, if they possess tho power. Such singing, however, is not art. Without a careful attendance to light and shade to express the varying moods and passions, it is possiblo to degenerate into a moro human piano organ. Signor Foli has ovidently known all this from his cradle. He strivos to interprot his subject and to givo to each note that peculiar emphasis which when rightly rendered it should possess. Ho not only thinks his notes before ho utters them, but he has tho rare power of reproducing thorn on his lips exactly as thoy appeared in his brain. His enunciation—often not very satisfactory in a bass voice—did not como oub so well in his first appearance m in his second song, "In Sheltered Vale," or in " Off to Philadelphia," bub bho vowol endings of the words in the first song gave opportunity for "lengthened sweetness long drawn out." Sweetness is a word as applicable bo the quality of his voico bb force is. Ib is in bhe graceful combination of the two thab his greab merit lies. As ia to be oxpected in so greab a singer, there is no evidence where the volume of sound cornea from, no mismanagement of the breath, no straining and striving, and no ovor exortion ; and, what is nob always the case with good singers, there is no affectation or " tricks of the trade." The voice rolls along calmly and smoothly, rising and falling aa the song requires, and passing, in those passages where one noto flows into the following one, by tho ensiost and mosb natural transition. Of course every song was encorod, and Signor Foli kindly responded. Among his pieces it would be difficult to say which pleased tho audienco most. "In Sheltered Vale," had tho advantage of being well known to all prosont, and " Off to Philadelphia" and " The Wodding of Shaun McLean "— ono of Robert Buchanan's ballads, we believo— were humorous onough for all tastes, whilo tho dramatic power in '' The Diver " and in the aria from Handel's " Acisand Galatea " made a strong impression on the audionce. If they had heard* nothing bub bho Signor's songs the assembly would have gone away woll satisfied, bub there were other if lessor attractions in store.

Mr Middleton, tho tenor of the company, is very pleasing to listen to. His notes, although sometimes slurred, are generally soft and mellifluous and he has an intelligent way of singing which is far from the common mechanical style. He sang " The Garonne," by Adams, in the first part of the programme, and in tho second "My Sweetheart when a Boy." Signor Foli has expressod greab hopes of Miss Bertha Rossow. Mosb poople after hearing ber will be inclined to share his opinion. In "Sing, Sweet Bird," hor pure high notos rippled and mounted like the lark high and higher, pouring out all the time the sv/cotest of music till one almost fancied that she herself was the bird she was addressing. Her seoond song, " Leave Mo Not, Dear Heart," though not on the programme, was given by the lady no doubb, as an acknowledgment of the rapturous applause which greeted her first song. As an encore to " Sing, Sweet Bird," she sang, and sang most 'feolingly, " Oh, Beautiful Star." Madame Cole has a steady, strong voice, very melodious and sympathetic. In her transition from low to high notes she never loses command of her voice. rt I've Been Roaming," which has the advantage of being well-known, was excellently sung. So well pleased were the audience that they would not rest satisfied till she had again delighted them with "Love's Old Sweet Song." Later on in the evoning she sana Lady Anno Barnard's pathetic Scotch song " Anld Robin Grey." Although nob quite au fait in regard to the Doric she gave the Bong with plenty of expression. In " The Children's Home " tho lady again appeared, and in " Ora Pro Nobis " and " Greeting " both she and Miss Rossow won loud applause. The pianist of the company. Miss Wood, deserves very special montion, both for her artistic occompaniments to the others songs, and for the pieces she performed by herself on the piano. Herr Zimmermann, who is one of ourselves, contributed to the success of the concert by two violin solos.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AS18921017.2.17

Bibliographic details

SIGNOR FOLI'S CONCERT., Auckland Star, Volume XXIII, Issue 248, 17 October 1892

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SIGNOR FOLI'S CONCERT. Auckland Star, Volume XXIII, Issue 248, 17 October 1892

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