August 22, 1914
Page 25

Promenade Concerts to Be Given in London Despite the War−Many of the Fall Festivals Likely to Be Cancelled However−London Hears of Movements of Artists on the Continent−Several Already Under Arms−Kitty Cheatham Reaches London from Weimar After Thrilling Experiences

London Office of Musical America, 36 Maiden Lane, Strand, W. C., August 7, 1914.

IF there is one small circumstance of the great disaster into which Europe has been plunged on which the English musical world may be felicitated it is that the fateful signal for the mighty conflagration was withheld until the close of the season−three days after the close in London’s case. So far in England there has been no outward sign of a disruption in affairs musical. The theaters and music halls have decided to continue their performances as usual and the annual Summer Promenade Concerts at Queen’s Hall, the only important programs of the off-season, will open for the twentieth season next week.
But on the Continent there must be an entire suspension of everything artistic and the canceling of the Bayreuth and Salzburg festivals came as an expected consequence of the outbreak of hostilities. Messrs. Schulz-Curtius and Powell, the English agents for Bayreuth, have been overwhelmed with a flood of letters demanding the return of money which had been paid for tickets. As might be expected, the Americans represent a large percentage of those who will be disappointed by this interruption of events.
Of the losses and inconveniences to individual artists no adequate idea can be formed. All continental engagements have been indefinitely postponed and all contracts immediately and unreservedly cancelled as an outcome of the state of war.
It is to be feared that the suddenness of the declarations and the orders for mobilization will have caught a great many singers and musicians totally unawares and interrupted their journeys to their various destinations. The departure of the Russian troupe immediately after the close of its season at Drury Lane on July 25, was a fortunate proceeding, as it turned out, for news has come that the whole company, with the exception of several of the principals, who made for other resorts outside Russia, reached St. Petersburg by way of Cologne and Berlin before the German manifesto had been issued. M. Chaliapine, the famous bass, remained in London until Saturday last and then left for Carlsbad, by way of Paris. He is eligible for service with the Russian army, but so far no news has been received of his whereabouts, and it is thought very unlikely that he was able to reach Russia. Signor Polacco is another who was traveling to Carlsbad, having left London on July 29, but it is most probable that he was dissuaded from entering Austria and made for his native Italy.
John McCormack, Giovanni Martinelli and Octave Dua, a trio of tenors, all of Covent Garden, had been engaged to sing at Ostend, but their agreements were rendered null and void by the war in Belgium. The last-named, who is a Belgian from Brussels, was the last of the foreign artists of Covent Garden to leave London. MUSICAL AMERICA’S representative in London met M. Dua on the evening when the news was received of the declaration of war by Germany against Belgium. The singer had just returned from his consulate whither he had been summoned to receive instructions for leaving at once to join his regiment, the chasseurs à pied, and expressed the utmost enthusiasm at the prospect of shouldering a musket for his native land, even though he was carrying a contract in his pocket for next year at Covent Garden and was leaving his wife here in London until a safe passage to Belgium could be assured her. M. Dua will also sing in New York in 1915, provided, as he laughingly
put it, “que je ne sois pas tué.”
Gustave Huberdeau is presumably with the French army, as he departed for Paris the day after the close of the opera.
Leading Violinists Affected
Fritz Kreisler, the great violinist, who holds a captain’s commission in a crack Austrian regiment, has been at the head of his company since the outbreak of the war, and, according to advices received in London, is fit and well at Gratz, where the Austrians are assembled in force against the Serbians.
Another genius of the violin who is liable to be called upon by the Austro-Hungarian government, is Kubelik, who was last heard of at Bychory, his home in Bohemia. It is interesting to note that Kubelik’s fingers have been insured on a first policy for $250,000, but it is not known whether the insurance company has included in this policy the little risks which Kubelik may incur when he is called upon to manipulate a rifle.
Still two other violinists will possibly be affected by the crisis, Bronislaw Huberman and Efrem Zimbalist, who, if required by their country, would have to oppose their brother violinists, Kreisler and Kubelik. It would be a cruel chance should theSe great ones of the highest and most ennobling of all arts be thrown against one another in a struggle from which they may never emerge. There is perhaps no more convincing picture of the ruthlessness of war than the manner in which it ignores and abuses art, and relentlessly claims the services of all of art’s finest exponents. The last heard of Mr. Huberman was from Russia, where he was making a concert tour, while Mr.
Zimbalist was known to have gone for a rest and a vacation to Chamonix, with his wife, the American soprano, Alma Gluck.
The eminent German pianist, Bachaus, was attending the performances at Bayreuthwhen the war came. He was to have made a tour of thirty-five concerts in England this Fall.
Maggie Teyte, the young English artist, is another who has had to cancel a number of Continental engagements.
She was to have sung in Germany, Austria and France and had been booked for a joint tour of England with Kubelik.
It is still too early to attempt to gauge to what extent the war will interfere with musical arrangements in England, though it is not too much to assume that the many festivals that were due to take place this Fall will have to be canceled.
Kitty Cheatham’s Experiences
London this week has been receiving thousands of refugees from the Continent, the majority of whom are Americans who have arrived, in most cases after great difficulties, from Paris, Berlin and other cities. Among them are several prominent in the artistic world whose well-earned vacations have been rudely interrupted by the sudden turn of events. Kitty Cheatham, who reached London three days ago, had a most eventful journey from Weimar, where she was staying for a few days before going to Prague. The distinguished diseuse gaveMUSICAL AMERICA’S representative a graphic account of her experiences, from the moment she first heard the announcement of the declaration of war, which, she declared, came like a bolt from the blue amid the tranquil surroundings of classic Weimar with its wonderful artistic atmosphere in which the spirits of Goethe, Schiller and Liszt seem to linger still. In company with three others, a Welsh minister, a Lancashire business man and a Scotch student of Oxford University, Miss Cheatham managed to reach Rotterdam after changing and re-changing trains no fewer than sixteen times, weary and hungry and quite obsessed with the sight of soldiers and all the incidents peculiar to mobilization. After some further difficulty in obtaining a passage, she finally got off with all her baggage and reached London via The Hook of Holland and Harwich.
Lucy Gates, the young American soprano, who is still under contract with the Kaiser’s Opera at Cassel, also had to make a rapid retreat from Holland, whither she had crossed on her way from England to Germany. In addition to the annulment of her contract Miss Gates stands to lose all the paraphernalia of her profession, including music, wigs, gowns, etc., which are stored in Cassel and of which no information can be had on account of the interruption in the postal service between the belligerent countries. What is of greater anxiety, however, is the fact that a young girl cousin of hers, an American and a violinist, is lying sick at Cassel probably without funds and that so far communication with her has not been possible.
It is to be feared that many similar tales could be told of suffering and lack of funds among the crowds of American musical students.
Summer Classes of the New York Voice Teacher Concluded
The closing recital of the Summer classes of Sergei Klibansky, teacher of voice, took place at his studios, No. 212 West Fifty-ninth street, New York, on August 14. Mr. Klibansky will spend some weeks in the country.
Virginia Estill, soprano, displayed good diction, an unusual quality of voice and intelligence and sympathy in her interpretations of the “Jeanne d’Arc” aria and a song by Campbell-Tipton. In three songs by Branscombe, Coombs and Tosti, J. M. Sternhagen, baritone, proved himself to be a musician of parts and the possessor of a good quality of voice. Arabel Marfield, mezzo, sang the “Carmen” aria and a song by Woodman in excellent style, while Betty Powers, coloratura, was heard in the aria from “Rigoletto.” Her voice is of especially fine quality and her bravura work was brilliant. Miss J. V. Cooper, contralto, sang an aria from “Trovatore” and songs by Strauss and McFayden, with good effect, and Lalla B. Cannon, soprano, gave a satisfactory interpretation of the aria from Halévy’s “La Juive.”


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