December 14, 2010

Bone Breathing

The Musical Standard, November, 1875

It was with some amusement that I read in the Daily Telegraph of the 30th October a long article on music in Milan, purporting to come from a "special correspondent," and marked with something so much worse than blunders that I cannot help referring to some of its absurdities. I pass by the remarks he makes upon the theatre La Scala, and the performers whom he saw there : it was but a "scratch" company, got together for the Emperor of Germany's visit and the strictures may be true of the particular performances. But some further remarks of the writer seem to me so unwarrantable as to call for emphatic contradiction. The correspondent of the Telegraph mentions Signor Lamperti, the renowned singing master, as a coarse and uneducated peasant, and heaps insult after insult on the head of a man with whom he has evidently no personal acquaintance, and whom, I should say, he has never seen: and for this reason, it is indeed but too evident that his article originated from some one who has a personal spite against Signor Lamperti, the "special correspondent" being simply the sponge which sucks in, this time, poisoned waters. He describes a ridiculous system of breathing through the bones destroying a voice to make a fresh one, and heaps phrase upon phrase of ridicule upon what he terms the "Lamperti method." 

I am intimately acquainted with several of Signor Lamperti's pupils, and have frequently assisted at their lessons, but I never heard the maestro speak of breathing through the bones; nevertheless, if breathing through the bones, or the "diaphragmatic method," as the " special correspondent" terms it, can produce such singers as Stolz, Waldmann, Aldighieri, Campanini, Albani, Galassi, Collini, La Vera Lorini, Sofia Cruvelli, and scores of other Italian and German singers who feel honoured in acknowledging themselves pupils of Lamperti, I should advise everybody to breathe through their bones if they know how. 

The correspondent closes his abusive article on the "maestro" by a very bold statement, saying that a young lady, Miss Blanche Tucker, alias Bianca Rosanella, whom he describes as a coming celebrity of great personal attractions, has been materially injured in voice and health by Lamperti's method, and I think it only fair to the maestro to state the true facts of the case. Miss Tucker was sent by Mr. Gye at his own expense to take lessons frqm Lamperti: the maestro at the time of her arrival at Milan being away at the lakes, this lady commenced taking lessons from another teacher, Trivulsi. On Lamperti's return she went and took two lessons from him, at the same time finding great fault with his method, in fact, wishing to give instead of taking instruction, and so disgusted the maestro that he refused to teach her at all. To say that a person's voice and health were injured in two lessons is simply nonsense, and is a further proof to me that this article is simply an expression of personal pique, such as a “special correspondent" of a London paper should have been particularly careful to avoid. The maestro Trivulsi, who is really a good, not to say first-rate, teacher, is mentipned favourably: Miss Tucker is now learning of Trivulsi.

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