As I have long desired that Opera should be placed within the reach of those, whose purses are not able to bear the strain of the high prices charged in England, and having some leisure before Parliament met this year, I made inquiries regarding the various systems of running Opera on the Continent of Europe. My chief desire was to put it before the public in a form that would arouse interest in the subject. Also, I realised that this information, however valuable, was like the desert, in its unwieldy form, and without any attempt to outline the conclusion to which it led. So after much trepidation of thought I determined to run the gauntlet and march right up to the cannon's mouth with a scheme of my own for the establishment of a system for National Opera in this country.
ore adequate boards. The stage at the ambitious New Opera House was so small, and the foreshortening so excessive in consequence, that in the opening scene of Ivanhoe Cedric and his guests actually sat at meat in Rotherwood Hall with their knees above the table, producing a ludicrous effect. And yet the piece was projected on the most pompous scale, with tournament, siege, fire, solemn trial, battle, murder and sudden death--in short, all the details that require the most ample spaces. The reporters were told, of course, that the stage was the largest in Europe, and they may possibly have believed it. At any rate, they told the public so. They ought to have known that Ivanhoe had no chance so cramped and huddled together.
The second obstacle was the counterpart of an inadequate stage--to wit, an overloaded book. There were too many principal characters. They cluttered up the stage, got in each other's way and distracted attention from the main action. A skilful novelist can dispose of