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MUSIG AND DRAMA.
The American Scene-Widespread
THE Broadcasting Commission
Fédéral Controller of Music, Mr. William James, has returned from a world tour with glowing reports about the state of things in America. Refu- gees are continually pouring in from Europe, he says, and the result is a musical life more brilliant than ever
But there is tragic unemployment. TWe big people, like Helfetz, Kreisler, Rachmani- noff, Robeson, he went on, could still command their £1,000 a concert, and pick and choose their engagements. But they numbered only about ten in all. The rest had a desperate struggle to make their bread.
Mr. James was besieged. He had no sooner arrived in New York than word ran round like wildfire that here was someone from Australia engaging artists. He gave auditions until he was completely exhausted, and then had to cease. The trouble was that the singers and players who were boomed by their agents often turned out to be incompetent. Two sopranos, who had made themselves famous in films proved to have tiny voices which would scarcely have been heard in a concert-Wall. They needed electrical amplifi- cation to make them into stars.
A great many others could provide only one or two programmes, which they used year in and year out on their travels through Europe and America. He had found it was wise to
I VITYA VRONSKY and VICTOIt DABIN. I
keep his eye on artists who were popular in South America because South America was the only place outside Australia where the visiting musician was expected to play or sing many times in each centre. Nathan Milstein, who was coming to Australia in July, had this South American experience. When Mr. James asked him which violin concertos he played, he replied "all of them," and stipu- lated only the order of preference.
Marian Anderson, the coloured contralto, and John Charles Thomas, the American bari- tone, were booked for Australia this year, but they withdrew from their contracts owing to war risks. They will probably come later. In the meantime Vitya Vronsky and Victor Babin the duo-pianists, says Mr, James, will give this country an exciting experience when tltey ar- rive in May. Rachmaninoff was so impressed with their playing that, in Mr. James's pres- ence, he gave them carte blanche to make two-piano arrangements of any of his works.
Sydney Eisteddfod Goes On.
The City of Sydney Eisteddfod will take place this year between August 19 and 31. Adjudicators are under consideration, and the music will be selected during the next two weeks. Then there are halls to be hired, and many employees to be engaged, including stage managers, door attendants, and ushers. One year, the committee made an attempt to economise by having honorary helpers, but, when it came to the appointed day, a great many of them invented excuses, and failed to appear. So last year's expenditure of £102 on personnel was unavoidable. Other items in the outlay Included £318 for adjudl
cators» fees; £220 foi hire of halls, and £31 for accompanists But the greatest expense of all was £600 for cash prizes and £194 for tiophles That Is where the generosity oí many public-spirited Individuals and firms
At first the committee thought that in WM tlme people could hardly be expected to con- tinue their donations On the other hand musicians pointed out that the elsteddfol gave employment, and that in this peiiod above all others, there was need to cultivate education and the appreciation of beauty So the annual appeal is to go forth as usual The syllabus foi 1940 will be leady some time
Musicians and Otheia.
Beatrice Tange, well known In Sydney as a pianist, returned last Monday from liei broadcasting tour in Canada and New Yoi!
She met Artur Schnabel, who was composins a "Sea Symphony" while awaiting the be ginning of a tour in March, and Geoig Szeil who was at a loose end owing to the disband ment of the Glasgow Symphony Orchestra Owing to an over-populated musical field said Miss Tange on Thursday, even Kreisler was resting for ten weeks without engagements
Yehudi Menuhin sends word from New York that for the next nine months he will live quietly on his estate at Los Gatos, California He hopes to make his visit to Australia, which he cancelled this year, in 1941 His Ameii can tour culminated In a performance of the Beethoven Violin Concerto with the New York Philharmonic-Symphony Orchestra, John Barbirolll conducting
Charles Boyd returned to Sydney last week after an absence of two years in London He was trained in dancing here by Minnie Hooper, and graduated into the J c William- son male chorus Thus he appeared among the multitude In "The Girl Friend," "Roberta
and other plays But Roland Guerard, who came to Australia in the De Basil ballet com- pany three yeais ago, saw him dance and urged him to aim at higher things So Mr Boyd went to London, and studied with Marie Rambert Before long, he was playing impor- tant parts in the Ballet Rambert productions, which have included "Paris Soir," "The De- cent of Hebe," and 'Lady Into rox" Nina Golovina, who is in the coi ps de ballet at present at the Theatre Royal has also been a leading dancer In the Ballet Rambert
Charlotte Greenwood, who appeared heie to joyously in "Leaning on Letty," sends word of a new play in which she has been appear- ing in Hollywood The author, B M Kaye, had written It especially for hci and it de
lighted a large audience on the first night at the El Capitan Theatre The name was "She Couldn't Say No ' Miss Gleenwood appeared as the secretary to a none too pros- perous lawyer When her employer took a trip to Canada, she found the chance to handle a breach-of-piomise case at a fane ice So disguising herself as Miss Portia John
son, attorney-at-law, she journeyed to the scene of operations, and almost won the action for the defendant Only then did she dis- cover that hei chief had taken o\er the prose cutlon AU this sounds like pilme Green
wood matei lal But the i un of She Coulant Say No" was strictly limited, because Mi« Greenwood had contracted to make another film this month
When W S Gilbert wrote "The Pirates of Penzance" with Arthur Sullivan in 1879 he placed Fredeilck, the pirate apprentice, in an unenviable position Foi, as Fiederick had lils birthday on Febiuory 29 he would not come of age according to the flippant text until 1940, and he must íemaln the slave of duty" until that time The year has arrived, so Frederick's emancipation Is at hand The Gilbert and Sullivan Society viin celebrate it next Monday evening with a birth day Bprty at the Australian Hall A cake will be cut, and a stage presentation will in volve îefcrences to all the Gilbert and Sullivan operas
Next Saturdaj, the Sydney Musical Socletv will swell the Loid Mayor's Patriotic War Fund with a performance of 'Princess Ida at the Conservatorium The principals are Reg Willoughby and Mildred Walk«
Frederick Hughes has been engaged by the Dajonian Repertory Society as its permanent producer His first task in 1940 will be the staging of "When We Ale Married," by J B Priestley, on February 17 The society will present five other plays during the year