—Ada Crossley in London.—
By a mail came an interesting letter from Madame Ada Crossley, the famous Mel bourne contralto, written to her relatives in this city'- In the course of her letter
she describes, in an interesting manner a visit which she paid, in company with her husband, Dr. Muecke, to wounded soldiers in the London. Hospital. In the letter, which is dated September 8, at Colwyn Bay, Wales, Madame Crossley says:— "I have for three weeks— after singing , at Blackpool on August 2, just two days before this terrible war broke out— been for a holiday in Scotland. Such a happy, peaceful rest I had there, and I am feel- ing as a result splendidly, well in better health and bigger voice than I have been for 10 years. Don (Dr. Muecke) fully ex- pected to be called to the front with nurses from the London Hospital, and was ready and willing to go; but several senior doctors; who were on the staff have been sent, and his orders were to re- main at the hospital. London is a very different London— so quiet, shops, many closed, and the streets sparsely peopled. Every taxi and big van has a placard in front, 'Call to arms— for the war only, and Lord Kitchener's pla- cards everywhere asking for recruits. Lord's Cricket Ground, close to us, is oc- cupied by the military, and every morn- ing I am wakened by the bugle call. If a telephone or front door bell rings I have a flutter at my heart for no special rea- son; but there it is. The theatres are all at half-price. Everybody is economising. Nearly all concerts are abandoned. I have cancelled 14 in eight days, among them, the Sheffield Festival in November. Any bookings that remain I am accepting at half fees to help the managers. It is that or nothing.
—Beethoven a Belgian.— Since the war broke out The Figaro has discovered that Beethoven was a Belgian, and came from Louvain. The family later lived at Antwerp and Ghent. The com- poser's grandfather was buried in a Lou- vain church., which was burned by the Germans. The Figaro suggests heading all future Parisian concerts conclusively Bel- gian music by Beethoven symphonies. Ac- cording to ''Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians,' Beethoven was born at Bonn, but the family belonged originally to a village near Louvain. Thence, in 1680, they moved to Antwerp, where in 1680 ,the name appears in the registrars. The family name was spelt in various ways, 'such as Biethoffen, Biethofen, and Bethof. —Why Not Give Up Opera?— , 'And why should I not?' asked Mme. Olive Fremstad, with a tone akin to petu- lance in her expensive soprano voice. 'Is an artist for ever to march the stage in the dignity and demi-divinity or a Wagnerian goddess? As I expected to slave always at a life of strenuous opera and never even see the audiences to whom I am singing'? Besides; there isn't any grand opera, just new. The Metropolitan grand opera star, the 'Isolde' of superative splendour and passion sat benind a panel of scenery on the stage of Ye Liberty Theatre, Oakland, and greeted friends— that is as many as could find their way to her hospitable self (writes a San Francisco scribe). When I came there was a nervous lady with a book of photographs and a fountain pen, which, as it turned out, needed ink. There was a slender, self-effacing person also of nervous manner whom the Norse diva called 'Pas- tor.' The energetic lady wanted Mme. Fremstad's. ^signature on a cherished photograph, and the pastor wanted to felicitate his countrywoman on her splendid success. He bore in his hands a bouquet. It was a small affair, but it ad- justed itself to the occasion with nice pro-
priety because it flashed the colour scheme of the flags that fly over Stockholm. The lady's fountain pen went dry before the signature was finished, and the final flourishes were put on with my pencil— a fact which too fate enforced itself on my mind; for I should always like to keep that pencil, only I had two, and I don't remem- ber which one it was. Happy in the posses- sion of her autographed photograph, the nervous lady with the dry fountain pen felt it incumbent to say somthing sociable, so, like most of us do in the circumstances, she said the wrong thing -that is, it was wrong from her point of view but not from mine, because it drew the fire of the lady from Sweden. Said the nervous lady, 'Why did you give up opera?' And that's the point, where this story, began. —Get Out or Get Under.— .Madame Fremstad is a hearty star. It is true she acts even on the concert stage, but such adroit acting— not with the gallery effects of an Italian diva, but with quaint, or merry, or sad, or tragic effects, in the quaint or merry, or sad or tragic songs of Schumanh, Sibelius, Grieg, and Wolf. Off the stage, however, she is plain Mme. Fremstad, earnest about her art, but not defensive over it nor offensive about it; just sincere, like Mme. Schumann Heink. 'There isn't any opera going on at present', said Mme; Fremmstad. 'There will be precious little German opera in New York, I fear, for some time to come, and I did so want to get closer to audiences than the footlights of the grand opera stage permit. I love concert work because I can look into the faces of my audiences.- Think of it— not even to see the persons upon whom you are spending your nervous and emotional strength and your art. But in concert you can do a little lullaby, a tragic song, a mocking song, a gay song, and gather your hearers about you! It's delightful. After all, what is it an artist works for if it isn't the expressed sympatny of audiences? And that you get in concert in a measure of intimacy, and charm not to be found in the conventions of grand opera, to which, of course, I shall, I sup- pose, return. Why then, do folk ask me 'Why did you give up opera?' Perhaps, said I with an unaccustomed amount of truth, it is because the announcement on the part of a star of opera that she is going in for concerts is generally and really a warning' that she has lost part of her voice, and that she has left the opera as other people leave more humble posi- tions sometimes— because they're asked to.' 'When I am in that place,' said Madame Fremstad, 'I shall quit singing entirely. I'll never ask charity of the public. I've got money enough to live on when I can no longer exhibit the art that I love. Even if I was so covetous as to want more money, I think I would have respect enough for the art of song to leave it before I damaged it.' Lovely words, and if you had heard Fremstad utter them, you would be sure that. she meant, them— every one. And (lovely truth!) it will be years to come be fore that voice which I heard Friday in Oakland has lost any of the velvet, the fire, the force, and the passion that belong some times to voices first heard by Lake Maler, which is frozen tight-for three months of the year, as I have just read in the ency- clopedia. —Songs' for Patriots.- Among the latest batch of locally pro- duced patriotic songs is one entitled, 'Ready.' It is 'words and music by Dr. Arthur Goode, and is published by Messrs Cawthorne & Co. ' ' -.' v. - -i \