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CHOPIN MUSIC ON THE STAGE
Mr. Clutsam's New Opera
A new opera has been produced by Mr. G. H. Clutsam, entitled 'The Dam ask Rose.' Just as ''Lilac Time,' that very successful opera by the same com poser, was founded on Schubert, so the framework of the music of this new work is based on the melodies of
Chopin. 'There is, however, this di vergence.' Mr. Clutsam explained in an interview with a representative of the London 'Observer.' 'in 'Lilac Time' it was the personality of Schubert that supplied the framework, of the opera. Schubert was on the stage. The per sonality of Chopin did not strike me as being at all adaptable to light opera. I have, therefore, evolved a story which Chopin might perhaps, if he had known it, have set to music. 'lake all Poles, Chopin was very patriotic, and the story, in a pictur esque eighteenth-century setting, centres round an imaginary episode in the life of Stanislaus Poniatowski, the last King of Poland. The opera is really a play set to music, and has little or nothing, of the ordinary musical comedy element. It is an attempt, indeed, to bring a better type of music to the light opera stage. All the dances.come in quite naturally, and the chorus plays a very prominent part. 'It is not generally known that Chopin wrote half a dozen very beau tiful little songs. One of them I in troduce in its entirety, and two or three of the others are used as the basis for various numbers. The main part of the work is built up on some of the very popular piano music and there is much that is less familiar. The Chopin themes have been freely treated, but never for a moment does one diverge from the spirit of the composer. The work requires a good orchestra, which we have, and there is a chorus of about fifty. Stanislaus is to be played by Mr. Percy Heming, and the heroine by Miss Wilma Berkeley, an Australian soprano, who has done good work at the Old Vic and of whom we are expecting great things.' 'The Damask Rose' is being pro duced by Mr. Robert Courtneidge. 'I am more than delighted,' Mr. Clutsam added, 'with the extraordinary interest and enthusiasm with which he has assisted me in the necessary recon struction of the work. He has spent many hours in trying to make the most of its dramatic possibilities. He has. in fact, entered fully into the spirit of the new type of work which I have always wished to see on the English musical stage.'