Free Ebook. The Story Of The Greatest Wagnerian Soprano: Evelyn Innes by George Moore

Written By The Wagnerian on Thursday, 23 May 2013 | 11:30:00 am

George Moore
"Wagner had been all his life dreaming of an opera with a subjective hero. Christ first and then Buddha had suggested themselves as likely subjects. He had gone so far as to make sketches for both heroes, but both subjects had been rejected as unpractical, and he had fallen back on a pretty medieval myth, and had shot into a pretty medieval myth all the material he had accumulated for the other dramas, whose heroes were veritable heroes, men who had accomplished great things, men who had preached great doctrines and whose lives were symbols of their doctrines. The result of pouring this old wine into the new bottle was to burst the bottle.In neither Christ nor Buddha did the question of sex arise, and that was the reason that Wagner eventually rejected both. He was as full of sex—mysterious, sub-conscious sex—as Rossetti himself. In Christ's life there is the Magdalen, but how naturally harmonious, how implicit in the idea, are their relations, how concentric; but how eccentric (using the word in its grammatical sense) are the relations of Parsifal to Kundry.... A redeemer is chaste, but he does not speak of his chastity nor does he think of it; he passes the question by. The figure of Christ is so noble, that whether God or man or both, it seems to us in harmony that the Magdalen should bathe his feet and wipe them with her hair, but the introduction of the same incident into "Parsifal" revolts. As Parsifal merely killed a swan and refused to be kissed—the other preached a doctrine in which beauty and wisdom touch" 

"She might begin with "Margaret" and "Norma," if she liked, for in singing these popular operas she would acquire the whole of her voice, and also the great reputation which should precede and herald the final stage of her career. "Isolde," "Brunnhilde," "Kundry," Wagner's finest works, had remained unsung—they where merely howled. Evelyn should be the first to sing them. His eyes glowed with subdued passion as he thought of an afternoon, some three years hence, in the great theatre planned by the master himself, when he should see her rush in as the Witch Kundry"

"As she lay between sleeping and waking, she strove to grasp the haunting, fugitive idea, but shadows of sleep fell, and in her dream there appeared two Tristans, a fair and a dark. When the shadows were lifted and she thought with an awakening brain, she smiled at the absurdity, and, striving to get close to her idea, to grip it about its very loins, she asked herself how much of her own life she could express in the part, for she always acted one side of her character. Her pious girlhood found expression in the Elizabeth, and what she termed the other side of her character she was going to put on the stage in the character of Isolde. Again sleep thickened, and she found it impossible to follow her idea. It eluded her; she could not grasp it. It turned to a dream, a dream which she could not understand even while she dreamed it. But as she awaked, she uttered a cry. It happened to be the note she had to sing when the curtain goes up and Isolde lies on the couch yearning for Tristan, for assuagement of the fever which consumes her. All other actresses had striven to portray an Irish princess, or what they believed an Irish princess might be. But she cared nothing for the Irish princess, and a great deal for the physical and mental distress of a woman sick with love."

" In Brunnhilde and Elizabeth all the humanity she represented—and she thought she was a fairly human person—was on the stage. But Elsa? That was the one part she was dissatisfied with. There were people who liked her Elsa. Oh, her Elsa had been greatly praised. Perhaps she was mistaken, but at the bottom of her heart she could not but feel that her Elsa was a failure. The truth was that she had never understood the story. It began beautifully, the beginning was wonderful—the maiden whom everyone was persecuting, who would be put to death if some knight did not come to her aid. She could sing the dream—that she understood. Then the silver-clad knight who comes from afar, down the winding river, past thorpe and town, to release her from those who were plotting against her. But afterwards? This knight who wanted to marry her, and who would not tell his name. What did it mean? And the celebrated duet in the nuptial chamber—what did it mean? It was beautiful music—but what did it mean? Could anyone tell her? She had often asked, but no one had ever been able to tell her."




What, dear readers, will you make of the Irish, Victorian novelist George Moore's first Wagnerian novel Evelyn Innes - should you have never read it before. To tell you too much would simply spoil it surely? And also help predict and define any reaction you might have? Its often the way of things - if just unconsciously. No. Better you should find it as it is. But still, a brief overview:

Published in 1898, Evelyn Innes is Moore's first truly Wagnerian novel - and his move to symbolism. Innes, is not only a Wagnerian Soprano but the greatest that has ever lived,: "Wagner's finest works, had remained unsung—they where merely howled. Evelyn should be the first to sing them." The daughter of a Catholic organist - of importance later as you may discover -she sees her personality developing through roles of Elisabeth, Isolde, Brunnhilde and finally Kundry. But there is much more.

Something of a "scandal" on it's release. OK. Find a link to one review below. From the New York Post. At its time of publication in the US. It is a PDF. Click the title to read.
George Moore's "Evelyn Innes."; A Curious and Perhaps Deplorable Example of the Modern Psychological Novel. The New York Times. (Warning contains "spoilers")
By the way. There is a sequel to Evelyn Innes. If anyone is interested enough let us know and we will add.


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