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M. Jean de Reszke as Teacher.

The announcement that M. Jean de Reszke, the famous operatic tenor, had decided to turn professor and teach others the art which has brought him wealth and a world-wide reputation has had the only result that could have been expected. Twenty-four hours after his intention was made known in the Paris papers M. de Reszke had received applications from forty-two persons by letter, telephone, or otherwise to be enrolled among his pupils.

“I cannot take them all,” he said, with a despairing gesture, when I saw him this evening in his handsome mansion near the Arc de Triomphe; “besides, I know they cannot all have voices, and I shall pitilessly discourage those who are laboring under a delusion and spending money needlessly. I do not care to risk my reputation as a teacher on such unpromising students when there are plenty of good voices. I intend to commence at the beginning with all my pupils, even with those who have made some progress in music. I shall begin by teaching them breathing, proceeding with the placing of the voice and resonance, and only when they have worked hard at vocalization will I teach them vocal declamation and articulation of the words. By so doing I hope to produce artists who will be able to make themselves understood—unlike half the singers who appear in public at present.”

“Why did you decide to become a professor of singing?”

“For several reasons. One is, because all my friends, including Madame Melba and other great artists, have told me for years I ought to do so. Besides, I have always been fond of teaching. In London, New York, and St. Petersburg, wherever I have been, my stage comrades have always come to me for counsel, and I have given them lessons. Another reason is that I have sung as much as I want to. There are no new operas, no new rôles. I am tired of repeating the same parts year after year. But I do not say that I have forever renounced the stage. If a new composer were to come forward with a grand work in which there was a rôle which fascinated me, then—”

When I hinted that any information M. de Reszke could give me as to the terms on which he might be willing to impart the secrets of his art would be interesting, he frankly told me that each case would be treated on its merits.

“There will be two scales in my school,” he said, “and as a general principle the rich will pay for the poor. If a poor student comes to me with a magnificent voice and talent, I shall never refuse him, and with my experience I should soon know whether he was worth teaching. I contemplate having examinations of my pupils every three or four months, and to these I shall invite the critics and theatrical managers of Paris, so that they may see what I am doing and criticise me, and,” added M. de Reszke, with a pleasant smile as I left him, “my friends, the English, will always be welcome.”—Ex.

 

 

States of mind are contagious. The teacher who is alert will inspire like qualities in his pupil. When this has come to pass he will grow to enjoy his lessons and practice, and the hardest part of the teacher’s work is done. 

 

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