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An Episode

The recent little difference between Mons. Pol Plançon, of the Metropolitan Opera House, New York, and the mighty powers of the New York Symphony Society affords a most valuable object lesson to the student world.

It appears there was to be an evening of Russian music, some vocal numbers at which Mons. Plançon had been engaged to sing. Not knowing the language, an agreement was made that translations of the song texts should be made at a certain time. They were not forthcoming and finally only a week remained. The singer cancelled his contract; claiming that it was too short a time for him to get the music and text so thoroughly “into his voice,” that he could give an intelligent and artistic rendering of the songs. This is entirely consistent with what Marcella Sembrich stated in the Ladies’ Home Journal, concerning her way of learning her songs. She never attempts to sing a song until she has studied the words so carefully that she has the author’s meaning clearly and concisely in her own mind. She illustrates this point by giving the text of a song and explaining how she goes about it.

It is very inspiring to realize that the greater the artist, the surer one may be that extraordinary attention has been given to detail in the preparation for public appearance. The article above referred to appeared in the issue for March, 1905, and is good reading for voice students. We cannot give too much attention to the elocution and diction phases of the vocal art.

The time is rapidly passing when the melody of song can be accounted as its chief attraction.


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