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extravagant vocal ornamentation of Rossini and to give due importance to the dramatic side.
In theory Wagner would have destroyed the lyric side of opera altogether. Now the essence of opera after all is not dramatic but lyrical. It is based on the substitution of song for speech, and the problem is, and will continue to be, how best to weld the lyric and dramatic together, so that the charm of the vocal art shall be on the whole predominant, but shall in no way hinder the logical development of the action, while the orchestra shall support without overwhelming the voice and shall at the same time aid in giving expression to psychological and dramatic crises. Fortunately Wagner's artistic instinct was stronger than his devotion to theory and his Tristan is. practically one mighty flood of purely lyrical expression from beginning to end.
Returning to the consideration of the fourth period of Verdi's artistic career we find in Otello and Falstaff that he has made a definite entrance into the music-drama. The latter in particular, founded on Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor, is an astonishing work for a man of eighty years. The set and traditional forms of the opera here disappear entirely, the music is conditioned by the text and its dramatic requirements; the orchestra supports the voices in a full melodious and comprehensive flow but never overpowers them. This change of manner was no doubt due to Wagner but there is no attempt at imitation. There is still this fundamental difference, that Verdi's music drama is based upon the capabilities of the voice rather than of the orchestra.
With the New Italian School we bring Grand Opera up to the present day. This, the latest development of the musicdrama, has abandoned altogether such high themes as those treated by Wagner. The subjects of the New Italian School consist in brutal phases of life, told in short concise form, which hasten the dramatic action. A characteristic example is Mascagni's Cavalleria Rusticana, a tale of love, jealousy and revenge set to music admirably adapted to the vivid, crude representation of elemental passions. Probably the reaction against the excessive length of the Wagnerian music-drama. has led to the great and sudden vogue of this School.
Of Puccini, the author of La Tosca, Madame Butterfly, etc., it is perhaps too soon to speak, but his work is so promising that the Italians have every hope that he will prove a worthy successor to their beloved Verdi. But if he is to achieve that distinction he must abandon such third rate melodrama as The Girl from the Golden West.. There is a rumour that he is seriously considering "The Light that Failed” as possible material for operatic purposes. This would no doubt be a step in the right direction, but he who would be the successor of Verdi has to remember that Verdi is the only musician in the history of Grand Opera who has proved himself worthy to collaborate with Shakespeare.
G. W. MITCHELL. Queen's University, Kingston.
TURKEY AND THE POLITICAL SITUATION IN THE
N order to understand the political situation in the Near
East it is necessary for the reader to remind himself of two facts that play a prominent part in European politics. The first is that every nation in Europe is an armed camp, not necessarily because it fears or hopes for war, but because the weight of its influence in the councils of the nations is directly proportional to the size of its armaments. The second is that every nation seeks as far as possible uninterrupted sea communication between its various provinces; or, if its territory be mainly inland, at least an outlet to the open sea; and it seeks this not mainly for commercial purposes, but more especially for the development of its navy and for the easy transportation of its army. If we keep this fact in mind, a glance at the map of the Eastern Hemisphere, or better still at the map of the British Empire, will make quite clear the strategical questions involved in the outcome of war against Turkey. It will be seen at a glance how England has dominated the direct sea route to India through the possession of Gibraltar, Malta, Egypt (including the Suez), and Aden at the southern extreme of the Arabian peninsula. Her policy in respect to this direct route to India is clearly two-fold, first, to keep this route open to her own fleet while closing it to the war-vessels of other nations, and for this purpose to maintain a dominant naval position in the Mediterranean; and second, to close the land routes to India to the armies of other nations.
Let us first, then, see what Britain has done to assure her naval supremacy in the Mediterranean and thus secure direct communication by sea with India. With France, Spain, Italy and Greece it has been Britain's policy to maintain as friendly relationships as possible. In the case of Italy she has been forestalled by the formation of the Triple Alliance, but even with Italy her relationships have been friendly, while the three other nations are bound to her by ties which, while they avoid the entanglements, have more or less the moral weight of an alliance. It is in pursuance of this same Mediterranean policy that Russia's attempts to secure the opening of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles to her Black Sea fleet have been forestalled by the support given by Britain to the Turkish contention that the Bosphorus and Dardanelles are Turkish inland waters and therefore must be closed to other than Turkish warships. Similarly Britain's great anxiety to play a leading part in the settlement of the question of an autonomous Albania is no doubt due in part to her anxiety lest any other nation should come to be regarded as having a greater claim upon Albanian gratitude or greater rights in determining Albania's future Mediterranean policy. The possession of Cyprus, which dominates the Gulf of Alexandretta, practically the only desirable harbour on the long coast line of Syria and southern Asia Minor, adds that much strength to her already strong position in the eastern Mediterranean.
But Britain is maintaining her naval supremacy in near eastern waters at the expense of Russia. The harbour of St. Petersburg at one extreme and that of Vladivostock at the other of Russia's Eurasian Empire are ice-blocked in winter; her attempt to secure a more southerly harbour on the Pacific was frustrated by Japan's unexpected victory; while to allow Russia access to the Persian Gulf is in direct violation of Britain's whole East Indian policy to allow no rival power to approach too near India's frontier, so that the very Anglo-Russian understanding that established Russia's position in North Persia at the same time closed southern Persia to her and blocked her way to the Persian Gulf. There remains for Russia one other road to the open sea, viz., to the Mediterranean, either through the opening of the Bosphorus and Dardanelles to her war vessels or else across the Balkan peninsula to a seaport on the Adriatic or on the Aegean. Her attempts to secure the opening of the straits have been frustrated by Britain, and twice has Russia been driven back by British diplomacy from Turkish territory. But in the Treaty of Berlin in 1878 Russia succeeded in throwing across the Balkan peninsula a line of Slavic states, Bulgaria, Servia and Montenegro, no one of which was sufficiently large to feel herself independent of the protection of the great Slavic Empire of the North. Indeed Montenegro, with two seaports on the Adriatic, is financed almost entirely by Russia. Russia's success was, however, practically nullified by Austria's securing protectorate rights over the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to the north of Montenegro, and of Novi-bazar, lying between Montenegro and Servia. The possession of the former gave Austria an enlarged sea coast on the Adriatic and deprived Montenegro of all but a very small section of her natural sea line. The possession of the latter frustrated Russia's plan of forming a chain of Slavic states across the peninsula. But when after the Turkish Revolution of 1908 Austria annexed Bosnia and Herzegovina and restored Novi-bazar to Turkey, lest the annexation of that piece of territory also should prove too flagrant a breach of the Berlin Treaty, she opened the way for the fulfilment of Serb ambition through the recent conquest of Novi-bazar by the allied forces of Servia and Montenegro and the consequent joining of the boundaries of these two states. Thus the victory of the Balkan allies has completed Russia's scheme for the formation of a line of Slavic states across the peninsula, though at this date with very uncertain benefits to Russia herself, for the Balkan states are by no means prepared to make themselves the tools of Russia. But the more important aspect of this victory is that it has shattered Austria's dream of ultimately securing possession of a strip of Turkish territory down to and including Salonica. The possession of all the eastern coast of the Adriatic, with the exception of the two Montenegrin seaports, would have given Austria a large sea coast, whereas her present coast is so short that it could easily be blockaded by the blockading of the Adriatic The possession of Salonica was a question of territorial aggrandizement on the occasion of the partition of Turkey. In both these plans she has been forestalled, and fearing lest by the formation of a strong Greco-Slavic federation in the Balkans she be confined to the northern Adriatic, she has played her cards as well as she could in securing the formation of an autonomous Albanian kingdom on the east coast of the Adriatic, thereby confining Montenegro to her original sea-coast, depriving Servia of all access to the sea, and placing in the Balkan peninsula a discordant element.