Music Composers

Charles Gounod-Part 4

We had dined early that evening as we had no reserved seats (this would have been far too costly), and we had to be at the opera house before the doors were opened, with the crowd of people who waited on the chance of finding places untaken in the pit. Even this was a terrible expense for my mother as the seats cost three francs and seventy-five centimes each (about seventy-five cents)."

"It was bitterly cold; for two mortal hours did Urbain and I wait, stamping our frozen toes, for the happy moment when the string of people began to move past the ticket office window. We got inside at last. Never shall I forget my first sight of the great theater, the curtain and the brilliant lights. I felt as if I were in some temple, as if a heavenly vision must shortly rise upon my sight. At last the solemn moment came. I heard the stage manager's three knocks and the overture began. My hearts was beating like a sledge hammer. Oh, that night! that night! what a rapture, what Elysium! Malibran, Rubini, Lablache, Tamburini, the voices, the orchestra! I was literally beside myself. That night I never closed my eyes; I was haunted, 'possessed.' I was wild to write an Otello myself."

Charles never forgot his mother's sacrifices, and his devotion to her up to the time of his death was very beautiful. The following lines found in the preface to his autobiography are well worth quoting:

The Etude Magazine November 1912





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