Of The Barytone





"Our Barytone I almost had forgot;



* * * * *



In lover's parts, his passion more to breathe,

Having no heart to show, he shows his teeth."--BYRON.





The Barytone of the opera is probably the most inoffensive individual in

the world. This is his peculiarity. Even his fierceness on the stage is

done with an effort; and when in the course of a piece he is

unfortunately called on to massacre somebody, we always fancy that he

does it with the most unfeigned reluctance, and for aught we know, with

silent tears. He is generally of a bashful, retiring disposition, and

pretty nearly always awkward. This perhaps arises from the anomalous

position he occupies in operatical society. He cannot be on good terms

with the basso,--they have too much similarity in their voices for that;

he is on no more friendly relations with the tenor for the same reason.

Besides never daring to aspire to the familiarity with the prima donna

which that worthy enjoys, he suffers under the affliction of conscious

diffidence in their presence.






The barytone must as surely be the king as the basso must be the tyrant;

indeed we have often thought of the startling effect which would be

produced by an opera in which this law of nature was reversed. To hear

the lover growling his tender feelings in a gutteral E flat, and moaning

his hard lot in a series of double D.'s; to listen to the remorseless

tyrant ordering his myrmidons to "away with him to the deepest dungeon

'neath the castle moat," in the most soothing and mellifluous of tenor

head notes, would produce such a revulsion in operatic taste, as surely

to create a deep sensation, if nothing more.





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