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description beautiful. I performed Antipholus of Ephesus, and a Signor Calvasi, Antipholus of Syracuse, we were both of the same height, and strove to render our persons as like each other as we could.
About the time of which I am now speaking, the celebrated poet, L'Abbate Casti, came from Italy to Vienna, on a visit to Prince Rosenberg. He was esteemed by the literati, the severest satirist since the days of Aretin. The Animali Parlanti, for its wit and satire, will always be remembered. Just at the same period, the celebrated Paesiello arrived at Vienna, on his way to Naples, frona Petersburg, where he had been some years, and amassed very great wealth. I
done, but he never did. It is singular, that more than thirtysix years after I had suggested the idea, the proprietors of Covent Garden should bring the play forward as an opera ; yet, had it been produced at Drury Lane at the time I mentioned it, my friend, Prince Hoare, would not have had in his excellent afterpiece, called “ No Song no Supper,'' the beautiful sestetto, “ Hope a distant joy disclosing;” for that piece of music, and the trio, “ Knocking at this time of day,' were both in the Equivoci; or, Italian Comedy of Errors, The music used, where Antipholus seeks admittance into his house, and his wife calls the guard, was that fine chorus in the Pirates, “ Hark the guard is coming,” and was certainly one of the most effective pieces of music ever heard. Both the songs sung by me in the Pirates, at Drury Lane, I had sung at Vienna , in the same opera of the Equivoci : Storace certainly enriched liis English pieces, but I lamented to see his beau. tiful Italian opera dismantled.
, had the pleasure of seeing him introduced to Mozart; it was gratifying to witness the satisfaction which they appeared to feel by becoming acquainted ; the esteem which they had for each other was well known. The meeting took place at Mozart's house ; I dined with them, and often afterwards enjoyed their society together.
The Emperor hearing that Casti and Paesiello were in Vienna, wished to have them presented to him on the first levee day; they were accordingly introduced to His Majesty by the Great Chamberlain. The compositions of Paesiello were always in high favour with the Emperor. His Majesty said to them, with his usual affability, “ I think I may say, I have now before me two of the greatest geniuses alive; and it would be most gratifying to me, to have an opera, the joint production of both, performed at my theatre ;” they of course obeyed the flattering command, and the greatest expectations were excited by the union of such talents.
One day, during the stay of Paesiello, I heard him relate an anecdote illustrative of the kindness of the Empress Catherine of Russia towards him. She was his scholar; and while he was accompanying her one bitter cold morning, he shuddered with the cold. Her Majesty perceiving it, took off a beautiful cloak which she had on, ornamented
with clasps of brilliants of great value, and threw it over his shoulders. Another mark of esteem for him, she evinced by her reply to Marshal Beloselsky. The Marshal, agitated, it is believed, by the “green-eyed monster," forgot himself so far as to give Paesiello a blow; Paesiello, who was a powerful athletic man, gave him a sound drubbing. In return, the Marshal laid his complaint before the Empress, and demanded from her Majesty the immediate dismissal of Paesiello from the Court, for having had the audacity to return a blow upon a Marshal of the Russian Empire. Catherine's reply was, “ I neither can nor will attend to your request; you forgot your dignity when you gave an unoffending man and a great artist a blow; are you surprised that he should have forgotten it too? and as to rank, it is in my power, Sir, to make fifty marshals, but not one Paesiello."
I give the above anecdote as I heard it, although I confess it is rather a strange coincidence, that a similar circumstance should have occurred to Holbein, when a complaint was made against him to Henry VIII. by a Peer of Great Britain.
Casti was a remarkably quick writer ; in a short time he finished his drama, entitled “ Il Re Teodoro." It was said, Joseph II. gave him the subject, and that it was intended as a satire upon
the King of Sweden, but the fact I believe was never
ascertained. The characters of the drama were Teodoro, Signor Mandini; Taddeo, the Venetian innkeeper, Bennuci; the sultan Achmet, Bussani ; his sultana, Signora Laschi; Lisetta, daughter to the innkeeper, Signora Storace; and Sandrino, her lover, Signor Viganoni ; all these performers were excellent in their way, and their characters strongly pourtrayed ; but the most marked part, and on which the able Casti had bestowed the most pains, was that of Gafferio, the king's secretary. This character was written avowedly, as a satire on General Paoli, and drawn with a masterly hand. Casti declared, there was not a person in our company (not otherwise employed in the opera) capable of undertaking this part. It was decided, therefore, by the directors of the theatre, to send immediately to Venice, to engage Signor Blasi, at any price, to come and play it. This delayed us a little, and in the interim, Storace gave a quartett party to his friends. The players were tolerable; not one of them excelled on the instrument he played, but there was science among them, which I dare say will be acknowledged when I name them:
The poet Casti and Paesiello formed part of the audience. I was there, and a greater treat, or a more remarkable one, cannot be imagined.
On the particular evening to which I am now specially referring, after the musical feast was over, we sat down to an excellent supper, and became joyous and lively in the extreme. After several songs had been sung, Storace, who was present, asked me to give them the Canzonetta. Now thereby hung a tale, new to the company! The truth was this:- There was an old miser of the name of Varesi, living at Vienna, who absolutely denied himself the common necessaries of life, and who made up his meals by pilfering fruits and sweetmeats from the parties to which he was invited; the canzonetta for which Storace asked, he was particularly fond of singing with a tremulous voice, accompanied by extraordinary gestures, and a shake of the head; it was, in fact, this imitation which I was called upon to exhibit, and I did so. During my performance, I perceived Casti particularly attentive, and when I had finished, he turned to Paesiello, and said, “ This is the very
' fellow to act the character of Gafferio, in our opera; this boy shall be our old man! and if he keep old Varesi in his eye when he acts it, I will answer for his success." The opera was brought out, the drama was excellent, and the music was acknow