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final aim of Greek tragedy! Let us but look at the Grecian tragic poets with respect to what most excited their diligence, their inventiveness, and their emulation, — certainly it was not the intention of subjugating the spectators by emotion! The Athenian went to the theatre to hear fine talking! And fine talking was arrived at by Sophocles! pardon me this heresy! — It is very different with serious opera: all its masters make it their business to prevent their personages being understood. "An occasional word picked up may come to the assistance of the inattentive listener; but on the whole the situation must be self-explanatory, the talking is of no account! " — so they all think, and so they have all made fun of the words. Perhaps they have only lacked courage to express fully their extreme contempt for words: a little additional insolence in Rossini, and he would have allowed la-la-la-la to be sung throughout — and it might have been the rational course ! The personages of the opera are not meant to be believed "in their words," but in their tones! That is the difference, that is the fine unnaturalness on account of which people go to the opera! Even the recitativo secco is not really intended to be heard as words and text: this kind of half-music is meant rather in the first place to give the musical ear a little repose (the repose from melody, as from the sublimest, and on that account the most straining enjoyment of this art),— but very soon something different results, namely, an increasing impatience, an increasing resistance, a new longing for entire music, for melody.— How is it with the art of