A letter from Ralph Vaughan Williams to Peter Tranchell

Tags: opera, letter

Spotted here: http://vaughanwilliams.uk/letter/vwl2265

Note from Richard Andrewes at Cambridge University Library dated 17th August 1995: "I have found a RVW letter amongst Peter Tranchell’s papers dealing with his opera ‘The Mayor of Casterbridge’ which was first  performed in Cambridge Monday 30th July - Saturday 4th August  1951. It is mounted in a vast porfolio put together by Peter Tranchell after the production was over".

8th August, 1951.

The White Gates,
Dorking,
Surrey.

Dear Mr. Tranchell,

I was very much interested in your opera.  Of course to my old-fashioned ears there were rather too many “wrong notes” in the music, but that is my misfortune.  It seemed to me, if I may say so, that your music definitely understood the stage and was very effective dramatic music, which is after all what opera should be.
I thought it very clever of your librettist to have managed a logical story without including Lucetta.  At first I thought it must have been impossible and it reminded me of two of my great-aunts who performed “The Merry Wives of Windsor” without Falstaff! But all was well in the end
Also I feel there was not enough of Farfrae.  Almost before we knew of his existence we found him dismissed.  I do feel a little more ought to be made of him if you revise the opera.
I thought the performance was excellent and the production.
I hope I shall hear more of your music.
Yours sincerely

R. Vaughan Williams

Peter Tranchell, Esq.
The Arts Theatre,
Cambridge.