B1936. CARL VAN VECHTEN. Interpreters - Opera Biographies incl. Fremstad, Farrar, Garden, Chaliapin, Mazarin, Guilbert & Nijinsky. New York, Arno Press, 1977 [reprint of the 1922 Knopf Edition]. 201pp. Index; Photos; Edited by Andrew Farkas & W. R. Moran; Photos. - 0-405-09713-1
"The ‘interpreters’ are seven stage performers miraculously resurrected & presented in scintillating reviews written by the perceptive-and-insightful Carl Van Vechten more than a hundred years ago. Unbeknownst to me, Mr. Van Vechten's reviews had been out there, all this time, looming, lost continents, just sitting there, hanging around, doing nothing, waiting to be discovered. Having discovered INTERPRETERS, I cannot contain my enthusiasm. [All] comes alive in our minds as we read and re-read Mr. Van Vechten's captivating reviews of liberating performances that rocked the stage - and shook up audiences - more than a century ago. Reading about such exciting goings-on is exciting. But we readers do not live by excitement alone. We must come up for air.
Entertained to the gills, yearning for deeper meaning, and hoping to find it, we do when we come to the Epilogue that closes out this miraculous little book. What an Epilogue! Brilliantly it answers the head-scratching question of what to make of all this stuff. Some epilogues are superfluous. This one is not. Indeed, I would go so far as to say that this Epilogue is essential. How essential is it? Very.
As I lost myself in this book, I, as reader, was delighted to be let loose in an enchanted forest populated by Mr. Van Vechten's seven reviews of seven interpreters. Each review of each interpreter stands alone - and stands apart - as a separate and distinct grove of century-old trees rooted in their own special place in the enchanted forest. Everything - every tree - every grove of trees -- is as it should be & where it should be. Interpreters appear in comparatively few places for a comparatively short time. The number of people who can see or hear these interpreters is relatively small; consequently they (the public) like to read about them. As for posterity, it is absolutely dependent upon books for its knowledge of interpreters of a bygone day.”
- Tom Dolan