The Arsenal And Hall Of Fame.
The art-treasures in the Royal Museum are neither so numerous nor so variable as those in several other European collections, because Berlin is young; and, when Frederick the Great began to purchase for his capital the masterpieces of the past, comparatively few could be obtained. Nevertheless, the selections have been made relics, and casts of mediaeval and modern sculpture. Its most attractive feature, however, is the series of magnificent frescos by Kaulbach which adorn the grand staircase. This, gigantic work, to which the artist devoted nineteen years of toil, illustrates the history and development of the race from the heroic age of Homer, through the destruction of Jerusalem, and the exploits of the Crusaders, to the time of the Reformation. Although modern works these mural paintings would certainly have been admired by the greatest masters of antiquity, and are themselves enough to give Berlin a high position in the realm of the fine arts.
Crusaders At Jerusalem.
Almost directly opposite the museum stands the Royal Opera House, erected by that ardent lover of music Frederick the Great, who tried in every way to make Grand Opera successful in his capital. It must be said that the frail plant, fostered by the Prussian King, has grown and flourished wonderfully. I do not know a city where permanent opera is better patronized. Often, when no remarkable attraction has been advertised, I have been unable to find a good seat in the house. How thoroughly the Germans seem to enjoy an operatic performance! In other portions of the world people too frequently attend the opera merely to see and to be seen. In Germany, however, the music in itself attracts them. Moreover, the Germans are most sensible in respect to their attendance at the opera and theatre. Recognizing the educational benefit to be derived from good music and fine dramatic performances, the Government gives financial aid to the best theatres in all large cities of the empire, so that a high standard of dramatic excellence may be maintained. The officers of the Prussian army are obliged to go, a certain number of times every month, to carefully selected places of amusement, as an aid to culture and refinement. The citizens themselves are so fond of operatic and dramatic performances that they wish to attend more frequently than they could possibly do, if such attendance always necessitated the keeping of late hours. Accordingly, even in Berlin, the time for beginning the performance is often half-past six or seven o'clock, so that by ten the opera is over. The prices for these entertainments are very reasonable. Seventy-five cents will secure one of the best seats in many of the leading theatres in Germany, and tickets for the famous Philharmonic concerts in Berlin cost from ten to twenty cents each. In German theatres, also, an admirable rule requires the removal of hats and bonnets. The result of all this is an audience which does not spend much thought on dress, but assembles for the enjoyment of the piece performed. The attention of the listeners is, therefore, remarkable, and no applause is heard until an act is finished. I greatly admire the respect that Germans pay to music. Even in a concert - restaurant, where hundreds of men and women are partaking of refreshments, the moment that the first strains of the orchestra are heard, the sound of voices and the clatter of dishes cease, and the great hall is absolutely still until the musical selection is completed. Then conversation, laughter, and lunch begin again, to continue until another strain of music once more hushes all to silence.
Statue Of Frederick III.