[Met Performance] CID:100520
L'Africaine {55} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/6/1928.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 6, 1928
In Italian


L'AFRICAINE {55}

Sélika..................Elisabeth Rethberg
Vasco de Gama...........Beniamino Gigli
Inès....................Louise Lerch
Nélusko.................Mario Basiola
Pedro...................Adamo Didur
Diégo...................Paolo Ananian
Alvar...................Angelo Badà
Grand Inquisitor........Léon Rothier
High Priest.............Léon Rothier
Anna....................Henriette Wakefield
Usher...................Vincenzo Reschiglian
Officer.................Max Altglass

Conductor...............Tullio Serafin

Review (unsigned), probably Henderson, in the New York Sun

Mme. Rethberg Sings in 'L'Africaine'

A performance of Meyerbeer's "L'Africaine" was heartily applauded at the Metropolitan Opera House by an audience obviously in a receptive humor. Mme. Elisabeth Rethberg assumed the garb of Selika. She had sung the part once before at a Saturday evening performance in February 1925. The music contains some declamatory passages not favorable to this soprano's voice and of a kind which she ought to be chary of singing. But in the more lyric phrases the natural beauty of her tones and her commendable singing were enjoyable. Dramatically she was intelligent, but not forceful.

Louise Lerch replaced Queena Mario as Inez and made a credible effort. But too frequently her delivery was marred by a vicious tremolo which so young a singer ought not to have. Mr. Gigli as Vasco di Gama was in very bad voice and labored through much of his music. His high tones had little quality and his medium sounded thick and heavy. But he was vigorously applauded.

As Nelusko Mr. Basiola made the most of every upper tone and precious little of anything else. Mr. Rothier said the prayers and uttered the imprecations of the clergy, Christian and heathen, with routine, but not with great, sonority. There were also Mr. Didur as Don Pedro and Mr. Ananian as Don Diego, not to speak of Mr. Bada as Don Alvaro.

Mr. Serafin conducted and did some skillful shifts of time to accommodate hesitating singers. In the circumstances Meyerbeer's pretentious and shallow score did not acquire any factitious importance. But the audience gave liberally of its applause.



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