[Met Performance] CID:101230
Carmen {309} Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, Brooklyn: 01/29/1929.

(Review)


New York, Brooklyn
January 29, 1929


CARMEN {309}

Carmen..................Maria Jeritza
Don José................Giovanni Martinelli
Micaela.................Nina Morgana
Escamillo...............Lawrence Tibbett
Frasquita...............Charlotte Ryan
Mercédès................Merle Alcock
Remendado...............Angelo Badà
Dancaïre................Millo Picco
Zuniga..................Louis D'Angelo
Moralès.................George Cehanovsky

Act IV Ballet - Arranged by Rosina Galli, Premiere Danseuse

1. Entrance of Farandole: Corps de Ballet
2. "Petit Mari, Petite Femme" ("Jeux d'Enfant"): Rosina Galli, Giuseppe Bonfiglio
3. Farandole: Rosina Galli, Giuseppe Bonfiglio, Corps de Ballet

Conductor...............Louis Hasselmans

Review of Felix Deyo in the Brooklyn Standard Union

'Carmen' at the Academy

Mme. Jeritza's altogether individual assumption of the role of Carmen in Bizet's opera was exhibited to a very large audience last night at the Academy of Music. It was the seventh subscription performance of the Metropolitan Opera series in Brooklyn with five others yet calendared, between now and March 30….

So individual, indeed, the Carmen of Jeritza that we would probably best explain it by inverting names - Carmen as Jeritza. Last season the diva received a severe critical castigation following her first Carmen appearance. This season she has tamed down her theatrics a bit, but to no avail insofar as an authentic interpretation might be a desideratum. This Carmen (as we also once pointed out in a review of Mme. Jeritza's Santuzza) is of the north and not of the south. It does not represent, nor is it, Andulusian. In other roles, yes, we can revel in the glorious blonde tresses and alabaster complexion of the Jeritza but scarcely so in her portrayal of Carmen. There is, after all, even in the frequent hocus-pocus of grand opera librettos, such a thing as desirable artistic verisimilitude. "My gypsy," wrote Prosper Merimee himself, "had skin very nearly the color of copper…her black hair, perhaps too thick, had the bluish reflection of the raven's wing."

It will serve no special purpose, however, to enter too minutely into the many points of divergence between the Carmen of Merimee-Bizet and the Carmen of Jeritza, for we prefer to be anything rather than captious or meticulous in our critical reporting and commentations. Still, conscience (as a newspaper man) bids us to be accurate. And our conclusion is that Carmen is a role outside the purview of Mme. Jeritza's talents. Her characterization is permeated with external theatricalisms and does not take on the suppressed, smoldering love and hatred of southern Spain. We missed the wildcat Carmen of our fancy, the wanton feline, saucy, ready "to scratch or bite, as occasion might require (at its fiercest, the Jeritza Carmen was never more ferocious than a pussycat). There were petticoats-a-plenty last night, silks, satins, beads - but no Carmen. And on its vocal side, Madame's singing was woefully lacking in luster and color. Her voice was white and cool. The Carmen of our ideal sings in red warm tones. We need press the point no further.

Notwithstanding which, we derived personal enjoyment, as invariably we do, when Jeritza appears. Of singing-actresses now before New York's public (since Mary Garden abdicated for points West) Jeritza is incontestably the most interesting. We are not inconsistent, therefore in recording our pleasurable reactions to her Carmen of last evening. The personality of Jeritza remains supreme. As usual, the audience made manifest its delight in her presence.

Mr. Martinelli's Don José is a familiar portrait, curly haired and operatically handsome. He sang the music well. Mr. Tibbett brought charm and vibrancy to his acting and singing as Escamillo. The other ladies and gentlemen of the cast, including chorus and dancers, completed their part of the picture satisfactorily. Under the impelling beat of Mr. Hasselmans, the themes and melodies of Bizet took on fresh contours. Need we add our admiration for the opera itself, as music miraculously beautiful, poignant and rhythmic.



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