[Met Performance] CID:101570
Les Contes d'Hoffmann {37} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/21/1929.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 21, 1929


LES CONTES D'HOFFMANN {37}
Jacques Offenbach-Jules Barbier


Hoffmann................Armand Tokatyan
Olympia.................Nina Morgana
Giulietta...............Dorothee Manski
Antonia.................Lucrezia Bori
Lindorf.................James Wolfe
Coppélius...............Pavel Ludikar
Dappertutto.............Giuseppe De Luca
Dr. Miracle.............Léon Rothier
Nicklausse..............Merle Alcock
Andrès..................Angelo Badà
Cochenille..............Angelo Badà
Pitichinaccio...........Angelo Badà
Frantz..................Angelo Badà
Luther..................Millo Picco
Nathanael...............Max Altglass
Hermann.................Arnold Gabor
Spalanzani..............Louis D'Angelo
Schlemil................George Cehanovsky
Crespel.................Louis D'Angelo
Mother's Voice..........Henriette Wakefield

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

Director................Wilhelm von Wymetal
Set designer............Joseph Urban

Les Contes d'Hoffmann rreceived three performances this season.

Review of Charles D. Isaacson in the New York Telegram

That romantic devil, Hoffmann, continued to fascinate his listeners as he narrated the tales of his curious love affairs. For the first time this season, the Metropolitan Opera Company presented Offenbach's tuneful opera, "The Tales of Hoffmann." Came the Doll, through the enchanted spectacles, appeared as human as she was divinely beautiful; came the Venetian Temptress, who through the eyes of passion, appeared as sincere as she was amorous; came the Dying Antonia, who through the veil of sentiment, seemed as infinite as she was tender. And Hoffmann, always moved by the call of his susceptible heart, loved and lost them all.

Each succeeding time that we view the "Tales" we realize what a supreme showman and musical creator was Offenbach. Thus, in the prologue, where Hoffmann, at the Tavern of Master Luther, mysteriously and eloquently tells his stories, the orchestral accompaniment sung forth with sweeping and insinuating beauties, The music continues to delight. Even the Doll Song has a strangely insinuating loveliness which does not mute with the years. The comedy never palls, the obviously fantastic fairy-tale framework still seems as quaint and adorable as ever. There is no doubt that Offenbach's masterpiece belongs in the permanent repertoire of the lyrical stage, and could not possibly be replaced.


The performance Thursday was in many respects delightful. Tokatyan is to the eye and ear a perfect Hoffmann, and his companion, Niklaus, no longer Kathleen Howard, but now the attractive Merle Alcock, did well - especially after the first scene. Nina Morgana has the doll technique as no other soprano; she seemed all made of fleshless parts. Her voice was in better condition that it has been these past days.

Originally, Leonora Corona had been scheduled to sing Giulietta the lady of Venice. Probably it was realized that the American girl is being given a heavy season in a little while, so Manski took the role. Manski sang and acted well, but she is miles too big for realistic purposes.

Naturally, Bori is the supreme interpreter of any character of the sympathetic qualities of Antonia; the audience wept and suffered. Characterization is half the battle in "The Tales." And when Rothier is Dr. Miracle, the important role is more than safe; it is flawless. Also when such a great artist as de Luca is Dapertutto, that singing, liar-nobleman is not to be surpassed. Mr. Ludikar played Coppelius; Mr. d'Angelo, Spalanzani; Cehanovsky, Schlemil, and James Wolfe, Lindorf.

The orchestra was not up to the standard. The week is heavy at the Opera, with a dozen performances and the men are showing signs of wearing out. Mr. Hasselmans conducted faithfully.



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