[Met Performance] CID:10270
Les Huguenots {21} Metropolitan Opera House: 12/18/1891.

(Debut: Lillian Nordica
Reviews)


Metropolitan Opera House
December 18, 1891
In Italian


LES HUGUENOTS {21}

Marguerite de Valois....Maria Pettigiani
Raoul de Nangis.........Jean de Reszke
Valentine...............Lillian Nordica [Debut]
Count de Nevers.........Antonio Magini-Coletti
Urbain..................Jane De Vigne
Count de Saint Bris.....Enrico Serbolini
Marcel..................Edouard de Reszke
Tavannes................Giuseppe Cernusco
Cossé...................Antonio Rinaldini
Retz....................Lodovico Viviani
Lady of Honor...........Mathilde Bauermeister
Bois-Rosé...............Mr. Grossi
Maurevert...............Antonio De Vaschetti
Dance...................Rebecca Salmoiraghi

Conductor...............Auguste Vianesi

Review of Henry Krehbiel in the New York Tribune

The announcement of "Les Huguenots" for the third night of the Italian season brought out an audience larger and more brilliant than either of the two that had previously gathered to hear Mr. Abbey's company. The further disclosures of the strength of the company were expected with interest. That they were made in a different manner from what had been promised seemed to be a matter of but slight disappointment to the audience, for the substitutions that were made did not fail to give obvious pleasure and gratification. The announcement had been made a day or two ago that Mme. Albani was prevented by illness from making her reappearance in New York, and before the audience has passed the doors they had seen another notice that Mme. Scalchi was likewise kept from singing. Mme. Albani's place was filled by Mme. Lillian Nordica and Mme. Scalchi's by Mlle. Jane de Vigne, both of whom appeared at extremely short notice.

The performance was, therefore, not one to be judged in all respects as a fair showing of the best that may be expected from Mr. Abbey's forces in "Les Huguenots." It was, however, on the whole a vigorous and spirited one, and in many points gained demonstrative acceptance. The quality of Mme. Nordica's art as a vocalist, as well as her interpretation of the part of Valentina, is familiar; her performance last evening was an extremely creditable one under the circumstances. She was in excellent voice and acted with great spirit; the audience was prone to forgive one or two disasters of a lesser sort. The Messrs. De Reszke appeared as Raoul and Marcello; both were in the prim of their vocal condition, and their singing was of much distinguished warmth and power. Signor Vianesi's expertness and absolute familiarity with the score at several times saved the performance from unpleasant complications. It could not, however, save it from the astonishing performance of the viola player who accompanied Edouard de Reszke's solo in the first act, nor from many other crudities of the orchestra. The work of the chorus grows less objectionable as the season advances.


Unsigned review in The New York Times

The third evening of Messrs. Abbey and Grau's season of grand opera in French and Italian at the Metropolitan Opera House was the most brilliant of the week in appearance, and in some respects the most satisfactory in its artistic aspect. The audience was one of good size and of most amiable disposition, and it found numerous opportunities for the bestowal of liberal applause. Meyerbeer was in the habit of constructing his operas in such a way as to suggest applause at certain places, and his music, particularly in "Les Huguenots," the opera of last night, is of a nature to command readily the plaudits of those who are fond of fiorituri and tours de force.

"Les Huguenots" is an opera which demands a very strong cast. Masers. Abbey and Grau had nominated Mme. Albani for the role of Valentine and Mme. Scalchi for that of the page, but both were sick and unable to appear. Mme. Lillian Nordica was in Cleveland three days ago singing in concert, and the telegraph summoned her to this city to take Mme. Albani's place, while Mme. Scalchi's task was undertaken by
Mlle. Jane de Vigne. Mme. Nordica's performance of Valentine is sufficiently familiar to this public to pass without further comment than the statement that it was quite up to its usual level last night. Mlle. de Vigne possesses one of those light and aqueous voices which are always highly successful at the Grand Opéra of Paris. She sang the page's music tolerably, however, her "Nobil signor" being carefully phrased, if nothing more.

Mlle. Pettigiani who was the Marguerite de Valois, appears to be a great favorite with the managers who at present control the local opera. It is difficult to find the reason of this. Her voice is neither large nor interesting, and her delivery is obscured by mannerisms which are, to say the least, unattractive.

The centres of interest were again the de Reszke brothers. Jean de Reszke sang the music of Raoul charmingly, and made a manly picture of the unfortunate young nobleman. This tenor justifies the promise which preceded him. His voice is in no way remarkable, but his singing is thoroughly artistic. Edouard de Reszke's Marcello was an imposing presentation both vocally and pictorially. His delivery of the Lutheran hymn in the first scene was noble in breadth and sonority, and his "Pif paf, pouf" was admirable in spirit.

Signor Magini-Coletti was much more acceptable in the role of De Nevers than he was in that of Capulet. He sang his music with a less pronounced tremolo, thus displaying the agreeable quality of his voice to better advantage. His acting of the part was especially commendable. St. Bris was in the hands of Signor Serbolini who proved to be a conventional singer and actor.

The chorus discharged its duties tolerably, but the orchestra was not at all times up to the standard of excellence demanded by this public. The performance of the viola obligato accompanying Raoul's first air was one of the most discomforting performances ever heard in the Opera House, and it was an evidence of M. Jean de Reszke's ability as a musician that he was able to keep the pitch. On the whole, however, the performance of the opera was one of respectable merit. If the women had been as good as the men the evening's work would have commanded higher praise.



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