[Met Performance] CID:1060
Lucia di Lammermoor {2} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/2/1883.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 2, 1883


LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR {2}

Lucia...................Marcella Sembrich
Edgardo.................Italo Campanini
Enrico..................Giuseppe Kaschmann
Raimondo................Achille Augier
Normanno................Amadeo Grazzi
Alisa...................Imogene Forti
Arturo..................Vincenzo Fornaris

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

The sextet was repeated


Review in The New York Times

A thoroughly good stage representation is not possible when there is a lack of empathy between the actors and their audience. This is so familiar a truth that it has become a maxim among public performers. "Lucia" was repeated at the Metropolitan Opera-house last evening by the artists who gave such a brilliant rendering of Donizetti's famous work 10 days ago, and, as a matter of fact, it would require a very observing critic to indicate any salient point at which the performance last night differed from the previous one. Perhaps Signor Vianesi did not succeed at times in retaining perfect control of all his instrumentalists, (some of whom have apparently come from abroad with an ambition to make a big noise in the new world,) and perhaps the sudden change in the weather had slightly dimmed the luster of the splendid voices of Mr. Abbey's artists. Certainly the chorus lagged in its work woefully at the beginning of the opera. But such trifling deficiencies as there were upon the stage furnished no sound reason for the apathy of the people in the boxes and stalls. They have cordially applauded before, even in this new house, within the last fortnight, representations which would not bear comparison with that of last evening. It is useless to argue that Donizetti's opera is getting stale. It is only a little more than a week older than it was when almost every scene in it was cheered to the echo by an audience no larger than that of last night. Against the dullness of their hearers all the principals in last night's cast contended with a will. Mine. Sembrich. whose tasteful and fluent delivery of the two first arias of the heroine were received with very little demonstration, did not spare her energy on that account, and Signor Campanini, whose recent indisposition has slightly told upon him, infused the same old spirit into his impersonation of Edgardo. Owing to the efforts of these two the first curtain fell upon a somewhat awakened audience, the impassioned rendering of "Verranno a te sull" not wholly failing in its effect, and both the tenor and the soprano were summoned to the footlights. Throughout the second act, which was heard (until the stirring sextet and finale) with the same listlessness as most of the first, excellent work was done by all the chief artists and the chorus as well. The great show piece has been better sung, but not often, and the mild burst of applause which it drew from the auditorium caused Signor Vianesi to order its repetition, evidently against the will of some of the singers.

With such an audience, and after two-thirds of the opera had been sung, it was surprising that the performance should be brought to a close in a brilliant manner. Yet it is a fact that both Signor Campanini and Mme. Sembrich succeeded not only in arousing their apathetic hearers to a very striking pitch of enthusiasm, but also in overcoming the depression of spirits which they both must have felt after their thankless tasks in the earlier portions of the opera, so that their work in the two remaining scenes was of more than ordinary excellence. Indeed, it is doubtful if the Hungarian prima donna has yet displayed the rare beauty of her voice and its astonishing range so well as in the two arias of the mad scene last night, and not only was her singing brilliantly effective as singing, but she retained, during this whole scene, a clear conception of the character she was portraying, which is not always the case with impersonators of Lucia. After her delightful rendering of "Spargi d'amaro," Mine. Sembrich was called many times to the front, and flowers were strewn before her on the stage, not the set pieces brought in from the lobbies by the smiling ushers, but bouquets from the ladies in the boxes, tributes of real admiration. As for the tenor, he was equally successful in the closing scene, for which the entire audience waited. His beautiful singing of "Fra Poco" and "Tu che a Dio" have charmed many ears in days gone by, but these two familiar melodies were never given with more of the sentiment and expression they call for than they were last evening. Signor Kaschmann's Enrico and M. Angler's Raimondo were both greatly admired.

Not the least agreeable feature of the presentation of "La Traviata" by Mr. Abbey's company next Monday evening will be the return to our stage of Mme. Malvina Cavallazzi, than whom no more graceful dancer has visited us since the class of Fanny Elssler. Mme. Cavallazzi will lead the divertissement in the ball-room scene of Verdi's opera, and it is safe to anticipate for her a cordial reception. In "La Traviata" Mme. Sembrich will sing Violetta. "Mignon" will be the opera at today's matinée.



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