[Met Performance] CID:10740
L'Africaine {11} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/15/1892.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 15, 1892
In Italian


L'AFRICAINE {11}

Sélika..................Lilli Lehmann
Vasco de Gama...........Jean de Reszke
Inès....................Maria Pettigiani
Nélusko.................Jean Lassalle
Pedro...................Edouard de Reszke
Diégo...................Lodovico Viviani
Alvar...................Mr. Monti [Last performance]
Grand Inquisitor........Jules Vinché
High Priest.............Enrico Serbolini
Anna....................Mathilde Bauermeister
Usher...................Mr. Grossi

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

Unsigned review in The New York Times

LEHMANN IN "L'AFRICAINE."

The audience at the Metropolitan Opera House last night fell but little short of being commensurate in dimensions with the merits of the performance then given of "L'Africaine." All the boxes, with the exception of within a dozen, were occupied; the lower part of the house was pretty entirely pre-empted, while the upper tiers were fairly well filled. Meyerbeer's striking and romantic work has seldom had a more telling and effective representation than on the occasion under notice - a representation which, while creditable alike in respect of perfection of ensemble and completeness of mise en scene, was chiefly notable for the superlative work accomplished by at least three of the principals engaged therein. These were M. Lassalle, the nobility of whose Nelusko has never been surpassed, if, indeed, it may be said to have been equaled, on this stage; the Vasco de Gama of M. Jean de Reszke, which roused the audience to the utmost enthusiasm; and the Selika of Lilli Lehmann.

The circumstance of Mme. Lehmann's essaying the role of the heroine of "L'Africaine," for the first time on this occasion, undoubtedly had considerable to do with bringing out last night's uncommonly large gathering of opera lovers, And these were abundantly repaid for the venture. There have been Selikas who have looked the part to better purpose than Mme. Lehmann, but none who has fulfilled its every lyric and dramatic requirement to so full satisfaction. The Selika of Mme. Lehmann was regal in conception and embodiment and from her entrance on the stage as the captive slave to the final death scene of the broken-hearted Queen, her portrayal left nothing to be desired. In the aria assigned to Selika in the prison scene in the second act the effect created by the artist was overwhelming, the entire gamut of passionate devotion and despair finding expression in both voice and action, and with an impressiveness which was only exceeded, if that were possible, in the parting interview with Vasco, where the alternations of expectant hope, of joy and rapturous bliss, followed by the desire for vengeance. giving way to feelings of womanly tenderness and forgiveness, were admirably managed. The culmination of the tragedy under the fatal tree had the added charm of pathos. and the audience lingered long to testify its appreciative recognition of the unquestioned triumph achieved by Mme. Lehmann.



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