[Met Performance] CID:114560
Roméo et Juliette {171} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/3/1934.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 3, 1934


ROMÉO ET JULIETTE {171}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Roméo...................Charles Hackett
Juliette................Lucrezia Bori
Frère Laurent...........Léon Rothier
Stéphano................Gladys Swarthout
Mercutio................Giuseppe De Luca
Benvolio................Max Altglass
Gertrude................Henriette Wakefield
Capulet.................Louis D'Angelo
Tybalt..................Angelo Badà
Pâris...................Millo Picco
Grégorio................Paolo Ananian
Duke of Verona..........Arthur Anderson

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

Director................Armando Agnini
Set designer............Joseph Urban
Costume designer........Gretel Urban
Choreographer...........Rosina Galli

Roméo et Juliette received two performances this season.

Review of A. Walter Kramer in the February 10, 1934 issue of Musical America

Charles Hackett Wins Unanimous Approval as Romeo in Re-entry

Charles Hackett, recognized abroad as well as in this country as one of the best of American tenors, returned to the Metropolitan Opera on Saturday evening, Feb. 3, as Romeo in Gounod's opera, "Romeo and Juliet." He had not sung the role here before, but it had won marked favor in Chicago, where he was one of the stars of the Chicago Civic Opera.

A large audience, gathered for the annual benefit for the French Benevolent Society and Hospital, comprising many French and Franco-Americans, gave him a very hearty welcome and made him feel that his singing of their music (for Gounod is truly the most French of composers), his feeling for its style and his treatment of their language, merited their unanimous approval.

Mr. Hackett gave of his best and sang the difficult role so beautifully as to command the admiration and respect of music lover and musician alike. His voice is one of great appeal, his phrasing sensitive, his appreciation of the subtleties of the French language that of a true artist, who has studied this important factor of the singer's task. His singing of the big aria in Act II was applauded to the echo. But an even greater accomplishment was his splendid pianissimo singing at the close of the act. How pitiful the efforts of the two French tenors, imported in recent years by the Metropolitan, compared with Mr. Hackett's fine achievement as Romeo!

Miss Bori was in superb voice and gave an appealing portrayal of Juliet. There was warm applause for Miss Swarthout in Act III after she sang Stephano's air charmingly. Mr. De Luca's Mercutio was as usual a fine performance, as was Mr. Bada's Tybalt, Mr. D'Angelo's Capulet, Mr. Rothier's Friar Laurent, Mr. Anderson's Duke of Verona and Mme. Wakefield's Gertrude. The others were the Messrs. Altglass, Picco and Ananian. The stage direction was quite hopeless in several important places. A word for the magnificent singing of the chorus, reflecting credit on Mr. Setti.

Mr. Hasselmans was the conductor of the evening. In other hands the performance would have gained in vitality and climax, two qualities in which Mr. Hasselmans seems to be so deficient. The Metropolitan still believes in having French operas conducted by a Frenchman. Some day it will produce "Carmen," or even "Romeo," conducted by Mr. Serafin and realize how magnificently an Italian can conduct French music. It is not a matter of nationality, but of ability.



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