[Met Performance] CID:11620
New Production / Met Premiere
Orfeo ed Euridice {10}
Pagliacci {1}
Metropolitan Opera House: 12/11/1893.

(Debut: Virginia Colombati, Fernando De Lucia, Pedro Guetary, Mario Ancona, Victor De Gromzeski

Metropolitan Opera House
December 11, 1893
New production

C. W. Gluck-Calzabigi

Orfeo...................Sofia Scalchi
Euridice................Virginia Colombati [Debut]
Amore...................Mathilde Bauermeister
Dance...................Miss Santori

Conductor...............Enrico Bevignani

Director................Armand Castelmary

Orfeo ed Euridice received two performances this season.

Metropolitan Opera Premiere


Nedda...................Nellie Melba
Canio...................Fernando De Lucia [Debut]
Tonio...................Mario Ancona [Debut]
Silvio..................Victor De Gromzeski [Debut]
Beppe...................Pedro Guetary [Debut]

Conductor...............Luigi Mancinelli

Director................Armand Castelmary

Pagliacci received ten performances this season.

[Encore: Mario Ancona repeated the Prologue and Fernando De Lucia repeated "Vesti la giubba"]

Review of W. J. Henderson in The New York Times


Gluck's "Orfeo" and "I Pagliacci" Are the New Combination.

At the Metropolitan Opera House last evening two operas were performed. It used to be the fashion to combine Gluck's "Orfeo" with "Cavalleria Rusticana," but since Leoncavallo wrote "I Pagliacci," another short opera had to found to go with this. So to "Orfeo" was consigned the task of filling up the early part of evenings on which the new Leoncavallo work was to be performed, while "Philemon et Baucis," being something of a novelty, was resurrected to keep company with the older of the two little lyric tragedies.

Gluck's masterpiece, "Orfeo," was used last night as a medium for the reappearance of Mme. Scalchi, and for the introduction of one of the minor sopranos of the company, Mlle. Colombatti. It is beyond question that not much thought was taken as to anything beyond the personal work of these two singers. Gluck's opera can be made interesting in spite of the antique cut of music, which dates back over a hundred years. It was made interesting here when it was given by the American Opera Company, with Mme. Hastreiter as Orfeo and Miss Juch as Euridice. The scenery and costumes and the incidental dances were tasteful and appropriate. One cannot be expected to take the opera seriously when the Elysian Fields are represented by clouds peopled with Christmas-card angels. However, as it all leads up to "Che Faro," and that is what the audience waits for, there is no need to be disturbed about what goes before. Gluck might be, if he were not dead.

Nothing extended need be said about either Mme. Scalchi or Mlle. Colombati. The former is a very familiar friend, and it is safe to say that the public will not begin to visit her vocal faults upon her at this late day, after having endured them - and apparently even enjoyed them - all these years. Mme. Scalchi used to possess three voices; now she has four. This may be to her credit in the minds of many. As for Mlle. Colombati, she certainly possesses only one voice, and that is a small one, which she uses with some timidity. Just why she came all the way from Europe to sing to us may appear later on. It certainly did not do so last night

Leoncavallo's "I Pagliacci" has been discussed at considerable length in these columns, and it is unnecessary to say more about it at present. Certainly the majority of those who were present last night would not be grateful for any comment on an opera whose spirit they did not comprehend and whose intent they did not respect. The new singers heard in the work were Signor de Lucia, tenor, and Signor Ancona, baritone. Both of them achieved great success with the audience, and were compelled to go through the absurd performance of repeating soliloquies.

Signor de Lucia is another tenor with a "white" voice, which he uses with an exaggerated open method. His strength lies in his acting and the emotional force which he puts into his singing. He is certainly an earnest artist, and his work last night, considering the limitations of his voice and vocal method, was expressive and full of effect.

Signor Ancona has a light baritone voice of good compass and carrying power, but of rather reedy quality. He sings with a good deal of feeling and with no little breadth of style. It must be said that, although the role of Tonio has been better done in New York, Signor Ancona gave every promise of being the most useful baritone in the company.

Mme Melba was the Nedda. The part is far from being favorable to the display of her best qualities as a singer. She is a lyric, not a dramatic, soprano, and Nedda is a role which requires for its proper interpretation a singer who is a most accomplished actress, with a range extending from comedy to tragedy. The balletella in the first act is the only number in which Mme. Melba was at her best.

The work of the chorus was much more satisfactory in "I Pagliacci" than it has been in some of the other works this season. As for the orchestra, its work was of superlative excellence. The full value of the score was revealed for the first time here. For this, as well as for many of the other musical merits of the performance, the audience was indebted to Signor Mancinelli, the conductor, whose thorough knowledge of the requirements of the score combined with his fine skill as a director to bring about happy results.

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