[Met Performance] CID:119280
Mignon {70} Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts: 03/26/1936.

(Review)


Boston, Massachusetts
March 26, 1936


MIGNON {70}

Mignon..................Lucrezia Bori
Wilhelm Meister.........Richard Crooks
Philine.................Josephine Antoine
Lothario................Ezio Pinza
Frédéric................Helen Olheim
Laërte..................Angelo Badà
Jarno...................James Wolfe
Antonio.................James Wolfe
Dance...................William Dollar
Dance...................Helen Leitch

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

Review of Cyrus Durgin in the Boston Globe

Lucrezia Bori in Local Opera Farewell in 'Mignon'

"Mignon," Ambroise Thomas' strangely persisting trifle of the 1860's, served last night as the occasion of Lucrezia Bori's operatic farewell to Boston. After a special performance at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York next Sunday Miss Bori leaves the stage.

The cast associated with her last evening proved not only of individual excellence but remarkably well adjusted collectively. It was Mme. Bori, naturally, in whom the public was most interested, and for her the warmest applause was reserved. At the end of the second act cheers amplified the demonstration and there were flowers presumably from some unidentified person sitting near the stage to whom Miss Bori blew an airy kiss. She sang gracefully, as usual, though it would be idle to suggest that all her tones rested securely on a solid foundation of breathing. What is more, her Mignon gave the impression of youth, as she scampered about in peasant costume and bare feet.

She was ably seconded by Mr. Crooks, whose musicianly handling of a beautiful voice is ever a delight. Mr. Pinza, his dramatic talents circumscribed by the requirements of that incredible oldster, Lothario, nevertheless sang admirably.

Miss Josephine Antonie, one of the Metropolitan's young American singers, made her debut here in the part of Philine, one which demands nothing more than light, exact singing. Her vocalizing was indeed light, and her voice is a pure, even, though small soprano. It has been well trained, but further concentration upon the technic of leggiero singing will be necessary to bring Miss Antoine to the estate of a thoroughly competent artist. Her trill is faulty, and her execution of roulades is not clear. Visually, however, she leaves nothing to be desired.

Mme. Bori's farewell would have been even more glamorous had she appeared in "Pelleas et Melisande," but that was impossible for a number of reasons, not the least of them the fact that Edward Johnson, the only tenor to sing Pelleas since the opera has been in the Metropolitan's repertory, is now general manager of the Association and doubtless has no time for singing.

Just how "Mignon" has managed to survive these 70 years since it was produced in Paris is a difficult speculation. Certainly it lacks all the elements for an opera calculated to win public interest nowadays. The story is sillier that most opera plots, the score hardly more than a succession of none-too-well invented melodies above a tenuous accompaniment, and the whole moves slowly. Thomas was at his best when he penned the "Coannais tu le pays?" and the "Polonaise."
The performance last night was the third here in 42 years. The Chicago Civic Opera revived it in 1932, and the last one previous occurrence in 1894, when Calvé essayed Mignon for what is said to have been the first and only time in her career.



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