[Met Performance] CID:120140
Faust {408} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/1/1937.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
January 1, 1937


FAUST {408}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Faust...................Richard Crooks
Marguerite..............Helen Jepson
Méphistophélès..........Ezio Pinza
Valentin................Carlo Morelli
Siebel..................Helen Olheim
Marthe..................Ina Bourskaya
Wagner..................Wilfred Engelman

Conductor...............Wilfred Pelletier

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Joseph Urban
Choreographer...........George Balanchine

Faust received seven performances this season.

Review of Winthrop Sargeant in the American

Ezio Pinza Shines In Season's First "'Faust' at Met

With two changes in the cast originally scheduled, Gounod's well-loved "Faust" got off to a seasonal start last night at the Metropolitan Opera House. As announced two days ago, the American soprano Helen Jepson, appeared in the part of Marguerite, replacing Susanne Fisher. And a last minute substitution found Carlo Morelli singing the lines of Valentin, which the program assigned to Richard Bonelli.

Richard Crooks, who has not been exactly a familiar figure in the title role, though he has sung it at the opera house before, was the evening's Faust, and a long-dependable reading was given to the role of Mephistopheles by Ezio Pinza.

This was Miss Jepson's first Metropolitan appearance as Goethe's heroine. She acquitted herself, on the whole, very creditably, making a figure of unusual comeliness in the role. While the "Roi de Thule" aria and "Jewel song," have had their more brilliant and more stylistically studied readings, hers were distinguished for much supple vocal quality and for a gratifying sureness of pitch. The audience responded with great cordiality.

Making his first Metropolitan appearance of the current season, Mr. Crooks gave a workmanlike and generally able interpretation. Faust is not one of his most effective parts, nor did the well-known tenor appear to be in ideal voice. But the routine outlines of the role had presentable delineation and the initial aria of the second act brought its measure of appreciation from the audience. Some attention to costume might have resulted in an improvement in his stage bearing.

Mr. Pinza's Mephistopheles was the most satisfying element in the evening's proceedings, as it has been in many a "Faust" of recent memory. It is far from being a masterpiece of the French operatic manner and the diction in which it is clothed has always left something to be desired. But diction in French opera is not one of those things that one discusses where the Metropolitan's present resources are concerned. And, for its vocal verve and dramatic energy, Mr. Pinza's Mephistopheles is a reading of distinction, virile and abounding in rich sonority.

Among the smaller parts, Helen Oelheim was an adequate Siebel and Wilfred Engelman, a sufficient Wagner. Ina Bourskaya gave the role of Marthe her usual experienced and effective treatment. The American Ballet was in evidence in the first act. Wilfred Pelletier handled the performance capably from the pit.



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