[Met Performance] CID:12140
Metropolitan Opera Premiere
Le Nozze di Figaro {1} Metropolitan Opera House: 01/31/1894.
 (Metropolitan Opera Premiere)

Metropolitan Opera House
January 31, 1894
Metropolitan Opera Premiere

Mozart-Da Ponte

Figaro..................Mario Ancona
Susanna.................Lillian Nordica
Count Almaviva..........Edouard de Reszke
Countess Almaviva.......Emma Eames
Cherubino...............Sigrid Arnoldson
Dr. Bartolo.............Agostino Carbone
Marcellina..............Emily Lablache
Don Basilio.............Antonio Rinaldini
Antonio.................Antonio De Vaschetti
Don Curzio..............N. Mastrobuono
Dance...................Miss Santori

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

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

Alternate title: The Marriage of Figaro.

Le Nozze di Figaro received seven performances this season.

Unsigned review in the Tribune


"Le Nozze di Figaro," compounded by Beaumarchais, Da Ponte and Mozart, one of the most effervescent and captivating musical comedies ever conceived, the full brother of Rossini's "Barber" for which it stood as model, was performed at the Metropolitan Opera house last night. It was an occasion that ought to be entered in the record of the season in large letters with red ink. Few operas on the contemporaneous list are less familiar to the American public. In the brave days of Parepa and her company it used to be sung, and Mme. Lucca's impersonation of the page is a fragrant recollection with the opera-goers whose memory reaches back a score of years. For the companies of this robustious latter day, when singers have a role or two each in which they are effective, and one prima donna levies an assessment on the management that calls for nearly all the receipts, the old opera is not practicable. Mozart was prodigal with his singers. If he wanted what the writers of today, indifferent to correct terminology, would call three prima donnas, he had them. Women capable of singing his music were not such rare birds as they are now, and were not so anxious to subscribe for a National loan after each performance as they are now. Hence the stage was enriched by "Don Giovanni" and "Le Nozze di Figaro."

Except for the difficulty which all the singers of today find in Mozart's music, not to utter it, but to sing it as it was designed to be sung, there does not seem to be any reason why "Figaro" should not remain upon the current list. It presents none of the practically insuperable dramatic obstacles which stand in the way of "Don Giovanni's" success. As a comedy it is comprehensible, however far it falls short of its classical original, and neither the stage manager nor the scene painter needs to cudgel his brains to provide it furniture and an intelligible presentation: musically, it is refreshment to the soul. True, and ideal representation is scarcely possible under present circumstances - for that we should require smaller audience rooms and larger talent in both action and music - but out of gratitude for the privilege of hearing it occasionally, one would be churlish enough not to be satisfied with something a little short of the ideal. Last night's audience accepted what it got with sincere gratitude and unfeigned delight. It was, moreover a decidedly creditable performance. Mme. Eames was a picture as the countess and sang and acted with a most aristocratic air. Mlle. Arnoldson, vocally inadequate, was arch, piquant and fascinatingly beautiful as the page Cherubino; Mme. Nordica, not quite fitted in temperament for the rôle of Susanna, was yet so earnest in her work as to make fault-finding an ungracious proceeding. As Marcellina, a very inconsequential figure in the musical comedy, Mme. Lablache, an old favorite of the operatic legions under the consulship of Mapleson, was called in to fill the vacancy in the company caused by the illness of Mme. Bauermeister, and filled it. The parts which fell to the men were less satisfactorily filled. It is easily imagined that Edouard deReszke would have been better fitted with the part of Figaro than he was with that of the jealous count, and he would doubtless have done it better than Signor Ancona. The others concerned in the representation were Signor Carbone (Bartolo), Signor Rinaldini (Basilio), Signor Mastrobuone (Curzio), and De Vaschertti (Antonio). It is to be hoped that the opera will be repeated.

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