[Met Performance] CID:121470
Faust {412} Public Auditorium, Cleveland, Ohio: 04/14/1937.

(Review)


Cleveland, Ohio
April 14, 1937


FAUST {412}

Faust...................Richard Crooks
Marguerite..............Helen Jepson
Méphistophélès..........Ezio Pinza
Valentin................Richard Bonelli
Siebel..................Helen Olheim
Marthe..................Thelma Votipka
Wagner..................Wilfred Engelman

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

Review of Denoe Leedy in the Cleveland Press

CLEVELAND GIRL SCORES HIT IN OPERA "FAUST"

Thelma Votipka With Helen Jepson and Richard Crooks Prove Exceptional Cast

The third night in Cleveland's week of Metropolitan Opera brought a performance of Gounod's tuneful "Faust" with an exceptional cast consisting almost entirely of American singers.

Richard Crooks, Helen Jepson, Richard Bonelli, Thelma Votipka and Helen Oelheim - here are singing artists of whom the country might well be proud.

And as a vehicle for reveling purely vocal accomplishment, "Faust" has few equals. There may be little depth in the score, and the dramatic construction may seem peculiarly old-fashioned in this day and generation, but the tunes are still good. Take the Soldier's March, for example, which comes in the third act.

Audience Applauds

Last night this was delivered with such gusto by the Metropolitan chorus that the audience broke loose in unrestrained applause. The same reaction, although less vociferous, was noted after Marguerite's "Jewel Song" and all the other popular melodies which are sprinkled throughout the score.

Crooks is splendidly endowed for the role of Faust. His is not a voice of great, ringing brilliance, but the quality is exactly right for Gounod's music. The purity of tone and intelligent manner in which the voice is used furnish whole-hearted enjoyment.

Miss Jepson, with her charming presence and pronounced feminine beauty, made up an ideal Marguerite. So often we have had to view Marguerites with great voices but no personal appeal. The fact is that this young American soprano possess all the qualifications.

Voice Appealing

Now and then when the role demands a high range a certain roughness creeps into the tone. But the voice in general has an appealing beauty, and it is constantly supplemented by musical feeling and no little dramatic understanding.

Bonelli, who is well known here, had the role of Valentin, one which is famous for bringing success to baritones. His first entrance was marked somewhat by singing off pitch, but this soon disappeared. The scene after the duel which brings the third act to a close revealed him in the full force of his histrionic ability.

Thelma Votipka, the Cleveland-born singer, achieved decided success as Martha, proving to the delight of her many friends and admirers that she is well equipped for gracing the stage of one of the world's most famous opera houses.

Clevelander Makes Hit

There is a fine, sympathetic quality in her voice, and for the comic role she essayed last night she appeared to have all the necessary dramatic qualifications.

Ezio Pinza, the great Italian basso, was the Mephistopheles and everything he did showed operatic mastery. No more sinister devil has ever trod the boards, and the singing was of the type to grip the listener.

Since Faust demands large stage pictures, the Metropolitan chorus was constantly in evidence, assuming effective positions on the stage and singing with that seasoned air which comes only from long operatic training. A word must be said for the entertaining dances in the Kermesse scene.



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