[Met Performance] CID:123040
Faust {415} Metropolitan Opera House: 02/19/1938.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
February 19, 1938


FAUST {415}
Gounod-Barbier/Carré

Faust...................Charles Kullman
Marguerite..............Vina Bovy [Last performance]
Méphistophélès..........Carlton Gauld [Last performance]
Valentin................Richard Bonelli
Siebel..................Helen Olheim
Marthe..................Thelma Votipka
Wagner..................Wilfred Engelman

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

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

Faust received three performances this season.

Review of Francis D. Perkins in the Herald Tribune

"Faust" is Heard With Vina Bovy as Marguerite

Metropolitan Presents a New Mephistopheles in Person of Carlton Gauld

Kullman in Title Role

Practice of Playing 3rd Act in Two Scenes Resumed

Gounod's "Faust" was sung for the first time this season at the Metropolitan Opera House last night when Vina Bovy made her first appearance as Marguerite in this house in an otherwise all-American cast. It had been planned to have an Italian Mephistopheles but Ezio Pinza became ill the day before and in his stead there was a new impersonator of the best-known fiend of opera, Carlton Gauld, American basso of the Paris Opera Comique, Charles Kullman was Faust, with Richard Bonelli as Valentine, Helen Oelheim as Siebel, Thelma Votipka as Marthe and Wilfred Engelman was Wagner. Wilfred Pelletier conducted.

Mr. Gauld, whose native state is Indiana, studied here with Oscar Seagle and for five years in Nice with Jean de Reszke; he sang in opera for several seasons in Cannes before going to Paris. He was at the Metropolitan for part of the season of 1931-32 making his debut as Hunding in "Die Walküre" on November 14, 1931, and later appearing in "Aida" as the King of Egypt.

Result of Coincidence

His appearance last night, it was said, was the result of coincidence rather than premeditation, the basso happening to be here on his way home for a short visit at the time when Mr. Pinza's indisposition provided him with an opportunity for a re-debut here. His impersonation of Mephistopheles proved well thought out and individual, while not departing from the requirements of the general dramatic figure. It was spirited and mocking and insinuating while good French was also an asset. His singing was generally well styled; upper notes sometimes suggested a certain effort, but elsewhere the quality was pleasing and the production satisfactorily fluent and, considering the last-minute nature of this appearance, his work in general deserved much praise.

Mme. Bovy's Marguerite pleased the eye and her interpretation of the role was appealing from the dramatic point of view. Metropolitan Marguerites in recent years have not, as a rule, sung the "Jewel Song" with the buoyancy and brilliance needed for the fullest effectiveness of this aria, and Mme. Bovy here did not provide an exception to this rule, although her singing of this number was musicianly and faithful to pitch. Early in the Garden Scene, her tones were heard to best advantage in the sustained notes of the ballad of the "King of Thule," where the style and expressive coloring merited commendation. Mr. Kullman's artistic interpretation of the title role deserves more comment that a Saturday night schedule permits; Mr. Bonelli's voice was not altogether at its best in "Avant de quitter ces lieux" There was a capacity audience.



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