[Met Performance] CID:127030
Mignon {78} Metropolitan Opera House: 11/30/1939.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
November 30, 1939


MIGNON {78}
Am. Thomas-Carré/Barbier

Mignon..................Risë Stevens
Wilhelm Meister.........Richard Crooks
Philine.................Josephine Antoine
Lothario................Nicola Moscona
Frédéric................Helen Olheim
Laërte..................Alessio De Paolis
Jarno...................John Gurney
Antonio.................John Gurney
Dance...................Ruthanna Boris

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

Director................Désiré Defrère
Designer................Serge Soudeikine
Choreographer...........Boris Romanoff

Mignon received three performances this season.

Review of James Whittaker in the Mirror

Risë Stevens Star of Bronx Sings "Mignon"

Violins chatter like jays in the orchestra pit, Gypsies rush in from the Caucasus, stage right, wearing high-heeled shoes. A hundred choristers gang around one glass of beer before the inn, stage left. A soprano appears on a balcony, two white horses up back.

But you know that this is the Metropolitan; not the Winter Garden, because the chorus averages better than the principals instead of the other way around.

It is an honest, industrious cast which repeated last night the "Mignon" which was dusted off last year for the special purpose of launching Risë Stevens, baby star from the Bronx, on an opera career. She is more vital and vivacious than ever, and determined to make the show go, if she has to, break a leg or a pair of vocal cords to do it. Sometimes the latter catastrophe seems ominously imminent.

We are ready to guess that she is a false mezzo, who is taking on the throaty heroine roles because so few can do it and because she can still look pretty while scooping up the low ones by pulling in her stomach and her chin. If the guess is right, her voice will keep rising in Risë until she gives up the struggle and turns plain normal soprano after all. Then "Mignon" will go into storage again, which will be too bad for a lot of us who like good, honest, merry operetta with set numbers alternating with bum jokes once in a while.



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