[Met Performance] CID:12720
Hamlet: Mad Scene. The Auditorium, Chicago, Illinois: 03/27/1894.
March 27, 1894
Giuseppe Verdi--Francesco Maria Piave
Duke of Mantua..........Fernando De Lucia
Monterone...............Antonio De Vaschetti
Count Ceprano...........Giuseppe Cernusco
HAMLET: Mad Scene
[Melba sang the Mad Scene from Hamlet at the conclusion of Rigoletto]
Unsigned review from the Chicago Tribune:
REDEEMED BY MELBA
SCORES A TRIUMPH IN THE FACE OF DISAPPOINTING SUPPORT
As Gilda in Verdi's "Rigoletto" her vocal powers have fine scope - Effect of her brilliant singing, however, seriously marred by the work of the cast - but as Ophelia in "Hamlet" she rises to the occasion of saving from failure the evening of opera.
Mme. Melba alone redeemed the performance at the Auditorium last evening. In the first of Verdi's operas yet presented during the current season, "Rigoletto," she appeared in the role of Gilda, a part for which she is eminently fitted. Mme. Scalchi sustained the Maddalena, Sig. De Lucia the Duke, M. Dufriche Rigoletto, and M. Castelmary Sparafucile. While the work of Mme. Scalchi was of the usual satisfactory order, as much cannot be said of the balance of Mme. Melba's support. The role of the Duke, except in isolated instances, is not vocally agreeable, a fact the more evident because of physical inadequacy to sustain the impression. M. Dufriche in the important part of Rigoletto, for which Sig. Ancona was originally announced, proved totally inadequate. Added to the misfortunes of vibrato and constant tendency to false intonation there was equally strong tendency to overact - a tendency at times surpassing the melodramatic.
The allotment of the several parts for this opera becomes the more remarkable because of the special efforts put forth, particularly of late, to secure to each interpretation the fullest possible worth. The scenes of Mme. Melba were seriously marred by reason of existing arrangements, and last evening must be regarded as the nearest approach to a genuinely unsatisfactory performance yet granted. Mme. Melba attained success through her solo work, and in the "Caro nome" with difficulty escaped the encore peremptorily demanded.
It was reserved for the mad scene from Thomas' "Hamlet," which followed the "Rigoletto" performance, for Mme. Melba to display the plenitude of her vocal ability, the agility of her coloratura, the beautiful quality of piano which she possesses, and her resource in contrasting effects. The evident indisposition of the singer manifested in her voice earlier in the evening was entirely banished, and she achieved a display of vocal pyrotechnics greater than she has accomplished upon the occasion of any previous appearance. Although devoid of the quality of personal magnetism, Mme. Melba imposes through her physique and bearing, and as Ophelia quite sustained the picturesque phase of the character. So fortuitous a close to an evening which gave small promise allowed Mme. Melba an opportunity to redeem an evening of which she can be held in nowise accountable, and of which it would seem well for the management to avoid repetition.