[Met Performance] CID:12950
Aida {15} Metropolitan Opera House: 04/18/1894.

(Review)


Metropolitan Opera House
April 18, 1894


AIDA {15}
Giuseppe Verdi--Antonio Ghislanzoni

Aida....................Lillian Nordica
Radamès.................Francesco Vignas
Amneris.................Olimpia Guercia
Amonasro................Jean Lassalle
Ramfis..................Edouard de Reszke
King....................Armand Castelmary
Messenger...............Antonio Rinaldini

Unsigned review in The New York Times

"Aida" at the Opera.

A sample of Verdi's great "Aida" was included in the programme of the memorable charity performance at the Metropolitan Opera House, but it was not until last night that the whole opera was offered to the public. If it were the purpose of the managers - which it evidently and properly is not - to make argument in favor of Italian opera, they could not do better than to present this glorious creation of the grand old Italian maestro a little oftener. Unfortunately, it is an expensive work to put on the stage, and there are few opera houses in the world capable of giving it a competent cast. Indeed, it seems hopeless for us in America to expect to see the role of Amneris notably filled since its greatest interpreter, Annie Louise Cary, left the stage.

Mme. Nordica was the Aida last night. It has been a pleasure to observe the steadfastness with which this singer has worn when brought into comparison with others of undeniably more brilliant powers. Mme. Nordica is not a singer of uncommon brilliancy, nor of unusual dramatic breadth; yet, at the end of a long and interesting season, she is able to make a strong impression on an audience which has been treated to some surprises. This power is undoubtedly due to her good command of the routine of her profession. Her work is almost always judicious, and displays a large understanding of the value and proper placing of effects. Aida is one of her best parts, and her performance of it last night was received with much and well-deserved favor. Her third act was a veritable surprise. It was strong, dramatic, and remarkably well sung.

The Rhadames was Signor Vignas, whose voice was ample for the demands of the declamatory passages, but hardly sympathetic enough for the more sentimental parts. His singing was at times effective in a purely theatrical sense, but his acting was by no means convincing. M. Lasalle was a picturesque and vigorous Amonasro. His appearance is excellently suited to the part, and those who are familiar with his Nelusko In "L'Africaine" need not be told that as the Ethiopian King be acted finely and sang well.

Edouard de Reszke was the King, and he made as much of the part as possible. This is not a great deal, for the father of Amneris is, in spite of Verdi's advance in style, one of the good old stock figures of that era when to be a King and a father meant to be a bass. M. Castlemary was the High Priest and Mlle. Guercia the Amneris. She was vocally inadequate, but looked fiercely handsome.

The mounting of the opera was beautiful, the costumes being rich and the scenery very effective. Signor Bevignani conducted. Tonight Massenet's opera "Werther" will be presented for the first time in New York.



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